Category Archives: Drive Your Vision: Make It Happen!

Paradise Lost – Or Found?

Promised Land Closed

   Have you ever wanted something so badly that you wait for it and wait for it and then when the time finally comes to get it, you drag your feet?

   The Israelites did that.

   For 40+ years they trekked back and forth through the desert, around this mountain and that mountain, up and down and back again. Imagine spending 40 years touring a dried up piece of real estate not even the size of West Virginia.

   They did that.

   And during all that time, the Israelites dreamed of the land promised to them by God decades before – a “land flowing with milk and honey,” a verdant land of tall, shady cypress trees, of juicy purple grapes the size of golf balls, and vast, golden fields of wheat waving in the breeze as far as the eye could see. And water – cold, clear, flowing streams of water wherever one might wander . . .

   Night and day for 40 years the Israelites thought about that promised land, they talked about it, and they dreamed about it. And then finally the day came when God directed them to enter. But they didn’t. They were afraid. And that’s when Joshua, their leader, posed an interesting question:

   “’How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you?’” (Jos. 18:3)

   That’s a fascinating question – perhaps one we all need to examine. How long will we wait until we take possession of the Promised Land that God has vowed to give to each of us?

   I don’t know. Until God hand delivers our dreams to our front door? Odds are that’s not going to happen.

   To “take possession” of the land is not a passive activity; it requires something of us – and it’s not sitting on our padded portions waiting for it to appear. At the very least, as we sit at the yellow light of our dreams waiting for that signal to turn green, some preparation – whatever form that might take – should probably be happening.

   Waiting for that dream job? Buy the proper clothing and arrange transportation. Get the resume ready and hit the pavement. Waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Right? Get out of debt. Lose five pounds. Practice patience and giving and civil conversation. Did I mention patience? Waiting for that business to turn a hefty profit? Invest in it; research what the competition is doing and do it better; advertise in places you haven’t before; get innovative; give.

   Are you ready for day one on the job? Are you ready to walk down the aisle? Are you ready to handle a huge bankroll?

   Did the Israelites sit and wait for the Hittites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites and the Anakites and the rest of the ites to pack up and move out so they could move in and take over? No. The Israelites said their prayers, sharpened their swords, designed their strategies, and moved in and forced them out. And that was the least of what they did. Mostly they just killed them.

   Unless God said otherwise, Israel took no prisoners and spared no cities or even animals. In short, they never compromised, and they never surrendered.

   While I’m not suggesting that we kidnap a prospective spouse, burn out a competitor, or loot a bank for capital, I am proposing that in light of God’s admonition to us to “take possession of the land,” we never comprise and we never surrender.

   Are you awaiting permission to go out and appropriate the promises God has made to you?

   Permission granted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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No Seed, No Harvest.

    Empty FieldOne of the most important principles of success in life is that of “seed”. To make the point, I’d like to share a picture the Lord once gave me. 

     In the pic, I saw a man standing in a field that had been plowed and had rows of fertile black soil.  The man was looking at the field and it was clear that he was waiting for growth to appear.  However, the problem was that no seeds had been planted.  The man was waiting for something to occur which would never happen. 

A field that has not been planted with seed cannot yield a crop.

     I asked the Lord what the scene meant and He showed me that the man represented many people who are waiting for a harvest in some area but have planted no seed.  He emphasized that “seed” doesn’t just mean money as we often hear it referred to by people encouraging others to “sow seed” for a “financial harvest;” rather there are many other kinds of seed in the spiritual realm exactly as there are in the physical realm.  And when we sow seed in a particular area, we reap a harvest in that same area.   This is a fact that has its source in the principle that God established at the creation of the earth when He decreed that plants, trees, and flowers would “multiply after their own kind.”  This means that maple tree seeds reproduce as maple trees, watermelon seeds reproduce as watermelon, and sunflower seeds reproduce as sunflowers.  In other words, grape seeds don’t produce lima beans nor do acorns produce daffodils.

     In the spiritual realm, then, this means that if we’d like a “harvest” in a particular area, it would be a good idea to plant seed in that area.  And this principle applies to everyone, not just Christians. While I refer to “sowing and reaping” as a “biblical” principle, it works whether a person is a Christian or not. Every day you can find examples of people who are not Christians and yet, because they’ve sowed good seed in a particular area, they’re reaping a good harvest. In the same way, many Christians are still waiting for their harvests to come in because they haven’t planted any seed. Listen, Christian or not, if I want watermelons to grow in my garden, I need to get out there and plant watermelon seeds.

     I once heard a story about a lady who had grasped this principle in her quest to have a baby.  The woman had had many years of infertility, had been to many doctors, and had begun to lose hope that her prayers would ever be answered regarding having a child.  Then she learned about sowing seed in a specific area and so began to hold baby showers for, as she said, “every pregnant woman in my church.”   As a result, she did become pregnant – twice – and now has two beautiful children. The principle is clear: giving in any particular area – whether money, material resources, or actions of a particular kind – is one type of seed.  So, if we’re seeking salvation for a loved one, for example, we can sow seed by witnessing to others about Christ.

     Another type of seed is preparation: get ready for the harvest you’re asking for.  If you’re praying to get married, begin planning for a marriage: read books on developing a great marriage and begin putting aside items you’ll use once married.  If you’re praying for a job, make sure you’re ready for it when it comes.  Have child care lined up if necessary or get your work wardrobe in order, or whatever your preparation may require. Realize that a farmer doesn’t wait until after the harvest comes in to build the storehouses nor does a pregnant lady wait till the baby comes to buy diapers.  (That would be most unwise . . .) 

     Finally, a third type of seed is prayer: pray for others who are seeking the kind of harvest you are.  If you’re asking for healing, pray for others to be healed; if you’re asking for a promotion or an opportunity, pray for someone else who needs those things.  If you’re praying for – well, you get the idea.

     Seed is all around us and it is well within our power to plant some.  Just look around and see what it is that you can give, do, pray, or prepare for as you seek to sow seed.  And then don’t quit; realize that some seeds take longer than others to produce. Oak trees, for example, take a good deal longer than leaf lettuce.  So while you’re waiting, just keep watering your seed by praying for a harvest – a good harvest – just as you would keep watering and nurturing real seeds.  Don’t keep standing in an empty field any longer; plant the seeds of your dreams and do it today!

     Remember – it’s a biblical principle.  It can’t not work.

Mission: “Possible”

Write the Vision          Have you ever felt like you’ve been called to great things, impossible things?  That would be because you have.  The problem is we say we believe that but – do we really?  The fact is that we’ve lost sight of the bottom line:  “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).  Maybe it’s time for a quick reminder.                 

          “Then the Lord said to Abraham, ‘About this time next year I will return, and your wife Sarah will have a son.’  Now Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent nearby.  And since Abraham and Sarah were both very old, and Sarah was long past the age of having children, she laughed silently to herself.  ‘How could a worn-out woman like me have a baby?’ she thought.  ‘And when my master, my husband, is also so old?’  The Lord then said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh?  Why did she say, “Can an old woman like me have a baby?”  Is anything too hard for the Lord?'”  (Gen. 18:10-13).

          A “baby” equals a dream, a promise, a heart’s desire.  It also represents, as with Sarah, the sign of a fulfilled covenant and the promise of a covenant to come.  The same message came to Jeremiah from the Lord.

          The Lord had instructed Jeremiah to buy a field from his cousin and to store away the deed. Odd thing to do but God meant it as a sign that, although Jerusalem would be destroyed and the Israelites exiled to Babylon, the time would come that He would again restore His people to their land.  But as Jeremiah sees the city and nation about to be destroyed, he is in despair and wonders how anyone could ever own land in Israel/Judah again, so Jeremiah questions God as to why He had him buy the land in the first place.  But the deed was a prophetic sign of a future covenant which the Lord would make with His people. 

         God had also had Abraham perform a prophetic action when He’d commanded him, “’Take a walk in every direction and explore the new possessions I am giving you'” (Gen. 13:17).  God tells Abraham to “explore” (“Walk the length and breath of the land . . .”) – to get a vision of it.  He commanded Abraham to keep the vision before his eyes in order to hold onto the dream.  And we should do the same . . . 

          As for Jeremiah, he didn’t understand the sign and essentially asks God:  “How can You do that – fulfill your promise – when Jerusalem is about to be destroyed??”  God’s answer: “‘I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world.  Is anything too hard for Me?'”  (Jer. 32:26-27).

          In the book of Luke, the angel Gabriel visits Mary to inform her that she will become pregnant with the Messiah through the Spirit of God and have a baby.  Mary responds by asking how she can get pregnant when she’s still a virgin.  (Evidently she gets that this is supposed to happen immediately and not after she marries Joseph, to whom she is engaged.  I always thought this to be very astute of her because I probably would have missed the point entirely and responded, “Why wouldn’t I have a son ? I’m about to get married.  I hope I have lots of them!”)  The angel tells her how it will happen (as soon as she gives the word), and then gives her a sign to believe in: “‘What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age!  People used to say she was barren, but she’s already in her sixth month.  For nothing is impossible with God'” (Luke 1:36).

          In Matthew 19, there is the account of the rich young ruler who leaves sadly after deciding he cannot give up his possessions and follow Jesus (who was testing his commitment by asking him to do that).  Jesus watches him go and comments to His disciples that it’s about as easy for a rich person to get saved as it is for a huge camel to go through the tiny city gate known as the “Eye of the Needle.”  Knowing how impossible that would be, Jesus’ disciples, astonished, respond, “‘Then who in the world can be saved?'” (vs. 25).  Jesus’ answer?  “‘With man, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible'” (vs. 26).  The disciples were panicked at the thought that salvation would be as difficult to attain as a camel getting through that gate (which evidently had never been done before).   Continue reading Mission: “Possible”