Where He Leads?

A beautifully constructed stone retainer wall, roughly four feet tall, kept the higher ground in place. Sets of wide steps built periodically into the bulwark provided passage to the park above where grand old oak trees and well-manicured flower gardens invited people to take some time from their busy schedule to relax and absorb the captivating view of the lake that lay further down at the base of the incline.

Living in the rolling hills of Clermont and Minneola, seeing the park on higher ground with an ornate retainer wall wasn’t in any way foreign to me, nor was the concrete pad poured at its base which served as a level walkway and bike path. There sat I.

Why on earth I chose to sit on concrete leaned up against a stone wall I have no idea. In the natural, that would not have been my seat of choice when soft green grass and picnic benches were plentiful just a few steps above me. But this was not the natural. Again, God chose to teach me something through supernatural vision.

I sat to enjoy the view and the warm sunshine. Birds chirped and playful dogs barked. The air offered the smell of gardenias from nearby blooms. I never cease to be amazed by God’s creative handiwork, and always feel closer to Him outdoors than in.

My peripheral vision soon picked up on someone approaching me from the grassy area above my head. I turned, looking slightly upward, and saw from about the knees down who I instantly knew was Jesus. The white robe and sandaled feet assured me this was no ordinary person on an ordinary stroll in the park. Stopping on my left where but one more step would have been the four foot drop to my level, He knelt and extended His hand outward for me to take hold.

“You want to go with me?”
Quickly I turned, looked up and stretched my hand to reach His as I rose to my feet. “Sure, I do! I want to go with You!” Excitement overtook me as I asked Him, “Where are we going?”

His response another question, “Does it matter?”

Immediately I was back in the here and now. I had envisioned the scene, but with stark imagery that has not left me over these many years. The entire episode lasted probably less than a minute, yet has had life-long impact.

Too many times we sing songs like, “Where He leads me I will follow” or “I’m going with Jesus all the way” only to protest once we realize that might actually mean going or into a career or ministry we didn’t plan for. If it means leaving our home town, family and friends behind, we say, “No, thank you,” and rely on God’s grace to bless us right where we are. (Thank God for mercy and grace.) When the path gets a little rocky or the road too long, we are quick to take a new route. Sometimes we turn completely around and go back to the place He led us away from. Whether that be a location, ministry, career, or lifestyle – simply because we don’t like where He is taking us.

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23

This reaction is not only one of self-centeredness, it also reflects our lack of trust in God’s love for us. He has only good plans in mind for us.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

Psalm 91:16 tells us He will satisfy us with long life – not depress or torment us with it.

We may not like every task or every stop along the way. Sometimes to get to our desired destination means driving through a rough area of town. We might have to travel a desolate highway where, if we let it, fear of what lurks on either side will override the peace of a quiet country drive.

And sometimes following God is the same way. But if we truly surrender our lives to the Lord, He will plant a desire in our hearts for the very place and the very people He leads us to. He will bring us to love it and our joy can be full even in times of sacrifice and difficulty.

God has taken me places that – quite frankly – I did not want to go. But once I got there, I knew it was where I was to be. It just felt (and still feels) right. More often than that, I have looked back several times to realize that a painful experience was what propelled me to a good place in life.

Very recently God has shown me other ventures I am to pursue that I know beyond knowing I did not come up with on my own. They will require long hours and carry, according to human knowledge, high risk of failure. Plus, they are things I just really have never had interest in and know little about.

Yet, the more I envision them, the more excited I become. I am now looking forward to this new journey as a great adventure. As to the risk? The safest place to be is in the will of God. If I follow Him, He will get me there. The only risk is when I set out on my own.

Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law he meditates day and night.  He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season; whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1:1-3 NKJV

But even all that aside, the real question is how much do we really want to be with Jesus and to please Him? Do we love Him to the moon and back? Would we follow Him to the ends of the earth? When He invites to walk with Him every day, does our answer depend upon where He plans to take us? Does it matter?

Think before you answer, because I heard He’s going to church Sunday.

I’ll stand for thee, dear Jesus, though death my come my way
I’ll spread the gospel to the fallen here. But if it be thy will, Lord, to go across the sea,
Lord help me to be willing to say yes.
from Jesus Use Me written by Jack and Billy Campbell.

Till next time,
June

Seven Principles of God to Make Your Dreams Come True, Part 5 (Conclusion)

Wow! Look how far you’ve made it. You’re down to the very last element of making your dreams come true.

Remember, though, you need to apply all of these principles, make them a way of life. I hope you’ve already started with the first six. Keep in mind, they aren’t a lineup that takes turns; they are a team that work together.

“Work” being the key word there, as well as the subject of our finale:

Work Hard

For a dream cometh through the multitude of business, but a fool’s voice is known by a multitude of words. Ecclesiastes 5:3

Most modern translations indicate this verse is simply saying that if we think on something too much it will cause us to drift into daydreaming or have nightmares. Worrying about something will result in sleepless, reckless nights.

I don’t doubt those interpretations, they are true. But that is not the revelation that exploded in me one day as I read it. God spoke to me more in line with the wording found in the Amplified Version, “For a dream comes with much business and painful effort.”

If you want your dreams to come true, you have to work. Success isn’t going to fall into your lap while you sit on the sofa watching television or sleep half your day away. Rest and relaxation are necessary for our wellbeing, but laziness is never found blessed or successful in the word of God.

When laziness is mentioned in Scripture it is accompanied with starvation and ruin. Consider just a few:

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10

I passed by a lazy person’s field, the vineyard belonging to a person without sense. I saw that it was all overgrown with thistles. The ground was covered with weeds, and its stone fence was torn down. When I observed this, I took it to heart. I saw it and learned my lesson. “Just a little sleep, just a little slumber, just a little nap.” Then your poverty will come like a drifter, and your need will come like a bandit.  Proverbs 24:30-34 (GW)

And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:11, 12

Not only does laziness not profit anything, it results in loss. Look again at Hebrews 6:12. Don’t be lazy. Follow those who do just the opposite – who diligently work. The people to be followed were obviously hard workers because they were contrasted to the slothful.

And what happened to the workers? They coupled that labor with faith and patience. They never stopped believing and they persevered with joyful expectation (definition of patience in Greek lexicon) until they inherited the promise.

This is a good place to reiterate that all of the principles discussed in this series have to be working together. We addressed faith and perseverance, continuing to trust God and move forward to the end result even when problems arise and the road seems long. This Scripture now links those two principles to hard work.

The result? The people inherited their promise.

Dreams came true.

How hard and how long you will have to work will depend on several factors. The dream you are pursuing, how many other people affect the outcome, how much support you start off with, and how well you are operating within the principles God established for success – all of these and others will come into play. Regardless, you are going have to exert yourself if you want to succeed.

Some of the spiritual aspects alone will require effort. It’s not always easy to think about what we’re thinking about and renew our minds. Overcoming mindsets of failure and inadequacy can be laborious, especially if they’ve been imbedded us for a long time.

If we’re the emotional, vocal type, we have to work hard at thinking before we speak until our mind has been completely renewed to make sure we are speaking only what God has to say.

If we think our life is supposed to be like the drive-thru at Burger King where we can have everything our way and it better be quick, more effort will be required to learn patience and perseverance.

Those efforts result in a bonus for us, though, because they affect every aspect of our lives from the smallest issue to the greatest. Our lives are immensely better and far less stressful when we trust God and keep our thoughts, words, and attitudes in line with His.

Aside from the spiritual aspects, there is all sorts of work that may be required. You may need to take some classes or pick up a hammer and tie a nail bag around your waist.

Your lifestyle may change as you discipline yourself to achieve goals and reach milestones along the way that cause opposition from friends or family.

Long hours and sacrifice just might be the path to your finish line.

And, you probably won’t enjoy every task along the way. I can attest to that.

A new writer doesn’t get to just write. They have to read, to learn, to promote, to submit, to study the market, to proof and edit and edit and proof. While they’re doing all this they’re usually working a job to support themselves.

When all they really want to do is write.

Over time the work pays off and, in many cases gets lighter. People are brought in to help or the classes are complete and the career underway. The name and reputation of the new company spreads bringing in new clients and easing the financial load.

The work will never end, but in many aspects it will get easier. A lot of effort goes into building a good car. With the laborious and costly work finished, continued maintenance and repair keeps that car operating smoothly and properly.

It’s pretty much like that with anything in our lives.

We can’t afford to get lazy once we see the dream come to pass, and we can’t take for granted that we have arrived so it’s eat, drink, and be merry from now on. But like a proud parent of a new baby, we understand that taking care of that which God brought to life for us is no burden compared to the joy it brings.

 In Conclusion

God engraves dreams in our hearts in different ways. We see a need and long to help meet that need. We realize from an early age we have a flair for a certain art or a giftedness in business. Maybe we have a fascination for architecture or flight or science and know our future is embedded somewhere in that field. Sometimes He just softly speaks, “I want you to do this.”

How He planted that dream in your heart is not the topic of this writing. Nor is what your dream might be.

The dream He has given you may or may not be directly related to ministry as we think ministry. It might be family related or occupational, it might be in the area of sports or government affairs. It may be to see your own family restored in the bond of godliness and love.

If God has given you the dream, it will serve its proper role in ministering to others.

It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you know it’s from God. Forget how big or small it might be in the eyes of man, God doesn’t have any insignificant or unimportant works or plans.

The new church I told you about at the very beginning of this series? Well, to some it would seem as not much at all. It is small in comparison to many. As a matter of fact, it could likely fit in the foyer of many a grand church buildings today, seating only about 150 people. But for us it was huge. He established that vision in the heart of a widowed woman pastor with a small congregation of people, most of which were on lower or fixed incomes.

For us to build a new building at that time was as likely as a finch building a nest to accommodate a family of eagles.

It was our dream, and it came to pass.

Dreams do come true, but it takes effort on our part.

Isn’t your dream worth it?

Please remember, God wants you to succeed. He didn’t create any of us to fail.

On the contrary, He equipped us with the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and the Holy Spirit within us, more powerful than anything or anyone in this world (1 John 4:4).   Furthermore, we have access to every resource in and from Heaven (Luke 15:31), which is far more than we need to accomplish our God-given goals.

That is not a combination for failure.

Since putting this knowledge to work in my life, a few of my own dreams have come true. Now I am pursuing some greater ones. Little by little they are also coming to pass.

So, my friend, can yours.

What now?

Go back through the posts. Read the principles. Digest them. Put them into practice. Here they are again as a simple list:

  1. Dream. Your dream can’t come true until you have one. It’s in there…seek God to find out what it is then set it free regardless of what anyone else says or does.
  2. Have faith in God. All things are possible to them that believe (Mark 9:23)
  3. Persevere. Remember the age old adage, “Quitters never win and winners never quit.”
  4. Be led by the Spirit. There is no problem God doesn’t have a creative solution for. It may seem totally ridiculous in the natural, just the opposite of what a wise person would do. But remember, the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (1 Corinthians 3:19). Trust God to know what He’s doing, and follow His lead.
  5. Guard your mind. In so doing, we guard our heart, and as we think in our heart so are we (Proverbs 23:7). Change the way you think. Replace every negative, hindering thought with promises and counsel and encouragement from the Word of God. Your thought life is vital to your success.
  6. Speak only Life and Victory. The power of death and life is in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Hold fast the confession of your hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).
  7. Work Hard. Dreams come true through much business and painful effort (Ecclesiastes 5:3).

Add more knowledge as you journey. And never, ever quit.

If you have any questions or comments, by all means contact me. I certainly don’t know everything, but I know the One who does.  I would love to hear from you.

June  jyBInspired.com

 

Unless otherwise noted, Scripture references are from the Authorized King James Version.

Scripture marked AMP is from the Amplified Bible. Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture marked GW is taken from GOD’S WORD®, © 1995 God’s Word to the Nations. Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group.

Seven Principles of God to Make Your Dreams Come True, Part 3

Through Parts 1 and 2, you recognized the need to dream and seek God for His inspiration. You allowed Him to plant a desire in your heart that is in line with His good will and plan for your life.

You starting building yourself up in your faith in God, learning to combat doubt and unbelief. Your hope is being renewed as you search His Word and stand on His covenant promises.

You determined in your heart to persevere. Whether this first dream is located just down the block in the unseen realm, or whether it requires a journey around the world, you made up your mind that nothing and no one will stand in your way and stop you from bringing it to fruition.

And, you are now seeking God more and quieting yourself before Him so you can become more sensitive to His voice. Knowing He has the route laid out and the solution for every challenging situation, you’ve recognized the need to hear and heed His advice.

You are well on your way to taking back what the enemy has stolen from you for so long, and to seeing your dream come to pass in this life. And just think – then you’ll have the faith and confidence to dream even bigger.

It was my intent to conclude this series with this post. Well, that’s not going to happen. There is so much I want to say on this next principle that it took several rewrites just to keep this post at a doable length.

My plan all along has not been to provide a lot of detail in each area. This series is meant as an ignition switch to get the motor running, with needed fuel and maintenance to follow as you travel further down the road. That is especially true in the next few areas because there are so many supporting Scriptures that explain their necessity and help us put them into practice.

I did my best to keep it brief while stressing the importance, but brevity is not my strong point. That being said, let’s move on to the fifth of seven principles God established to help our dreams come true.

Guard Your Mind

If you want to see your dream come true you cannot afford to let your heart be governed by the negativity, discouragement, and defeat that come from the natural world or from the lies of the devil, who comes to steal your hope and deplete your faith in God.

We are taught in the word that as we think in our heart, so are we (Proverbs 23:7).

That Scripture is primarily addressing the moral condition of our hearts. Regardless as to how we might act, if our hearts are evil so are we. If our hearts are pure so are we. Even if we try to pretend otherwise, eventually our true colors are going to show because that’s who we are.

By that same token, if there is an image of defeat in our hearts we will be defeated. If we see ourselves as a nobody, that’s who we will remain. If, however, we can accept in our hearts that we are successful, victorious, happy, blessed and free, that’s who we will become.

This is why we are cautioned about the condition of our hearts:

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23 AMP

So if I’m stressing the need to guard our heart, why is the instruction on guarding our mind? Because the mind, what we think, is the primary gateway to our heart. If we learn to control the mind, guarding the heart will just about take care of itself.

With every thought we make a choice. We choose whether to accept it or reject it. If we accept it, it settles into our heart and sooner or later we are going to act on it.

It is our responsibility to guard our minds and make sure our thought life is one of love and hope and promise and success. Protecting our minds is vital to living the abundant life Jesus provided for us because it affects every single aspect of our wellbeing.

This law of God does require some effort, but I trust if you’re reading this you have a dream worth putting some effort into. So let’s talk about this for just a bit.

First of all, stop saying things like, “I can’t help how I think or what I think about.”

Yes, you can.

God never, ever, ever tells us to do anything we can’t do, yet in His word we are instructed several times concerning ways we should and should not think. This often referenced verse found in Philippians needs to become a way of life for us:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Did you pay attention to the last four words? Think on these things. You can learn to control your thinking and bring it to a place where your heart is nourished with the food of peace, health, prosperity, and success.

Let me give you just a few examples from Scripture of people who were controlling their thoughts in a positive way.

The prophet Jeremiah penned these words:

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23

He said, “This I recall to my mind…” Jeremiah made himself recall the goodness of God. He trained his mind to think on the mercy and compassion of our heavenly Father and how through them God keeps us from being eaten alive by the sin, corruption, abuse, and standards of this world.

And what was the result? Hope! “…therefore I have hope,” he declared. He refused to allow negative and fearful thoughts enter his mind and feed his heart. He remained a man of strength and faith, accomplishing that which God had for him to do, often in terrible circumstances, because he controlled his thinking.

Then there is the Apostle Paul.

I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: Acts 26:2

Paul was actually saying he considered myself fortunate to defend himself to Agrippa concerning the allegations made against him. Paul had confidence in Agrippa as far as his knowledge and understanding of Jewish ways. Most Bible translations word that verse accordingly.

In a difficult situation Paul’s focus was not on why God allowed it, on fear of the outcome, or on how unfair the whole situation was toward him. He wasn’t focused on failure or revenge. He directed His thoughts to how God was making a way out and putting him in just the right place at the right time.

But it goes even beyond that to a place that causes me to just love this verse as it reads in the King James. You see, this war against rampant, destructive thoughts has not been an easy one for me. One day in the heat of a battle, I just happened to be reading in Acts and came across this account.

It stood out to me more vividly than white patent leather shoes against black slacks: I think myself happy.

Paul was thinking himself happy and so could I.

And so can you.

We can think ourselves happy and healthy and successful and prosperous because as we think in our hearts so are we. I am not saying that we can sit down on the sofa and think ourselves into a whole new life or think our dreams true.

But this is a spiritual principle set in place by our Creator and it has been proven true time and again. You see, what we think about will begin to govern our lives. Thoughts we retain eventually become automatic. They settle into our hearts and we act on them.

The more we think about our sore throat or headache, the more we convince ourselves we should stay in bed and nurse ourselves back to health. We can imagine our spouse having an affair to the point we accuse and act on jealousy and suspicion, even when they are absolutely innocent. We can focus on our mistakes to the point that we will never try again, having convinced ourselves we won’t ever get it right.

Such negative and damaging thought patterns are far too common in our lives today. We have to get that garbage out and the Word of God in so we will begin to act on thoughts of love, joy, health, success, and the overall goodness of our Father.

Procedurally, this is a simple principle:

Stop thinking negatively. Stop worrying about mistakes, failures, what might or might not happen. Stop dwelling on things as they are now. Stop emphasizing your inadequacies.

Start thinking in line with God’s promises and His will. Start thinking success, blessing, and victory. Focus your imagination on the outcome you desire and go to your happy place, to cite a cliché.

Sounds simple enough. However, the mechanics may not be so easy. Many of us have allowed ourselves to be hindered by fear, failures, disappointments, and the standards of the natural world to the extent that our thoughts (thus our actions) are dominated by those things. We don’t even realize how often we think that way or the adverse effect it is having in our lives.

So while understanding the process is simple, actually working through it may take some real effort. I know from experience the result is worth far more than the labor. Here are the basic steps to help you get started:

1. Think about what you are thinking about.

Thoughts are always scurrying around inside our heads. Very often, our active thoughts are pushed to the background and we don’t realize they’re working back there because work or television or driving or whatever else has our attention. But they’re there.

Have you ever said something “out of the blue”, or, without a defined reminder suddenly thought of a long ago memory? It really wasn’t out of the blue or suddenly, it’s just that the thoughts lining up one after the other to that point weren’t at the forefront of your mind.

Make some effort to pay attention to the thoughts wandering around behind the scenes. Force them stand front and center so you can size them up. Force them to show themselves.

Another way of thinking about what you are thinking about is to question why you respond to certain things or people the way you do. Why did I give him that answer? Why did I open the refrigerator to see what’s in there when I already know? What was I thinking?

And yet another, ask yourself why you believe what you believe or why do you feel so strongly about one matter or another.

Become of aware of your thoughts.

2. Recognize thoughts that need to be replaced.

These are the thoughts that argue with you when you see yourself successful and move in that direction. They are thoughts of death, suffering, failure, unworthiness, inadequacies and so on. They say words like “can’t”, “never”, and “just accept it.”

They come from our environment, from past experiences, from other people, and even from the devil who will plant lies in our minds to steal from us and destroy our dreams.

There is nothing lovely about them.  They don’t bring a good report or praise.  So they have to go.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

This process is known as renewing your mind. And though it is our responsibility to do so, God has provided the means.

3. Use the weapons God has given us to destroy those arguments.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; Romans 10:3-5

The weapons He refers to? There are more than these, but some dominant ones are:

(a) Free will. We can choose how we will think. We make the choice which thoughts to discard and which to keep and nourish. Nobody can force us to think against our will;

(b) Grace. Ask God for grace to conquer the negative thoughts. He is more than willing to help us in our time of need; and

(c) His word, which is full of hope and promise. It is His word we use to replace the thoughts we are removing. If we don’t replace them, I assure you, they will return.

The ungodly thought pattern that had the most effect in my life was that of failure. I couldn’t get anything right. I didn’t meet the standards or requirements for what I wanted to do, and likely never would. I had made too many mistakes that would forever haunt me. Who would listen to me anyway? There were little or no results from past efforts.

On and on and on reasons why I would never succeed bombarded me every single time I dreamt of doing something meaningful. They ran wild in my mind and overpowered every accomplishment, every triumph, and every good thing I am through Jesus.

But then I learned to capture them. I hunted them down, lured them out into the open, and then destroyed them. And in the territory they once occupied, I planted guards such as these (as paraphrased by my mind for me):

I am the workmanship of God, created in Christ to do the good works God preplanned for me to do so I can live the good life He prearranged for me (Ephesians 2:10)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Because I have committed my life and my works to Him, He brings my thoughts in line with His will so I can succeed (Proverbs 16:3).

Because I trust the Lord with all my heart and don’t lean to my own understanding, and because I make Him a part of everything I do, He directs my paths. (Proverbs 3:5, 6)

I am remarkably and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

I am more than a conqueror through Jesus. (Romans 8;37)

Everything I set my hands to do is blessed; it prospers. (Deuteronomy 28:8)

With my new thoughts, I started making myself imagine myself where I want to be, not where my toxic mind was showing me I was headed.

Anticipation and expectation have replaced fear of disappointment. Confidence has replaced insecurities. Hope and faith have replaced hopelessness and unbelief. What a wonderful change God has wrought in my life.

He will do the same for you.

4. Repeat steps 1-3.

5. Repeat step 4.

6. Repeat step 5.

7. Repeat…okay, you get my point. A lifelong mindset is not likely to go away at the first attempt. Some will take more effort and resist eviction more than others.

As a matter of fact, I still have to fight the feelings of failure and impending disappointment. It’s just that now the battles are fewer and farther between, and won much more quickly than they used to be.

Don’t give up. Remain aware of those thoughts and mindsets, choose to oust them, replace them with the Word. If you don’t already, you will eventually have positive experiences and memories to accompany Scripture in taking the place of destructive thoughts.

Finally (don’t stop now, you’re almost to the end!)…

As far as back as I can remember, I have heard this said: You might not stop a bird from flying overhead, but you can stop it from building a nest in your hair.

In other words, you can’t stop a thought from entering your mind, but you can reject it (if you are thinking about what you’re thinking about) and keep it from taking root in your heart.

While there is much truth to that, I believe we sell ourselves a little short by clinging to that counsel in its fullness. We can indeed stop a lot of the thoughts from coming in, in the first place. When it comes to guarding our minds offensive moves are much easier and more effective than defensive ones.

King David wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “I will set no wicked thing before my eyes…it shall not cleave unto me.”

David was speaking primarily of things that would tempt him to sin. He wouldn’t even look at things that would bring thoughts of evil doing into his life. He determined to guard his mind in order that his heart remained pure. (He learned that lesson the hard way.)

That same principle should be applied to not allowing thoughts of defeat, disappointment, failure, or giving up enter into our minds. We can prevent negative thoughts from entering our minds by simply not exposing ourselves to them.

I’m not implying you should live in a silent world all alone. But you can greatly reduce negative influence by separating yourselves from dream killers – people who respond with words like, “Aren’t you a little old to be trying such a thing?” “You just need to make a living and stop worrying about all this other stuff.”

Things like, “You can’t do that.” And, “Do you realize how many businesses fail every year?”

Or the dreaded laugh, “Yeah right,” followed by the sarcasm, “Good luck with that.”

Don’t share your dream with people who have poison in their mouth unless you want your dream to suffer.

And turn off the television more often. Stories of doom and defeat dominate the air waves in both news broadcasts and fictional programming. If you have to watch, find stories of those who overcame the odds to march triumphantly down Winner’s Circle.

You can stop some birds from flying overhead. There are going to be plenty that you can’t, so stop the ones you can.

To sum it up –

We become as we think in our heart. Our hearts are fed by our minds, our thought life. So by all means guard your mind. Let your thoughts and imagination work for you, not against you. If you are a born again believer you have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), but it’s up to you to let it work (Philippians 2:5).

I will try my best to make Part 4 the final part of this series, but no promises. Until then I hope you will remind yourself of God’s principles for making your dreams come true that we have addressed so far and start putting them into practice.

There are great things waiting with your name on them.

June

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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture references are from the Authorized King James Version.

Scripture marked AMP is from the Amplified Bible. Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Seven Principles of God to Make Your Dreams Come True, Part 1

 

The bare block walls rose up around us as though to offer security in an insecure time. The gaps where one day glass panes would be installed this night allowed the cool spring breeze and the sweet smell of Orange Blossoms to grace us with their presence. A bright orange cord strung from Pastor’s house next door and elevated by a pole held the single, bare light bulb. Orange crates served as pews, dirt as the floor, and the starry sky overhead as the most beautiful of ceilings for a worship service.

We were few in number and low in finances. But God instructed Pastor to build, and build she did. Piece by piece, task by task, day by day, God provided. Almost four years later we dedicated our completed, fully furnished, church to its rightful owner—Jesus Christ. He alone had taken a woman and a handful of people in a then tiny community, and built a church to completion without a penny owing.

Dreams do come true.  DSC00185

We serve the Almighty Dream Giver. And when God instills a dream in our heart, He has every intention of that dream becoming in a reality in our life. He doesn’t give us dreams just to watch them be shattered.

But here’s the deal, it takes effort on our part.

As much as I truly adore the story of Cinderella because of its overwhelming message that all things are possible, I am also well aware that God is not going to send the Fairy Godmother to wave her wand and instantaneously change my pumpkin into a golden carriage.

We have to do our part if we want to see our dreams come true.

The good news is that throughout God’s word He tells us over and again just what we need to do to see every dream He instills in our heart become a reality in this life.

There are so many dynamic Scriptures on this subject I cannot include them all, but if you will prayerfully grab hold of the ones here and apply them, there is nothing that can be held back from you.

Because I have not yet mastered the concept that BLOG posts and magazine articles are not to be the length of an entire book, I have broken this particular writing into a series. Even in so doing I cannot say everything I would like to say, but there will be enough to get you well on your way to seeing your dreams come true.

Throughout the series I am going to address seven principles from the word of God that we must apply if we want to fulfill our dreams. Some posts, this one for example, will cover but one. Other posts will cover more than that dependent upon length.

If you take them to heart and apply them properly, your life is going to change.

Dream

Okay, that should be obvious.

Yet, there are multitudes of Christians who just live day to day taking things as they come, never imagining more or different for their lives. The first thing we need to do is open ourselves up to God’s love and His plans for us, let Him plant a desire in our heart.

Far too many people are just content with things as they are. Because this is to many a strong mindset, we are going to spend a little time here.

Some don’t dream from sheer laziness or unconcern (certainly that’s not you). Others because they have actually been convinced it’s a sin, citing New Testament Scriptures that remind us we are to be content.

And Scripture does tell us to do just that. 1 Timothy 6:8, And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. Hebrews 13:5, …and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

The most favored among those satisfied with the status quo seems to be Philippians 4:11, Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

But this admonition to be content is not a commandment not to desire and dream for more. It is a reminder that while we are where we are, we are to remain grateful to God. And that is so very important, because one of the initial steps in walking away from the Lord is becoming ungrateful or unthankful (Romans 1:21).

Murmuring and complaining cost the Israelites forty years of their lives and kept many of them from entering into the promised land. We should always be thankful for what God has blessed us with and be content with what we have — while we are pursuing more.

We were thankful for the tiny frame building. We started out in a living room. From there we went to a tent. Then God made a way for a building to be moved from Orlando onto the property.

Though I was far too young to remember most of those very early days, I know my parents and the congregation were grateful to God for preparing a meeting place.

But their dream was to do more for God, to reach more people and see lives changed through His word. That dream led to the dream for a larger, more stable building. There was not complaint and ungratefulness about the existing building. It was a gift of God while the vision of a new one was being brought to pass.

Paul and Silas praised God in prison because they truly loved Him and were grateful for every blessing and opportunity afforded them. They were content because they had God and He was caring for them. Still, they didn’t want to stay there. There were other places to go, other people to be ministered to. They had a dream.

As a matter of fact, if you are one who is just okay with everything as is – especially if things are not positive or are hindering you from moving forward – and you are there based on Scripture that tells us to be content, then I ask you this question:

Are you content with your wages? Do you think you make enough money for the work you are doing? (Come on now, be honest.)

Because you see, when asked by some soldiers what they needed to do in repentance, John the Baptist instructed them to not be violent to people or accuse them falsely, and to be content with their wages.

Does that word mean we are never to dream of being promoted or given a raise in pay or growing a business to a higher level? Of course not. What that does mean is that we are to be thankful we have an income and not complain about how much it is or what we have to do to earn it while we are pursuing better.

But if you’re using the contentment card to excuse complacency or if the devil is using it against you by making you feel guilty if you desire more, then you have to also never desire to receive more from your employment or business. We can’t pick and choose when and where we apply the word of God.

Another reason people don’t dream is that they have achieved their goals.

Maybe you are successful in the career of your choice. Maybe you are comfortably retired and not at a place in your life where you want to pursue anything new. You have no desire to go back to school to earn a degree or learn a new skill. Maybe all is well at home.

You have arrived. Your life is fulfilled. There is nothing you care to dream about.

There is always a star in the sky; always something to aim for.

What about a dream to have more time or ability to dedicate to a worthy cause? Wouldn’t it be nice to have more money to give into ministries and to the needy?

What about a dream to walk in perfect health? Are you happy with the constant pain and frequent doctor’s visits? Do you cringe when the pharmacist takes even more of your money? Do you really enjoy having to divide your pills into three sets just to swallow them all?

Jesus bore all that sickness and by His stripes we were healed. But you will never experience physical health until you first envision yourself being well. It begins with hope and a dream.

Maybe you’ve said something like this, “I would just love to wake up one day and not have to fight the urge to smoke (or drink or whatever).”

Or it could have been, “I just want my marriage and my family restored. I want us to love each other and live in peace like a family should.”

See, you do have a dream.

And here’s one for you. A dream of leading at least 100 people to the Lord in your lifetime – 500, 1,000! Maybe you can start with a dream to lead just one person to salvation and see that dream come true first. Then you’ll be encouraged to dream bigger.

The main point I’m trying to make is this,

Where there is no vision, the people perish. Proverbs 28:18

You need a dream, a dream instilled by God and backed by His word. Regardless as to whether it’s career based, family based, ministry based — whatever — if you don’t realize God loves you enough to want more for you and through you – then the only way to say this is to say it: You’re killing yourself.

You have no purpose and we are created with purpose.

Why do you suppose so many people (especially those who don’t know the Lord) die within a year of retirement? And those who retire early have a 39% higher risk of dying early than those who don’t?

These are statistics I don’t have space or time to go into, but you can search them out. You will find the number one reason given for this phenomena is that these people have nothing to drive them, no purpose.

They have no vision! No dreams to pursue.

So dream!

Ask God to instill in your heart His desire for you and dream big. Dream about those things we know by His word are His will such as outreach, soul winning, walking in perfect health and being prosperous.

And when one dream comes true, dream another.

Never stop dreaming.

That’s your starting point.  Your dream can’t come true if you don’t have one.  Don’t miss the next part next week.  Send me your email address and I’ll send you a reminder.

Till then…

Scripture marked NKJV taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.