“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” Hosea 4:6. “Knowledge alone puffs up with pride” (1 Corinthians 8:1), so as you read this, my prayer is that you will receive revelation knowledge because that is what will bring change to your life.
What you are reading will help you fulfill your dreams so you can succeed in life! The first step is to lay the foundation. You do this by getting a vision. Proverbs 29:18, King James Version, “God’s people perish for lack of vision.” The Message Bible reads “If people can’t see what God is doing; they stumble all over themselves: but when they attend to what He reveals, they are most blessed.” You may not have lost your vision or dreams, but maybe life has crowded in on you and you’ve lost your focus.
I want to encourage you that your life can get back on track. If you’re not in the struggling category, simply pass this on to a friend who may be struggling, or file it for later when life catches you off guard! (And, it will!! Tests will come because James 1:2-4 tells us to rejoice in tests and trials.)
Have you lost sight of your vision, your purpose, your goals, your dreams? Are you discouraged? Has the “I can’t” or “why try anymore?” mentality crept in? Do you have a “settle for” mentality? Are you making excuses why things aren’t working? Are you procrastinating or have you become complacent? All these are tools Satan uses to keep you from fulfilling God’s plan for your life!
The good news is, God has given you a new song – whether you know it or not! Psalm 98:1 says, “O sing unto the Lord a new song: for He hath done marvelous things: His right hand and His holy arm hath gotten Him the victory.”
If you’re discouraged, sing a new song. If you don’t have one, ask God to give you one! Why not pull yourself up and try again! Do you know Satan loves to bring past failures and disappointments to your mind on a consistently, constant basis…especially when you want to try again and step out to reach your goals and fulfill your dreams?
As you look to renew your vision or dream, or create a new one, often times you look back to your past to get direction for your future. This is not the smartest thing for you to do because you can’t run into your future dragging your past behind you!
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. Imagine you have three huge back packs full of hardback books, notebooks, water bottles, etc. I’m going to share examples and as I do, I want you to recall things from your past to fit the examples as you read them. These back packs are going to represent past failures – wrong thoughts, wrong words, wrong actions.
When the enemy brings wrong thoughts, words or actions you have the choice to either take them and ponder on them, or reject them. In the past, you may have just accepted them as your thoughts and found yourself mulling them over again and again in your mind. Up until now, you may not have known you have a choice as to what thoughts you accept from the devil. Starting now, know that you have a choice!
Let’s talk about Bag Number 1. It represents wrong thoughts, lies that the enemy brings to mind. Thoughts such as: No one likes me; I’ve messed up again; who am “I” to do this or that; God don’t you know “I” can’t do it, after all, look at what a mess “I’ve” made of things; I don’t like this person; she doesn’t like me; they’re talking about me again. And the list goes on and on. Imagine putting your arms through the straps of this heavy pack and swinging it up onto your back.
Bag Number 2 represents wrong words; thoughts that you’ve mediated on, put in your heart and allowed to come out of your mouth (out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks) – gossip, giving someone a piece of your mind, speaking words contrary to what the Word says about yourself, putting yourself down in front of others; speaking words of doubt, fear, and unbelief. And the list goes on and on. Imagine putting this heavy bag on your left shoulder.
Bag Number 3 represents wrong actions; being rude; being offended; walking in or stirring up strife and anger; giving someone a glaring look; cutting someone off in traffic; racing to a parking space so someone else doesn’t get it first; not speaking to someone; not honoring your spouse, children, parents or pastors; entering into wrong relationships; mistakes in your finances that you think can’t be fixed. And the list goes on and on. Imagine putting this monster-sized bag around right leg.
At this point you may be asking yourself, “How can I ever go forward without making mistakes again and having more baggage piled on me?” The answer is you can’t! You can’t move forward with your past holding you in bondage. You aren’t designed to carry all your past failures and disappointments into your todays. Philippians 3:13b and 14 says, “…but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
It’s by God’s grace you move forward. First, ask God to forgive you of your shortcomings and repent – do a 180 degree turn. Then, get into God’s Word, find His promises for your situation, learn them, meditate on them, and make them yours. But don’t stop there, begin speaking those promises with belief, boldness, and conviction. Build your faith. Don’t speak them until you believe them with all your heart, or Satan will plant thoughts of doubt as to whether or not the Word will really work for you! Jesus takes your old failures, shortcomings, and disappointments away. Second Corinthians 5:17 tells you that “You’re a new creation in Christ Jesus, old things are passed away.”
You have to mentally draw a line in the sand of your life and step over it. Decide things in your life will be different. As you are standing right where you are with these three heavy bags hanging on your body, draw a line on the floor and say, “Father God, it’s in the authority of the Name of Jesus that I choose not to act this way anymore, I repent and I ask you to help me, give me grace to walk through this (name whatever it is that you think Satan has you trapped in) and get it out of my life.” Now, visually see yourself stepping out of the bag around your leg, take the bag off your shoulder and back, and sit them on the floor; step across the threshold into your victory – into your new future. It’s that simple. You’re free! Do it by faith. Receive a bright future everyday by faith!
Look again at 2 Corinthians 5:17. Let me give you another illustration. You’re a new creature in Christ Jesus when you ask Him into your heart. Take off your old nature (your old thoughts, actions, shortcomings, failures, and disappointments) and put on the new nature of Jesus Christ. Imagine taking off an old jacket and putting on a new jacket. Your past is in the past. It’s under the Blood of Jesus, and it’s not going to destroy your today unless you let it!
You see, you don’t need to take the lemons the devil gives you and pet them, stroke them, baby them and watch them grow and produce a harvest of more lemons. Simply take those lemons, add some sugar – the sweetness of God’s Word – and make lemonade. As you drink that sweet lemonade, which is renewing your mind daily with the Word of God, you will gain strength allowing you to mentally draw a line in the sand, and throw off that old baggage the enemy has put on you so you can put on the new self and run the race before you.
Once you mentally, physically, and emotionally make the decision to leave your past, you now have a new, clean foundation! Yeah! What’s the next step? Easy…know what you want! The dictionary defines a goal as the purpose toward which an endeavor is directed, an end, or an objective. Dream is defined as an inspiration or ambition. Before you can speak to your goals and dreams, you have to know what they are. On a side note, I like what Benjamin Mays says, “The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”
Just because your goals and dreams don’t match up with someone else’s goals and dreams doesn’t make them wrong, it simply means God has given you different goals and dreams specifically for you to fulfill. We all have different goals and dreams so you shouldn’t criticize someone else (husband or children) because they don’t have the same goals and dreams as you do. Encourage them to set their own goals and dreams and pursue them as you are pursing your plans.
Back to the question, “Where do I begin, how do I start, or restart my dream?” It’s simple, get a plan. My solution to every situation is “Get a Plan!” The Four Step Plan to Success will work for you if you will stay focused. The first step is to know what you want. Get God’s promise – His Word, a specific verse – to base your success on and write it down. Two of my favorite verses are Habakkuk 2:2-3, “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for the appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” The Message Bible reads, “And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big, black 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.” If you don’t know what you want, write down what you don’t want and determine the opposite and write it down!
The second step is to know what you are willing to give up temporarily – write it down. Deny the lesser to achieve the greater goal; knowing that when you give something up temporarily, you will have more of it once you’ve reached your goal.
Step three will help you put the wheels in motion. Create a plan. Pray, ask God to help you create the plan to get what you want. Write it down! Work the plan. Speak the Word of God and words of life over your plan.
And, step four is to associate with people who are where you want to be. Step out of your comfort zone and talk to those people who know what you want to know, and are where you want to be. You can do it! Once you get your plan, get focused! Focus on the prize – your goals and dreams.
A tip to reaching your goals is to stay focused. Begin each day in quiet time with the Holy Spirit getting his instructions for the day. Write them down to stay focused and surround yourself with success-minded people. Listen to CDs or podcasts to stretch your thinking. Clear the hindrances and stay focused, determine your self-discipline habits. It’s easy to do what you need to do when someone is watching over you, but what do you do when no one is watching; that’s the real character test and goes hand in hand with habits. Sow a thought and reap an act. Sow an act and reap a habit. Sow a habit and reap a character. Sow character and reap a destiny.
The creative power of speaking the Word of God over your dreams and goals to create your future is crucial. You read earlier that you may not have known you have a choice as to what you accept from the devil. Once again, you don’t have to accept anything from him. You may be asking yourself, “How do I know if this is from the devil?” Here’s a simple test; run it by John 10:10 – the dividing line in the Bible – “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus come to give us life and life more abundantly.” Is your situation bringing life or death?
In the first chapter of Genesis, God spoke a word and it came into existence. The sun, moon, stars, birds, fish, trees, plants; they are still here today – just as he spoke them into being. In Genesis 1:28, God gives you the Law of Six when He blessed you, told you to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, and rule over it. This is the authority God has given you.
God tells you in Deuteronomy 30:19 to choose life. “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life that both thou and thy seed may live.” It is vitally important that you speak words of life.
In Mark 4:3-8 Jesus teaches about the Parable of the Sower. “Listen. What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled among the weeds and nothing came of it. Some fell on good earth and came up with a flourish, producing a harvest exceeding his wildest dreams.”
This parable teaches about sowing and reaping and the principle is true of God’s Word, money, time, kindness – whatever you sow – you will have a harvest according to what you sow and the soil you plant the seeds into.
If you have ever doubted the power of your words, look at Mark 4:3, “Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you again ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away.” Just as Jesus’ words had power over the fig tree, your words have power over your situations because Jesus has given you that authority.
The Message Bible tells you in Mark 11:22-24 that Jesus said you can have what you say. “Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’ – no shuffling or shilly-shallying – and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything.”
If you’re facing situations that look impossible, are making you struggle, or are contrary to God’s Word, you can exercise your faith and “call those things which are not as though they are,” according to Romans 4:17. And finally, “Hold fast your confession of faith,” until you see your dreams and goals come to pass according to Hebrews 10:35.
The final step is to walk in faith. Water your seed by praising God, rejoicing, and singing of His power and mighty deeds until your plan manifests.
Do you see the importance of words in your life? Just act like the Bible is true and take Him at his Word! Put this information into action! Take a few minutes to get quiet before God. Repent, take off your old self, put on the new you! You are a winner in God’s eyes. Ask God to give you a new, or renewed, vision, dream, and goal to work toward. Make it bigger than yourself so you can see God do above and beyond – exceeding abundantly above – what you think you can do in and of yourself. This gets God’s anointing into your life! Write it down! (According to a Harvard study, 95% of the things you write down will come to pass.) Speak life over our your goals, plans, and dream! Then step out in faith knowing that you cannot fail because God created you for success.