Topic: Profit of Godliness
1 Timothy 4:8 – For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
If these exercises are unto godliness, they lead to godliness, they take you on your way to godliness, they bring you near to godliness, they bring you into godliness; and, above all things, they bring godliness into your soul. And thus, there is an exercise of the soul unto godliness. Does not your heart at times seem without a grain of it? You see what godliness is in its nature, in its branches, in its fruits, in its graces, in what a Christian should be, practically, experimentally, and really—outwardly and inwardly—in the church and in the world. You say, ‘Am I Christian? Am I a godly man or woman? Let me compare myself with godliness. Am I godly? Is there grace in my heart? Do I live? do I speak? do I think? do I act? do I walk? do I live as becomes a Christian? Is my life, my profession, my conduct—in the family, in the world—in the business, in the church—at home, abroad—openly, secretly—privately, publicly—is it such that I can take it and lay it down, step by step, with vital, real, experimental, scriptural godliness? O,’ you say, ‘I shrink back from the test. There are many things in me inwardly and outwardly which will not bear to be weighed up with godliness as revealed in the scriptures of truth.’
1 Timothy 4:8
Topic: Profit of Godliness
2 Peter 3:11 – [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness,
2 Timothy 3:12 – Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
1 Timothy 6:6 – But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Psalms 1:1-3 – Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (Read More…)
Romans 12:1 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.
2 Peter 1:5-8 – And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; (Read More…)
2 Timothy 3:5 – Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
2 Peter 1:7 – And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
2 Corinthians 7:1 – Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Micah 6:8 – He hath shewed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Jude 1:4 – For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 6:33 – But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (Read More…)
1 Timothy 6:6-7 – But godliness with contentment is great gain. (Read More…)
1 Timothy 6:17-19 – Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; (Read More…)
Jude 1:20-21 – But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, (Read More…)
1 Timothy 4:7-8 – But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself [rather] unto godliness. (Read More…)
Galatians 5:14 – For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
1 Timothy 2:10 – But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
Colossians 3:20 – Children, obey [your] parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
DAY 1 What Is the Heart?
(Matthew 12:34–35) Reading: Psalm 57–59; Romans 4
Your entire life is controlled and determined by your heart.
What is the heart? The Bible provides us with many truths about it. When it uses the word heart, it’s usually referring to our subconscious minds and their contents. Historically, the heart has been a metaphor for the center of our being.
Our hearts or subconscious minds are what motivate us in our attitudes and actions, even though we may not be aware of what is influencing us. Jesus Christ emphasized the following.
For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.(Matthew 12:34–35) But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man “unclean.” For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man “unclean”; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him “unclean.”(Matthew 15:18–20) In these simple statements, the principle of the heart and its power to control all of one’s life is evident. Whatever is in your heart dictates your experience in life. According to Jesus, all our actions are motivated by the content of our hearts or what is stored in our subconscious minds.
This leads us to the following truth to ponder: The way you think about your vision and how you act on it come from your heart, as well.
Prayer: Father, my heart is the center of my being and reflects who I actually am. I want my heart and life to reflect You. May my words and actions reveal the good things You have stored up in me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: Whatever is in your heart dictates your experience in life.
DAY 2 Controlling the heart
Reading: Psalm 60–62; Romans 5
The Tablet of the Heart The Bible has much to say about the importance of the heart. Wise King Solomon spoke of the heart’s power and function. In the book of Proverbs, we read, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 3:3). What we “write” on our hearts we use as a reference for our attitudes and actions. Again, in Proverbs, we read, “To man belong the plans of the heart” (Proverbs 16:1). The heart is where we sift things over and make decisions about what we want to do and be. Jeremiah the prophet records, “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve” (Jeremiah 17:10). Attitude and behavior are tied together because your actions come from what you think. Finally, the book of Hebrews says, “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). We are held accountable not only for our actions, but also for our thoughts and attitudes. In order to walk successfully in the vision God
has given you, you must pay attention to your heart, study what’s in it, and make certain that the Word of God is your source of truth.
Prayer: Father, Your Word is living and active as it judges the intentions of my heart. Please help me to make certain that Your Word is my source of truth.
Fill my mind and heart with Your Word so that I cannot be led away from You or from my vision. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: What we “write” on our hearts we use as a reference for our attitudes and actions.
DAY 3 Completed in Eternity
Reading: Psalm 63–65; Romans 6
We can better understand vision when we realize that our purpose has already been completed in eternity. The following passage entirely changed my perspective on the fulfillment of vision: I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.(Isaiah 46:9–10, emphasis added) In this Scripture, God mentions two things that He does. First, He establishes the end before the beginning. This means that He finishes things first in the spiritual realm, and then He goes back and starts them up in the physical realm. Second, He reveals the end result of something when it is just beginning.
I have noticed in the Scriptures the principle that “purpose is established before production.” In other words, God first institutes a purpose, and then He creates someone or something to fulfill that purpose. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. We often don’t recognize the fact that when God starts something, He has already
completed it in eternity. “Yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We can see this principle in creation. Everything was already finished in God’s mind before He laid the foundation of the world. In a similar way, the vision He has placed within you has already been completed in eternity.
Prayer: Father, You have already completed my purpose in eternity. Help me to fulfill Your plan on earth as I follow Your direction.In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: When God starts something, He has already completed it in eternity.
DAY 4 Purpose before Production
Reading: Psalm 66–67; Romans 7
Purpose before Production There is a street near my house called Shirley Street. At one time, there was a parking lot there. One day when I was driving along that street, I saw a large sign with a beautifully painted picture of a building. There was no building on the site yet, but there was the big sign and the name of the building. It showed the landscape, the color of the building, the windows, everything; it was a very detailed picture of what the completed building would look like. The sign said, “Coming soon.” I drove past the lot and sensed God saying to me, “Did you see that?” I said, “See what?” He said, “Did you see the finish?” So I turned my car around and went back to take a closer look at the sign. By showing the completed picture of the building, the construction company was revealing the end of its purpose.
Again, God essentially completed us before He created us. Not only does He establish our ends, but He also gives us glimpses of them through the visions He puts in our hearts. We must pay attention to His work within us so that we will be able to understand more of what He “has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). God wants you to “see” the completion of your vision by knowing that He already planned and established it before you were born. Therefore, instead of striving to fulfill what God has given you to do, you can rely on Him to finish it as you allow Him to guide you in the specifics of carrying it out.
Prayer: Father, please help me to “see” the completion of my vision with the eyes of faith.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: God essentially completed us before He created us.
DAY 5 The origin
Reading: Psalm 68–69; Romans 8:1–21
The Project Start-Up In the book of Genesis, which means “origin” or “source,” we read about the start-up of God’s project called “earth.” Those of you who are involved in project management know that start-up is a significant step in the process of building. When you reach the start-up phase, it means that you have all the plans drawn, all the physical resources in place, and all the management resources in order. Before you start a project, all these things must be in place. Only then can you begin.
When do you start building a house? Is it when you dig the foundation? Essentially, you begin building whenever the idea for the house is conceived. Digging the foundation is simply the beginning of bringing your purpose to pass. Therefore, after you dig the foundation, and somebody asks you, “What are you doing?” your answer is very definite. You point to the architect’s rendering of the house and say, “I am building this.”
God wouldn’t have allowed you to start your life and your purpose unless they were already completed in eternity. You must realize, however, that your end doesn’t look anything like your beginning—or like any other point in the process, for that matter. God redeems you because of the vision you are carrying, and now you must live out that vision. The Bible says, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10, emphasis added).
Prayer: Father, may I be reminded daily that the good works I walk in were prepared by You since the beginning of time. May I do those good works with joy at being a part of Your plan for the earth. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: You were born to manifest something that is already finished.
DAY 6 A Glimpse into the Future
Reading: Psalm 70–71; Romans 8:22–39
At this point, I want to clarify the difference between purpose and vision. Purpose is the intent for which God created you— the reason why you were born. Purpose is what God has already decided in His own mind that you’re supposed to begin to fulfill. Therefore, we can conclude the following:
•Purpose is when you know and understand what you were born to accomplish.
•Vision is when you can see it in your mind by faith and begin to imagine it.
When you are able to see your purpose, your vision comes to life. For example, my purpose is to identify and encourage leadership and visionary qualities in people throughout the world. My vision is to do it through Bahamas Faith Ministries International, which will include a convention center and a hotel in the future.
We have insight into God’s purpose for us based on what we know God has already accomplished in eternity. Vision is a glimpse of our future that God has purposed. We don’t know all the details of how our purposes will unfold, but we see their “ends” because God reveals them to us in the visions He gives us. This is why we can be confident that they will come to pass. When God created you with a purpose, He also designed you perfectly to be able to fulfill it. God always gives us the ability to do whatever He calls us to do.
Prayer: Father, my life’s vision is an exciting look into the future that You have purposed for me. Thank You for assuring me that You have already put the plan in motion so that I might complete it.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: Vision is foresight with insight based on hindsight.
DAY 7 Vision Is about God At its essence, vision isn’t about us—it’s about God.
Reading: Psalm 72–73; Romans 9:1–15
Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” True vision is not a human invention. It’s about the desires God imparts to us. His purpose was established well before we had any plans for our lives. We were meant to consult God to find out His purposes for us so we can make the right plans. Ecclesiastes 3:14 says, “I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.”
Let’s review the following facts: Purpose is the source of your vision. Your purpose existed before you did. What you were born to do was accomplished by God before you even arrived on the scene, and He ordained your birth in order to carry it out.
We must understand the key to recognizing personal vision. After reading my books on purpose, many people write to me and say, “Okay, I read your book. It’s wonderful, it changed my life, and I’m ready to go, except that I don’t know what my vision is. Tell me how to find it.” To find your vision, you have to look within yourself, where God has placed it. The key is this: God’s will is as close to us as our most persistent thoughts and deepest desires.
Prayer: Father, I realize that vision is about You and not about me. Vision is about fitting into Your plan for establishing Your kingdom on this earth.
Lead me into my part of that plan.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: To find your vision, you have to look within yourself, where God has placed it.
DAY 8 The Dream That Won’t Go Away
Psalm 37:4 Reading: Psalm 74–76; Romans 9:16–33
“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your….” Desires of your what? “Your heart.” Wait a minute. Doesn’t God
give us desires from heaven? Yes, He does. Our desires originate there, but remember that God has placed His desires for you within your heart.
He put the plans for your life within you when you were born, and they have never left you. The heart, in this case, means your subconscious mind. Sometimes His ideas come in multiples. God may put five or six things in your mind that He wants you to do, each one for a different season of your life.
Whether He gives you one idea or six ideas, the thoughts of God are consistent, and they will be present throughout your life. No matter how old you grow, the same thoughts will keep coming back to you, and the desires will never leave you. This is because the will of God for you never changes. The Bible says, “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). The specifics of your plans may change as your purpose unfolds, but your purpose is permanent.
I have found that people are constantly waiting for God to tell them what to do when it has been given to them already. At times, Christian people look for God’s will everywhere except within themselves. It’s necessary for them to realize that they don’t receive their purposes after they are born again; they were already given their purposes when they were physically born. You’re not saved for the sole purpose of going to heaven; you’re saved to finish your assignment on earth.
Prayer: Father, thank You for placing Your desires within my heart. You saved me so that I could complete my assignment on this earth; please help me to do this.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: Vision is the idea that never leaves you—the dream that won’t go away.
DAY 9 God Speaks to You
Reading: Psalm 77–78; Romans 10
God Speaks to You Many people ask me how God speaks to us. They say, “I want to hear from God. Does He speak in an audible voice? Does He come in the night and whisper in my ear? Will He speak through some animal or write on the wall like He did in the Old Testament?” They don’t realize that God has been speaking to them since they were born, and He is still speaking to them now. He speaks to them through the thoughts, ideas, and visions they keep having in their minds. If you are unclear about your vision, you can ask God to reveal to you the deepest desires He has placed within you.
Some people call psychic hotlines to get others to tell them their futures. The sad thing is that some Christians do nearly the equivalent of this when they run from meeting to meeting, asking people to prophesy over them concerning their futures, not understanding that God has given them their visions directly. A prophet can confirm your vision, but he or she will not give you your vision. God gives you that directly, and He reveals it to you as you listen to Him and follow Him. God says, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33).
Again, one way to discern whether something is a vision from God is to determine whether you have a real desire to do it or merely a passing interest in it.
Prayer: Father, I am so grateful that You are a God who speaks directly to His people. Thank You for speaking to me through Your Holy Spirit, through Your Word, and through the ideas and dreams You have given me.
I want to use them to Your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: A prophet can confirm your vision, but he or she will not give you your vision; God gives you that directly.
DAY 10 Vision Is Unselfish
Reading: Psalm 79–80; Romans 11:1–18
Vision Is Unselfish True vision is unselfish. Its purpose is to bring God’s kingdom on earth and turn people to Him. A vision should always focus on helping humanity or building up others in some way.
First, this means that God will never have you pursue your vision at the expense of your family. A beloved friend of mine went to a conference where a supposed prophet spoke to him about what God wanted for his life. He came to me and asked, “Did you hear what the prophet said? What do you think?” I replied, “Well, let’s pray over that prophecy. Let’s take our time, get counsel, and find God’s will on it.” However, the next time I heard from him, he had already set up a plan to fulfill this prophecy. He went to another country, leaving behind a confused and angry family. Was this really God’s purpose?
There are instances when family members will agree to be apart for a time to serve a certain purpose. Moreover, your family will not always understand or support your dream. Yet pursuing it shouldn’t destroy their lives. Vision should always be accompanied by compassion.
Second, a true vision will not take the form of building a big business just so you can have millions of dollars for expensive homes and cars. These things may be goals, but they are not vision—in fact, they are probably selfish ambition because they build your kingdom rather than God’s kingdom. Your vision might well involve making a large amount of money. The difference, however, is in your motivation and attitude. You need to treat your finances as a resource God has provided to fulfill your vision, not as a tool to fill your life with luxuries.
Prayer: Father, I know that You want me to pursue my life’s dreams with compassion for others.
Please keep me from selfish motives. In Jesus’ name, amen. Thought: Vision’s purpose is to bring about God’s kingdom on earth.
DAY 11 Vision Brings Fulfillment
Reading: Psalm 81–83; Romans 11:19–36
Your life’s vision is real when it is the only thing that gives you true satisfaction. Ecclesiastes 3:13 says, “That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.” It is God’s desire for us to enjoy our work, but this can happen only when we’re doing the right work. Merely working at a job is disheartening. Going to work is a dismal experience for many people because, day after day, they are doing something they dislike. That is not what you were created to do. Again, Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” True success is not in what you accomplish; it is in doing what God told you to do. That is why people who build big projects or gain great fame can be successful and depressed at the same time.
Going against your purpose may be a personal issue, but it is never a private one. You can mess up others’ lives if you aren’t supposed to be where you are, or if you are supposed to be somewhere that you refuse to go. Remember the story of Jonah in the Bible? God told him that his purpose was to go to Nineveh to warn the people there to turn to God. Jonah’s response was, in effect, “I’m not going!” He got on a ship headed for Tarshish instead. God had purposed that Jonah would go to Nineveh even before the prophet was born. I urge you not to board the wrong ship, but to remain on course in God’s purpose.
Prayer: Father, please help me to stay on course with You. I don’t want to drift to the right or to the left, but to continue to follow Your direction. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: Until you follow God’s dream, you will be unfulfilled.
DAY 12 A Vital Connection with God
Reading: Psalm 84–86; Romans 12
A Vital Connection with God Many people don’t recognize the vision God has placed within them because they don’t have a vital connection with God. God’s purpose never changes, and since His purpose is woven into our desires, our own ways are never ultimately satisfying.
God provided salvation through Christ to salvage His will and purpose in your life. He said, in effect, “I’m not going to lose what I gave you birth to do.” He restores us to Himself so we can do the works He had in mind for us before the world began. Remember, “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). We are not saved by doing good works but for the purpose of doing good works. We are saved for relationship with God and to fulfill our earthly visions.
Once we are restored to God, we receive His Holy Spirit and can see and understand the vision He has placed in our hearts. The Bible says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God…” (2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV). This verse is talking about ideas. It continues, “…and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Any idea that is contrary to the Word of God, or to obedience to Christ’s wishes for your life, is not a God idea. You must set it aside. The vision God gives you will always line up with His Word.
Prayer: Father, please help me to maintain a vital connection with You through Your Holy Spirit and Your Word. I want to be sensitive to Your voice and to Your purposes.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: Genuine vision is always in alignment with God’s nature and character.
DAY 13 Vision Is Personal and Corporate
Reading: Psalm 87–88; Romans 13
We must realize that vision is both personal and corporate; personal vision will always be found within a larger corporate vision. It is not God’s method to give a vision to a group. He gives the vision to an individual who shares his vision with the group and transfers it to them. The members of the group then run with the vision because they find in it a place for their own personal visions to be fulfilled.
Moses was constrained by a vision to deliver the people of Israel and lead them to the Promised Land. Joshua was motivated by a vision to possess that land. David was driven by a vision to settle God’s people. Nehemiah was possessed by a vision to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. In every case, the vision was given to an individual who was ultimately responsible for seeing it through, and the individual transferred the vision to a group.
When a person starts to sense his purpose and gift, he often interprets this as a call to autonomy and separation. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In order to accomplish a corporate purpose or make a larger vision come to pass, God brings together many people’s personal gifts and unique
visions. God wants you to bring your time, energy, resources, and creative power to be part of a larger vision to which your vision is connected.
Prayer: Father, Your Word says that believers are the body of Christ. We are many members,
each with different purposes and gifts. Help us to appreciate one another and the unique visions You have given us, so that we will function as a whole body.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: In order to accomplish a larger vision, God brings together many people’s gifts and unique visions.
DAY 14 We Need Teamwork Teamwork
Reading: Psalm 80–90; Romans 14
We Need Teamwork Teamwork is defined as the ability to work together toward a common vision.
Because it directs individual accomplishment
toward corporate objectives, teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. Teamwork intrinsically appreciates the diversity of gifts that the team members bring to a partnership or group. Paul wrote, Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. (Romans 12:4–6) We have seen that while God calls individuals to carry out His purposes, He doesn’t want them to pursue their callings alone. Even Moses, who was called the friend of God and did extraordinary things, needed leadership help from his brother Aaron and sister Miriam. We also see the idea of teamwork in the first-century church with the traveling teams of Paul
and Barnabus, Peter and John, and Priscilla and Aquila. When Paul worked with the churches he founded, he often had many coworkers who assisted him. Jesus Himself emphasized teamwork. He did not carry out His ministry alone, but instead gathered a group of twelve disciples to assist Him and learn from His example. When He sent out His disciples to minister, He told them to go two by two. (See Mark 6:7; Luke 10:1.) In the same way, whatever your personal vision is, God wants you to be joined with others as a team to fulfill those plans.
Prayer: Father, may we always be thankful for the gift of one another. Please help me to recognize the people You want me to work with in my vision. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: Teamwork is defined as the ability to work together toward a common vision.
DAY 15 Problems in Corporate Vision
Reading: Psalm 91–93; Romans 15:1–13
When people don’t understand teamwork or accept the relationship between personal and corporate vision, there can be problems. If the members of the group think they are inferior to the person with the original vision, or the leader starts to think he is more important than the members, or if one or more of the members wants to supplant the person who has the larger vision, that is when the trouble will begin.
Moses had the latter problem with Miriam and Aaron, his sister and brother. God had appointed them all as leaders. (See Micah 6:4.) Moses, however, was the one who had received the original vision, and he was the one with whom God met directly and through whom God spoke. When Miriam and Aaron became jealous of Moses and wanted to usurp his role, it caused turmoil within that leadership group. God had to remind Miriam and Aaron in a very graphic way that it is His purposes that prevail, not our private ambitions. (See Numbers 12:4–15.) We must have an attitude of cooperation with those with whom we share corporate vision. If we are going to do something for God so that the world will be better off because we were here, we can’t do that with a private, individualistic attitude. Let us be cognizant of God’s ways and work with them rather than against them.
Prayer: Father, we know that Your children do not get along at times. Please help me to cooperate with the believers with whom You have placed me. Help me to join with them in fulfilling the corporate vision that You have given. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: If we are in line with God’s nature and character, we will desire what He desires.
DAY 16 Drawing Out the Vision
Reading: Psalm 94–96; Romans 15:14–33
When we understand the relationship between personal and corporate vision, we will recognize a chief way in which God fulfills people’s dreams. Proverbs 20:5 says, “The purposes of a man’s heart are [like] deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” In other words, everyone has a vision in his heart, but a person of understanding causes that dream, that purpose, that vision to be brought out so it can become reality. A person of understanding will figuratively lower a bucket into the deep well-waters of your soul and begin to draw out what you are dreaming and thinking.
What is the process by which this occurs? After God conveys a vision to a leader, you will then somehow come into contact with this person, who will present the corporate vision. You will become excited about participating in it because you will see how your private vision finds fulfillment in it. It is essential for you to understand that God brings the corporate vision into your life not to give you vision, which He has already given you, but to stir up your personal vision. In other words, you don’t receive your vision from other people, but you are enabled to fulfill it through others.
It is my desire to stir up your vision. As I wrote earlier, my own vision is to inspire and draw out the hidden leader in every person I meet. You are a leader in the specific purpose God has given you to accomplish through your gift because no one else but you can fulfill it. Are you beginning to believe in the possibilities?
Prayer: Father, thank You for making me a leader in the vision You have given me for my life. Please enable me to stir up that vision and see it come to fulfillment in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: God brings the corporate vision into your life to stir up your personal vision.
DAY 17 I Need Your Vision,
Reading: Psalm 97–99; Romans 16
You Need Mine The corporate vision in which your personal vision will ultimately be fulfilled might be that of a company, a church, a nonprofit organization, or even your own family. That is why, when you hear of something that is related to your vision, you should pay attention to it, because it may be that you’re supposed to attach yourself to it. You yourself may be given the corporate vision, such as starting a business or organizing a community project. Yet none of us is meant to complete our visions on our own.
The joy of God’s plan for personal and corporate vision is that nothing we are born to do is to be done by ourselves or for ourselves. If you and I are part of the same corporate vision, then I need your vision, and you need mine. I’m not involved in the work that I’m doing to build a name for myself. My life’s work is to complete the assignment God gave me. Every member of my staff and organization has a part to play in our vision. My part is to stir up their individual dreams, and their part is to stir up mine. When we stir up each other’s visions, the divine deposit of destiny starts flowing. Vision generates vision. Dreams always stir up other dreams.
You need people around you who believe in dreams that are even bigger than your own so you can keep stirring up your vision. There are too many other people who will tell you to settle down and do nothing. Yet no matter where you came from, where you’re going is better.
Prayer: Father, help me to stir up the dreams and visions of those around me. I want to be open to their plans and to receive their encouragement as well. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: None of us is meant to complete our visions on our own.
DAY 18 Action Steps in Fulfilling Vision
Reading: Psalm 100–102; 1 Corinthians 1
The first step to fulfilling your reason for existence is realizing that you have been given a vision. Yet how exactly do you receive, recognize, and activate your vision? When you understand God is the source of your vision and that He has placed it in your heart, you learn the secrets to its working in your life. This knowledge helps you take your dream from initial idea all the way to fulfillment.
There are simple action steps you can take as you contemplate the vision God has given you. Take half an hour and allow yourself to dream about what you would like to do in life. What ideas and desires do you have? What have you always wanted to do? Think about your primary gifts or talents. How do your dreams and your gifts go together? Write down your ideas, desires, and gifts and read them over every evening for a week. Then ask yourself, “Do these ideas hold true? Are they what I really want to do?” If the answer is yes, keep them where you can refer to them as you read this book; watch them form into a specific vision and concrete goals that will move you along toward the completion of your purpose.
Let’s pray together: Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are the Source of our lives.
You have decided, in Your divine purpose, to place a vision within each of our hearts. We know that this vision is
to be used for Your glory and to accomplish Your purposes on this earth. We are so thankful that
we are Your workmanship, that we have been created to walk in the good works—or vision—that You have given us to fulfill.
In Your love and wisdom, please guide us to complete all that You have called us to do. In Jesus’ precious name we pray, amen.
Thought: God is the source of your vision.
Reading: Psalm 100–102; 1 Corinthians 1
DAY 19 Principles of the Nature of Vision
Reading: Psalm 103–104; 1 Corinthians 2
Principles of the Nature of Vision Today, reflect on these principles of the nature of vision: 1.Your purpose is already completed in God.
2.God completed you before He created you.
3.The fact that you were started is proof that you are completed.
4.You were designed to perfectly accomplish your purpose.
5.When you know and understand what you were born to accomplish, that is purpose. When you can see it in your mind by faith, that is vision.
6.Vision is foresight with insight based on hindsight.
7.Vision isn’t about us. It’s about God and His purposes.
8.You already know your vision. It is as close as your most persistent thoughts and deepest desires.
9.To have vision is to have more than a mere interest in something; it is to have a real desire and passion for it.
10.Vision persists, no matter what the odds.
11.Vision is unselfish.
12.Vision is the only thing that brings true fulfillment.
13.Vision requires a vital connection with God.
14.Personal vision will always be found within a larger corporate vision.
15.Those who are in the same corporate vision must work together harmoniously to achieve it.
16.The leader of corporate vision “draws out” the personal visions of those in the group by helping them to activate their passions, dreams, gifts, and talents.
17.Vision generates vision.
DAY 20 Vision Is Specific
Reading: Psalm 105–106; 1 Corinthians 3
Vision Is Specific A vital aspect about true vision is that it is specific. One of the greatest causes of failure among people who are pursuing their visions is that they don’t identify their objective of success.
Suppose I came to you and said, “Let’s meet.” You say, “Okay; where?” I reply, “Oh, anywhere.” You ask, “Well, when do you want to meet?” and I say, “Anytime.” What do you think are the chances that we will actually meet? Practically zero. Vision must be specific rather than general or vague.
I have asked many people, “What are you going to do with your life? What is your vision?” and I usually receive responses such as these: “I’m going to build a big house, own several cars, and have a good family.” “I want to get married.” “I want to open a restaurant someday.” These are not visions, but mere goals. When I ask pastors the same question, they generally give me one of the following answers: “My vision is to win my city to Christ.” “My vision is to ‘preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15 KJV).” “Our vision as a church is to know Him and to make Him known.” “Our vision is to equip people for the work of the ministry.”
None of the above answers are visions. They are missions. Why? They are too general for visions. A mission is a general statement of purpose that declares the overall idea of what you want to accomplish. In contrast, a vision is a very precise statement that has a specific emphasis and definable boundaries. God has given you a specific vision to fulfill.
Prayer: Father, please help me to identify my specific vision, clarifying any general or vague ideas I have be trying to follow, so I can truly fulfill Your plan for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: A vital aspect about true vision is that it is specific.
DAY 21 Vision versus Mission
Reading: Psalm 107–109; 1 Corinthians 4
God is not vague about your life. Therefore, it is essential that you learn the difference between vision and mission. You were designed to be unique and to fulfill a particular purpose. If you are to carry out this specific purpose, your vision has to be specific. Otherwise, you will be just like everyone else around you. Remember, your vision—like your fingerprints—is meant to distinguish you from every other person in the world.
Let me use the Christian church as an example. The assignment that Jesus gave His followers two thousand years ago—“Go into all the world and preach the good news” (Mark 16:15)—is called the Great Commission. It is the “co-mission,” the joint or corporate mission of the worldwide church. Therefore, if a local church thinks its particular vision is to preach the gospel, then it has a mistaken idea of vision. It knows its mission, but it hasn’t yet found its true vision, that one thing that distinguishes it from all other churches.
One church is not assigned where another church is assigned. That is why an individual church shouldn’t compare itself with other churches in its city or nation or use another church as a measure of its own success. Each church is to fulfill its part of the Great Commission through the specific emphasis or approach that God has given it. The same general principle holds true for you and your personal vision. What is the specific emphasis or approach in life that God has given you?
Prayer: Father, my mission as a believer is to see others won to the Lord Jesus Christ. Please open my heart to see the specific vision You have given me to fulfill this mission.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: You were designed to be unique and to fulfill a particular purpose.
DAY 22 No Need for Competition
Reading: Psalm 110–112; 1 Corinthians 5
When we truly understand the difference between mission and vision, we are protected from jealousy. One day, while I was talking with a friend who owns the McDonald’s franchise in the Bahamas, the owner of the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise stopped by. I was curious and asked the Kentucky Fried Chicken man what he was doing there. He responded, “We’re going to have lunch.” I decided to go with them because I wanted to see where they would end up eating. They went to Pizza Hut!
During lunch, I asked, “Excuse me, gentlemen. Aren’t you competitors?” They responded, “No.” My friend added, “He doesn’t sell what I sell. I don’t sell what he sells. How can we be in competition?” Then I asked, “Why did you come here?” He replied, “We didn’t feel like eating burgers or chicken. We felt like eating pizza!” There is a place for all three establishments in our city because each has its own specific vision.
I travel around the world and speak at large churches alongside well-known pastors. Sometimes I notice certain approaches or methods their churches are using. I’m tempted to imitate them, thinking, “I should try that. Maybe I can get more people to come if I do what they do.” Yet the Lord says to me, “Don’t you dare.” If I try to imitate others, I won’t be fulfilling the specific vision He has given me, and I will no longer have His full blessing. Each of us must measure the success of our visions by God’s assignments to us. We need to ask ourselves, “Am I doing what God told me to do?”
Prayer: Father, love, and not competition, should abound among Your people. As I seek to fulfill my vision, let me work in harmony with others, respecting their unique contributions. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: When you’ve discovered your own vision, you do not need to be jealous of anyone.
DAY 23 The Trap of Wishful Thinking
Reading: Psalm 113–115; 1 Corinthians 6
The Trap of Wishful Thinking One reason people aren’t specific about their visions is that they confuse them with mission. Another reason is that they get caught in the trap of wishful thinking. Their dreaming doesn’t go beyond vague ideas of what they would like to do “someday.” Yet dreaming is only the beginning of vision. Instead of wishing that things would get better, we must make concrete resolutions. We have to say, “Things must get better, and here, specifically, is what I’m going to do about it.” For example, instead of saying, “I wish I could go to college,” sit down today and send for applications to specific colleges. When they arrive, start filling them out. Instead of saying, “I wish I could lose weight,” see your doctor and go on a specific weight-loss plan. Make a decision, and then take the first step.People’s success or failure in life is not dependent on the color of their skin. The real problem is the color of some people’s lives; their lives are “gray.” Such people don’t have a precise way of living. They’re just here. They drift along, allowing life to happen to them. God doesn’t want anyone to live in a gray zone. When someone is living in the gray, it means that person isn’t saying “yes” or “no,” but “maybe.” He has no real intention of doing anything with his life. God has invested so much in us. He doesn’t want to see us wasting our lives in wishful thinking. He wants us to place our feet on the solid ground of God-given vision.
Prayer: Father, I don’t wish to live in a gray zone. Help me to make concrete decisions that will help me to fulfill the vision You have placed within me.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: God doesn’t want anyone to live in a gray zone.
DAY 24 Are You Committed?
Reading: Psalm 116–118; 1 Corinthians 7:1–19
I am committed to fulfilling what God gave me birth to do. I resolved years ago that I would look only to God’s Word and the vision He put in my heart to know what I could accomplish. In this way, God’s purposes and principles have determined what I’m going to be and do rather than my own fears or others’ opinions. The Bible says, “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for [Jesus] to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51 NKJV). Jesus set His face “steadfastly” or “like flint” (Isaiah 50:7) in His determination to fulfill His purpose. Flint is one of the hardest rocks you can find. This analogy means that after Jesus had set His goal to go to the cross, it was too late to talk Him out of it.
Sometimes we know what we should be doing, but we’re hesitant to take that first step. We intend to do it, but we never do. We make excuses, such as “When my life gets less complicated,” “When I feel more confident,” or “After I pray about it more.” There is a story of two fishermen who were lost in a storm on a lake. The storm was blowing so fiercely that they couldn’t see a thing. One of the fishermen said to his colleague, “We have two choices. We can pray or row.” The other answered, “Let’s do both!” That’s the way you need to live. Instead of deliberating about what you need to do, just say, “Let’s row.” Set a destination even while you’re praying, and God will guide you where you need to go.
Prayer: Father, I am committed to Your purposes and Your Word. Please help me keep the vision You’ve given me always before me. In Jesus’ name, amen. Thought: Are you committed to your vision?
DAY 25 Seeking Balance
Reading: Psalm 119:1–88; 1 Corinthians 7:20–40
Some people don’t want to focus on a specific goal because they fear their lives might not be well-balanced. They say things such as these: “I don’t really want to go after anything in particular because then I will be closing off other options,” “I don’t want to become too narrow,” or “If I become too serious about something, I might miss what I really want to do in life.” The problem is that people will say things like these for forty-five years and never end up doing anything! What they call a pursuit of balance is really an excuse for not making a decision. They end up being average, mediocre people.
True balance is the maintenance of equilibrium while moving toward a destination. A good example of this truth is the way a ship functions on the ocean. A ship always needs to maintain its balance. Wouldn’t it be a waste of precious time and fuel, however, for a boat to expend all its energy just trying to balance on the water so that it didn’t tip over? Some people live for sixty-five years, seventy-five years, or ninety years just balancing. Yet balance is not an end in itself; it is a means to an end. A ship keeps its balance as it makes its way to a specific port. Likewise, we need to have a destination while we’re maintaining balance in our lives.
Prayer: Father, please help me to keep my conviction about my vision strong. I want to be balanced in my life, but I want to do so as I move forward boldly in Your purpose for me.
In Jesus’ name, amen. Thought: Balance is not an end in itself; it is a means to an end.
DAY 26 Trying to Do Everything
Reading: Psalm 119:89–176; 1 Corinthians 8
Is your busyness keeping you from your vision? Some people aren’t specific about their visions because they’re trying to do too much. Their problem is not that they’re hesitant about getting started, but that they’re running around attempting too many things. Even though they are constantly constructing something, they’re actually building nothing at all because they never complete anything. Why does this happen? Because most people make the mistake of believing that the main goal in life is to stay busy. This way of thinking is a trap. Staying busy does not necessarily mean that you are heading toward a specific destination.
I have learned this very important truth that has set me free from both indecision and ineffective busyness: I was not born or created to do everything. This statement might be a good thing to put at the top of your office or household calendar. When we aim at everything, we usually hit nothing. Yet many of us are breaking our necks trying to hit everything in sight. Let me assure you: you were not born to meet all the needs on earth.
All the needs that you see in your nation cannot be met by you. All the trouble that you see in your community cannot be solved by you. God created you for a purpose, and that purpose should be your focus. It will keep you centered on what is most important for you to be involved in.
Prayer: Father, it is a relief to know that
I am not required to meet all the needs on earth! Show me the needs that I can meet—the works that You have created me to walk in. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: You were not born to meet all the needs on earth.
DAY 27 A Jack-of-All-Trades
Reading: Psalm 120–122; 1 Corinthians 9
Has God blessed you with many gifts? Some people never pursue their true visions because they have the “problem” of being multi-talented, of being able to do many things. A misunderstanding of their gifts causes many talented and intelligent people to be ineffective and unsuccessful in life. These people say, “I have so many gifts that I don’t know which ones I’m supposed to use. I want to develop all of them.” As a result, they develop none of them to proficiency. I have many interests myself. I’m a teacher, a preacher, a speaker, and a writer. I can also paint, sculpt, and compose and play music. However, I have had to focus on specific gifts in order to be effective in life.
Let me ask you this: Have you ever seen anyone who became successful in life by doing everything? When a person tries to do everything, he ends up becoming a “jack-of-all-trades and master of none.” I’m sure you know some multi-gifted people who seem to have the best chances of success but who aren’t doing anything with their lives. You have to guard against the temptation to try to do everything. No matter how many gifts you have, don’t let them distract you. You must decide to concentrate on one or two gifts, and then stir them up. Don’t worry about losing the other gifts. As you stir one gift up, the other gifts will follow it. God will not waste what He has given you.
Prayer: Father, please help me to keep focused. There are things that I can do, but I want to do them only if they are part of Your plan for my life right now. Help me to decide which gift to begin concentrating on today.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: God will not waste what He has given you.
DAY 28 The Cost of Vision
Reading: Psalm 123–125; 1 Corinthians 10:1–18
You must recognize the cost of fulfilling your vision. I think many people believe that successful people are born successful. In reality, success comes in installments, similar to a payment plan. It’s a process. You receive a little bit of success today, a little more tomorrow, and more next week.
One of the costs of vision is diligence. All human beings dream, yet only the few who wake up, get out of their beds of comfort, and work hard will experience the fulfillment of their dreams. For example, if you think you have had a string of bad luck in life or that you are an unlucky person, you will probably not make the effort necessary to cause your vision to succeed. You may think, “Why bother?” This type of reasoning can undermine your entire life, destroying your desire to achieve your goals. You must realize that you are not defined by your past or confined by external factors.
Some people believe that others are responsible for causing their visions to fail. Maybe their parents couldn’t afford to send them to college, and now they are bitter and resentful because they didn’t pursue the careers they wanted to. Life will present us with challenges, but this fact doesn’t have to derail our visions. If you want something badly enough, you will be patient in acquiring it, even if the timetable isn’t what you would have wanted. You are not a victim. You are a child of the King, and He has given you a vision for your life that you can fulfill through Him.
Prayer: Father God, everything precious in life comes with a cost. One cost of fulfilling my vision is diligence. Help me to be strong and diligent in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thought: Life will present us with challenges, but they don’t have to derail our visions.
DAY 29 Your Purpose Is Greater Than Your
Reading: Psalm 126–128; 1 Corinthians 10:19–33
Past Some people think their past experiences or failures— educational, social, or spiritual—preclude them from having a vision for their lives. Please realize this: God is not against you. He is for you. Do you believe that in your heart? God still has a definite plan for your life in spite of your background or your mistakes. We often imagine that our pasts loom larger than our futures. Sometimes we think that what we have done is so bad that it is greater than Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross. Yet nothing is so bad that it can compete with the forgiveness of Jesus. If you have had a baby out of wedlock, if you have been on drugs, if you have been to prison, if you have betrayed someone, God still loves you and wants to redeem you. He wants to give you back your purpose.
The Bible says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). This is a very important statement about God. It says that God gives gifts, and that when He gives a gift, He doesn’t change His mind regarding it. Don’t ever believe that your failures are greater than what God gave you birth to do. God is a restorer, a reclaimer. Let me urge you not to allow circumstances to destroy your passion for living. The winds of adversity can be very strong, but your God-given vision will be your anchor in life.
Prayer: Father, I will not consider the things that are in my past to be obstacles to my future. I know that You still lead me and will enable me to fulfill my vision by the power of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen. Thought: Whatever God has invested in you,He wants to see you use.
DAY 30 Let Your Life Be Fueled by Vision
Reading: Psalm 129–131; 1 Corinthians 11:1–16
Life was designed to be inspired by purpose and fueled by vision. This means that you don’t have to live a defensive life that is made up of crisis management. Instead, you can pursue an offensive life that steadily follows its vision and initiates its own goals and actions. My desire is to help you clarify your vision, formulate a plan for accomplishing it, and bring it to a fulfilling and successful completion.
Ask yourself the following questions concerning vision: What do you think is your greatest obstacle to pursuing and completing your vision? What steps can you take to begin overcoming that obstacle? For example, have you distinguished between your life’s mission and its vision? Will you trust that your life is under God’s purposes and that you are not a victim of “bad luck”? Will you stop blaming others for the way your life has turned out and start thanking God that He will enable you to complete His vision for your life? Take some time to answer these questions in the next few days. Ask the Lord to help you search your heart for the answers.
Let’s pray together: Prayer: Heavenly Father, You can enable us to overcome any obstacles to knowing and fulfilling our visions. Please search our hearts. You have placed a vision within each of us. Help us to see our visions clearly. Give us the strength from Your Word and Your Holy Spirit to pursue those visions and to see them fulfilled. I desire to see Your purposes accomplished. In the precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.
Thought: You can pursue a life that steadily follows its vision and initiates its own goals and actions.
DAY 31 Principles for Understanding Vision
Reading: Psalm 132–134; 1 Corinthians 11:17–34
Today, reflect on these principles for understanding vision: 1.Two major obstacles to fulfilling vision are not understanding the nature of vision and not recognizing the cost of vision.
2.The essential nature of vision is that it is specific.
3.Mission is a general statement of purpose while vision is a very precise statement with a specific emphasis and definable boundaries.
4.The measure of the success of your vision is God’s assignment to you, not what others are doing.
5.Dreaming is only the beginning of vision. Instead of wishing things would get better, we must take concrete steps to change our lives.
6.Indecisiveness is a vision-killer and drains the joy out of life.
7.If you set a destination for your life while you continue to pray about your vision, God will guide you where you need to go.
8.You were not born or created to do everything. You were meant to meet certain needs, not every need.
9.When you have several gifts and talents, focus on one or two of them and stir them up. Don’t allow multiple gifts to distract you from taking specific steps toward fulfilling your vision.
10.You are not defined by your past or confined by external factors.
11.God has a definite plan and purpose for your life in spite of what your background is or what mistakes you have made.
12.When God gives a gift to someone, He doesn’t change His mind about it. Whatever God has invested in you, He wants to see you use.