Song of Solomon 2:15 Catch the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyard. I ran from Sydney to Melbourne and raised $160k for my local church in 2008. It was a monumental challenge and was not helped by my little toe on my left foot turning black and getting pancaked for 1,172km. It didn’t matter how fit I was, the tiniest thing became my biggest issue. The same principle applies in life. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference and if you don’t pay attention to them, they will take you out. The challenge is many of us think we can take shortcuts with the little things and get away with it, however, you ignore them at your own peril. What are the little foxes in your world stealing the fruitfulness from your vineyard of life, work and health? Identify them and catch them before they spoil your vineyard.
Habakkuk 2:2 And the Lord answered me, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” Some people don’t think of themselves as goal oriented but every person I’ve ever met and chatted to about their life has some sort of goal or desire for their lives lurking somewhere in their minds and hearts. One of the things I do daily is to look at and pray into my goals for my life. I’ve researched books and asked successful people what the best approach to goal setting is and basically, it all boils down to, KEEP IT SIMPLE. Too many goals become overwhelming to your mind and your schedule. Narrow your goals to no more than 10 and try to write and articulate those goals into the most concise and precise way possible. There should be no extra fluff in your wording. Make your goals concrete, defined and measurable. Then everyday I encourage you to read over your goals, declare them out loud and pray into them. If they are important to you, you should be thinking about them and asking God for help to fulfill them. As you repeat this process daily, your mind will be filled with strategies to help you accomplish your goals and you will find unusual favor come your way to help you fulfill those goals that are truly ordered by the Lord. Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals, as you feel led to. You’re not a slave to your goals, they are meant to serve you and help you get to where God has called you to go. So, what are your goals?
Too many of us “pray the problem” when we should be “prophesying the solution”. Jesus didn’t say ‘pray the problem’, he said, ‘pray your desire’ and believe that you have received it. Your prayer life may need a renovation. You may be guilty of praying too much, ‘Houston, we have a problem’, rather than, ‘Heaven has a solution’. It’s too easy to become pre-occupied with our problems than to pay attention to our words. If you become more word-conscious and less problem conscious, your problems will lose their power in your life. Magnify your words and you will minimise your problems. Words are powerful, they have creative power in them. The power of life and death is in the tongue. Jesus said, ‘If you speak to the mountain to be removed, it will be’. Too often we complain about the mountain, we spend inordinate time defining the mountain, we take pictures of the mountain to show our friends but Jesus said, ‘Speak to the mountain’. Nothing moves until you speak to it. Your future is in your mouth!
What does this practically look like? It includes having our spiritual and or natural eyes opened to the unseen realm of dreams, visions, angels, demons or whatever else is relevant to the edification of others and ministry to the body.
You should ask the Lord to open your ears to hear his voice, both the audible voice and the whispering voice of the Holy Spirit. Ask God to enable you to feel his presence. You may feel a variety of things, including, external feelings of pressure, cold, burning, weightiness, wind or literal breeze around us. Internally, emotions may go from sobbing to deep inner awareness of peace and solitude.
The easiest and most basic way to stay spiritually alert is to regularly ask the question, ‘Lord, what are you saying or doing? Show me.’ Faint impressions are the most common manifestations we experience. However, if you don’t ask what God is saying or doing, then we will miss out on any opportunities that help us grow in our ability to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
The prophetic is the only one of the 5 offices that has a long and scripturally detailed history reaching back into the early origins of the Old Testament and God’s people, Israel. Understanding the historic origins of the prophet helps us understand how we are to operate in this ministry today.
There is a vast difference between one who stands in the office and one who prophesies in the moment. When God gives someone a word for the moment, the person is not responsible post the delivery of the word to stand in the office but a true prophet is called to wear a mantle that cannot be removed.
The word prophet comes from the Hebrew word nabi meaning ‘speaker’, one whose mouth has been touched to speak for God. Some think that a prophet is one who only foretells the future or speaks of things only God could know.The truth is, when prophets are called to speak, it is about anything God wants to address, the past, present or future, revealing things hidden or merely speaking of what is mundane and well-known.
The word ‘prophet’ was first mentioned in Genesis 20:6-7, describing Abraham as a prophet, in the context of healing. After Abraham we see the prophetic office established in Moses ministry, as the purpose of prophets was revealed: to listen to God for the people.
Today, it is still the same. God wants to have fellowship with his children and he wants us to listen to him. But some will not and others seemingly find it very difficult to hear God and this is where prophets are needed, because in God’s wisdom he speaks to his prophets on issues that he does not reveal and discuss with every one of his people. Until that time in the future when the perfect one comes and all will know him, from the least to the greatest, prophets and their office are necessary.
Don’t despise the Lord’s servants, the Prophets and their prophetic utterances but hear what the Spirit of God is saying to the churches.
One of the best investments I have personally made this year is a goal setting book from Kikki K (stationary store in Melbourne). I have been setting goals for many years but never have I been so intentional about it as I have been this year. I read a quote recently saying, “The results of this coming year will be determined by the intentionality with which you live your life.” To help you become intentional, I encourage you to set goals with the following suggestions in mind.
Create 5 Categories – I set goals under the following 5 categories:
- Personal development (Includes spiritual goals)
- Family and Relationships
- Career and Finance
- Health and Fitness
- Life Dreams
Define Goals – Under each of these categories define some goals. Don’t have too many more than 10 goals in each. Your goals should be:
Set a DATE you want to achieve them by – Include a little completed box next to it, to tick when you have accomplished the goal.
Answer 2 questions of yourself:
- Why do i want to achieve this goal?
- What are the obstacles holding me back?
Define the steps to get there – Include in this the date to be achieved, the details involved in the step and the reward you will give yourself once you have taken that step.
After completing this exercise for the different areas of my life, I feel more confident and focused than ever before and I have a real strategy for getting closer to my goals. Put these principles into action and I hope you will be able to say the same.
Henry Taylor once said, “We are what and where we are, because we have first imagined it. Imagination lit every lamp, built every church, made every discovery, performed every act of progress and created better things for people. Imagination is the priceless ingredient for a better day.”
Everyone of us ends up somewhere but few of us end up somewhere on purpose.Unfortunately, too many of us aim far too low, end up hitting the target and wonder why life feels empty. Living life and conducting ministry with Godly vision is critical to our survival (Prov 29:18) and without vision for our future, we will keep repeating our past.
There were 4 characters in the bible (Abraham Gen 11; Joseph Gen 37; Moses Exodus 3; Peter Acts 10) who received Godly vision for their lives. What I’ve learnt about vision from their stories is:
- Godly vision flows out of a God-encounter – It’s not a childhood dream or fantasy…
- Godly vision establishes a new reality in our future – Vision acted upon will change your life…
- Godly vision is a revelation of what God wants to do on the earth – Keep God’s big picture in mind, not just you…