Shaping the Future!

It’s interesting to consider the factors that shape our future. It’s easy to let the currents of life move us through the ebb and flow of each day, without us really stopping to take note and consider where we are really heading. I think there are several factors that shape our future in an intentional way.

Gods Sovereignty – The heart of man plans his way but the Lord orders his steps. God is sovereign over the affairs of the universe and although you may seriously question the reality of Gods Sovereignty, due to the overwhelming amount of pain and suffering in the world, I find myself believing even more readily in the involvement of Gods Sovereignty in the trajectory of where the world is heading. A cursory glance of Scripture will give you a big picture perspective of Gods Sovereignty involved in the affairs of mankind both in past history and in future events.

Prayer – I think we underestimate the place of prayer in shaping the future. I see Gods partnership with humanity in prayer and His willingness to at times limit himself to our intercession or lack of. Prayer brings us into the mind and heart of Gods intentions for us and is the key communication tool in our relationship with God.

Obedience – 1 Samuel 15 gives us a classic insight into the importance of obedience from Gods perspective. I don’t think it’s what you do that ultimately matters but what you do out of what God has revealed to you to do. My own future has been shaped more so by hearing and obeying God than anything I’ve attempted in my own flesh.

Relationships – Life is a matrix of relationships and the people we are connected to shape so much of our personal future’s. Who you relate to and connect with speak volumes about you as a person and what’s important to you. Ultimately, our relationship with God or lack of is the critical piece of the relational puzzle that must be firmly fixed in the centre of our lives, for anything of significance to be positively shaped in our lives.

Prophecy – Prophecy is Gods revelation of the intention of his heart and mind for people, churches and nations. Each prophetic word from God is pregnant with possibility and must be kissed by a heart of faith for Gods intention to manifest in our reality. Prophecy can warn us of impending events sent to derail us. Prophecy can lift our vision and set our hearts soaring with faith in the midst of a valley experience. Prophecy needs to be tested, understood, interpreted and applied with wisdom for it to be useful in our lives, otherwise, we get defiled by it or lose the potential of it in our lives.

These are some of the key factors that shape our future more than most things. Can you add to the list? What would you say has been key for you in the shaping of your future? Dialogue welcomed.


Do what God asks you to do!

Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”

I could talk about this subject all day, not just because there is so much teaching in the Scriptures on it but because I am a walking illustration of both the blessings of obedience and the consequences of disobedience. You need to understand something really critical to your walk with God. Obedience does bring a blessing and disobedience does bring a curse upon your life.

The Holy Spirit spoke into my Spirit one day, “I will not bless you at the expense of disobedience.” In other words God’s blessing isn’t cheap. God also said to me one day, “If I ask you to do something, it isn’t law, it’s my will for you that I want you to obey me in”.  

Don’t call Jesus your Lord, if you aren’t going to do what he tells you to do. I think we are kidding ourselves if we think we can follow Jesus but not do some of the things he asks us to do. The chief indicator of Christ’s Lordship in our lives is our obedience to his commandments. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments”. Even the Great Commission outlines the process of making disciples includes, ‘teaching them to obey everything I’ve commanded you’.

For several years God has asked me to get up at 5am every day and spend quality time with him. While I’m a morning person, I have never taken this seriously enough to warrant a change in my lifestyle to action what the Spirit of God is asking me to do. I saw this as ‘Law’ rather than obedience and so procrastinated on it and dismissed it . However, God has repeatedly asked me to obey him in this area and went so far as to inform me that my disobedience was bringing a curse upon me and my ministry. I can tell you that when I began to hear the word of the Lord, a healthy fear of God came upon me. I asked God, “Why are you so intense about me getting up at 5am?” He said to me, “I want you to know that apart from me, you can do nothing. I want you to know that the blessing and success I give to you hasn’t got anything to do with you but comes from me and my grace in your life. If you are going to bear much fruit, you are going to do it my way, not your way.” Needless to say, I’m now a regular riser at 5am because I know the issue isn’t about 5am, it’s about my obedience in the context of my relationship with Jesus.

Too many of us are concerned about the outcome of our lives (results, fruit, success) rather than our obedience to Jesus. God said to me, “Obey me and the results will take care of themselves.”

What has God asked you to do that you have been procrastinating on? Stop bringing a curse against yourself and just do it. The blessing of God follows obedience. This isn’t a teaching of ‘law’ but a fundamental part of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Either Jesus is Lord of your life or he isn’t.


Power of God’s Word

Luke 5:4-6 “And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’ And Simon answered, ‘Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.’ And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.”

God always speaks on purpose – God doesn’t do random, he only ever does intentional. When Jesus spoke to Simon, he wasn’t suggesting something to do because he thought things were getting boring, teaching the crowd. Jesus asked Simon to do something because he not only wanted to bless him but give him a deeper understanding of Simon’s call. Scripture repeatedly shows us that God never wastes a word, he always speaks with purpose and intention.

Don’t let your past experience dictate your response to God’s Word – Simon was very quick to inform Jesus that he had toiled all night and not caught anything. After all, Simon was the expert, professional fisherman and Jesus was… well… Jesus. Too often, we hear God’s Word and let our personal experience dictate our response to it. Do we really think that God isn’t aware of what our past experience has been? When you let your past experience dictate your response to God, you get caught up in becoming a professional explainer of why that won’t work and this won’t work because supposedly you know better than God. When it comes to God’s word, we need to get over our training, logic and experience and:

Just Obey God’s Word – Simon ultimately responded to Jesus with, “But at your word I will let down the nets”. Just obey what God is asking you to do. What a novel idea. Develop the habit of reading or hearing what God’s saying and just do it. A revolution will start in your life when you act upon what God’s asking you to do.

Obedience is the key to fruitfulness – Simon obeyed and the haul of fish was so great, the nets were breaking under the weight of the catch. Simon had toiled all night and caught nothing but obeying one word from God changed everything. I remember asking God long ago what the secret to great fruitfulness in ministry was and he simply responded with “Obedience.” The prophet Samuel said to Saul, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifice as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams” (1 Sam 15:22).

Watching God’s Word in action will humble you – When Simon saw the results of his obedience, he and the other fisherman were astonished and very, very humbled. They realised that compared to Jesus, their expertise, pride and best efforts were as filthy rags. When God shows up in miraculous ways, it casts light on our doubt and unbelief and humbles our expert opinions. God always knows best.

Our obedience to God’s Word opens the door to our true calling – If Simon hadn’t have obeyed Jesus’ word, he wouldn’t have received a revelation of the call of God on his life to be ‘Catching men’ from that point on. Our obedience today positions us for our calling tomorrow. God sees our faithfulness in private and rewards us accordingly. What are you procrastinating on that God has asked you to do? Don’t delay any longer, obey God’s Word and watch the blessing of God follow your life.


Don’t rebel against your Call!

Jonah 1:2-4 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up.

God will not be ignored! Jonah’s example reminds us that God can create very uncomfortable and unforgettable circumstances around us if we ignore his call. One of the key things that brought me to a place of submission to God’s call on my life was a healthy fear of avoiding uncomfortable circumstances if I tried to run away from his call.

Never misjudge God’s capacity to get your attention. Jonah had to endure three miserable days and nights in the belly of a fish before he came to his senses and accepted his assignment. Never think that God will ignore tiny acts of defiance and disobedience. Don’t forget your call is bigger than you. Your act of rebellion today could impact thousands of other people’s lives tomorrow. When one person is out of the will of God, everyone around that person has to pay the price for it. Take for example Achan who ignored the command of God and stole some of the treasures of Jericho for himself. As a result Israel lost their next battle at Ai and incurred the judgement of God.

Don’t ignore God’s call on your life and don’t invite people on the journey that God hasn’t invited. When you get the wrong people out of your life, the wrong things stop happening. Mike Murdock once said, “The waves of yesterdays disobedience will splash on the shores of today.” Walking in contradiction to God’s call will bring about painful experiences.

If you are experiencing pain due to disobedience, remember, pain is corrective. Pain forces you to look to God’s Word for answers. Pain forces you to lean on God’s arm instead of man’s. Pain forces you to learn where you went astray. Pain forces you to long for his presence and healing. Pain forces you to listen for changes in God’s instructions to you. Don’t rebel against your call and you can avoid ‘some’ unnecessary pain altogether.