The Best Year of Your Life Pt.3 – A Focused Future
Most people share a common curiosity about the future. People want to know:
•What’s going to happen in my life tomorrow, next week, & next year?
•Who am I going to marry?
•What is going to happen in my career?
•Am I going to be Successful?
•Is my marriage going to last?
People often view themselves as victims of fate. Waiting for a “good break” or “to get lucky” in the events of life. (cross your fingers philosophy)
It is God’s plan and His will that you have a great future!
“How you see your future is much more important than what has happened in the past.”– Zig Ziglar
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “ (good) plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a (good) future.
I. Get a Vision for your 2017
Life is a journey and every journey has a destination. Everybody ends up somewhere in life. A few people end up somewhere on purpose.
“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you see and believe.”
Think about this. How many times have you seen people in your family….people at church…whose attention is constantly pulled into the past?
•Maybe they are living with regrets of what they did or did not do…I could have said this….Why did I do that?….What was he thinking? What was I thinking?
• Maybe they are constantly re-living a season in their life that is over…it could be a past relationship that ended or it could be an offense that they still carry with them towards someone. It could just be that they have imagined the past as being the best days of their life….so they keep re-living it.
*Whether the past is good or bad…there’s no future in it!!
Take your eyes off your past, because your past is not your potential! Choose to liberate your future!
Isaiah 43:18 NIV – “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
“Don’t freeze frame a certain time in your life and condemn your future based on that moment. God is not done with you”
You do not move ahead by constantly looking in a rear view mirror. The past is a rudder to guide you, not an anchor to drag you. We must learn from the past but not live in the past.
What is vision?
A Vision is born in the soul of a man or woman who is consumed with the tension between what is and what could be. Anyone who is frustrated, or brokenhearted about the way things are, in light of the way they believe things could be, is a candidate for vision.
Helen Keller said, The only thing worse than being blind is the one who has sight but no vision.
(Ephesians 3:20 Message) “God can do anything—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!”
A vision is a compelling image of an achievable future – Vision brings your world into focus. Vision brings order to chaos. A clear vision enables you to see everything differently.
Webster’s definition – The ability to force or perceive something not actually visible, as though mental or spiritual acuteness.
Get a vision for your life that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning! Why? Because you will never go beyond where you see yourself going.
Proverbs 29:18 KJV – Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, your likely to end up someplace else.”
It is vision that moves us forward in God. Without it we have a tendency to get caught up in drifting aimlessly in God not really knowing what we are doing, where we are going nor even what we are all about.
The World is just waiting for you to….
Get a VISION of your life that is so big the hair on the back of your neck will stand up!
Get a VISION so awesome that your toes curl!
Get a VISION so big that 100 years from now, future generations birthed from you will look at your picture and say, “Thank you!”
Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.
Oh the Places You Will Go – Dr. Suess
How to Make the Vision Happen
- God Must Be First
Psalm 27:4 NIV – Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Give focus and energy to the things that really matter
Exodus 20:1-3 NIV – And God spoke all these words: 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.
We put God first by giving Him the First of Everything
The problem with the American Church – we make everything about “getting” from God. Church has become about entertaining people instead of worship and devotion to God.
Leviticus 27:30 NIV – A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.
Deuteronomy 14:23 LB – Bring this tithe to eat before the Lord your God at the place he shall choose as his sanctuary; this applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn of your flocks and herds. The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives.
The First always has the power to bless the rest
Proverbs 3:6-10 NIV – 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.[a]7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
How you you handle your finances reveals what is first in your life
First of Your Finances – The Tithe 10% of your Income
•God says money is the number one test of our priorities
Billy Graham said, “Give me 5 minutes with a person’s checkbook, and I will tell you where there heart is.”
Martin Luther said, “There are 3 conversions necessary for every man: the conversion of the heart, the mind, and the wallet.”
Malachi 3:10 NIV – Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.
•Tithing unleashes God’s Favor and Provision for your life
•Tithing is a witness that you have conquered greed and mastered the love of money.
•Tithing creates a memory in the mind of God that you are Honoring Him first in your life.
•Tithing breaks the back of lack and lifts the financial curse off your life.
•Tithing creates a financial flow in your life. God always prospers and promotes tithers and givers.
How you spend your time reveals what is first in your life
First of Your Week – Sunday Worship and Life Groups
Hebrews 10:25 NLT – And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
You can be committed to Church but not committed to Christ, but you cannot be committed to Christ and not committed to church. – Joel Osteen
First of Your Day – Prayer, Meditation, and Bible Reading
Put God first in your life and day and you will have more time! Don’t allow anything to rob you of your time with God.
God wants to remove the noise of your life and create a space in which He can speak to you
Psalm 5:3 NIV – “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”
When we spend time in silence, solitude, prayer, reflection, meditation it helps us remain focused on the things that are really important in this life.
“A life lived reflectively is a life lived effectively.” (Creates direction and inner peace)
C.S. Lewis once said, “The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back, in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.”
Mark 1:35 NIV – Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
First of Your Month – Fasting
“The discipline of fasting releases the anointing, the favor, and the blessing of God in the life of a Christian.” Jentezen Franklin
Matthew 6:16-18 NIV “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
“When the Holy Spirit calls your to fast, He is preparing you for what is ahead.”
Fasting confirms our utter dependence upon God by finding in Him a source of sustenance beyond food. Dallas Willard
Romans 12:2 MSG – Fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.