The following is the email devotional I sent out to the ladies of our growth group.
Hello sweet sisters!
I so loved what Laura shared with us last week through her testimony and the things her father has taught her. If you would like copies of the handouts she gave us, check your email from me last week, or check the Facebook page under “Files.”
We all have our dreams and hopes for the future, don’t we? Sometimes they come to fruition… and sometimes they don’t work out exactly like we planned. And this can be a good thing, or a not as good thing, depending on how you look at it. But in all things we have confidence in these promises:
- For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Dreams, visions, and goals for our lives are a good thing. It helps us to remain focused on what we have been called to do. It helps us to remain a part of the Great Commission that Jesus has called us to. Having a vision for our lives gives us a specific goal to focus toward.
Take some time to think about these questions:
- What is your vision for your life?
- What do you dream of for your life?
- Where do you see for yourself in the next 5 years? 10 years? 25 years?
- Most importantly, what has God called you to?
- How can you begin to take small steps into that plan?
Are you unsure how to answer one or more o these questions? I encourage you to take some time with Jesus over the next week and ask Him how He would answer those questions for you. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5)
If you are struggling answering them, or if you just need to focus your vision a bit more, then ask the Lord if there is a phrase, a word, or Bible verse for your life. And it doesn’t necessarily need to be a Bible verse you keep for the rest of your life, because we often go through different seasons of life. So if that intimidates you, ask Him for a verse for the year. With the New Year coming, now is a perfect time to start asking Him for next year’s verse.
Last year (2011) the Lord gave me Ephesians 3:17b-19 which says, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
When you think about that year, my verse makes total sense. That is the year that the Lord awakened my mother’s heart for the orphan. Some very specific orphans, in fact. Through loving the orphan, God gave me a better understanding of His Father’s heart.
And we all know of Wendy’s verse of the year and how the Lord has led her and guided her through it. It has been amazing how the Lord has used that verse in her life this year.
As we were discussing setting goals that align with our vision, a verse that came up – Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.”
So maybe you need help deciding what fits or doesn’t fit into your life and vision. Laura shared with us that her life mission statement has four themes with which to make decisions of what to be involved with. For example if your mission includes to deepen relationships, serve the Lord, and learn a new hobby each year, then any new opportunity that comes along needs to fall into one of those categories or you should seriously consider not doing it. So a chance to join a growth group would fall into the first category.
Do you have dreams that didn’t work out like you wanted? Or because of life they just got pushed to the side or taken from you? The Lord has a purpose in that. Or maybe the Lord didn’t allow it because it wasn’t the best thing for you, because He had something better. Ask Him what He’s trying to teach you. Ask Him how He is going to restore those dreams, or maybe He wants to give you new dreams. You can only know that by spending time with Him.
- I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame.” (Joel 2:25-26)
- And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
- Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)
When our vision and purpose is restored or renewed we can rise to the challenge of what lays before us. When we are operating in our vision, in our purpose, fulfilling the Great Commission becomes quite easy, because it’s a natural out-pouring of working in our sweet spot.
Ask Jesus this week if you need a restored vision, more details for your vision, a vision verse or word, or categories to help you stay in your vision. Then step forward in confidence and boldness into your purpose that you were created for.