Tag Archives: plans

Greater Dreams

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

I recently heard a preacher say, “Our dreams must be greater than our memories.” Immediately that struck a chord with me. As I continued to think on that phrase and ponder it’s implications, I began to think of examples in the Bible where that was true. I thought of several examples, but the one that stood out to me the most came from the book of Exodus. The Israelites had moved to Israel about 400 years earlier to escape the famine, but they never returned to the land God promised Abraham. Now they had become slaves in a land that was not theirs.

In Exodus 6, God spoke to Moses to tell the people that He would deliver them from slavery and would take them to the land He promised Abraham. When Moses told them what God said, they didn’t even listen. Verse 9 says, “They didn’t even hear him – they were that beaten down in spirit (MSG).” The dream of being free had been forgotten, but God wasn’t done. He wanted to revive that dream. He kept at them until they began to dream again. It culminated with them walking out of Egypt and heading for their Promised Land.

It didn’t take long after they were freed for their memories to become greater than their dreams. In Exodus 16, they began to cry out, “Why didn’t God let us die in Egypt where we had lamb stew and all the bread we could eat?” They forgot that dreams require sacrifice. It’s hard work to make a dream become reality. Instead of putting in that hard work to realize the dream, they did something much easier, they remembered how easy it was before. Given the choice of working hard to achieve their dream or to go back into slavery, they wanted the later.

It’s easy to sit in judgement thousands of years later, but are we really that different? We have each been given unrealized dreams that we are no where near accomplishing. Why? Because it’s easier to sit and talk about the vision for our life than it is to accomplish it. It’s not hard to dream. It’s hard to make it a reality. As soon as it gets difficult, we start remembering how “good” we had it before. The dream, even though given by God, gets overpowered by our selective memories of the past. We turn back to go the Land of Ease instead of to the Promised Land.

The dream God has given you will not come without sacrifice. It will not bloom unless it is tended to. It requires you to get up from where you are, to take that step of faith you’ve been afraid of and to move in the direction God tells you to go. It won’t be easy, but nothing good ever is. There will be roadblocks along the way, but don’t let them stop you. Keep the dream God has given you at the forefront of your mind. Don’t entertain old memories. Keep pushing them back until you’ve arrived at your destination. When you get there you’ll be glad you believed in your dreams rather than your memories.

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

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The Road To Success


I think most of us have a desire to succeed in life. We want to chase our dreams and be better off than when we started. Even though we have that desire, so many of us struggle to succeed in life, at home, at work or in our faith. I’ve learned that so many of us fall short of success because we haven’t defined it. We may have an image of it in our mind, but what does it mean to you to be a successful parent, Christian, spouse, etc.? To succeed in these areas, it takes more than desire, it takes help.

Too many of us are afraid or prideful to ask for help. I can assure you that no one who you think is successful got there on their own. They had someone who sharpened them, someone who challenged them and held them accountable. Success comes from doing things daily that get you toward that goal, from people who challenge you to keep going in the tough times and ultimately from following God’s principles. If you’re not on the road to success, what piece of the puzzle are you missing?

Here are some Bible verses on success.

1. Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT

2. Ask the Lord to bless your plans, and you will be successful in carrying them out.
Proverbs 16:3 GNT

3. Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed.
Proverbs 15:22 MSG

4. Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.
Ecclesiastes 10:10 NLT

5. Get good advice and you will succeed; don’t go charging into battle without a plan.
Proverbs 20:18 GNT

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Blueprints (Video)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

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Dreams And Visions

  
I believe God puts dreams, visions, and plans inside each of us. It’s an amazing feeling when they become a reality. There is a sense of accomplishment and gratitude that comes along with it. What I’ve found is that the more we expect our dreams, visions, and plans to happen, the more likely they will. Our expectations and beliefs drive our actions until we see success.

Sometimes, those dreams, visions, and plans don’t happen. In those times, it’s easy to get discouraged and to lower our expectations and believe that they can’t happen. Below are some verses that have helped me in those times. They have reminded me that my dreams come from God, and it is He who will accomplish them. They also remind me that I can’t do it on my own. I have to get other people involved. The dreams, visions, and plans God gives are rarely just for us. He expects us to share them and use them for His glory.

1. At night when people are asleep, God speaks in dreams and visions.

Job 33:15 GNB

2. And afterward I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.

Joel 2:28 AMP

3. Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams].

Ephesians 3:20 AMP

4. For a dream comes with much business and painful effort, and a fool’s voice with many words.

Ecclesiastes 5:3 AMP

5. It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them.

Proverbs 13:19 NLT

6. And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by. For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 AMP

7. Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Proverbs 29:18 KJV

8. The plans of the godly are just; the advice of the wicked is treacherous.

Proverbs 12:5 NLT

9. Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed.

Proverbs 15:22 MSG

10. May he give you what you desire and make all your plans succeed.

Psalms 20:4 GNB

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Are you a Backseat Driver?

My wife and I took a road trip this weekend. The two of us were in the front seat and our toddler was in the back seat. All throughout the trip she would talk to him, play with him and occupy him while I drove. There were a couple of times when she was playing with him when a car in front of me had braked. I too applied my break. When I did, she would look up or turn around to see a car in front of me with their brake lights on and she would let out a yelp and brace herself with the dashboard. We laughed because it was unusual for her to do that.

After doing this a couple of times, I told her, “I got this. Trust me. I knew he was going to brake and I was prepared.” I explained that I had taken defensive driving classes plenty of times (don’t ask why) and that they taught me to look 10-20 seconds ahead to where I was going. As a passenger though, she wasn’t occupied with what was ahead. She kept getting startled and scared by what kept popping up in our path because she wasn’t looking ahead. She was looking behind mostly or right in front of us.

I think a lot of us live life that way. We are either constantly looking back while our lives are moving forward or we are so concentrated on what is right ahead of us that we fail to look ahead. We get caught up when something pops up that we didn’t expect and let out a yelp. We see brake lights in our path and grab our dashboard in fear. We get preoccupied with everything around us without looking ahead to where we are going.

When we do that, I can hear God say, “I got this. Trust me. I knew this was going to happen.” Instead of trusting Him though, we become a backseat driver to Him. We tell Him He should have braked earlier. He should have warned us. We question why He’s taking this road instead of that one. We tell Him to slow down or to speed up. Our lack of trust in who He is and in the plan for our lives begins to show up when we do this.

It kind of reminds me of the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. The son who had left was returning home after he squandered all that was given to him. While he was walking, he was so concentrated on what he would say. He worried if he would be received and was practicing over and over what he would tell his dad when he got home. He was doing this so much, that he wasn’t even looking ahead. He didn’t know where he was, but his dad did. He was still a long way off when his father saw him and ran to him.

God is always looking far off ahead of us. He knows our path and His plan for our lives. While we are looking down or behind, He is looking ahead and preparing. When things happen suddenly, it may cause you to grab the dashboard and scream because you are unprepared for it, but He is not. Trust Him to do the driving His way. Just because where He is taking you doesn’t make sense at the moment, it doesn’t mean He has fallen asleep at the wheel. Trust Him with your life and try not to be a backseat driver.

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