Tag Archives: destiny

When Your Destiny Purpose Changes

Christian destinyWe talked in a previous post about God being the One Who changes times and seasons (Daniel 2:21). I sense that we are currently in such a season change. A major shift is taking place. God is going to do a new thing, and I’m praying for His understanding about what that will look like.

How do season shifts affect us personally, especially our destiny? We can rest confidently in what God has spoken to us in the past about His purposes for us. Everything He has said will eventually take place, because He is completely truthful and faithful.

However, the journey to fulfillment is rarely an “as the arrow flies” trip. It will take many twists and turns, zigs and zags, before we get there. Often, it will look as though a part of what we thought God was speaking has died. It hasn’t. God is not forgetful. While we are waiting, if we keep faithfully serving the Lord, we will fulfill other parts of His blueprint for our life — things we didn’t even realize were part of the plan.

Typically, the major purposes God has for us take time to mature. Behind the scenes, God is weaving all the threads together, quietly working while we think nothing is happening. At the right time, what we thought had died will come to life again.

When there is a lull — even a shut door — in our destiny, it’s easy to think, “I prepared. I prayed. And now it’s gone.” This is the time to do two things: rest in God’s faithfulness and actively move in what God has put to our hand in the present moment. We can be fruitful in other areas besides what God specifically spoke to us about. Look for the opportunities He has dropped right on your doorstep. These are part of His plan for you, too.

I am a prophetic person; I live in the future I have foreseen. But I have learned that we must also live in our now. The prophet Jeremiah gave instruction for the current situation to the Israelites exiled in Babylon. It is a word we would do well to heed: “Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat the fruit of them” (Jeremiah 29:5). That is part of fulfilling God’s complete plan for us — be productive where we are while we are waiting. It doesn’t negate the promise showing up a few sentences later: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end(v. 11). Both are rock-solid realities.

In changing times and seasons in our lives, sometimes a door closes abruptly. That doesn’t mean it is forever. The Lord will reopen it at the right moment, perhaps as abruptly as it closed, perhaps gradually swinging it open before us.

While we are waiting for the parts of His plan that we know, He has multiple other purposes for us to fulfill. Some of them will pop up as sudden surprises. He doesn’t reveal everything all in one lump. We will bear much more fruit for Him if we don’t stubbornly plop ourselves down on the fragment of the plan we do know, refusing to budge from it. Keep an open mind to new ways to serve Him, ways you had no previous inkling of.

I have an additional theory about unfulfilled destiny:

There may be aspects of God’s plan for us — things He has clearly spoken — which will find their ultimate fulfillment during the Millennial Reign of Jesus upon the earth — or even after that. We’d like it all to happen in our present life, and much of it will. But what if part of the picture waits for completion in the age to come? In the Bible, we have very little specific information available to us about what that time will look like for the glorified sons of God.

I suspect God has purposes for us which we don’t yet know of, which will span our eternal existence with Him. His predetermined plans for us are not confined to the short time we spend in our mortal bodies. 1 John 3:2 offers a hint of this: “Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be. But we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

I hope I haven’t messed with you too badly by sharing these thoughts. They are just things I wonder about here and there. I do still expect to see fulfillment in this life of things the Lord spoke to me long ago, even though they seem dead right now. But no matter how it shakes down, we can completely trust the Lord to do for us what He has said.

Ultimately, our greatest destiny purpose is to be ardent, trusting lovers of God, who will follow Jesus wherever He leads. If we have that perspective, the rest will turn out just fine.

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To celebrate National Homeschool Day (February 23), we are running a $3.00 off sale on Character Building for Families, Vol. 1 & 2 (U.S. only).

Whether you homeschool or not, Character Building for Families will help you instill Christlike character qualities in your children. It’s an excellent family devotions tool.

 

SALE DATES: nOW THRU mONDAY, 2-25-19

REG. $16.00 ea. SALE PRICE: $13.00 ea.

MORE INFO

 

Jesus: Architect of Your Future

God's blueprint for your lifeThe Bible tells us in 103 places not to be afraid. And yet, many of us struggle with fear, especially about what the future holds. It’s something I personally battle, although I have been gaining ground against it through the years.

Because it’s still a struggle, the Lord often speaks to me about fear. Recently, He said to me, “Don’t worry about tomorrow. Jesus is in your future.” This was a joyful reminder to me!

Jesus is with us in the now. He is our Immanuel, God with us. But at the same time, He has also gone before us, preparing the way. And, He is already waiting for us there in our future. We just need to catch up to where He already is.

The primary reason we fall into fear is that we have not yet fully grasped God’s nature — how good and utterly faithful to us He is. But another major reason we fear is because we so easily forget that He has a definite plan for each of us with specific purposes He is committed to helping us fulfill. In 2 Timothy 1:9, He says that He “saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

Before the world began, He had already called us. Before the world began, He had already designed a life blueprint for each one of us. He is the master architect, Who has meticulously thought out and planned for all of our life events. Not only is He the architect, but He is also the project manager, overseeing the building of our lives from beginning to end. He will see us through to completion. He is both the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Philippians 1:6 expresses it this way: “Being confident of this very thing, that He Who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Recently, the Lord led me to meditate on Psalm 16:5, 6: “The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup: You maintain my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yes, I have a goodly heritage.”

The “lot” spoken of is the destiny He has planned for us — our lot in life. The “lines” are boundary lines defining that lot, as with a plot of land. So the Lord is telling us that He has given each of us a certain territory which is uniquely ours. He maintains it and carefully watches over it. He has not given us a desolate plot of land, either, but a “goodly heritage.” He has planned for it to be pleasant, a delight to us.

Now, sometimes we have to see our lot through the eyes of faith. It won’t always look pleasant from a human perspective. Circumstances — sometimes for extended periods of time — can be very hard. It’s difficult then to see through the murk to where it will ever get better. Temporary troubles tend to becloud the long-term picture.

When life looks bleak, if we determine to look at it through the Lord’s eyes, we will gain a higher perspective. Meditating on and declaring verses such as these in Psalm 16 are practical ways to attain to His viewpoint. We begin to see, believe, and speak with conviction, “He truly has given me a good life, a great destiny, with a great future.”

Verses 8 and 9 of Psalm 16 take us a little deeper into seeing the good plan our Architect has for us: “I have set the LORD always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also shall rest in hope.”

The inheritance our Architect has planned for us includes a glad heart, a soul which rests in hope, and a satisfying destiny. If we purposefully keep our focus on Jesus, knowing He is right beside us, we will not be shaken with fear. Truly, “the lines have fallen unto us in pleasant places, and we have a goodly heritage.”

Here’s a classic song from Steve Green to encourage you along the same lines:

 

inner peace

 

All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

nature of God

 

Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God, by Lee Ann Rubsam

Don’t Waste Your Time in the Prison (Continued)

JosephLast time, we said that being faithful in the small things is necessary if we are going to make the transition from the prison to the palace, as Joseph did (see Genesis 39:20 through 41:44). If we stay close to God’s heart and put Him first, He will give us a good inner sense of how to walk out faithfulness, no matter where we currently are.

Besides serving the jailer with excellence, what else did Joseph do to make his time in the prison worthwhile? Very likely, he kept in close personal communication with the Lord. I doubt if he could have served with integrity if he had not, and without that close relationship, being able to interpret dreams accurately for Pharaoh’s servants, and eventually Pharaoh himself,  would have been unlikely.

We have a hint of something else Joseph did while in prison, found in the story of the king’s butler and baker. Genesis 40:6, 7 tells us that Joseph, in serving these two men, noticed that they were sad. He asked them, Why do you look so sad today?”  That’s an odd question to be asking of prison inmates!  “They said to him, ‘We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.’ And Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t interpretations belong to God? Please tell me the dreams’'” (v. 8).

Joseph didn’t just perform his designated duties. In the process, he cared about the people he came in contact with. I doubt if most prison workers would be concerned about whether the inmates under their jurisdiction were happy or sad! Joseph offered to listen to the dreams of these two men and to help them with the interpretations. The Bible doesn’t tell us, but if Joseph took the time to converse with and care about the butler and the baker, he might have done the same for the other prisoners as well. He probably knew all their stories  — why they were there and whether they had been justly or unjustly imprisoned.  Because of his own circumstances, he would have had compassion for them.  Suffering will either harden and embitter us, or it will build the heart of God in us.

Now, let’s imagine a little bit. Again, the Bible is silent on what I’m proposing, but as I was talking with the Lord about Joseph’s prison experience, I believe He gave me this insight:

Do you think when Joseph became the prime minister that he forgot about all the prisoners he had come to know? Remember, Joseph had been an innocent victim himself, and he had asked the butler to put in a good word for him when he was restored to Pharaoh’s good graces — but the butler forgot him. After a disappointing experience like that, do you think Joseph just ignored the plight of those who had been imprisoned with him? I doubt it. By this time, Joseph was walking in a level of character maturity that would not have permitted him to be so selfish. It is highly likely that Joseph used his influence with Pharaoh to get some of those other prisoners out of jail, too.

How can we apply these ideas while we are waiting for our own destiny fulfillment?  First of all, it is critical that we not waste our prison time. We can serve, and serve well, right where we are, even if it’s not the ideal situation. We can love while we’re there — encourage, comfort, and listen to others — while we’re waiting. It’s not just about poor us. We’ve got people to care for, which is an eternal work of great value in God’s eyes. In addition, all the faithfulness and giving of ourselves that we do during this time is training for our next level of Kingdom responsibility.

Secondly, when we move from the prison into better times, it’s important to bring others with us. We need to do what we can to lift them into their better place, too. The details of how that works out will be different for each of us, but here are a few ideas:

  1. Use what you have learned in the hard spots to help others through. That’s part of why you went through those difficulties in the first place. “And if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer: or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation” (2 Corinthians 1:6).
  2. Use what influence, insights, and experience you have to help others find their place of serving Jesus.
  3. Don’t sever relationship with people who have come to love you, just because you’ve moved upward or outward — especially when people express a desire to stay connected with you. Whether you realize it or not, some of them may be looking to you as a father or mother in the faith. Don’t abandon your spiritual sons and daughters. Apostle Paul stayed in communication with the churches and individuals whom he had mentored. He prayed for them, too.

May you persevere until you make it from your prison experience into your God-appointed place of service, and may you bear plenty of Kingdom fruit in your process of getting there.

 

Part 1

 

Don’t Waste Your Time in the Prison

JosephIf you’ve ever read the story of Joseph, found in Genesis 37 and 39-45, you know how wonderful it is — almost like a fairytale dream come true. An innocent young man is betrayed by his evil brothers, who sell him into slavery.  He eventually ends up about as low as he could go, in a dungeon. And then, overnight, he is catapulted to be prime minister of a world super-power nation.

We so love those rags-to-riches stories, don’t we? How many preachers and teachers have expounded on Joseph’s happy ending, telling us all, “Hang on! Your destiny appointment is on the horizon. You are coming out of that prison, just like Joseph!” I’ve written a few devotionals on that theme myself. We need Joseph’s story to give us hope, to inspire us to press on.

But here’s what we don’t often talk about: how you live in the prison has a lot to do with whether you ever get out. If we don’t tell the whole story, we are not really helping each other.

In Luke 16:10, 12, Jesus commented, “He who is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much, and he who is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. … If you have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who will give you that which is your own?” Jesus was talking about money, but it’s an across-the-board principle: be faithful in the little things, because if you are not, God and man will see no point in entrusting you with bigger things. We learn to handle much responsibility by practicing with the little stuff.

This is where it is entirely possible to miss out on the promises God has given us. There are a whole lot of people who never come into what they were born for — not because God wasn’t faithful, but because they weren’t. So many people with big dreams (which were genuinely implanted in them by God) are looking for the “someday” when, overnight, they will be shot from God’s cannon into a magnificent destiny.  They’ve even had those dreams confirmed multiple times through prophetic words from other people.

But they are forgetting a key point in the story: Joseph served with excellence in the middle of his prison. Yes, Genesis 39:21-23 tells us that God was with Joseph and gave him favor there, but if Joseph hadn’t used that favor to do his job well, how long do you think the keeper of the prison would have left him in charge?

There are people who have huge destiny promises from God, but they can’t be counted on for the simplest things, like being on time — or showing up at all, for that matter. You can’t depend on them to unlock the church door if the regular opener is out of town! For those with basic faithfulness issues, the happy, getting-out-of-prison ending to the tale may never come. Or if it does, those who gave them the promotion may sincerely regret the decision.

So, what did Joseph do, while he was in prison? First of all, he followed directions. That’s a good starting place. But I think he probably went beyond that. He no doubt kept his eyes open for what needed to happen so things could run smoothly. He served the prison keeper with excellence.  It was the same thing he had done previously as Potiphar’s servant. Both Potiphar and the chief jailer came to the place where they knew Joseph wouldn’t drop the ball. He could be counted on. He had their best interests in mind.

Why? I don’t believe personal ambition was the whole story. Joseph was a God-pleaser more than a man-pleaser. That thread runs throughout his biography. And if we want to excel so that we can come out of our prison into our destiny, caring about what God wants more than what we want is a necessary component for our future success. Cherishing God’s heart first and foremost takes us a long way toward walking out the day-to-day faithfulness which is required in order to move onward in His plans for us.

Serving the keeper of the prison with excellence wasn’t all that Joseph did while in that place. I’ve got a few more ideas to share with you next time, which I hope will excite you as much as they did me.

Part 2

Staying in the Counsel

Sometimes the battles in life get pretty hard.  In fact, based on what I am currently going through and what I have been hearing from a number of you, battle pressures feel close to overwhelming for many of us at this time.

Why?  Part of it is just the nature of our fallen world and the troubles we humans experience because of it, while some of it is because every day we are getting closer to the time of Jesus’ return.  The Book of Revelation speaks of great trouble that will come upon the earth.  Revelation 12:12 foretells, “… for the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.”  If we are not in that day, we are fast approaching to it.

What can we do to help ourselves in the midst of trying circumstances?  How do we manage to not fall apart when our minds struggle with fear and other assaults of the enemy?  I’m going to share with you what God said to me in the midst of a stiff mind battle:

“Stay in the counsel of the Lord.”

That’s pretty simple, isn’t it?  No, it’s not.  Refusing to focus on the problem, anchoring our attention instead on what Jesus has said about it, is one of the greatest challenges we face in obtaining prayer answers or in pushing through into the destiny God has for us.

God is speaking to many of us, and the tenor of His words is, “You’re going to be all right.  I will get you through to the other side.  I’ll take you where you need to go.  I will not fail you.  I will meet the need.”  And we take comfort for a short time in what He is speaking — but then the circumstances start to loom larger than life once again, and before we know it, we’re on the edge of losing our peace, as though He had never spoken.

“Stay in the counsel of the Lord.”

A number of years ago, while going through a season of great discouragement, I had a dream.  In it, I saw myself run my head up against a wall.  I heard the sound of the collision, saw stars, and heard the words, “a stumbling block.”  I immediately awoke and had this conversation with the Lord:

“Lord, what was that?”
“It’s a warning.”
“What are You warning me about?”
“Your mind is a stumbling block.  You’ll run up against a wall if you listen to what your mind wants to tell you.  Stay in My Spirit.”
Then He continued, “Whose report will you believe?  Will you believe what you see with your eyes?  Or will you believe what you have heard in your spirit?”

I chose to believe what the Lord had clearly spoken to me and to press on through the difficulties to get there.  I’m still doing that.  It is what we all have to do if we are going to see our promises fulfilled and if we are going to finish our race successfully.

The devil may be raging, and our circumstances may look like an awful mess, but if we will hold on tightly to Jesus and the things He has spoken to us — especially the Scriptures, but also the personal promises He has shared with us — we’ll get through and we’ll be all right.  He is faithful.

The good news is that there isn’t always going to be a conflict.  The opposition of the enemy will one day be nullified, and all will be well. 

     But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.
     The Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
     — Daniel 7:18, 22

Stay in the counsel of the Lord.  Not only will you be all right, but you will be a victorious overcomer.  You will accomplish what you were born to do.  Just don’t give up, and you’ll get there.  Your day is coming.