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Not too long ago, the church I pastor purchased 91 acres of land. We have big plans for that land, but I have to be honest with you - I don't have the foggiest idea how God is going to finance the development of it. But I can rejoice in one certainty: it's not my problem. Praise God! I do not have to figure out how to behave for the next 10 years to make it all happen - how to conduct myself before the city council or how to wheel and deal the bankers. I don't have to worry about any of that.

"Well, why not, Mac?" you may ask. Because I can see it. I can see the sanctuary we're going to build there. I can see the orphanage. I can see the family life center. I can see the Bible school. Not with my natural eyes, of course, but in my spirit. I can see all these things in the vision God has birthed in my spirit. And as long as I stay focused on the vision God has given me, my behavior is going to be orchestrated supernaturally by the Holy Spirit to take the ministry in that direction. The same principle is true for you.

Of course, there are going to be a lot of opportunities to get sidetracked by a big challenge. It might be a lawsuit, or perhaps we will encounter some resistance in one corner of the congregation because someone does not agree with what we are doing. Opinions are bound to clash. But I have a choice to make. I can spend my time wondering what they are saying or what they are doing. I can become fearful they might go too far and split the church. Or I can provide the godly leadership I believe we, as a church, need in order to bring us through this project, trusting God for the best outcome. Either way I will have what I focus my attention on. So I must decide what I will allow to consume my imagination.

The law of the mind says that consistent behavior is a product of the imagination. But even more than that, the imagination itself carries with it the supernatural impetus to achieve the imagined objective. So you cannot afford the luxury of dwelling on hurts, past failures or things that should have been. You have to be absolutely determined - utterly, unswervingly determined - to keep your mind filled with what God has called you to do.

It isn't arrogant for me, as a pastor, to think in terms of a 50,000-seat sanctuary. If I can believe it in my heart, imagine it with my mind, and it is consistent with God's call on my life, then, just as God said about Noah's descendants in Genesis 11, there is nothing that will restrain me from what I have imagined to do.

Using Your Mind
All of us should be spending more time thinking about the things God has called us to do. In our meditation time we should be developing the glorious ministries in each of our hearts. We should be focused on the coming revival, the healings and the outpouring of God's Spirit, asking Him continually to reveal our part in it.

Use your mind the way God created it to be used. See what He sees. Then there will be more than enough supernatural impetus, energy and ability to carry you there. Do not let brushfires sidetrack you. See things the way God sees them.

Overcoming Strongholds
Here is one of the most vital keys that I know to victory in your life. It involves something the Word calls strongholds. A stronghold is a vain imagination that has been rooted in a person's mind for so long that it has begun to produce obsessive or compulsive behavior.

We usually come to think of obsessive or compulsive behavior as being reserved for the mentally ill. Certainly, we as believers would not want to be thought of in that way. But I have seen many examples in my own behavior which qualify as strongholds. Being too quick to speak and doing so out of anger was one of them. I am pleased to report I have long since had the victory over that. But for a while it was a real problem for me. That stronghold held me back from being able to effectively imagine God's plans for my life.

The way you handle money or view your finances can produce behavior that is not in the best interest of your calling or family life. And it can all be traced back to what the Bible calls strongholds - imaginations that have been in place so long they produce inappropriate behavior. But you can overcome those strongholds and begin seeing your ministry the way God sees it. You may have some strongholds which keep you from believing for God's best.

Barriers to Prosperity and Healing
Ironically, the people who respond most readily to the prosperity message are the ones who need it the least. They are the people who already have money. Teaching on prosperity just brings them more blessings. Why? Because they see it. They see it easily because they have lived it.

The people who are usually the hardest to reach, in terms of experiencing financial blessing, are the ones who are born into poverty. Because they have lived in poverty, they really cannot see God's riches being provided for them, at least not as easily as the other person.

God's riches are available to every born-again believer, and, because of the law of the mind, we are all capable of "seeing" them. However, the challenge for those experiencing financial hardship is a lot greater. They have seen God's provision through the eyes of poverty for years, and their imagination is so shaped and so solid that it is difficult for them to escape their way of thinking. That's a stronghold, a vain imagination that has become firmly locked in place.

Similarly, the people who have the most difficulty receiving their healings are those who have been afflicted for a long time. Someone who has been in a wheelchair for 20 years, was born blind, or has had a defect or chronic illness may have developed an understanding of reality which is counter to the Word of God. That person's perception may have become a real stronghold.

That is where strongholds exist - in our perceptions and our imaginations. In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, Paul instructs us to pull down strongholds and cast down imaginations. Those strongholds occur in the mind, a place where the imagination has focused for so long that the person cannot really see things as God sees them. And that is one of the reasons the anointing has been given to us - to destroy the yoke and set the captives free. Captives to what? Captives to strongholds.

Hearing the Voice of God
If you cannot hear the voice of God, He cannot use you as a leader. You have to have His mind, His vision, His purpose and His goal for your life before you can effectively direct anyone else's.

When we say a leader must have direction or purpose for the group he is supposed to lead, that seems ridiculously simple and self-evident. But the sad fact is that there are more groups of people, families, organizations, ministries and businesses floundering for lack of direction than there are ones with goals and objectives and a strong sense of direction. When I counsel people, I see a lot more evidence of a lack of direction than I do of good, solid direction.

One of the reasons people do not get promoted in the body of Christ is because they have no sense of purpose. How can God give them responsibility for directing others if they have no direction in their own lives. I'm talking about specific direction here, not generalities.

You can be a man or woman of faith and power because faith is power. But without direction your faith will do nothing for you. You can take any power source you can think of, and if you cannot direct that power in a constructive fashion, it will not accomplish anything.

You must have a blueprint that your faith can put substance to. Your blueprint is the vision. Your vision provides the direction God wants you to have in your life. If there is no vision providing direction, you can stay in the Word 24-hours-a-day, you can be a person of faith and still get nowhere in the Kingdom of God. Unless you have God's specific plan for your life, you will be of very little use or service to the Lord. Vision and direction always precede authority and responsibility.

Is That You, God?
Many times I hear people say, "If I only knew what the Lord really wanted in this situation, I'd go after it. I wish I knew what God wanted for me in my life."

Why don't many Christians know what God wants for them? The reason is that they are having trouble hearing the voice of God and knowing when He has spoken.

A lot of us think hearing God's voice means having an experience like Moses had. There has to be a burning bush and a voice telling us to take off our shoes; then we will know we are in the presence of God.

Some look for dreams and visions, others for angelic messengers. We're all looking for some supernatural means of hearing what God has for our lives. We would all like it to be that simple when we are confronted with a tough decision. Wouldn't it be nice to have archangel Michael appear and say, "Thus saith the Lord, do this or do that"?

Yet there are so many other ways God speaks to us, if we will just open our hearts and listen to Him.

How do we know when He is talking to us? How can we be sure we can run with what we have heard and not waver back and forth, wondering if we are in His will or not?

A lot of us just let life happen to us. Sometimes we are that way unconsciously. We don't really think we can make it big. We did not come from a strong family background, or we are not prominent socially. We are just kind of average, and we have no reason to expect too much more. So we simply let life happen.

Sometimes, even after we have heard the Word and begun to exercise our faith, we still live from one day to the next. Life happens to us, and depending on whether we like what happens or not, we blame it on God or the devil. But God wants every one of our steps to be ordered. He wants us to be certain of where we are going. He is not the author of confusion. And He has made a way for us to know His direction for our lives.

Establishing Every Word
"This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established" (2 Cor. 13:1).

When God speaks to you or me-when He speaks to anyone - He will do so in at least two different ways. That does not necessarily mean He will give you two or three Scriptures for everything.

We are three-part beings, right? We are a spirit being, we have a soul and we live in a body. God is not going to ignore any of those areas of your life when He communicates with you. He is going to minister His will and His direction to you in each of those areas.

So not only in the realm of the spirit, but in the soul realm and the physical realm, you will hear God speaking to you about the direction your life is to take. One will confirm the other, the other will confirm the other and so forth, until there are so many confirmations that you will look back and feel ridiculous because you did not hear what God was saying long before.

That's the way you can find your "91 acres of vision" - God's specific direction for your life.

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
Mac Hammond is the senior pastor of Living Word, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Minute, which is seen locally in the Minneapolis area on KMSP Channel 9 at 6:44 a.m. and 11:11 a.m. He is also the host of the Winner's Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.

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