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As we discussed in Part One, many people have started out with a dream, a vision, a word from the Lord, and burned in their hearts to see that word from the Lord fulfilled in their lives. But the longer it took for the dream to come to pass, the less their heart burned for it.

Finally, they released it altogether and let the dream of God for their lives slip right out of their heart and hands and into oblivion. That is a tragedy.

When considering all the possibilities, dreams, and visions God has planted in your heart, many people back away from the call and plan of God for their lives.

I understand that when one gazes into unknown territory, coupled with the prospect of going where they have never gone before, that it can bring a greater challenge and cost than some people are willing to pay.

They may be bored with their present job, but at least they have job security! They may know they were born to achieve more than what they are currently achieving, but at least they are comfortable!

The truth is that all of these questions, doubts, and fears can be used by the Holy Spirit to incite you to count the cost. For this reason, they are valid and should be dealt with before making any big change—and not to encourage doubt or fear, but to develop a resolve that will endure regardless of the obstacles or the difficulties.

You see, your new course of direction will be challenged, your new career will be assaulted, that new concept for your business or your ministry or your family may cause you to encounter difficulties you've never experienced before.

Rather than move into God's vision for your life blindfolded and ignorant, look at it from beginning to end, think it all the way through—count the cost like Jesus commanded. Remember that we perish for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).

Then, once you have been totally honest with yourself and with God - and perhaps with your spouse and your business or ministry associates—if you are still convinced of God's will for your life, it's time for you to push all fear and doubt aside and start making headway with what God has told you to do.

I remember many years ago when God first called me to pastoral ministry. What a challenge that was for me! Not only had I never served in such a capacity, but it required me to move from the place I had lived all of my life to another state.

Then, when that assignment was completed, God spoke to our hearts to take our teaching ministry across the entire nation. Again, I was challenged to the core! I didn't have a network of ministers to call upon, and I had a wife, a child, another baby on the way, a house payment, and bills to pay!

In order to step out in faith—and step out with all of my heart—I had to carefully and cautiously look the situation over, pray diligently, and come to a concrete position in God. I had to know, after having examined all the information and godly counsel I could acquire, that this was God's plan and that we, as a family, were willing to do whatever it was going to take. We first counted the cost.

More recently, when God called us to open a new branch of our ministry in the former U.S.S.R., I went through the same process of confirming and reconfirming the plan of God in my heart and soul. It was more than simply a matter of moving my family to the other side of the world. I also had a full staff at Rick Renner Ministries whose salaries needed to be paid each month, plus a large ministry that spans across the entire United States.

In order for us to take this huge step of faith into the former U.S.S.R., it would require more finances, most partners, new sacrifices on the part of my family and my staff, and many other things as well. I couldn't just charge ahead without thinking, praying, and confirming in my soul that this was the plan of God. Only the hasty and immature would move ahead without thinking first!

Once the call of God has been confirmed in your soul, however, and once the fears and frets have been answered and you are willing to do whatever is required of you in order to accomplish what God is calling you to do, you must set your heart on the plan before you—not budging, not hesitating, not flinching, not doubting.

If you really know God's will—if you really know it—then regardless of what your friends, family, or circumstances have to say you must do what is in your heart.

Do not rudely ignore what your family and friends have to say to you - they may be genuinely concerned about you and what you are doing. Remember, you were concerned, too! You know that you have heard from God, but they may not have sought God to receive confirmation, and they want you to be absolutely sure that you really have heard from Him.

Any family member or friend who really loves you would want to make you think once, twice, three times, or even four times about what you're about to do. If they can talk you out of it, perhaps you weren't ready anyway!

Finally, we must never forget that there is wisdom in godly counsel. If you haven't really heard from God, but you have been led astray by your own understanding or emotions, then godly counsel can expose the error and spare you a lot of grief!

Count the cost. Confirm his will for your life. Then step out and press toward your vision and don't look back!

Source: Dream Thieves by Rick Renner
Excerpt permission granted by Albury Publishing

Author Biography

Rick Renner
Web site: Rick Renner Ministries
Rick and Denise met while they were each on an individual quest to wholeheartedly follow God's plan for their lives. Rick was a college student, growing in his teaching ministry. Denise was a talented vocalist. She chose not to pursue a course that held the prospect of performing with the Metropolitan Opera so that she could instead pursue a relationship with Rick and fulfill her heart's desire to enter full-time ministry.

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