Preparing for an Increase

There is always a certain amount of optimism as we close off a year or season, whether that’s the end of a calendar year, school year, or birthday, the end of a season tends to bring with it preparation for the year ahead. Many people set goals and resolutions for things they’d like to accomplish and see changed in their life. While this is obvious for most people today, I have learned over the years how important it is to set these kind of intentions with the Lord’s input. But planning and preparing for the incoming years can take over the real plans that God may for you.

I am a huge fan of using spreadsheets to take a concept and quantify it in terms of activity, costs, revenue, and return on investment. Spreadsheets give you the capability to help you see what it will take for something intangible to become successful (or not). They help you to plan and make financial decisions because they look forward and help you to determine the variables that are likely to impact your ideas. But they don’t replace the word of the Lord and His voice to you.

I initially started my planning with a blank sheet of paper and let Holy Spirit bring to mind programs and things I’d like to accomplish and how these things would connect together. Some people call this mind-mapping – I just start writing and drawing lines and circles and making notes. It’s a creative process where you’re not analyzing, you’re letting ideas flow in a brainstorming sort of way. From this list and flow chart of ideas and programs I went to my computer to do some analysis with a spreadsheet. Here the programmable variables help you to project how activity can potentially produce results and what the costs and timeframes will based on certain parameters in order to see a return on investment.

I was pretty happy with the numbers so prepared to write a summary and schedule that I could share with my support team. It was then, that I heard the voice of the Lord speak to me as a whisper in the back of my head. I have learned over time that for me, His voice comes from there, vs from the front thinking part or my brain. The whisper was simply a number that was 3x what my spreadsheet had come up with and 100x larger than my starting position. Hmmm…

I pondered this for a few days, then remembered the process because sometimes its’ easy to fall into a habit of thinking things through and trying to analyze situations and solve problems by yourself based on what you can see – ie the numbers I could see in my spreadsheet.

Here’s what I did to connect the thoughts, the numbers on the spreadsheet and the voice I heard the Lord whisper: I googled bible references for the number I heard the Lord speak to me then simply started reading the chapters and accounts where it was referenced. I did the same thing for the beginning number, and finally I searched all the references for 100x increase. Here’s the summary of what I came up with that I pray will be a blessing to you and help us all experience a 100x increase in financial resources in 2016!

  1. You must know your enemy and totally defeat him.
  2. You might need to get smaller before you get bigger so your success is will be obviously from the Lord and not from your own strength.
  3. Don’t cling to past victories or strategies as symbols or a formula for how God will work in the future. Your results will come from your relationship with Him, not something external.
  4. You live in the world so you need fellowship with believers as well as non-believers.
  5. Expect defeat and decrease from disobedience to the Lord. Don’t take credit for God’s work in your life. Enthusiasm for a great cause still requires total obedience.
  6. Build your ‘temple’ with a key leader and pay for the support with seeds and substance to benefit the helpers. Praise the Lord for all He is doing and set aside your offerings as you build.
  7. After realizing results, then appoint new leaders and bring on helpers to prepare and distribute the offerings with great celebration.

In the parable of the four soils in Mark 4 Jesus tells us how the seeds that fell on good soil produced a crop that was multiplied 30, 60 or 100x. Then He said, “whoever has ears to hear, let them hear” and in Mark 10, He blesses them saying, “Truly I tell you, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters of mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a 100x as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – along with persecutions – an in the age to come eternal life.

He promises increase as we listen to Him. He speaks to us in many different ways which requires us to know Him and to walk in relationship with Him. Jesus says we will expect persecution which takes us to the beginning of this message: “know your enemy and totally defeat him.” James 4:7 tells us to “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”. I believe that we need to anticipate the lies and tactics of the enemy, but that Jesus is telling us that we can expect a 100x increase for submitting ALL to Him as He promised.

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