How do we FOCUS YOUR FUTURE and SUCCEED WILDLY? Glad you asked.

Determine to seek Joy – When you wake up – seek joy that moment – for that day. Before your day even begins – determine that the God wants you to have joy – for Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.

Who wouldn’t want that? Our teaching today starts in John 14:27
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”  

One of life’s greatest hindrances to a future filled with joy is our present worry today, that often becomes our habit – worry, anxiety, fretfulness, fear – they suck the life out of our today and paralyze us from moving forward into out future – We literally cannot focus on our future while we are terrorized by our prison cells of worry, doubt and anxiety.

In Matthew, Jesus teaches us in chapter 6 beginning in verse 25 – “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

So, God’s Son says – don’t worry about tomorrow – I’ve got this! Then what are we fearful of? not enough retirement, not a big enough house, not having gone on that cruise or bought that motorcycle? Come On Man!

God says to us in Jeremiah 29:11

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.

Does that sound like a God that wants to bust you overtime you mess up or make a stupid decision? NO! It sounds like a God that has said – Not only have I got a plan for you, but it is cooler and more awesome than you could ever hope for – so stop living in fear and find some joy…for He says that He is all you need!

God has plans for you – He is for you and He wants to set you free. He sent Jesus who was and is the way the truth and the life and He can give you unspeakable joy and unimaginable freedom!

We often find ourselves in a state of SPIRITUAL STOCKHOLM SYNDROME.

Stockholm Syndrome is what happens to captives that now identify with being captured and imprisoned…or even beaten…to the degree that they now connect with their captor and choose to remain in bondage and slavery.

For us, it might be sex, or porn, money or fame, hatred, bigotry, jealousy…and the list goes on and on.

Jesus, our FREEDOM GIVER opens the door to our cell and calls us to come to Him – to walk into freedom.

It’s our choice…Freedom, Joy, Peace…or remain a captive.

Jesus’ words seem an invitation to leave the prison and find a life full of freedom and joy. Spiritual freedom and the movement toward joy must somehow begin with the call to pursue the one who gives us our freedom. 

Leave captivity behind. The call to leave the cell that runs through all of the biblical narrative is joyful, familiar and intimidating all at once; it is the voice of the very God who intimately designed each of us.

Even from the confines of our secure life, the introspection of our ground-zero moments, through the iron bars of our personalized cell doors, he is commanding us: “Come out.”

The power of this voice resonates across life and death. Those who have lost a loved one know that you never quite forget the very moment when you first heard the news.

Jesus had three close friends named Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. The Story tells us that when Jesus first hears that Lazarus is very sick, he isn’t in any hurry to help. His reaction seems difficult to understand. After all, who receives news of a friend’s grave condition and doesn’t travel immediately to be by his side?

By the time Jesus arrives at the scene, Lazarus has already been dead four days. The Gospel says that Jesus’ friend was laid to rest in “a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it.” The condition of this Lazarus fellow sounds familiar. But then the Story becomes even more interesting: In John 11:41-44

41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” 43 Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

The story of Lazarus reminds me of the prisoner receiving freedom – it reminds me of our story. His emergence from that tomb is a clear demonstration of Jesus’ power, an affirmation of Jesus as the source of life. Can you imagine the shock and awe of this scene for those who had been grieving the loss of their friend?

I wonder how those words, “Come out,” sounded to Lazarus through the thick stone of the cell? Was Jesus’ voice clear and commanding? Was it a faraway whisper? Was he trembling and afraid? We only know that Lazarus followed the voice of Jesus. Over and over again in the Gospels when Jesus invites people out of their captivity and into His way to real life, eternal life, life to the fullest— the Way of Jesus— he prefaces it with one painfully simple command: “Follow me.”

The most precious gift of God is that this isn’t on you – He’s done all the work – you just hear His voice and follow! Paul wrote of this in his letter to the Philippians chapter 4 verses 6 & 7;

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

So – How do I do this? How do I launch into this daring future God has in store for me?

1)Make sure of your relationship with God found in your trust in Jesus

2) Determine to hear His voice and follow – step out of the cell and into freedom

3) Begin having conversations with the one that sets you free! Pray – daily. Build a holy habit of staying connected to the same Jesus that says, I’ve got this, I’ve got the plan, I’ve won the battle & the war, I am for you, stop worrying and follow!

Join us over the next 40 days for 4×40. A Daily Guide Prayer Journey. Just 4 Minutes a Day for 40 Days! Focus your Future on the one that calls you into freedom and into joy…Everyday, for forty days, on your phone, tablet or computer…join us for 4×40. Focus your Future and Start TONIGHT!

Open your app, look online – but STOP for 4 minutes to determine that you will seek joy from the only source of life itself – Jesus – the one who loved you first, loves you most and loves you now. Build a holy habit and focus your future on Him – Will you do it? The answer is found in whether you know about god – believe that there is a God or if you know God and Believe Him.