I’ve been to a dozen county fairs, 3 state fairs, 2 World’s fairs, the White House and more shopping malls than I can count.
In traveling over 6.7 million miles with American Airlines. . .I quite often found myself in a strange and sometimes very large mall looking for a particular store.
The first thing I always looked for was the big board which displays all the stores and gives their particular number so customers can more easily find them.
Next, you look for the big red dot on the board so you can know where you are. Hopefully, the red dot will provide you a clear route of travel to your desired destination. Sadly, sometimes things didn’t work quite that easily.
What about the red dot in your life? Do you know where you are or more importantly where you’re going.
Here are seven ways to find the red dot.
1. You’ve Got To Know Where You’re At.
I never read Alice In Wonderland until I was an adult. It’s not that I had a deprived childhood . . .but the book didn’t float my boat as a young boy.
However, the book offers an amazing scene I remember. Alice approaches the Cheshire Cat and asks for directions. She wants to know which way to go.
The Cheshire Cat then asked Alice where she wanted to go . . . to which she replies . . . it didn’t really matter where she went. . . so the Cat says. . . “in that case, it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
When it comes to your finances you’ve got to know where you’re at. . .because it does make a HUGE difference where you go.
When it comes to your money. . .if you don’t know where you’re at. . .then you’ll never know where you’re going! And you most certainly will never arrive. In fact, you’ll end up on the side of the road . . . financial road kill. . .a casualty to someone else’s get-your-wealth plan.
“Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.”
In the Old Testament, wealth was often measured by the size of a person’s flock or herd. It was critical for a person to know not only the location of every animal but also its physical condition.
2 Samuel 12:2 says:
“The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds.”
A careful reading of the references to “herds” will reveal that often livestock was valued above gold and silver.
Genesis 24:35 says:
“And the LORD hath blessed my master [Abraham] greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses.”
Notice that in describing Abraham’s wealth. . .the first thing Eliezer listed was “flocks and herds.”
In the agrarian society that dominated the Old Testament world. . .the state of your flocks and herds was the key to multiplying your wealth.
In Deuteronomy 8:13 we can see where once again the mention of livestock comes before silver and gold when the scripture talks about wealth increase.
“And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied.”
The location and state of a person’s flocks was critical to wealth increase. In other words, it was important for them to know what they had, it’s condition and where it was located.
Now it’s time for you to get out your checkbook and all your bills. You need to know the state of your flock. . . what you have at the moment.
Any increase in wealth begins with an honest assessment of what you’ve got and where you’re at.
Do you know your checkbook balance?
Do you know exactly how much you owe every single creditor you’ve got?
Do you know how much money you make and where it goes?
Do you know the balance, interest rate, monthly payment and remaining months on every single debt you owe?
Do you have a plan to pay all these bills off rapidly?
If you can’t answer “yes” to the five questions above, then chances are you’re not looking after your “flocks and herds” the way the Bible indicates you should.
It’s important. . .no, it’s absolutely necessary for you to know EVERYTHING about your finances. . .to know the state of your flocks and herds if you want break free from the bondage of debt into God’s glorious provision for your life.
I realize that pulling all this information together may not be a lot of fun. . .but if you don’t start the journey, then you’ll never arrive at your destination of financial freedom.
You need to have a working and intimate knowledge of your financial status. . . then you can make wise decisions about your economic well-being.
Proverbs 27:23 in the Message Bible says:
“Know your sheep by name; carefully attend to your flocks...”
A good shepherd knows everything about his/her herd and flocks.
It’s your time to take action. . .delay will only cost you money.
2. You’ve Got To Know Where You’re Going.
Once you determine where you’re at. . .then you can more accurately know the direction and location in which you’re heading.
It’s very important to understand that once you know where you’re at. . .you need to decide where you’re going.
Your destination is your goal.
If you goal is to be a millionaire. . .you have an empty goal. Becoming a millionaire is serendipity to fulfilling your vision, your dreams and your goals.
Stephen Covey in his book “The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People” defines the second habit as “begin with the end in mind.”
It’s also important to always keep the end in mind. . .never lose sight of your destination.
It might surprise you to know that many Christians. . .not only don’t know where they are in life. . .they don’t have a clue where they want to be.
How do you determine your destination? By answering the right questions and dreaming.
It’s okay to dream.
Sadly, many teachers stopped their students from day dreaming. Correcting, criticizing and even sometimes, embarrassing a student for doing what should come natural to every child of God. . .dreaming about what can be.
So let’s dream a little bit. . .to help us determine your ultimate destination.
Before answering the questions that I’m about to pose. . .here are seven keys to setting the proper mood and moment.
1. Find a quiet place.
2. Find a quiet time.
3. Turn off all electronic equipment.
4. Have something to write with and something to write on.
5. Soothing instrumental music.
6. Close your eyes and breathe deeply
7. Begin praising God for who He is and what He’s done.
In His presence. . .begin to answer the following questions.
What is my secret ambition?
What activities give me satisfaction?
What excites me about life?
What are my hobbies?
What do I get complimented on?
Where have I excelled in the past?
Where have I been successful?
What are some of my strengths?
What is important to me?
What do I stand for?
What won't I stand for?
What would I risk my life for?
What was I born to do?
What does God want me to do?
What are my unique opportunities?
Where can I make a difference?
When you ask God. . .He will answer your questions about direction and your purpose for being here on planet earth. . .then you will know your destination.
3. You’ve Got to Take The First Step Toward Your Destination.
Marian Wright Edelman said:
“If you don't like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.”
Here’s my paraphrase of the excellent quotation.
“If you don’t like the way your world is at the moment, change it. You have the God-given ability to change your life. . .your direction. . .your destiny. . .one step at a time.”
Truthfully, I like my quote better than hers.
A Chinese philosopher once said:
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”
The Word of God reveals in Psalm 111:10 in the Contemporary English Version what that first step should be. The scripture says:
“Respect and obey the LORD! This is the first step to wisdom and good sense. God will always be respected.”
From the very first step of your journey. . .your focus needs to be obedience to His direction.
There may be times when you wonder why you’re path has taken the direction it has but always remind yourself of who is directing your direction.
Proverbs 1:7 in the Message Bible says:
“Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.”
Be wise to every trick of the enemy as he seeks to slow your progress. . .change your direction and get your eyes off your ultimate destination.
However, always remember. . .the first step to your destination. . .demonstrates desire and determination on your part.
4. You’ve Got to Endure Those Traveling in a Direction Different than the Path You Are.
Have you ever been in a crowded place during the holiday season? It seems that everybody is either:
a) walking in front of you as if lost or confused. . .weaving to and fro; or
b) going in a different direction than you are. . .hindering your forward progress.
In life there will be people. . .even those close to you, including family members who will not share your dream or the pursuit of excellence in your life. They just want to go with the flow while you’re determined to travel/swim upstream.
If you’ve ever noticed a river. . .the easiest thing to do is float downstream. It doesn’t take any effort. . .any planning. . .just add things to happen.
It’s important to check out what’s floating downstream with you. . .broken and or rotten tree limbs do. . .anything dead does. . .anything or anyone just along for the ride.
God didn’t call you just to come along for the ride. He called you to excel at what you’re doing. . .He called you to be a difference maker. . .a destiny shaper.
Salmon swim upstream to mate. . .it’s a difficult and dangerous journey. . .as they jump from stream to stream.
The path of least resistance will lead you to a place you don’t want to be.
5. You’ve Got To Walk On By Those Who Are Slowing Up Your Journey.
I recently posted the following on Facebook.
“If all your friends talk about is people. . .celebrity or otherwise. . .you need to find new friends.”
If you have a clearly defined vision of your life. . .with identifiable and manageable goals you need to hang around people who will motivate you to achieve your greater destiny.
Is your financial future affected by who wins the Grammys, Emmys, Tonys or Oscars?
Is your success in life dependent upon what celebrities wear, where they party or who they’re in a relationship with?
Is your personal growth and development determined by who gets featured on TMZ. Entertainment Today or Inside Edition?
Is your God-inspired destiny achieved by who makes the highlights on ESPN’s Sports Center?
Do your friends encourage, discourage and/or ignore your dreams, hopes and plans for the future?
In the game of life. . .you need no one around you who is holding you back from the progress that you should be making.
Holding is a penalty is football and it should be in real life as well.
Job 12:4 in the New Living Translation says:
“Yet my friends laugh at me, for I call on God and expect an answer. I am a just and blameless man, yet they laugh at me.”
Make no mistake if your friends are talking about and laughing at others. . .they will be making fun of you as well.
If you’re friends aren’t empowering and encouraging you on your journey to success, you need to find friends who will.
6. You’ve Got to Focus on the Details.
Have you ever heard someone say, “The devil is in the details?”
Would it surprise you to know that is a variation of an original saying of the phrase "Le bon Dieu est dans le détail" (the good God is in the detail).
Doesn’t it stand to reason that if God is in the details. . .that the enemy would seek to counterfeit whatever He is trying to accomplish through you?
The devil in the details simply means that one neglected detail can spoil the whole project.
A similar saying is “Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves.” Regardless, the point is to not ignore any part of what makes up your life.
If the devil can break your focus on what’s necessary for success. . .then he has disrupted and delayed and desires to destroy your destiny. But God!
If you’ve ever wondered how God feels about attention to details being fundamental to your success. . let me read 2 Corinthians 6:1-3 in the Message Bible very carefully. It says:
“Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don't squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us, I heard your call in the nick of time; The day you needed me, I was there to help.
“Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. Don't put it off; don't frustrate God's work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we're doing. Our work as God's servants gets validated—or not—in the details. . .”
Make no mistake God wants you paying attention to the details while the enemy wants you to ignore them.
7. You’ve Got To Know Where You’re At. . .When You Get There.
American frontiersman Daniel Boone once said that he was never lost but he was once bewildered for three days and three nights.
One of our daughters. . .I won’t say which one has been bewildered by directions on more than one occasion.
At one time she was directionally challenged by any map even with the best MapQuest Directions and an onboard navigator (traveling companion.)
Praise God for the invention of the GPS.
The GPS allows you to know where you’re at. . .at any given moment and whether or not you’re heading in the right direction. Not only that. . .it will tell you when you will arrive and if you need to alter your current directions.
As believers we need to activate our spiritual GPS. We must continually monitor our progress in our journey to success and financial freedom.
Truthfully, our progress should be clearly evident to others as well.
1 Timothy 4:15 in the New International Version says:
“Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.”
Your journey to your destination. . .can and should be an inspiration to others.
What I’m about to say. . .may at first glance seem ironic. . .however, please know the greatest compliment anyone could ever pay you is to say. . . “If they can do it. . .I know I can.”
Your success in life should be duplicatable . . . others need to know they can find success by finding and following the red dot.
One last scripture…. Genesis 25:34 in The Living Bible says:
“Then Jacob gave Esau bread, peas, and stew; so he ate and drank and went on about his business, indifferent to the loss of the rights he had thrown away.”
We need to be careful of where we are, where we’re going and the consequences that follow our actions. If you have God … you can do it!
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