Want to experience God's presence like never before? Try reading this powerful excerpt out loud. It is taken from Steve Backlund's book, Possessed by Joy!
Seeding the Clouds of Our Future
The Holy Spirit once said to me, “Steve, you often seed the clouds of your future in a negative way and then cry out to me to stop the storm that you have created.” God has mercifully answered my prayer many times, but there is a higher way of living.
Imagine with me a cloud over every aspect of your future. It can hover over events coming soon (meetings, ministry opportunities, special occasions or just normal life), or it can be over things years ahead. We have the great opportunity to proactively seed the clouds over these happenings in our lives. Unfortunately, many plant stormy seeds and then wonder, “How could God have allowed this to happen to me.”
The spirit of foreboding contributes to this seeding with substances that will attract difficulty instead of victory. Anxiety causes many to speak word curses and to have harmful belief systems that sow trouble into the clouds of the days and years ahead. That is a bummer. It is unnecessary and it needs to stop.
In 2 Corinthians 9 we read, “God loves a cheerful (hilarious) giver.” This cheerfulness comes from knowing that generosity will seed the clouds of our future. “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully . . . God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
Luke 6:37-38 takes this farther. “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Incredibly, we can proactively seed our clouds to whatever measure we want, which will bring future “rain” in proportion to our sowing. Now that is something to get cheerful about!
Declare: God is empowering me to increasingly sow cheerfully into the clouds of my future through thanksgiving, proactive words, thoughts, actions, forgiveness, love and a growing relationship with Jesus.
Here is something I want you to try. Ask a friend to count backwards in his mind from 10 to 1. In the middle of him doing this, ask him to say his name out loud. What happened to their mental counting when they spoke? Unless he has two brains, the counting stopped. Hmm. What meaneth this? Let’s find out.
We cannot think the old thought while speaking God’s truth; and, speaking truth ultimately helps create new thoughts and attitudes. A first step in warring against lies in our thinking is to capture them and replace them with God’s promises. Every overcoming Christian has to develop this habit, but changing our thinking (repenting) is not just done mentally. It is speeded up by getting into the habit of proactively speaking truth and faith into our lives and into our future.
As we learned in the last devotional, we “seed” the clouds over our future through our beliefs, our words, our prayers and our actions. Our thoughts (beliefs) though are the primary compass that will cause spiritual rain or drought. That is why we vigilantly replace thoughts that lead to hopelessness, worry and unloving attitudes. Most people however find that simply warring in the mind is not enough to uproot old strongholds and to establish new positive strongholds of hope, joy, love and faith. This is why speaking truth is a key to breaking old mental struggles.
Here is a powerful step to take. Take different areas of your future (i.e. ministry, health, finances, family, vocation, relationships, protection, evangelism, your nation, your church, miracles, etc.) and spend specific time “seeding” the cloud over this aspect of life. For instance, focus on your vocation for two minutes and say things like: “Thank you God that I am blessed in my employment. Thank you that my honesty, creativity, dependability, enthusiasm, and personal blessing create great success for this business and in every business that I will ever be a part of. I will never lack a good job because of how big my God is in me. Jesus has made me successful and I continually make others successful.” Then take additional areas of life and do the same thing. It will ultimately create a “storm” of blessing and godly influence.
Declare: I have a plan to seed the clouds of my future so I joyfully speak God’s promises into my life.
Click here to purchase a copy of the book.
In His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). Joy is to increase as we go deeper in our relationship with God. Religious tradition has devalued the role that gladness and laughter have for personal victory and kingdom advancement. His presence may not always produce joy; but if we never or rarely have fullness of joy, we must reevaluate our concept of God. This book takes one on a journey toward the headwaters of the full joy that Jesus often spoke of. Get ready for joy to increase and strength and longevity to ignite.