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In the last two weeks I have heard 5 excellent sermons or studies on the topic of ‘Potential’. As I was scootering home from Bible study Thursday afternoon, I was meditating on what comprises our potential and destiny. This is what I came up with. I know I tread dangerous ground sending out even more on this topic, but I needed to ponder what’s here, I know God is speaking about this to the body right now, and I know others who were anxious to know more. This is in no way a commentary on a lack on anyone’s part in teaching or preaching. I just felt like some expansion was in order. So here goes…
First some definitions and examples…
Potential - Etymology: Middle English potencial, from Late Latin potentialis, from potentia potentiality, from Latin, power, from potent-, potens Having power to impress on us the ideas of certain qualities, though the qualities are not inherent in the thing; as potential heat or cold. 1. Existing in possibility, not in act. Potential mode, in grammar, is that form of the verb which is used to express the power, possibility, liberty or necessity of an action or of being; as, I may go; he can write. This, in English, is not strictly a distinct mode, but the indicative or declarative mode, affirming the power to act, instead of the act itself. I may go or can go, are equivalent to, I have power to go. Any thing that may be possible. 2 : existing in possibility : capable of development into actuality <potential benefits> 3 : expressing possibility; specifically : of, relating to, or constituting a verb phrase expressing possibility, liberty, or power by the use of an auxiliary with the infinitive of the verb (as in "it may rain") synonym see LATENT Existing only as a possibility and not in fact <I can see a few potential problems with getting a puppy, but we'll wait and see if they come up> Synonyms - conceivable, imaginable, plausible, thinkable; likely, probable; conjectural, hypothetical, suppositional, theoretical (also theoretic); alleged, assumed, purported, reputed, supposed; achievable, attainable, doable, feasible, practicable, viable, workable Near Antonyms authenticated, confirmed, demonstrated, established, proven, substantiated; authentic, bona fide, genuine, true Antonyms actual, existent, factual, real
For an example the difference between Kinetic and Potential Energy
Kinetic energy is the energy of motion. Kinetic energy is measured by how much work is done to put an object in motion or to rest. KINETIC ENERGY = 1/2 (MASS) (VELOCITY)2 Potential energy is energy due to position or stored energy. Potential energy is also called gravitational potential energy. POTENTIAL ENERGY = (WEIGHT) (HEIGHT)
Examples of Kinetic & Potential Energy
Kinetic Energy: A gymnast on the beam has kinetic energy. The movements and flips that they do, show the energy that is being displayed while they are moving. When you are running, walking, or jumping, your body is exhibiting kinetic energy.
Potential Energy: By stretching a rubber band, you give it potential energy. A book on a shelf has stored potential energy. A baseball in a glove has potential energy until it is thrown and it turns into kinetic energy. One of the best examples is a car, with a full tank of gas, locked in storage. It has tremendous potential energy. Once it is unlocked and the key in the ignition turned, it now has kinetic energy.
Kinetic and Potential Energy: A waterfall has both kinetic and potential energy. The water at the top of the waterfall has stored potential energy. Once the water leaves the top of the waterfall, the potential energy is changed into kinetic energy. What kind of energy do you have for the Lord?
A car parked and locked in a darkened garage with a
full tank of gas has great potential. It can save lives or take them; it can go
Destiny - Etymology: Middle English destinee, from Middle French, from feminine of destiné, past participle of destiner 1. Something to which a person or thing is destined, 2. A predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency. Text: a state or end that seemingly has been decided beforehand <we knew that it wasn't our destiny to end up in a dead-end job> 3. State or condition appointed or predetermined; ultimate end; as, men are solicitous to know their future destiny, which is however happily concealed from them. 4. Invincible necessity; a necessity or fixed order of things established by a divine decree, or by an indissoluble connection of causes and effects. But who can turn the stream of destiny? Destinies, supposed powers which preside over human life, spin it out, and determine it; called by the Latin, parcae. Keep reading to see what God has determined for your destiny.
To me, the terms are intertwined. God has a destiny in mind for each of us and that is our potential. We add our will and natural abilities to what He provides and we can arrive at our potential destination. Here is what I believe makes up our potential and destiny: Calling + Promises + Spiritual Gifts + God’s Purposes + Resources = Potential and Destiny (that’s general potential and destiny). God’s specific direction, provision and rhema for anyone in each of these areas = Specific Potential and Destiny
In the great commissionings we are ALL
called to go, but each of us must determine where, when, how, who and why God
wants us to influence. In addition, we are all called to be soldiers (for more
info go to: http://etsministries.info/Heart%20&%20Soul%20of%20a%20Warror.htm)
and priests (1 Pet. 2.5-9, 2 Chron. 29.11, Rev. 5.10). In Mt. 28.18-20 Jesus emphasizes
teaching and discipling all ethnic groups. Jesus stresses every-creature power-evangelism
in Mk. 16.15-20. Lk. 24.46-48 shows Jesus focusing on preaching of repentance
All God’s promises are Yes and Amen in Christ, but
which are the ones He has specifically spoken to my spirit? (That’s the rhema
word, rather than the logos, or entire written word.) First, I do want to list
a couple here that God highlighted to me concerning potential. Jos. 1.3 Every
place upon which the sole of your foot shall tread, that have I given to you.
(Our circle of influence starts with every place we have ever trod. Then it
expands to wherever our praying and giving has gone. We can literally influence
the world!) Jer. 29.11 'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the
LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
Dan. 11.32 Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery;
but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great
exploits. Mt. 20.16 For many are called, but few chosen. (As I have heard it
preached, we’re called, but do we choose to follow?) Phil. 4.13 I have strength
for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to
anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient
in Christ's sufficiency](Amp.). 1 Jn. 4.4 You are of God, little children, and
have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the
world. God promised Abraham, Moses and Joshua that the
There are the 7 motivational ones in Rom. 12.6-8 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. There are the manifestation ones in 1 Cor. 12.7-10 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. Lastly, there are the office gifts in Eph. 4.10-11 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) Let’s not limit God here as I was taught early on in my life. There’s not just one and only one gift for each of us. We all have one or two motivational gifts (gifts that describe our character). Holy Spirit can manifest through us any of the manifestation gifts at any time, depending on the need. I have had all manifest through me at different times, and in some meetings, most manifested throughout the time. You may even have an office gift and I suspect more disciples have them than not, although they don’t realize it.
God’s Purposes for our lives are: loving Him, loving others, developing character, serving the body and being on a mission for God to the world (paraphrasing Rick Warren). Each of us are in different places in our progress in each area. If you haven’t yet read and studied “The Purpose Driven Life”, you owe it to yourself and the Lord to do so. After being a Christian for 40 years, and ministering for 35, almost every one of the 40 chapters challenged me. We cannot be used to our full potential, reach our final destiny without developing in each of these purposes. Each of the five are essential and dare not be emphasized over the others. If we ignore one, we’ll be lopsided and miss all that God wants for us!
While God can sovreignly change the quantity of these,
we each have a limited supply of time, money, influence, opportunities and
energy to devote to our potential. Once these are gone, they are gone. They are
limits we must live with, unless God decides to bless us with more. We need to
use these to the maximum for the
A few years ago, the prayer of Jabez was made famous. It is a short, very meaningful prayer: Truly bless me indeed richly (spirit, soul and body, financially and in my relationships), enlarge my coasts and boarders (depth and breath of influence), keep Your hand upon me (make me more and more aware of your presence, recognize the need for Your help, guidance, balance and strength) and keep (preserve, deliver) me from evil (not make me strong enough to endure it, but keep me away from it entirely). This prayer has to do with our resources.
Oswald Chambers states (Sept. 1, My Utmost…) “We must continually remind ourselves of the purpose of life. We are not destined to happiness, nor to health, but to holiness. Today we have far too many desires and interests, and our lives are being consumed and wasted by them. Many of them may be right, noble, and good, and may later be fulfilled, but in the meantime God must cause their importance to us to decrease.” And Nov. 2nd, “The Lord does not give me rules, but He makes His standard very clear. If my relationship to Him is that of love, I will do what He says without hesitation. If I hesitate, it is because I love someone I have placed in competition with Him, namely, myself. Jesus Christ will not force me to obey Him, but I must. And as soon as I obey Him, I fulfill my spiritual destiny. My personal life may be crowded with small, petty happenings, altogether insignificant. But if I obey Jesus Christ in the seemingly random circumstances of life, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God. Then, when I stand face to face with God, I will discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed.”
I would encourage each one to review any words you have received and also notes, journal entries, even underlining and/or margin notes in your Bible to bring to mind different ways God has made clear your potential in the past. If you don’t know what God’s up to in your life yet, I believe these can help clarify the picture He is painting with you. As Rick Warren in Purpose Driven Life points out so well, God uses each area of our life for ministry. So as you are seeking the Lord for what He has for you, allow Him to use many different colors, textures, surfaces and media to create that picture.
I want you to relate to you some personal history.
I pray that it will prove to be both an illustration of potential and destiny
and be an encouragement to all. Twenty years ago, as God launched me into mission
work, God birthed in infancy the vision of Equipping The Saints. Six years
later in YWAM, He gave it the name and even more of the shape. Then I was lead
out of full time ministry and into secular work. I was in a place of slowness
of ministry before this web site began. I was on the worship team; I ministered
in intercession, a little counseling and ministered in the prophetic. I had few
occasions to teach, except a mission’s trip to
One sister, a good friend, told me that my future ministry would be far greater than my past. Well, I had been part of ministry to hundreds and up to three thousand plus in my past, and at that time, it was usually individual or a few dozen at the most. Unfortunately, I voiced my disbelief (man of doubt and weakness that I was), saying how could that possibly be? Pay attention here, this may be worth the price of admission! See, I was focusing on my ‘kinetic’ ministry rather than my ‘potential’! If I knew you, I would see great potential in the Lord in you, but you might never see it yourself! If I had been paying attention, I would have realized God had spoken similar things to me in my past…
The other words were also confirming. One from Fran Lance told me how I enjoyed cooking with spices and that when I taught, I served the word in flavorful ways. She also saw me as a multi-wick candle and people from many nations coming to my home to be lit. The last I’ll mention was from Steve Shultz, who said I knew computer and should start a ministry web site, I had also had nudgings from Holy Spirit to begin writing the teachings from over the years on computer so that others could read them. Unfortunately, I ignored this…
January 15th, 2003, I entered the
hospital with infection in my right foot, which ended in a partial foot
amputation. (I had a below the knee amputation on my left leg for a similar problem
in 2000.) In a week they asked where I wanted to go and I wryly suggested
A couple of days later, I landed in Manor Care and was well into a self-pity pit. Within 4 days, God sent two friends to speak into my life and got my perspective right. My eyes were opened to ministry all around me and I was ready for God to move. Then the unexpected happened. My manager from work offered to let me use my work laptop in the nursing home for personal stuff. God knew I didn’t hardly think without a computer in front of me!
Finally, I started obeying Holy Spirit and working on those sermons. Wouldn’t you know it, my pastor asked me to teach Wed. night Bible Studies at church. That was all I needed! I started flying through the teachings and God started blessing!
Fast-forward a year to April 2004. I was visiting a
friend who was working on a web site for Four Corners Ministry (we are both on
the board). As we were working on verbiage for one of the pages, I asked her
how she put the site together. Within 15-20 minutes, I knew enough to build my
web site. Within three days, it was up and running. Currently, the site has had
2,681 visitors, 10,422 total hits (meaning each visitor as come an average of
3.9 times) and viewed a total of 28,191 pages (2.7 pages per visit, each
teaching is counted as one page!). I have had visitors from all 50 states,
Washington D.C, Puerto Rico and
Do you see what happened here? I went from having very little going on (kinetic ministry) and being unable to believe God for more, to the lowest point in my life which made all those words seemed even more impossible, to the point of God having fulfilled those words to the fullest – suddenly! I now have hundreds of visitors from around the country and the world to my home (site) each week, getting their candle lit. This would be impossible for me to do in person, even if I had the best of health and loads of money. And it doesn’t cost them a cent. All be to the glory of God! Without Him, it would be impossible. If He can do it through me, He can do it through you.
So, in closing, are we going to actively pursue God to seek Him for these areas or are we going to passively sit by, waiting for Him to ‘move us’? He isn’t likely to throw them in our laps if we can’t seem to have the ambition to find out what’s out there. And when you think about it, Jesus already died on the cross for us, we already have His word so full of promises, commands and examples and Holy Spirit empowering and guiding us within us. We just need to respond! This brings to mind a passage in Mt. 11.11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. Think for a moment about all those Old Testament saints: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, David, Elijah and Elisha, Daniel and on and on. That is an impressive list and pretty daunting when you list their accomplishments! Yet Jesus said the least in the Kingdom was greater than John the Baptist, who was greater than all these and more. Feel like the least? Then you qualify. That’s what Jesus says about your and my potential and destiny. Any of us, born again, filled with the Spirit has more potential, a higher destiny than all those of the Old Testament. Wow.
Lk. 12.48b For everyone to whom much is given, from
him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they
will ask the more. This is one of the scariest verses in the word to me,
especially living in the
Speaking of this, Mt. 25:14-30 "For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.” To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. "Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. "In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. "But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money. "Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them. "The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, 'Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.' "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' "Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, 'Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.' "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' "And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 'And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.' "But his master answered and said to him, 'You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 'Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 'Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.' "For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. "Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. How much have we been given? God expects at least interest on all of that!
I firmly believe that there’s a reason that when heaven is being discussed in the Word, there is a line talking about wiping away tears. Is. 25.8 He will swallow up death [in victory; He will abolish death forever]. And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; and the reproach of His people He will take away from off all the earth; for the Lord has spoken it. Rev 21:4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." When we get there, all of us will know as we are known and will realize the folks we didn’t reach, the gifts we never opened, let alone used, time and money misspent and opportunities missed. In short, we will see potential wasted. My purpose is not to condemn, but that for all of us that there would be fewer tears shed in heaven once our eyes are opened. Let’s open them now. If you disagree with that interpretation, surely many a person either at a mid-life or an end of life evaluation has regretted what they did and mostly didn’t do for the Lord. Either way, why wait until it’s too late to do anything about it, change now!
The Room...by Josh Harris
In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I have liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was.
This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.
A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I have betrayed." The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed at." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've yelled at my brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger", "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected.
Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to fill each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.
When I pulled out the file marked "TV Shows I have watched ," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast time I knew that file represented. When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh.
And then I saw it.. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand. And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt. They started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.
But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me. Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. "No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."
I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."- Phil. 4:13 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have
I don’t want to induce any condemnation or hopelessness here. Our God is the God of new beginnings, second and one hundred and second chances. I am counting on many more in my lifetime. Whatever you’ve done or not done, repent and confess it and move on. I believe our loving Father would say, “My child, get back up, wipe your tears, and start over. I was watching all the time. You’ll get it next time. Just don’t give up on you and me. I haven’t and I won’t”
It Depends on Whose Hands
A basketball in my hands is worth about $19;
A basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is worth about $33 million.
It depends whose hands it's in.
A baseball in my hands is worth about $6;
A baseball in Mark McGuire's hands is worth $19 million.
It depends whose hands it's in.
A tennis racket is useless in my hands;
A tennis racket in Pete Sampras' hands is a Wimbledon Championship.
It depends on whose hand it's in.
A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal;
A rod in Moses' hands will part the mighty sea.
It depends whose hands it's in.
A sling shot in my hands is a kid's toy;
A sling shot in David's hand is a mighty weapon.
It depends whose hands it's in.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in Jesus' hands will feed thousands.
It depends whose hands it's in.
Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse.
Nails in Jesus Christ's hands will produce salvation for the entire world.
It depends whose hands it's in.
As you see now, it depends whose hands it's in.
So put your concerns, your worries, your fears,
your hopes, your dreams, your families and your relationships in God's hands because
It depends Whose hands it's in.
What God has given you, in my hands would be worth little, but in your hands, it’s worth a lot. God makes no mistakes wit what He gives to us. He knows exactly what is right for each of us. What will you do with what He has given you?