Spirit Planning

by Morris Ruddick on April 30, 2016


© Morris E. Ruddick


Making God your Senior Partner is a lot more than lip-service. It entails proactive planning with the Holy LaptopStrCIMG1485Spirit. That means input and guidance from the Lord on decisions. That requires consciously hearing from God.

One of the distinctive characteristics of the heroes of faith has been hearing from God. Yet, from the days Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, the people were inclined to be terrified to hear His voice. They asked Moses to leave the camp when talking with God. However, when Moses returned they wanted him to let them know what God had said.

This same reluctance in hearing God’s voice was reflected in later generations when the Lord appeared to Gideon. It is revealing that the Lord’s first words to Gideon were: “Peace be with you. Do not fear. You will not die.”

So it is today, that among God’s people there continues to be this hesitation in proactively bridging that gap between the seen world and the unseen world by consciously discerning revelation from God. Sometimes this is because of doctrinal precepts that have no foundations. Sometimes it is due to the fear of risk or simply of getting it wrong.

Foundations to Spirit Planning
Yet, it is written: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the days of the wilderness.”

Planning together with the Holy Spirit requires prudence and practice. It calls for mastering planning. It is written that David gave his son Solomon the plans for all that David had gotten by the Spirit. “All this,” said David, “the Lord made me to understand in writing, by His hand being upon me, for all the works of these plans.”

David planned together with the Spirit of God. He captured these plans in writing.

As a prelude to discussing these steps, two things need to be noted. First, those who seek Him will find Him. Second, not every thought that comes into our minds is from God. We need to approach this process with an expectation, but also wisdom.

We live in a time when we have available a treasure trove of the principles of God’s truth along with scriptural models of a history of interactions of God with His people. Getting revelation from God needs to be approached with reverence. Spirit and Truth will always agree. So it is important to immerse ourselves in His written Truth so that we have a plumb-line with which to judge His spoken word.

It is written that in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word will be established. Early in my walk with the Lord, when I heard something I believed was God, I would ask him to show me at least two scripture in support of it. He always did. Over time, we gain confidence in our hearing, yet it should always be tempered by this reverence and awe of knowing He is the creator of all things.

The story of Abraham is the unfolding of the mapping out of the destiny of not only Abraham, but of his descendents. It is foundational to our discussion of Jewish business secrets. It highlights certain milestone communications that God had with Abraham. In some of those interactions, Abraham reached hard, seeking “something more” from God. An example is the time preceding the covenant that God made with him. At that time, he was still known as Abram. Scripture describes how in this instance the Lord appeared to Abram in a vision saying: “Do not fear Abram, I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” However, Abram responded with: “But Lord, what will you give me, seeing that I go childless.”

God had already told Abram to leave his family and country and go to a land God would show him and that God would make him to be a great nation. The point is that what God spoke to Abram/ Abraham was progressive. It took place over time, as Abram/ Abraham responded in faith and obedience and took steps of action based on what God had said.

In doing so, Abraham was bridging the seen world with the unseen world. His response was in considering that which was not as though it were because God told him so. That is the basis in which faith must take the risk to bridge the seen and unseen worlds.

God as Senior Partner and Planner
Planning is a systematic means of outlining goals and strategies. Such plans can be done for mapping out an individual’s destiny, to determine a course of steps for a business, or to crystallize the focus and pathway unfolding for a community. Inviting the Spirit of God to be our Senior Partner and participate in our planning will often uncover things we could not have seen or anticipated in the natural

My friend Eric Morey in Israel was the founder of a retail store called the Galilee Experience. Situated on the boardwalk of the Sea of Galilee, the Galilee Experience carries an array of quality Israeli products. It has been a favorite stop for tourists from all over the world for years.

Eric told me that one morning, during one particularly busy season that the Lord spoke to him: “Start a catalog business with your products.” Eric was so busy that he couldn’t even think of when he could find the time. He made a note to start looking into the mail-order business when he wasn’t so busy. However, a couple of days later, he again heard the Lord to tell him: “Start a catalog business with your products, now!” Eric hesitated and began praying about this guidance more seriously. The next day, the Lord spoke to him again: “Do it now, Eric.”

So Eric shifted his priorities and began the mail-order business. It quickly became successful and started growing.

One year later, an Intifada hit Israel. Because of the uncertainty of the increased terrorist threats, the tourism industry in Israel began rapidly declining. Eventually, tourism was down, by some estimates, 95 percent. Some excellent businesses closed. Eric’s storefront business was almost vacant of customers. However, his catalog business was thriving and paying the bills for his entire operation.

Steps to Hear Spiritually
Another insight into hearing God accurately, especially in the process of planning, involves keeping a written record of what you discern in your “hearing” together with questions that arise from what you’ve heard. This process begins with the revelation of what you hear. A very natural tendency is to act too fast on what you hear. However, just as it is written that the naïve believe everything, but the prudent takes his time and considers the steps and the alternatives. So, when you get a revelation from God, make a record of it. More importantly, keep praying and ask the Lord questions about what you’ve heard. In other words, pray about the revelation until you get the illumination on the revelation.

When you’ve considered the alternatives and gotten sufficient answers to the questions and you feel satisfied you’ve gotten sufficient illumination on the revelation, it is time to start asking the Lord about the instructions or steps required. Continue praying about the instructions. Keep in mind that we’re talking about unfolding revelation for your planning. This is proactively making the Lord your Senior Partner. At the point you feel satisfied that you have obtained enough to map out your steps, you now can start praying about the timing.

Too often we get a preliminary revelation and try to jump immediately into the timing on things, when we need to be praying more and investigating and connecting the dots on a number of matters. If we take the time to get sufficient illumination and instruction on what is being planned, then the timing will be much more accurate.

I’d like to illustrate this process with the story of a famous writer. James Michener wrote a book titled “Hawaii” that sold millions of copies around the world. It was translated into many other languages. When Michener was interviewed by a famous magazine he made an incredible statement about his writing abilities. He said he considered himself to be only an average writer.

Then he told his secret. Although just an average writer, he was a world-class re-writer. For any who are professional writers, they understand that it is not the first thing you write that gets the attention of the publishers. You edit your work. You go over it again and again and then again. You continually improve on what you intended to say with your first draft. You learn the art of re-writing.

This secret of good writing is also the secret of good planning. It is not the first plan you put together that aids the most in achieving your goals. You go back and you look at the assumptions again. You refine your goals and you improve your strategies. Planning is a process. It is continuous. The secret to good planning is in re-planning.

This also is the secret to good praying. Praying like planning should be continuous. We should always be in communication with God, depending on Him, reaching for more of Him and asking for His wisdom. The secret of good praying is in re-praying.

God’s Guidance for the Future
Many years ago, I began walking the pathway of a pioneer in the marketplace. I left a military career in mid-stream to follow God’s leading in my desire to be obedient and to serve Him. I was very surprised when the Lord told me He had called me into business. At that time, business people were not considered spiritual leaders, but those who made it possible for pastors, missionaries and para-church ministries to do the work of the ministry. Yet, I had learned to discern the voice of God and I was obedient to do what God had told me.

So I became a consultant, then a business owner. As I was traversing this pathway, I took some time alone with the Lord to pray. I had given up a career in the military and frankly didn’t fully understand my role, as a Christian, in business. Then the Lord spoke to me: “I’ve called you into an interlinking of secular business enterprises with overriding Kingdom objectives.”

God’s Purposes for Business
An example of this interlinking of business and ministry is the story of Jesus going to Peter and asking if he could use his fishing boat. Peter said of course. So Jesus sat in Peter’s boat and taught the people. When he concluded his teaching, he told Peter to throw the fishing net over the right side of the boat. Peter hesitated, telling the Lord that he had been fishing there all night and had not caught anything. Then he went ahead and did what Jesus told him. The scripture says that the nets became so full of fish that they began to tear.

Peter let Jesus use his fishing boat for ministry. When Peter next did what he had been doing in the natural, the supernatural was released and Peter was abundantly blessed as a result.

We’ve talked in a previous session about stewardship and generosity. This foundation in learning God’s heart and learning His ways will culminate with our purpose for our planning and our business: to become community builders. We’ll talk more about community builders in a future session, but for now, business leaders are called to build the community around them, to build both the resources and the people who are a part of the community. This reflects the type of leadership that Jesus described as leadership by serving.

Proactive Spirit Planning
Planning with the Spirit requires your best. Give the Lord your best and you can expect His best. Giving God your best will involve spending time with Him planning, when our presence of mind is maximized. If you are a morning person, if that is the time of day when your energy level is the highest, then that should be the time you plan with the Lord. If you are an evening person, then that should be the time you select to spend with God on planning issues. Some people’s days don’t become fully activated until the evening. These are evening people. Again, give God your best and you can expect the same in return.

In early 2007, we conducted one of our programs in a city 800 miles east of Moscow. It was an amazing congregation. Over 300 Russian believers traveled over icy roads to attend. During one of the sessions we had everyone to pray a prayer of cleansing to help them hear from God more clearly. One of the men in the group had been planning and working on his new business for almost a year. It had been very frustrating for him because of the technology he used for his business. He just bumped along and couldn’t seem to get everything to come together.

When I told the group about a prayer that would help them to hear God more clearly, he was frankly skeptical. After almost a year, he was discouraged at being unable to get the strategies needed for his business to come together. But then he concluded he had nothing to lose, so he went ahead and prayed the prayer. At 3:00 a.m. that morning, the Lord work him up and in one hour gave him the answers he had been seeking which allowed him to complete his plan and get on with the next steps in his business.

For a family-sized business, the plan should be practical. It should outline the goals and strategies and monthly budget requirements for the next twelve months. The business plan should include a statement that defines the market and future opportunity, as well as who the main customers are and the advantage that the company’s product or service has over the competition.

There should be a goal that suggests the financial growth of the company based on how many products are sold each month. There should be a goal that targets a secondary customer base. There should also be a goal that reflects what the profit ratio of overall sales will be, along with the amount of sales expected. There should be a goal that describes the primary means of advertising or marketing. Finally, there should be a goal that outlines the distribution of the product or service and how growth is expected to take place. Each of these goals should have at least two strategies that describe steps on how they will be accomplished.

Planning anticipates the alternatives. Planning prepares for future eventualities. I’ve often commented that an important aspect of business is managing change. Change is best managed when you have prepared for it. When God is your Senior Partner, God will not only provide insight into the change, he’ll provide the strategy for the change.

The story of Joseph is one that many feel is pertinent to this hour. We live in a time when turbulence and crisis is everywhere. Joseph was prepared by God for a time of great crisis. His placement in Egypt was strategic from God’s purposes. God gave him the plan and the strategy for the time of crisis. So today, there will be men and women of God, prepared like Joseph, who hear God’s voice who have been or will soon be positioned in safe-places, places God will use to advance His purposes for His people globally and for Israel. In a study outlined in Global, Inc., 53 of the largest 100 economies in the world are corporations (Gabel, Bruner, Global Inc. 2003, New York). It should be no surprise that God is raising up modern-day Josephs with the spiritual capital to serve His purposes in both corporate and nation-state refuges.

Approaching God as your Senior Partner has to be done with a right heart. In doing so, it is important to prepare your heart, just as I had the Russian Christians to do. The following is the prayer of cleansing that helps in this process. It is a prayer that I pray on a regular basis. As a writer, it releases me from “writer’s block.” It is the means by which I prepare both to write and to pray. When you’ve prayed this prayer, wait quietly before the Lord. Keep your notebook handy. As the revelation begins, then start capturing it in writing. Ask the Lord questions, but most importantly listen, as you enter this process.

Lord God, in the Name of Your Son Jesus, I come boldly before your throne. Cleanse my heart O God. Thank You that I am cleansed by the blood of Jesus and I have invited the Holy Spirit to live within me. I bring every thought of my mind and every impression in my heart into captivity to the obedience of Jesus. Lord, I want to hear what You have to say. I trust You to communicate to me. And in the Name of Jesus, I take authority over every stronghold along with every demonic and interfering spirit. I forbid any enemy activity to operate in my mind or soul. I open my heart to the Holy Spirit — to inspire, to guide, to illuminate and reveal to me truth, insights and perspectives that will anoint my efforts in planning for my business .I take authority over fear, anxiety, doubt and unbelief in the name of Jesus. I bind any negative, critical or condemning spirits in the Name of Jesus and forbid you to interfere with or in any way to imitate God’s voice to me. Lord, I thank you for being in charge of every aspect of my being and for all that will unfold in this process. I look forward to growing in this new dimension with you and for what You have planned for me through it. In the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

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