Saturday, January 22, 2011

Vision: Feel, Find, Follow, and Fulfill it by Bob Gass

Your Vision - You Must 'Feel' It!
Saturday, 1st January 2011
The Word For Today with Bob Gass
... Write the vision and make it plain...

Habakkuk 2:2 NKJV

Habakkuk describes his vision as, 'The burden which the prophet... saw' (Habakkuk 1:1 NKJV). He 'saw' it wherever he went. It drove him to his knees. He prayed, 'O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear?... Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble?... the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds' (Habakkuk 1:2-4 NKJV). Before God blesses you with a plan of action He will burden you with the problem you've been called to help solve. Lewis Braille wanted to read and write. But at three years of age he was blinded in a tragic accident while playing in his father's harness shop. Refusing to settle for a world of darkness he said, 'I will make a system so that the blind can read and write.' As a result, millions of sight-impaired people have been blessed by the Braille system.

The Psalmist cried: 'The zeal for [my Father's] house has consumed me... ' (Psalm 69:9 NAS). What's your all-consuming desire? What are you passionate about? What has God called and gifted you to do? Paul's burning desire was to reach the world for Christ. And he succeeded. When his enemies imprisoned him, instead of giving in to defeat he turned his cell into a writer's retreat and penned thirteen epistles that would change more lives after he left the world than he could ever hope to touch while he was in it. What are you willing to give your life to, and for? If your vision is truly of God, you will 'feel' it.

Notice two important things about vision: 1) Your vision must come from God. There's a difference between setting your own goals and having a God-given vision. When your vision is of God, '... it will surely come... ' (Habakkuk 2:3). You won't have to orchestrate events; God will provide the resources and open doors at the right time. Your steps will be directed by Him. Here's an interesting Scripture: '... time and chance happen to them all. For man also does not know his time: like fish taken in a cruel net, like birds caught in a snare, so the sons of men are snared in an evil time... ' (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 NKJV). God will reveal to you your destiny and give you an opportunity to fulfil it. But you can resist it, or postpone it, or give your life to other things and end up missing your 'time' and 'chance.' Don't get caught in that net or trapped in that snare and forfeit what God has for you.

2) Your vision will be connected to a certain field. Joseph's dream started with a field of wheat (Genesis 37:6-7). What's your field? Whether God calls you to the field of medicine, education, finance, real estate, or some other field, it's to be a blessing to others. God told Abraham, '... I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing' (Genesis 12:2 NIV). Don't seek fame, seek to serve others. If you do your impact will be greater than your image and your eternal reward greater than anything you can drive, wear, live in, or hang on a wall.

Jesus said, '... for this reason I was born... ' (John 18:37 NIV). When you know why you're here and what your God-given purpose is, you become virtually unstoppable. You won't be flawless, but you'll have the innate power to overcome each obstacle as you proceed. If you get turned around, God loves you enough to get your attention, correct and redirect you, and get you back on track. But to find the right answers you must first ask the right questions, such as:

1) What desires have been living in me most of my life? 2) What motivates me to be productive? 3) What keeps me going forward when I'm worn out? 4) What makes me refuse to quit when I meet with resistance or opposition? 5) What do I do that doesn't seem like work? 6) What do I do that brings positive response and support from others? 7) What am I doing, or what's happening in my life when doors seem to open automatically and effortlessly? 8) What do discerning leaders and godly counsellors think about my work? 9) What makes me feel good about being who I am? 10) What makes my creative juices flow? 11) What am I willing to sacrifice to accomplish it? 12) What am I doing that I'd be proud to offer for God's approval? 13) What would I do without being paid for, if I could afford to? 14) What would I be willing to withstand satan over, in order to accomplish it? What is God saying to you? It's not too late; 'find' your vision and follow it!

Paul was on a mission. He travelled light, practiced personal discipline, avoided distractions and kept his eye on the ball. '... one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal... ' (Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV). Successful companies live by a mission statement every team member can understand; they keep it before them at all times. God told Habakkuk, '... "Write the vision and make it plain... that he may run who reads it.' Habakkuk 2:2 NKJV You must write your vision down, read it regularly, remember it at all times and run with it. Your greatest enemy isn't the opposition, it's the distractions. Ever heard of 'a white elephant?' When the King of Siam wanted to destroy an enemy, he supposedly gave them a white elephant. In those days white elephants were considered sacred, and nobody dared refuse a king's gift. The trouble was, white elephants couldn't be put to work but they had to be fed - a lot! So the king's 'gift' ended up causing his enemy's downfall. Hello! Guard against 'white elephants' that drain your time, energy and resources. In order to protect your vision, live by these words, '... lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God... consider Him... lest you become weary and discouraged... ' (Hebrews 12:1-3 NKJV).

Five times in Genesis chapter thirty-nine we read: 'But the Lord was with Joseph.' Be encouraged: God is at work in what you're going through right now. Where did Joseph get the wisdom to lead a nation? By dealing with his own family problems, by handling Potiphar's household staff, and by running a prison system. Like rungs on a ladder, each one took him closer to the top. Notice how it worked: his brothers sold him to Ishmaelite slave traders, who sold him to Potiphar, who put him in prison where he met the butler, who introduced him to Pharaoh, who made him Prime Minister of Egypt, fulfilling his dream. Was it easy? No, Until the timecame,'... the word of the Lord tested him' (Psalm 105:19). Your vision will be 'tried' by situations that either make or break you. Bill Gothard describes this process as the birth of the vision, the death of the vision, and the resurrection of the vision. When you've no funds, no friends, and no fight left in you (the death stage), remember the words of Jesus: '... unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies [to self], it produces much grain' (John 12:24 NKJV). When your vision dies and God resurrects it, you begin to talk and act differently. With ego subtracted and grace added, you start saying with the Psalmist , 'I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living' (Psalm 27:13 KJV). At that point God smiles and says, 'You're finally getting it right!'

When a dream comes from God and you commit yourself to it, it will 'surely' be fulfilled. Yes, you'll stumble, be stretched to new limits and maybe even stagger across the finish line, but you'll make it. You'll get to the Promised Land. Look at Moses: he had a history-changing message to deliver to Pharaoh, yet he was a poor speaker. He had marriage problems. He was a 'sole trader' who had to reach his breaking point before he learned to delegate responsibility to others. He had a problem with his temper, as a result God said, '... "This is the land I promised... I have let you see it... but you will not cross over into it." (Deuteronomy 34:4 NIV). But Moses finally got there! 1,400 years later he stood with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration: right in the middle of it! You say, 'I've failed so badly.' David committed adultery, yet his psalms bring strength to multitudes and he's quoted in pulpits around the world. God didn't excuse David, but he forgave him and used him. '... David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God... was buried... ' (Acts 13:36 NKJV). The Bible describes God as, '... ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness... ' (Nehemiah 9:17 NKJV). Notice the words 'ready to pardon.' God is ready when you are, all you have to do is turn to Him. Before Habakkuk wrote about his vision, he said, 'I will... watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected' (Habakkuk 2:1NKJV). Corrected but not discarded! Isn't that wonderful? That's how God's grace works.

There's an interesting picture in Amos '... "A shepherd who tries to rescue a sheep from a lion's mouth will recover only two legs or a piece of an ear. So it will be... ' (Amos 3:12NLT). Picture satan as that lion, you as that lamb, Jesus as that shepherd coming to pick up what's left of you, and see how God brings victory out of defeat. Has life torn your dream to pieces? With God, you only need two things for a comeback: 1) An ear to hear. Stop listening to voices that discourage you; it's not over until God says it's over! God told Ezekiel to prophesy to a valley full of dead, dry bones (Ezekiel 37:4): 'So I prophesied... and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army.' (Ezekiel 37:10NKJV). Your hopes may be dead and your soul dry, but if you listen to what God is saying your dream will live again. 2) A leg to stand on. The God who gave Job twice as much at the end of his trouble as he started with before it, isn't finished with you yet. Read what He's promised and stand on His Word. Achan was stoned to death in the Valley of Achor for stealing the spoils after the battle of Jericho. End of story? No, later, God in His mercy said, 'I will give... the Valley of Achor as a door of hope... ' (Hosea 2:15NKJV). You may be living with your consequences, but by God's grace you can still live to see your dream fulfilled.

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