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Monday, November 12, 2018

Can You Just Imagine What A Lot Of Us Could’ve Become If Only We Had The Guts To Tell People: “I Will Not Allow Your Facts To Interfere With My Vision”

“…Your sons and daughters will prophecy…your young men will see visions.” {Joel 2:28 CEV}

There’s a scene in Man of La Mancha where Don Quixote and his servant are standing gazing at a dilapidated inn. WhenQuixote describes his vision of turrets and magnificent gates, comparing the building to the Alcazar, the royal palace in Seville, the servant tries hard to see his master’s visionHowever, all he can see are ruins. When he attempts to describe them, Quixote tells him to stop, saying, “I will not allow your Facts to interfere with my Vision!” Can You Just Imagine What A Lot Of Us Could’ve Become If Only We Had The Guts To Tell People: “I Will Not Allow Your Facts To Interfere With My Vision”? How many of us would’ve traveled abroad; went away to school; entered the military; tried a completely different field of study; stayed in school; bought that house; started that business; learned that second language; moved to Paris; applied for that loan, grant or scholarship! How much have we really missed out on in life because we allowed their facts to distort our vision?!

Alex Morrison said it best, “You must first clearly see a thing in your mind before you can do it.
And the mind of a child is an absolutely awesome place! Why? Because it’s a place filled with possibilities, no limits, no boundaries, no barriers, no fears, no cares, just great vision of great wonders yet to be accomplished! They’re not afraid to say at such tender ages, “I will be a policeman; I will be an athlete; I will sing at Madison Square Garden; I will dance on Broadway; I will be a fireman; I will be an actress; I will be a doctor; I will be a lawyer; I will be a judge; I will be president!” They don’t focus on the guns, the shooting, the bloody surgeries, the violence, the loss, the frustration, or the fears! They don’t focus on the many disappointments and failures and million times they’ll be told ‘NO!’ They don’t focus on the hours of study or the hours of painfully long rehearsals. They don’t focus on the prejudice they’ll have to confront and conquer. They focus on what they have determined in their mind that they are capable of becoming! They don’t focus on all the training and schooling or even all the people saying ‘you can’t do that’! All they focus on is the vision of becoming what their mind said they could!

“We call a child’s mind “small” simply by habit; perhaps it is larger than ours is, for it can take in almost anything without effort.” (Christopher Morley).

There’s not much you have to talk a child into once they’ve made up their minds! After all, they believe in the tooth fairy that leaves money under their pillows and takes their loss teeth off their hands; they believe in a big fat Santa Clause that carries sacks of toys for every child in the entire world, and he delivers them down a little chimney; they believe in flying reindeer that can keep Santa in the air all night for one night to deliver gifts to the whole world; they believe in a talking Frosty the Snowman who gets on a sled and slides across the snow with the rest of the children; they believe in Easter Bunnies who someone cause drops of chocolate to seep out of their bodies for children to eat; they believe in magic beans, giants and stalks that grow all the way up into the sky! Which is why I agree with Frank Oz, “Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.” Children have such an imagination so big that  there is very little you can tell them that they won’t believe! And yet we as adults are told by our Living Savior that with Him we can do all things, and nothing is too hard, and nothing is impossible, and yet we doubt Him every day. We indeed could learn quite a bit from a child’s mind, and even moreso from childlike faith!

In the last days God promised to pour out His Spirit on ALL kinds of different people (not just the ones we think deserve it)! He said, “…Your sons and daughters will prophecy. Your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions.

One Bible teacher writes: “When The Holy Spirit Fills Us, We Have Visions That Defy Facts! When I deal with young people who get a vision of doing something big for God, I can always count on their parents to throw a little cold water on it. The parents say they want them to be realistic. But such parents don’t understand that when God takes possession of young people, He give them dreams and visions that force them to look beyond the facts, and sometimes run counter to reason. We dare not turn them from these…they are what gives meaning to our lives.”                

Parents (and youth leaders), don’t try to pour your children into the mold of your own unfulfilled expectations! Encourage them to seek God and get a vision for their own future! And when they get it, don’t distort their vision due to your lack of one! Why? Because, “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” (Neil Postman). If we give them discouragement today, their tomorrows will be filled with discouragement. If we give them doubts, fear and low-self-esteem today, their tomorrows will be filled with the same! “Children seldom misquote. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn’t have said.” (Author Unknown). Therefore, you don’t want to fill their hearts, minds and mouths with such words as “you can’t, you’re not smart enough, you don’t have enough money for that, you don’t live in the right neighborhood, you can’t attend that school, you’re not good enough, that’s too hard for you, that’s impossible for you to achieve.” They will reach a point where they quote you word for word and live out the words you’ve spoken repetitively over their lives! And I don’t know about you, but I want to know that the legacy my children continue to carry out after I’m gone is one of no limits, no boundaries, no barriers, no fears, no cares, just great vision of great wonders that they possess the ability to accomplish!

Proverbs 18:21, “Words can bring death or life! Talk too much, and you will eat everything you say.” (CEV) Can you imagine what would happen to our children if they digested everything we said to them? What if all we spoke were words of death? Words that said ‘don’t dream; don’t imagine anything bigger, better or greater than where you are right now, because you’ll never attain it. Don’t apply for college, we don’t have the money and you’re not smart enough anyway. 

Don’t go for that position, you know no one of color is in management on your job. Don’t apply for that mortgage they don’t give stuff like that to us. Why are you trying to start a business, you know no one in our family has ever started a business before. Don’t travel out of the country you don’t know how dangerous that is.’ Can you just imagine if our children ate our death speech every day, what would become of them? However, what if all we spoke were words of life? Words that said, ‘don’t base your dreams, goals and vision off your bank account, God can do anything. 

Regardless to what the doctor said, we will continue to stand on the Word of God that with His stripes you are healed. You can do that, you can become that, you can go there, you can apply for that, you can attend that college, you’re smart enough, you’re good enough. Go for the mortgage, go to the car dealership, apply for the business loan, go for the grant and scholarship, you can do it. I know what our family has not accomplished, but that doesn’t even matter, you will just have to be the first!’ I ask you, can you just imagine if our children ate our life speech every day, what would become of them? Remember: “Words can bring death or life! Talk too much, and you will eat everything you say.” Let’s talk much about the things we want our children to eat daily, and that’s words of hope, trust, belief, vision, and faith! We wouldn’t feed our children anything in the natural that would kill them, so let’s make sure we’re not feeding them anything in the spiritual that would kill them! Teach them early on to starve their fears and feed their faith!

Listen: We don’t want to cloud their vision talking about the storms, winds and waves, but we want to feed their great vision with the truth, that in spite of the storms, winds and waves, they can yet walk on water right in the midst of it all! We don’t want to teach them that the circumstances have to be favorable first, No, we want them to keep their child-like faith and boldness, and walk out in the midst of the storm believing that when God says you can do something, you can do it, regardless to your surroundings!

If We Teach Them to SEE it, They’ll Learn to SEIZE it!               

“A child seldom needs a good talking to as a good listening to.” (Robert Brault). If you want to learn anything about the legacy you’re leaving behind, stop talking and listen to what your children are saying! You’ll either be very glad or very sad, since you gave them the crayons to paint a picture of their future! If it’s all gray, black and white, that’s all the color and encouragement you gave them! Teach our children how to color outside of the box, and to use every color in the box. Free them from the fear of comfort zones and conformity. Teach them that it’s okay to be different. They don’t have to fit in. They can break the status quo. Build their faith so that they won’t allow the negative speech of others to crumble their belief!

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” (Frederick Douglass).
With that said, back in the 60’s, youth were pushed hard to believe that they were Somebody, and that they could do great things regardless of their skin color! So what happened?! Why did we stop pushing them? Why did we stop supporting them? Why did we start hindering their hope? And viciously attacking their vision? Why are our youth under the impression that their dress attire doesn’t matter? Grooming doesn’t matter? Proper language doesn’t matter? 

Education and employment don’t matter? Kids having kids doesn’t matter? When did they get the image that the best for them is standing around with a bunch of guys on a street corner, instead of standing around a bunch of guys in the board room? When did they get the idea that the “attire of a harlot” is appropriate attire in the house of God? What happened?! Truth is, we can’t blame a generation of ignorance, when it was US that stopped teaching such valuable lessons!

Listen to this: “(Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became crippled. His name was Mephibosheth).” (2 Samuel 4:4 NIV). What I find amazing about this story is that Mephibosheth was fine for the first five years of his life, but then an adult picks him up, drops him and he’s crippled for life! Truth is, we like to point our fingers at our young people, but as adults we fail to take responsibility for the fact and the truth that many of them were doing just fine before we interfered! Until we attempted to take charge and pick them up and carry them off to where we THOUGHT they should go, they were doing alright! Here’s a big pill to swallow: A lot of their “Crippling” came because we dropped them in the process of taking them in a direction WE THOUGHT BEST!

ADULTS: Take the time this week to really listen to our youth! Ask them about where they are, and where they plan to go. Ask them about the plans they have for their OWN lives, and don’t try to get a needle and thread and weave your ideas in there! Simply listen, and support! Encourage and reinforce that they can fulfill the Vision for their lives no matter how big, or even ridiculous it may sound to you! Let’s stop “Crippling” our children by trying to carry them into the place and vision WE have in mind for them, instead let’s walk side by side with them, enjoying the view of a beautiful vision that they have for themselves!

Yes, they are children, but remember, children aren’t afraid to believe and dream! Don’t spoil that for them! Don’t allow what you allowed to hinder you, to hurt them. Truthfully, maybe there are some goals, vision and dreams that you had for yourself that you didn’t accomplish. Well, you can continue to push for them if you’ll walk with childlike faith and believe that it is still possible, because it is. But more importantly, let’s push our youth to accomplish great things. 

After all, we don’t want them to suffer from the same feelings of regret that many of us suffer with today. Let’s be to them today, who we needed others to be for us in our yesterdays. Don’t distort their vision, let them tell you what they see, then help them to see it even bigger, even clearer!

“The Jewish people, ever since David slew Goliath, have never considered youth as a barrier to leadership.” (John Fitzgerald Kennedy).

 “Children are one third of our population and all of our future.” (Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health, 1981)

 “Dear young people; do not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things.” (Pope Francis)

J.P. Olson  

Monday, November 5, 2018

Racism Is A Sin. It's In The Bible. Racism Exists Because Of The Language Barrier: We Don’t Speak The Same Language. What Do I Mean By Language? I’m Going To Answer From A Biblical Christian Point.

All men have the same blood. It's in the Bible, Acts 17:26, KJV. "And has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth."

So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. Acts10: 34:35. For God shows no partiality: Romans: 2:11

Let’s first define our term. Racism is about making quick judgments on the characteristics of a race to rate them as inferior or superior—demonstrating partiality or bias

Racism is a problem we can’t ignore or run away from. It’s an issue today, and it was an issue throughout history, including when the Bible was written.

How Would I Describe Racism In America And The World? Language Is The Problem. 

What Do I Mean By Language? I’m Going To Answer From A Biblical Christian Point Of View. Racism Exists Because Of The Language Barrier; We Don’t Speak The Same Language—the language of God.

If I were to compare a white person and a black person, I would describe it as a white egg vs. a brown egg. Each has the same internal content: A yolk. There’s no difference in the yolk or in the taste. The outside looks different, but when you open it, it’s the same. I could describe it as white milk vs. chocolate milk. Both chocolate and white milk both contain 16 essential nutrients and Vitamin D. They are both packed full of protein and are a great way to stay healthy. They look different on the outside, but the results are the same when you drink it. One may be sweet and the other not, but they have the same benefits. If you would cut each of us open, we would all bleed the same red blood; when we die, we all become what we were before creation—dust. 

So how would I describe racism? Language is the problem. What do I mean by language?

God speaks one language—the language of love. Not hate, not partiality, not favoritism. He speaks of love and trust. Actually trust is His love language. Racism is created through hate not love. You are not born with it; you are taught to be a racist, to distribute hate, to discriminate, and to exercise prejudice. If we allow this, we have now become the receiver, deliverer, carrier, and distributor of hate.

When I say we have a problem with language, I’m not talking about English vs. Spanish vs. Chinese. I’m not talking about different nationalities. I am talking about our differences from the one and only God who speaks one language to all of humanity.  If all humanity spoke God’s language—the one language of love, there would be no racism.

Certain groups of people feel they are superior than others. Wrong. Bad thinking. God didn’t create perfect people, nor did He create superior people.  

God did create a perfect angel name Lucifer. “Thus says the Lord God: ‘You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, topaz, and jasper, chrysalides, beryl, and onyx, sapphire, carbuncle, and emerald; and wrought in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. With an anointed guardian cherub I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.’” (Ezekiel 28:12-15 RSV) What was created to love is now distributing hate on this earth. As a result, for centuries this hate has thrown humanity into a pit of destruction. 

But God has a plan to bring His love back into creation. What does He do? He sends His only begotten Son, One who is filled with love to save a sinful world full of hate. His name is Jesus the Christ—the perfect being without sin. If we could spread His love as much as we talk about it, we could eradicate hate. And here is our problem: 

We speak on it, talk about it; however, we do a poor job demonstrating it with our actions, our life, and our daily walk.

Bottom line: Racism exists because of the language barrier; we don’t speak the same language—the language of God, the Love Language that He so desires for us to speak. Hate crimes exist for the same reason.  

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o'clock on Sunday morning.” 
Dr. King’s words are often repeated with no sense that the persons who employ them also find it appalling. No, they are simply repeated, and expressed without a challenge to our poor Christian witness and without a plan to change it. The idea that race and its progeny do much to undo our declarations of the unconditional love and acceptance of God is never mentioned. There’s a simple word for all of this: hypocrisy.

Some say, “We have diversity in the church,” but if you would look at what they call diversity you would laugh, the disparity between the races that are attending the church is huge whether it is a predominantly white church with black members or a predominantly black church with white members.

Some say that it is because we worship differently, that it is because of cultural preferences and understandings, blacks and whites prefer different churches. But reducing the reason for the absence of diversity in American churches to worship style is too simple a conclusion. It’s an excuse, not a reason. The manner in which we celebrate God is not what separates us. God has already told us how we are to worship: “in spirit and in truth” (John 4.24). It is a posture and not a particular practice that God desires. This should determine the manner in which we worship, if God is the focus of the Sunday morning service.

The Church is divided. Each Sunday you may witness racism at its highest level—not at every church, but at a very large percentage. Church is the one place where you should see love demonstrated on every level. If it is not shown or demonstrated in the church, where could you possibly find unity among brothers and sisters? Can you find it among the music community? Many people believe you can. Can you find it among the medical community? In the sports community? No, even in these communities, you will see racism rear its ugly head. There is a language barrier in the church, in the music community, in the medical community, and in the sports community. That language barrier comes out in job discrimination and in many other areas of life.

Until we learn to speak God’s language of love as one people in unity, we will forever experience racism, hate crimes, and every other evil until the Son of God returns. 

In a nutshell, my sisters and brothers, we are in deep trouble. How do we turn this around? Can we change this disease? Yes, immediately shut it down at the onset. 

When you see it or hear it, do not entertain it. Practice what you preach. Let your actions speak for themselves. Speak God’s language that He so desires to hear you speak. Again, I am not speaking of all of the hundreds of languages spoken worldwide, and I am not speaking of the English language. I am speaking of the language of love, the language of agape love that Jesus demonstrated. If a person can be taught to hate, that same person can be taught to love.

If we don’t start speaking the same language that God has commanded us to speak; parts of heaven that should be filled will remain empty. Anyone thinking that heaven will be divided by race, by superiority, or by favoritism is in for a rude awakening. It’s time to start speaking the same language that we all understand—the language of love. Until we do, my friends, racism will still exist. 

Let us look at ten biblical reasons why racism is a sin and offensive to God.

1. We are all made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). We are more alike than we are different. God cares how we treat each other because we’re all created in His image He makes no distinction between the inherent value of one race or ethnicity over another.

2. We are all sinners corrupted by the fall (Roman 3:10-205:12-21) Everyone made in the image of God has also had that image tainted and marred by original sin. Our anthropology is as identical as our ontology. Same image, same problem. We are more alike than we are different.

3. We are all, if believers in Jesus one in Christ (Gal. 3:28). We see from the rest of the New Testament that justification by faith does not eradicate our gender, our vocation, or our ethnicity, but it does relativize all these things. Our first and most important identity is not male or female, American or Russian, black or white, Spanish speaker or French speaker, rich or poor, influential or obscure, but Christian. We are more alike than we are different.

4. Separating peoples was a curse from Babel (Gen. 11:7-9); bringing peoples together was a gift from Pentecost Acts 2:5-11. The reality of Pentecost may not be possible in every community–after all, Jerusalem had all those people there because of the holy day–but if our inclination is to move in the direction of the punishment of Genesis 11 instead of the blessing of Acts 2 something is wrong.

5. Partiality is a sin (James 2:1). When we treat people unfairly, when we assume the worst about persons and peoples, when we favor one group over another, we do not reflect the God of justice nor do we honor the Christ who came to save all men.

6. Real love loves as we hope to be loved (Matt.22:39-40). No one can honestly say that racism treats our neighbor as we would like to be treated.

7. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer (1 John 3:15). Sadly, we can hate without realizing we hate. Hatred does not always manifest itself as implacable rage, and it does not always–or, because of God’s restraining mercy, often–translate into physical murder. But hatred is murder of the heart, because hatred looks at someone else or some other group and thinks, “I wish you weren’t around. You are what is wrong with this world, and the world would be better without people like you.” That’s hate, which sounds an awful lot like murder.

8. Love rejoices in what is true and looks for what is best (1 Cor. 13:4-7). You can’t believe all things and hope all things when you assume the worst about people and live your life fueled by prejudice, misguided convictions, and plain old animosity.

9. Christ came to tear down walls between peoples not build them up (Eph. 2:14). This is not a saccharine promise about everyone setting doctrine aside and getting along for Jesus sake. Ephesians 2 and 3 are about something much deeper, much more glorious, and much more cruciform. If we who have been made in the same image, born into the world with the same problem, find the same redemption through the same faith in the same Lord, how can we not draw near to each other as members of the same family?

10. Heaven has no room for racism (Rev. 5:9-10: 7:9-12; 22:1-5). Woe to us if our vision of the good life here on earth will be completely undone by the reality of new heavens and new earth yet to come. Antagonism toward people of another color, language, or ethnic background is antagonism toward God himself and his design for eternity. Christians ought to reject racism, and do what they can to expose it and bring the gospel to bear upon it, not because we love pats on the back for our moral outrage or are desperate for restored moral authority, but because we love God and submit ourselves to the authority of his word.

I will end my writing on these quotes by Mahatma Gandhi:  
You must be the change you wish to see in the world. 

'I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.'

J.P. Olson

Monday, October 29, 2018

People of God Prepare Yourself, Because He's Going To Bless You, But FIRST HE'S GOING TO BURDEN YOU. Don’t Ask God To Hand You What You’re Not Ready To Carry!

“Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the Vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.” (Habakkuk 2:2 NKJV) 

Before God blesses you with a plan of action He will first BURDEN You With The Problem You've Been Called To Help Solve! A ‘burden’ is defined as, ‘a heavy load; a cause of hardship, worry, or grief; something that is carried; something oppressive or worrisome; a thing to bear; a duty; responsibility; something that weighs down.’ You see, so many are running to God asking Him for a vision, but they don’t want the burden that comes attached to the vision. Receiving a vision from God will cost you. And the price is heavy. Oftentimes a vision from God will keep you up late at night; pacing the floor; spending countless hours in prayer; fasting for weeks on end; even separating yourself from familiar people, places and things. It often makes you uncomfortable because it takes you out of your comfort zone into unfamiliar places. Often a vision from God comes with the weight of burden. It doesn’t come cheap or easy. So before you go to God the next time asking for a vision, be careful, because you just may get more than you bargained for!  

When it comes to God’s vision and purpose, it comes with glory, and His glory always carry’s weight! Accepting an assignment from God, receiving vision from God, fulfilling purpose in God, will come with burden and glory, and both are heavy! Don’t Ask God To Hand You What You’re Not Ready To Carry! 

Yes, the prophet received a vision, but it came at the expense of him crying out to God; with him facing trouble and violence; unanswered questions; powerlessness and even being surrounded by wickedness. Are you really sure you’re ready to pay the price of carrying vision and burden? 
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.  

People of God Prepare Yourself, Because He's going to Bless You, but FIRST HE'S GOING TO BURDEN YOU!

The Psalmist cried: 'The zeal for Your house has CONSUMED me...' (Psalm 69:9 NASB). Today, ask yourself the following questions, ‘What's my all-consuming desire? What am I passionate about? 

What has God called and gifted me to do?’ You see, the word ‘zeal’ is defined as, ‘eagerness in pursuit of an interest; a fervor; passion; enthusiasm; an intense, compelling emotion that requires action; it’s a deep stirring; a determination to do something.’ And where was the psalmist zeal? In God’s House! What are you doing in God’s House?! Are your gifts, talents, skill-set, ability, anointing, calling all being passionately utilized in the Lord’s House? Or are you simply warming pulpit/pew chairs until the Lord returns? What are you doing with what God gave 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! So, what are you willing to give your life to, and for, that will impact this world while you’re here and in an even greater way after your gone? Why is that important to ask? Because if your vision is truly of God, you will 'FEEL' a BURDEN for it! And that BURDEN will be COSTLY! And you need to be honest with yourself and find out if you're really willing to pay the price?

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). In other words, you won't have to orchestrate events behind the scenes; God will provide the resources and open the right doors at the right time and you’ll enter them with all the right people! Your steps will be directed by Him! But 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). '...TIME AND CHANCE happen to them all..." God will reveal to you your destiny and give you an opportunity to fulfill it. But, you can resist it, or postpone it, or give your life to other things and end up missing your 'TIME' and 'CHANCE', according to the Scripture. Which is why I admonish you, DON'T GET CAUGHT IN THAT NET OR TRAPPED IN THAT SNARE AND FORFEIT WHAT GOD HAS FOR YOU! Your ‘TIME’ and ‘CHANCE’ have a limit. You don’t accomplish them after death; you accomplish them in the time God has given you to live! Don’t die having let everybody use you but God! When God gives you the vision; sets the due time for it to come to pass; and grants you the perfect chance to go for it, don’t be caught like the foolish virgins missing out on what you could’ve got in on, if only you were prepared and ready when the opportunity presented itself!

2)   YOUR VISION WILL BE CONNECTED TO A CERTAIN FIELD: Joseph's dream started with a field of wheat (Genesis 37:6-7, “Joseph had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said, “Listen to this dream I had. We were all out in the field gathering bundles of wheat...” MSG). So, what's your field? Because, whether God calls you to the field of medicine, education, finance, ministry, real estate, or some other field, it's to be a blessing to others! It’s not for you to boast, it’s for you to be a blessing! God told Abraham, '...I will make your name great, and you will BE A BLESSING' (Genesis 12:2 NIV).Don't seek fortune, fame, popularity, stardom, or the like, but 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! THEREFORE, FIND YOUR FIELD!

Jesus said, '...In fact, THE 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 counselors 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?  

You Need To Know: What is the reason you were born’? And it's not too late; so 'find' your vision and follow it!

Paul was on a mission! He traveled light, practiced personal discipline, avoided distractions and kept his eye on the ball. The Bible says, ' thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize...' (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! SO LET NOTHING AND NO ONE MESS WITH YOU ACCOMPLISHING YOUR MISSION!

DON'T LET DISTRACTIONS DIVERT YOUR VISION! ‘Divert’ is to, ‘turn aside; deviate; to turn from one course or use to another; to distract; to entertain.’ You cannot afford to lose sight of your vision; nor to distort your vision because you’ve become so busy entertaining distractions. Which reminds me of a quote I heard: “Don’t Blame A Clown For Acting Like A Clown, Blame Yourself For Going To The Circus.” People of God, Stay Focused!

Five times in Genesis chapter thirty-nine we read: 'But the Lord was with Joseph.Be encouraged: God is at work with you and 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 time that his word came the word of the LORD tried him” (Psalm 105:19). Prepare Yourself: Your vision will be 'tried' by situations that either make or break you! And the word ‘tried’ is defined as, ‘to be found good and faithful; to be found trustworthy through experience, trials, distress or testing.’ And indeed that same text in psalm read in the Message Bible proves Joseph was tried by testing and he passed with flying colors! “Then he called down a famine on the country, he broke every last blade of wheat. But he sent a man on ahead: Joseph, sold as a slave. They put cruel chains on his ankles, an iron collar around his neck, Until God’s Word came to Pharaoh, and God confirmed His promise. God sent the king to release him. The Pharaoh set Joseph free; he appointed him master of his palace, put him in charge of all his business to personally instruct his princes and train his advisors in wisdom.” (Psalm 105:16-22 MSG) 

Now, some of you may ask, ‘but what do you do when you already received a vision, but it died?’ 
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). At that point God smiles and says, 'You're finally getting it right! You’re finally ready to receive the resurrection of your dreams, purpose and vision.Once you get it right with God, you get to begin again. Remember, Joseph didn’t just have one dream, but the second was bigger than the first, and yours can be also!

When a vision 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, even if failure is the road you have to travel in order to get there! Look at Moses: he had a history-changing message to deliver to Pharaoh, yet he was a poor speaker. He had marriage problems. He had to reach his breaking point before he learned to delegate responsibility to others. He experienced sibling rivalry. He even had a problem with his temper, and 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, maybe not in life, but most certainly in death! 1,400 years later he stood with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration: right in the middle of it! Matthew 17:1-3, “Six days later, three of them saw that glory. Jesus took Peter and the brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. Sunlight poured from his face. His clothes were filled with light. Then they realized that Moses and Elijah were also there in deep conversation with him.” (MSG) 

Lastly, 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 3:12 NLT). 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 vision to pieces like the image in Amos? If so, keep in mind, with God, you only need two things for a comeback according to what’s recovered in Amos:

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 37:10 NKJV). Your hopes may be dead and your soul dry, but if you listen to what God is saying your vision will live againKeep your hear to God’s mouth, receive His instructions, obey them, revive your vision, and this time let it live!

2)   A Leg to Stand OnThe 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! Look at it this way: Achan was stoned to death in the Valley of Achor for stealing the spoils after the battle of Jericho. End of the story? Not a chance, later, God in His mercy said, 'I will give... the Valley of Achor as a door of Hope...' (Hosea 2:15 NKJV). You may be living with your consequences, but by God's grace you can still live to see your vision fulfilled! There is Hope in the Valley for Your VisionYour Valley of Achor may have started out with a Stoning, but it will end with You and Your Vision Surviving and Walking Through New Open Doors of Opportunity! Don’t throw in the towel, don’t give up and don’t quit! 


J.P. Olson