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Monday, November 26, 2018

Jesus Lifestyle Of “Stick-To-It-Ness” Teaches Us How To Function Even When We’re Surrounded By Dysfunction! When Your Situation Seems To Hard To Handle. Remind Yourself What God Said.

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the PLANS I have for you, declares the LORD, PLANS to prosper you and not to harm you, PLANS to give you hope and a future.” (NIV).

Today God is saying to you, “WHILE IN PROCESS, STICK TO THE PLAN!” 
Now, in case you didn’t know, absolutely nothing takes God by surprise! He is, in fact, the BEST Master Planner ever known! Think about it: If He’s planned the entire universe, and not one ounce of it has yet to fail, do you really think He’s incapable of fulfilling the plans He has for your life?!  

Let's take a peek at one Scripture from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament: Genesis 1:1-2, "In the beginning God (Elohim) created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth.  The earth was formless and void or a waste and emptiness, and darkness was upon the face of the deep [primeval ocean that covered the unformed earth]. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters." (AMP) And yet, you're concerned that God doesn't have a plan for your life? You're doubting, fearful, anxious and worried about what God has planned for you, when He's already proven He can Create Anything and Everything out of Absolutely Nothing?! He created the Heavens and the Earth, and you doubt He can handle your life? John 1:1-2, "In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.  He was [continually existing] in the beginning [co-eternally] with God." (AMP) Pay attention, He was in the beginning before all time and is even now continually existing says the Bible. So why are you stressed out over what will come up over the course of your life, when you serve the One Who was here before it all began and is still here keeping it all under control? How can you possibly not trust Him to keep His Word that He has a plan for your life?! Saints, today is the day you began to trust God like never before, no matter how dark your current circumstances may be! He has a proven track record that when He plans something it comes to pass, and His record will never take a loss or come up short of all it's promised! He has a plan, now all you have to do is trust Him and stick with it!  

Even Joseph discovered that when your family turns against you, your friends let you down and you finish up in trouble, GOD STILL HAS A PLAN! Ultimately, looking back Joseph could say, “ PLANNED evil against me but God used those SAME PLANS for my good...” (Genesis 50:20 MSG). People of God, When Your Situation Seems Too Hard To Handle And Downright Impossible To Explain, REMIND YOURSELF THAT GOD SAID, “...I Know The PLANS I Have For You...” And neither God nor His plans nor His Word can ever fail! Isaiah 55:11, “So will My Word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me void (useless, without result), Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (AMP) The Message Bible says it like this: “So will the words that come out of My mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.” (MSG) God’s Word Will Always Successfully Accomplish the Assignment He Gave Them to Complete! Embrace This: God doesn't do incomplete assignments! Philippians 1:6, " I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and COMPLETE IT until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return]." (AMP). So When He Promises You, “…I Know the PLANS I Have for You…”, You Can Rest Assured That His Plans Will Come to Pass! People of God, No Matter the Pressure, Stick to the Plan!

Now, believe it or not, but some of us are not even sure God has made up His mind about us, so we keep trying to earn His favor! Saints, Give it up! Receive the truth that God, for Christ’s sake, has DELIBERATELY DECIDED to bless you, REGARDLESS! And the word ‘regardless’ is defined as, ‘despite the prevailing circumstances; without regard for the situation; and despite everything.’ And that’s exactly how God is going to bless you! Regardless of your failures, sin, faults, mistakes, deliberate bad decisions and the like, He’s still going to bless you despite your circumstances, situation, and Everything else! Listen: It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, who you did it with, how many times you did, when you did it last, when you return back to God He blesses you Regardless, as if none of it ever happened! Now who wouldn’t trust His Plans?!  



Again, Paul writes, “...But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation HE WILL [ALWAYS] ALSO PROVIDE THE WAY OUT (THE MEANS OF ESCAPE TO A LANDING PLACE) THAT YOU MAY BE CAPABLE AND STRONG AND POWERFUL TO BEAR UP UNDER IT PATIENTLY” (1 Corinthians 10:13 AMP). Observe: 
1.      In times of testing, you discover just how faithful God is!
2.      He knows what you can handle!
3.      He will “make a way” so you can exit this season stronger than you entered it, and make you ready for what He has for you next!

So STICK TO THE PLAN! The fact that you have a PROBLEM is a sign that you have a PROMISE! It’s only a matter of time before God reveals it through your PROCESS!

Look at it like this: Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, YET HE DIDN’T STOP HIM! He could have summoned twelve legions of angels to help Him, YET HE DIDN’T CALL ON THEM! Under the weight of our sins He cried from the cross, “...My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 NIV). IN SPITE OF ALL THIS, HE UNDERSTOOD IT WAS ALL PART OF THE FATHER’S PLAN! His actions and words, teach us that:
You can be in God’s plan, yet at times feel overwhelmed and alone!
2.      When God doesn’t answer, you must stand on the Word He has given you!
3.      The pain of this season will eventually give way to the joy God has awaiting you on the other side of it!

Jesus says to you, “I have set you an EXAMPLE that you should do as I have done…” (John 13:15 NIV). Why? Because, that’s what real disciples do! The word “Disciple” comes from the Latin Origin “discipulus” which means “Learner.” Disciples are to learn from their Lord and imitate His ways! That’s why Jesus said: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. LEARN the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll LEARN to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG). If you would just learn from Him and live like Him, you too will be able to stick to the plan, even when your purpose is under attack! 

Jesus Lifestyle Of “Stick-To-It-Ness” Teaches Us How To Function Even When We’re Surrounded By Dysfunction! Understand That The Enemy Will Come Against The Plan Of God In Your Life, Because That Plan Is Like A Hedge Of Protection Around You! As long as you stay in God’s plan, nothing that the enemy does can destroy you! So, when you feel like you’ve reached the end of your rope and you can’t go another step, do what Jesus did—pray, “...Father, I place My life in Your hands!...” (Luke 23:46 MSG). Don’t Give Out! Just Give it to God! Look up and say, “Lord, I’m trusting You to do what I cannot do! Bring me through this! Here it is; I’m turning it over to You! My life, my future, and my all are in Your capable hands!” And why is that such a safe place?! Because Jesus said: “My Father gave my sheep to me. He is greater than all, and no person can steal My sheep out of My Father’s hand.” (John 10:29 NCV). So, if Jesus could hang in there, on nails, surely you can hang in there too! Because the truth is, there will be circumstances that will transpire in your life that will make you feel like you’re literally hanging on by nails. The pain, the frustration, the loneliness, the enemies, the poking, the mockery, the lies, the betrayal, will all feel like too much to bear on some days. And still I say to you, Stick to the Plan of God for your life! Yes, you’re under pressure, but you’re still under purpose too! So Stick to the Plan!

Now, Peter also proved that as long as you keep your eyes on Jesus and stick to the plan, you'll survive! Notice some lessons to keep on hand:
1.      BEFORE YOU GET INTO SOMETHING, MAKE SURE IT’S GOD’S WILL FOR YOU! Peter said, “Lord, IF IT’S YOU,...tell me to come to you on the water” (Matthew 14:28 NIV), and Jesus said, “Come” (Matthew 14:29 NIV)! In other words, stop yearning for years for people to confirm and validate you and what God has called you to do! Jesus can confirm and validate you all by Himself, and He can do it immediately and even with one Word: “Come”! So, before you take on something like water-walking, pray and be sure God’s in it! Once you know it’s Him, and from Him, STICK TO THE PLAN! You’ll Began to Walk On What Others Will Only Watch!

2.      DON’T EXPECT EVERYBODY IN THE BOAT TO GO WITH YOU! Water-walking is a lonely calling; it sets you apart from those who are timid and security-minded! It also tends to bring criticism from those who think you’re making them look bad by contrast! So stop walking on the water while waiting for the crowd to cheer you on! You do realize they’re still in the boat?! And I promise you, at least one of them hopes you drown! Everybody’s not going to go with you, because not everybody is happy that you’re going in the first place!  Get over it!

3.      IF YOU WAIT FOR PERFECT CONDITIONS YOU’LL MISS YOUR MOMENT! When Jesus said, “Come,” they were in the middle of a storm! Face it; we’d all like the stars to line up, or some big donor to underwrite the whole project before we make a move! But how often does that happen?! Likewise, it’s not about the Condition it’s about the Command! Peter was doing more than walking on the water in the first place; he was walking on the Word given to him by Jesus! So, what has God told you to do and you’re still sitting instead of walking? No matter what it is, stop waiting for ideal conditions and start doing it!

4.      DON’T EXPECT A MISTAKE-FREE PERFORMANCE! Nobody walks on water without fluctuation! The Bible describes its heroes in one sentence: “...Although they were weak, they were given...strength and power...” (Hebrews 11:34 CEV). Believe it or not, all the great men and women of God you admire, go through sinking spells when they cry out, “Lord, save me.” And do you know what? He does! And He’ll do the same for you! Therefore, God is not looking for you to be perfect, He’s simply looking for you to obediently perform! So get to it! Remember, you come from a long line of overcomers who stuck to God’s plan, even through pain: Hebrews 11:32-38, “I could go on and on, but I’ve run out of time. There are so many more—Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets. . . . Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms, made justice work, took the promises for themselves. They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead. Listen, I don’t care how anointed, gifted, powerful and wonderful you are. You will never have a mistake free performance. However, no matter how faulty your performance, if you stick to the plan, you will fulfill the plan of God for your life. 

5.      But you have to get over needing people to cheer you on, needing all the conditions of life to line up in your favor, expecting support on every hand, and thinking you can accomplish a perfect performance. Sticking to the plan doesn’t mean you won’t experience being stuck in some places you’d rather not be. After all, Jesus stuck to the plan and it got Him a cross, Paul stuck to the plan and he received a shipwreck, Noah stuck to the plan and he became a laughingstock, Joseph stuck to the plan and he ended up in a pit and prison. In other words, sticking to the plan is not always easy, but worth it. So endure the entire painful process and STICK TO THE PLAN! Remember God KNOWS What He’s Doing, He Has it All Planned Out! 

Jeremiah 29:10-11, “This is God’s Word on the subject: “… I’ll show up and take care of you as I PROMISED and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I HAVE IT ALL PLANNED OUT—PLANS to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (MSG) 

Lastly, God's plan for you is for YOU. It's tailor-made just for You. And the term 'tailor-made' is defined as, 'to be made for a particular purpose or person.' Which means, no comparing the plan God has for You with anyone else! God does not deal in Bulk Plans! His plans do not come on an assembly line. They are custom-made for each customer! So, if God isn't comparing His plans and purpose for you with anyone else, make sure you follow His example!  Live out the tailor-made plan of God for your life, and stick with it!

 “As much as you want to plan your life, it has a way of surprising you with unexpected things that will make you happier than you originally planned. That’s what you call God’s Will.” 

 “There is no setback you can face in life that God doesn’t already have a comeback plan for.” 

“God’s plan is bigger than your mistakes.” 

“God has a perfect plan for us. He never does it all at once, just step by step because he wants to teach us to walk by faith, not by sight.” 

 “God upsets our plan only to set up His own plan. We see our present and plan our future, but God sees our future and plans our present.”

 “God can see things that you can’t see. It may not make sense right now, but one day, when God’s whole plan unfolds, you will see what God is up to.” 

“If your plans don’t work out, don’t worry, God has better ones.” 

“When God doesn’t answer your prayer, it means that He has another plan for you. Just be patient.” 

“The most important lesson that I have learned is to trust God in every circumstance. Lots of times we go through different trials and following God’s plan seems like it doesn’t make any sense at all. God is always in control and He will never leave us.” (Allyson Felix) 
“God’s plan for your life is a lot better than the one you’ve been working on.” 

“I don’t have to figure out why or how or when. God has a plan, and I’m committed to it. That commitment frees me from having to worry about the details.” (Barbara Johnson) 

J.P. Olson

Monday, November 19, 2018

There Is A “Connection”, There’s “His Part And Our Part”. When You Make Every Effort To Fix What Your Sin May Have Damaged, You Complete The Spiritual Circle Of Repentance, Restoration And Healing.

2 Corinthians 7:9-10, “yet I am glad now, not because you were hurt and made sorry, but because your sorrow led to repentance [and you turned back to God]; for you felt a grief such as God meant you to feel, so that you might not suffer loss in anything on our account. For [godly] sorrow that is in accord with the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but worldly sorrow [the hopeless sorrow of those who do not believe] produces death.” (AMP).

2 Corinthians 7:9-10. It's really about how to clean up the messes we've made. It involves that renewing, transforming process the Bible calls Repentance. You might say, "Oh, you mean feeling bad about what I did?" Well, not exactly.
The word “repentance” is defined as “deep sorrow, compunction (‘a feeling of guilt or moral scruple that prevents or follows wrongdoing’. Its Latin origin ‘compungere’ literally means ‘to prick sharply’), or contrition (‘feeling or expressing remorse’) for a past sin, wrongdoing; to regret.” 

However, biblical repentance by definition is a bit more detailed. I love one of its translations “metanoeo” which means “to change one’s mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge.” Its verb is used to denote “a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.” But many of us prefer the translation “metamelomai” which is used of a change of mind, regret or remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart.” (Example: Judas – Matthew 27:3, “When Judas, His betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was gripped with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. Saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They replied, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And throwing the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary, he left; and went away and hanged himself” AMP). He may have changed his mind, but taking his life didn’t change what was already in his heart. “Metanoeo” is to change mind, purpose, and life, not take it away. It is to deliberately accept your wrong, admit it and change it for the better. It’s more than saying “I’m sorry”, it’s a complete change of mind, purpose, heart, and life! Don’t take repentance lightly!

Look at verse 9 it says, "Your sorrow led you to repentance." Feeling sorry is a good start on repentance, but it's sure not the whole story. Verse 10 says, "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret. See what this godly sorrow is producing in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.You see, these people understood repentance. It's not just a forgiveness-fix for your guilty feelings. It's an all-out campaign to fix what your sin messed up. It's the kind of cleanup that "leaves no regret." Repentance doesn’t just bring it to an end, but it turns it all the way around. I love the quote “a bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you refuse to turn.” Repentance is more than bowing your head in sorrow and feeling sorry, but in the definition of the Naves Dictionary, it is “to make a complete reversal of ones attitude and values; a complete turning back toward God.” It’s not enough to say I broke it, repentance also fixes it. Repentance sees the bend in the road that leads back to rightness with God and takes it!

It’s so unfortunate today that the church uses and misuses grace, mercy and forgiveness. It is not a band aide you slap over a deep gash! You don’t say “I’m sorry, God forgive me, I’m forgiven, now let’s start over…but this time not get caught”. No, repentance changes you from the inside out. Why are we under the impression that we can do wrong, and God makes it right, only so we can do wrong again…just in a better way?! No! We have a part to play! Listen to Matthew 6, “In prayer there is a CONNECTION between what GOD DOES and WHAT YOU DO. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do YOUR PART, you cut yourself off from GOD’S PART.”(14-15 MSG). Despite what today’s church makes it sound like, all the work doesn’t fall on God’s shoulders. 

There Is A “Connection”, There’s “His Part And Our Part”. So just as in forgiveness you have to do your part and God does His, so in repentance you do your part and God does His. He forgives, renews and restores us. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have work to do on our part. Yes, my daughter said sorry, but she also had to get a rag, some soap, a bucket and water and get to cleaning up the mess she made. Why? Because she made it and it was her responsibility to clean it up. Likewise, God didn’t make your mess, you did, so stop expecting Him to clean up what is your responsibility!

For instance, if you've wronged anyone, would you obey the Spirit's prompting to go back and make it right? If you took something, would you repay what you took? If you helped someone else sin by what you did, would you go back and tell them you're sorry? Even if they don't realize it was wrong, will you make right what your lying or your gossip or your anger did to someone?

When You Make Every Effort To Fix What Your Sin May Have Damaged, You Complete The Spiritual Circle Of Repentance, Restoration And Healing. Now, this will require a special grace and a special courage from the Lord. But if He's telling you to do this, He will give you everything you need to obey Him. The Lord who has forgiven that sin may now be pointing to a mess we made and lovingly saying, "Clean it up."

By making things right you can really close a chapter. You can actually say a firm goodbye to the sin of the past, and maybe really feel that great forgiveness that Jesus has already given you.

Today is a good day to get clean! Today is a good day to be made whole! You’ve walked around fractured and fragmented long enough, and so have the people you’ve hurt along the way. Take time today to self-exam and see the people in which you’ve damaged and ask God for the tools to help you make repairs. Too often families are destroyed, friendships are lost, opportunities are never recovered, churches are split and lives are severely injured, all because we don’t do our part. Maturity means I know I can go to God and repent and be forgiven and restored. But maturity in its fullness also means going to the person I hurt, acknowledging the pain I caused, admitting my wrong, humbly asking for their forgiveness, and changing ME so that I never cause this or any other like injury to them or anyone else again. 

2 Corinthians 7:8-10, “I know I distressed you greatly with my letter. Although I felt awful at the time, I don’t feel at all bad now that I see how it turned out. The letter upset you, but only for a while. Now I’m glad—not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him. The result was all gain, no loss. Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.” (MSG)

And maybe that’s where you are right now. You’re misunderstanding all the distress in your life because you keep ascribing it all to the Devil, but what if it’s God?! Remember what the Word of God said, "Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation." And there is no way in the world that Satan wants to send us a distress that would cause us to turn from Sin and back to Salvation! Maybe that pain, that struggle, that hurt, that betrayal, that lay off, that abandonment and rejection were all tools God allowed to distress you enough that it sent you running back to the God that sin had you running from! Perspective is always key! And distress is not always the devil! Genesis 50:20, “Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people...” (MSG) Yes, God can still use evil and turn it around for your good! Distress doesn’t always come to hurt you, sometimes it comes to help you! Just look at Joseph’s brothers, their evil plans not only worked for Joseph's good, but life for many people! And your distress will work for you the same way! You see when you allow that distress to drive you back to God and salvation, and you remedy the friendships and relationships you damaged, it gives life for many people! So many people are holding on to what you said and what you did that they’re still burdened over it even after all this time. But when you make wrongs right, you’ll be amazed how much lighter a person’s load becomes, for both you and them! And isn’t that what you want? To repent, release and return back to God?! 
Then do so, Today! You can make good come out of bad, remember, you serve a God who makes results like that happen everyday!

Romans 8:26-28, “Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (MSG)

God is still working on every detail in your life, the bad and the good! Now it’s time you also put your hands to work on turning that bad into something good! As long as you’re still alive and breathing you have the opportunity to make amends, so make them! Repent and Make the Turn That Will Turn Your Life Completely Around and Get You Back On the Narrow Road to Righteousness (after all, you’ve been on the wide road that leads to destruction long enough)!
No matter the wrong, today, make it right. Be the bigger and more mature person. No grudges, no bitterness, no regrets, no hate, no unforgiveness, no resentment. It’s time to become better! And better starts with you! So no more blaming, no more pointing fingers, no more excuses, no more accusing! Today, take personal accountability for your life and get it back on the right track. Remember, in the end, God will not call others in for a reckoning of your life, He's only going to call you. Make sure you have something good to answer Him when He does call!

Today, let repentance be the tool you use to repair your life, integrity, character, relationships, etc. Use this tool to build your life into the blueprint God has already shown you in His Word!
Church, the trumpet hasn’t sounded yet, so whoever you need to get it right with, including God, get it right! Today! Repentance Leads to Sweet Relief and Release! 

 “Sorry is not enough, sometimes you actually have to change.” (Author Unknown)

 “Repentance may be old-fashioned, but it is not outdated so long as there is sin.” (J.C. Macaulay)

“It’s bad when you fail morally. It’s worse when you don’t repent.” (Luis Palau)

“God has a pencil with an eraser on it and He has promised us that He will use it if we will repent and change our ways. He has said that if we would forsake our evil and thoroughly make up our minds against it, then He would wash it out of His mind and just forget the whole thing. Of course, He expects that we will wash it out of our minds also.” (Sterling W. Sill)

“True repentance hates the sin, and not merely the penalty; and it hates the sin most of all because it has discovered and felt God’s love.” (W.M. Taylor)

“Genuine repentance must bear the seal of a corrected life.” (Lewis F. Korns)

“There is no repentance in the grave.” (JC Ryle)

 “The most beautiful blessing we have been given is the chance to repent.”

“There is no eraser for your mistakes, but there is repentance.”

“Repentance is a process and not something that happens at one particular moment. It requires consistency.” (Francisco J. Vinas)

Romans 12:1-2, "So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (MSG)

J.P. Olson

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