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SCRIPTURE - PRV. 29:18, HOS. 4:6                                                                                                          FEBRUARY, 2016
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee,
that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

When I left off last month, I was beginning to explain some of the factors that go in to pursuing a vision. Those factors were time and money.

Depending on just what it is, and the amount of time and money it would cost, it might be something that one might want to give up on because in the end, it would not be worth it. However, if there is some great benefit for pursuing that goal, then time and cost become second place to the fulfillment of that vision.

As I mentioned last month, any vision that man comes up with, will essentially be limited to what he can see and come up with to make it come to pass. On the other hand, if God is the author of that vision, then He will provide all the things needed for it to be obtained.

Obviously, it is far better to pursue a vision provided by God, than one that man comes up with because it is going to come to pass, no matter what circumstances happen to come about.

If we look at God's record of fulfilling ALL THINGS HE PROMISED, He is batting 100 percent. Show me any thing that man, without God's help, has actually brought to fruition, that has not come with all sorts of problems??

The bible says, Prv. 14:12, 16:25 There is a way that seems right to man, but, the end thereof is the way of death[or loss].

Why is this, you ask???

Because man, can't see beyond his own reality. His vision is limited to, what is addressed in the second subject scripture, which simply says that because of a lack of knowledge, he is destroyed.

That lack of knowledge is talking about, in this case, a lack of knowledge of God!!

If you don't know God, then, you can't recognize what is, or is not of God, and as a result, you will 99 times out of 100, choose the wrong things, and thusly suffer and be destroyed.

According to man's wisdom, many things that God says we should be doing, in order to be blessed, and prosper, are racist, bigoted, homophobic, and just plain mean-spirited, and foolish!!

A story that shows how we, in the flesh view things, is the story where God tells Abraham, to take the son[Isaac] that he had waited more than 20 years for, and offer him up as a sacrifice to Him.

In the natural sense of the situation, this was totally asinine for Abraham to go through with.

If you will remember the movie in which Abraham, played by George C. Scott, when told to do this, you see him having a fit, cursing and a bunch of other things before finally going through with it.

Seems logical to us for him to do this.

However, the bible tells us a different story. It tells us that Abraham went through with it because he knew God's promise, meaning God had given him the vision of this child being the one that would make him, Abraham, the father of many nations.

Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

Heb 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

Heb 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead;from whence also he received him in a figure.

Here you see the vision that God gave him, and his knowledge of God, gave him a clear vision of the result of whatever God told him to do, would still end up with him getting what was promised to him. Abraham considered the cost, and acted on it.

Let's look at our savior, Christ!!

From before the world was created, God's plan for our salvation was already in place. And since Christ was with the Father when He put forth His vision, Christ had this vision in mind when He opted to come down here, and go through all the mess He went through, knowing what the outcome of His not going through with it would be.

Can you imagine what it would be like if there was no plan for our salvation?? Talk about no hope???!!!

1Cor 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

1Cor 15:18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

1Cor 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

You see, in both these instances, there wasn't any direct threat to make any of them decide to keep in line with God's vision, other than seeing that doing so, was worth it.

When I have to deal with all the flack I get from people for being too religious, as they call it, and the name calling and personal attacks, I consider the promise, the vision, and that encourages me to keep on going.

Those that don't know Him, or His promises tend to take the path of, 'I have to do what I have to do to get ahead!!'

That type of mentality is what gets us in to all types of trouble because, we end up relying on our own resources and view of what we think is best for us, without seeing things through God's eyes.

This then, brings up another question which I would say is the second thing that needs to be considered, and that is, how do these visions come about??

They usually come about, as I mentioned earlier because of a need.

Pick any situation in life be it health, sports, economic, relationships, future, or you name it. There is always something that presents itself in to our lives that will cause us to have come up with some action that we feel or hope will get us past it.

The vision/hope/goal is, getting past it.

To the average person, their solution to reach that goal, is to use what is readily available. When I say readily available, I mean what can be derived from all known resources in this present world. If there are none, then, the vision dies.

For example.

A person with a disease that is incurable, has no vision of overcoming that disease because there is nothing available for them to build that vision on. They have to accept the fact that that disease will eventually take their lives.

There are people that, over the years, rather than suffer with their ailment, have opted to kill themselves, some times with the help of others, just to escape the suffering they may, or will endure. This is the only vision they have. Why??? Because that is what all the medical professionals, and others have told them. And with nothing to counter what they are being told, they will languish and die. That is the limit of their vision.

For the Christian however, it is a whole different ballgame!

Take the exact same condition talked about above. The disease is incurable according to the knowledge of man. There is no resource to turn to, that can begin to offer a vision of overcoming that ailment.

However, that is not the end of the story. Because, we have a resource that can not be manipulated by the realities of this physical realm, but rather He manipulates it, through His Word.

Throughout the bible, especially in the Gospels, we see examples of people in conditions where there is absolutely no hope, including when death has ended a life, people sought out Christ, to do something. The reason they sought Him out, was someone had to tell them something about Him, to give them the vision to get past all the obstacles that stood in their way.

The woman with the issue of blood[Mk. 5:25-34], and Lazarus[John 11:1-45] are classic examples, in that when extreme circumstances presented themselves where the average person, and unfortunately a lot of Christians would give up, these people, in one case the woman herself, and in the other the sister of Lazarus, both sought Him because they had a vision that showed them victory.

That is what makes the difference between being victorious in all of your circumstances, or just hanging on.

In both examples, there was no hope. At least as far as any rational thinking person would say, 'that's as good as it gets!!'Or, 'it's too late!!!'

Listen, with Jesus Christ, it is never too late, even when death has taken a loved one.

The gospels, among other things, give testimony from witnesses that were there when these things happened. What better source to build a vision on than that of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John!!??

However, 'that was then', and as many would say, 'this is now!!'

The implications from that statement, make it appear that what happened in the times of Christ, was either fiction, or not for this time or dispensation.

If ever there was a statement that served no purpose but to kill the message of the gospel, this one is it.

When people are being led to believe that all those miracles that are mentioned in both the old and new testaments, are relegated to the past, and not for today, that removes any source/foundation on which a vision can be built.

How many times have you heard a person/Christian say, 'this is the 21st/20th century!!'

What they are saying is being obedient to God, keeping the ten commandments, living a Godly life, is old fashioned and out of date.

Well, what would you say if I told you then, that quoting all those favorite scriptures, reciting the Lord's prayer, and Psalms 23, or 119, are also out of date???? What if I told you God was out of date???

The bible tells us that God does not change. [Mal. 3:6, Heb. 13:8].

That means He rewards obedience and disobedience today, as He did back then [Deuteronomy 28]. Anybody that tries to tell you any different, is someone that wants you to stay in the same rut they are in. They have no vision of what obedience will bring them, and therefore they don't want you to have one either, because to them, it is hogwash.

The realities of what is going on in this nation, and the world, are screaming this to be true.

Every nation, city, community, or individual, that has chosen to adhere to what God, through Christ has said we should do, has always come out on top of whatever came about to hinder or defeat them. By the same token, those that chose to do the opposite, ended up being destroyed, back then, and today.

If you think Christians are above trying to keep someone from getting blessed by, or too close to Christ, then you need to read what His disciples did when some people had the vision of having their children blessed by Him. They, his disciples rebuked them [Mk. 10:13-16]. Jesus was displeased by them and scolded them.

Today, the same thing is going on in many churches. Someone gets on fire for God, and some members, and even the pastor quench it out of them, saying 'it doesn't take all that!!!'

That is why people are leaving the church and searching for other sources of satisfaction, because there is no vision of what the Church is supposed to be about and that is being a witness as to what total devotion to Christ is all about.

In the book of Revelations 12:11, we are told that the saints, those standing before Christ, receiving their rewards, did so by providing testimony, and not being swayed, or ashamed of living for Christ, no matter what!!

Let's look at the testimony of today's realities.

I will have to put that off until next month, suffice it to say, there are plenty of things going on in today's reality, to give any one willing to get out of their Godless mindset, examine the facts, they will get the vision of what is waiting down the road, and where their hope should be placed.