Vision: Your Visa To A Prosperous New Year
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Psalm 65:11; Proverbs 29:18
Sunday 29th December 2013
Last week, in the message, 'Programming Your Mind to Have a Prosperous New Year', we understood that 2014 is a year that has been crowned with goodness and that God has great plans for us in this year. It is a year that is overflowing with the Lord's goodness, His blessings, His favour and His advancement. We understood from 3 John 2 that life prosperity is directly linked to our soul prosperity or state of mind and that as it is not possible for us to progress further than the limits established by our thoughts, our state of mind can determine our life.
When you are crossing from one national territorial boundary into another, it is often the case that a visa is required in order for you to be admitted. In the same vein, it could be said that as you are making your way to a prosperous New Year, there is a 'visa' that is necessary for you to be able to maximise all that God has planned for you. That visa is your vision.
Psalm 65: 11 establishes that God has crowned the year 2014 with goodness and its paths are dripping with abundance. Proverbs 29:18 (MSG) says, 'If people can't see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.' If you do not know God's plan for your life, it is highly likely that you will miss it and fail. However when you understand and pursue His plan for your life, you will succeed. 1 Corinthians 9: 26 (NLT) says, 'So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadow boxing.' You cannot afford to go into 2014 with a lack of certainty. Uncertainty will impede your progress. You must have a vision, a goal, purpose and direction towards which you are heading. 2014 will be a phenomenal year but we must be deliberate and strategic in order to ensure that we get the best from this year. The year has been crowned with the goodness of God but this, to a degree, is not the complete picture and does not necessarily determine the outcome for each of us. If we are not clear and deliberate about the direction in which we are heading, the opportunity may well be lost. We must therefore walk into the year with a clear vision and be deliberate and intentional about the way in which we live.
God is taking us somewhere. There is a specific plan and purpose that He has in mind for 2014. It is essential that we see and pursue His plan for our lives. There is a blessing and an inheritance that He has in mind for you to receive; you must therefore have a vision for the coming year.
It is important to understand what vision is: vision means revelation; a prophecy, a Rhema word from God. Where there is no vision, the NKJV of Proverbs 29: 18 says, the people cast off restraint and live lawlessly. Unless you have a clear vision of God's plan and understand His will for your life, you will end up just anywhere. 1 Chronicles 12: 32 says that the sons of Issachar had an understanding of the times and knew what Israel ought to do. You will not shadow box or beat the air in this season; God will give you clarity regarding His purpose for your life.
Vision is not wishful thinking. It is not a wish-list. It is not a New Year's Resolution. Your vision must be inspired by God, not your flesh. God is not obliged to pay for items that He has not ordered. Many of us get to the end of the year and become frustrated with God as we survey the prayer list that we constructed at the beginning of the year and conclude He has not answered us. However, I would ask you, before you constructed your list, did you hear from God? There is nothing wrong with having goals however your goals must be rooted in God's specific word to you as it is only the word of God that will never fail. Vision is therefore best defined as a divine revelation of God's plan for your life.
Jeremiah 29: 11 says, 'For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope'. The fact that God has concluded His thoughts towards you gives an indication of the importance of finding out from Him what those thoughts are. In Psalm 139: 16 we learn, 'Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them'. God knows the content of your life; every single day of 2014 has been concluded by God. God does not want you to enter into the New Year with your eyes closed. In that He knows what each day hold for you, wisdom demands that you go and seek His face for 2014. When you seek His face, He will speak to you and this will be your vision of the New Year. You do not need the imagination of man but the wisdom and instruction that comes from God. As you seek His face, He will give you direction and quicken your spirit. Jeremiah 33:3 (MSG) says, 'Call to me and I will answer you. I'll tell you marvellous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own'. If you enquire from God, you have the assurance that He will answer you. He will tell you marvellous and wondrous things that you would never otherwise be able to discern. This makes clear that if we are relying on our own resolution, we are essentially short-changing ourselves as what God wants to reveal to us is far more marvellous and wondrous than our meagre resolutions.
You simply cannot afford to go into the New Year without a vision from God. The next few days should be days of intense prayer, seeking the face of God about 2014. It is not satisfactory to wait until June before seeking a revelation. God is waiting for you to call on Him. He wants to reveal Himself to you as He loves to fellowship with you and longs to share His plans with you. Stop, therefore writing lists if God has not spoken to you. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. It all begins with His word for you. God is not obliged to perform your self-constructed vision for your life but will most certainly perform His vision for your life in 2014. The revelation for the future is already in the mind of God. Each day has already been laid out before Him. Success in 2014 is hidden in the discovery and pursuit of your vision, God's counsel concerning you. 2014 is not an ordinary year. It is a year of a divine release of the glory of God over our lives in degrees that we have never previously experienced. We must however be prepared.
Vision is what marks you out and distinguishes you. Vision grants you drive and determination; it energises you and propels you forward. Vision breaks the barriers of limited thinking. Vision is a function of the heart whereas sight is a function of the eyes. Sight captures only the present whereas vision takes hold of the future that has already been settled in the mind of God. We were never designed to live by sight but to live by the word of God. If you live only by what you can see you have consigned yourself to a limited life. Vision however is birthed in the word of God and in God the possibilities are limitless.
If we carefully examine the account of Joseph in Genesis 37:5, you will see that the language used appears slightly strange: it says that 'Joseph dreamed a dream'. How do you dream a dream? Dreaming usually represents passivity, something that simply occurs when you are asleep and not conscious however the language here indicates activity on the part of Joseph. There was an active part that Joseph played in engaging with the Spirit of God about his future. He was longing for a revelation of his future; he sought direction and it was this that was revealed to him and which he shared with his brothers. Joseph actively sought the plan and purpose of God for his life and once it was revealed to him, it changed his life completely. He held on to what God told him and this became his drive and source of navigation through the various challenges that he faced. Vision is the reason that Joseph lived a focussed life. He knew not to be bitter or agitated when his brothers threw him into the pit and sold him into slavery; he knew not to be drawn away and become distracted when Potiphar's wife sought to entice him into sin; he knew not to be worried when he languished in an Egyptian prison, apparently forgotten by those whom he had helped. He knew what God had revealed to him about his future and trusted Him to faithfully bring it to pass. Vision enabled him to stay focussed and eventually see the plan of God realised in his life.
The account of Elijah provides a further illustration of one whom had a tremendous vision. In 1 Kings 18, we are told that the word of the Lord came to Elijah after three years of famine: rain was coming. One of the key characteristics of Elijah was that he was fuelled by the word of God revealed to him. Notwithstanding that rain had not fallen for more than three years, he was quite clear that he had heard from God and arranged for the king to be notified. To a large degree, the word given to Elijah did not make sense. We will often encounter this in our relationship with the Lord; sometimes, what He tells us will not make sense to the natural mind. You should not therefore expect everyone to celebrate what God has told you. This is because the wisdom of God is foolishness to those who are not discerning. You do not need the approval and validation of others for what God has revealed to you.
How, you may ask, do you 'hear the sound of abundance of rain' in the midst of a famine? Elijah heard with his spirit. He heard differently and therefore spoke differently. He instructed his servant to go and look for what he had heard in his spirit. On six occasions Elijah's servant went out to look at the sky and saw nothing. Many of us would have given up after the third or fourth attempt. We are not told the distance the servant had to travel from where the prophet Elijah was to the view point, but faithfully he went on Elijah's instruction. Elijah had shared his vision with a true helper of destiny. He identified with the word that his master had heard from the Lord and had spoken and ran with the vision. He knew that if the vision was from God, it would certainly be performed and understood the vision was for an appointed time and would eventually be realised. If the vision tarries, wait for it, it will be performed.
Elijah's servant faithfully returned to the lookout point for the seventh time, although this time, he saw a cloud the size of a man's fist. Immediately on hearing this report, Elijah sprang into action and instructed his servant to tell King Ahab to return home before the rains prevented him. Elijah's reaction to a tiny cloud being identified was remarkable. He recognised this as the answer to his prayer. However, how many of us would be so discerning? What do you do when the answer to your prayer does not match your expectation? Do you despise it or do you hold on to what God has told you?
Elijah saw his vision fulfilled; there was a heavy rain. I declare "Every vision God will give you in 2014 shall be fulfilled. You will not give up! You will hold on to your vision irrespective of situations that occur. The grace to hold on is released upon you and there shall be a fulfilment of vision God gives to you. The word of the Lord will come to pass in your life; the word of the Lord will prosper and profit you. Your vision will not fail in Jesus' Name."
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