Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Visions Becoming Reality" AKA "After the Battering"

One of my spiritual mentors, Oswald Chambers, wrote in his book My Utmost For His Highest: "We always have a vision of something before it actually becomes real to us. When we realize that the vision is real, but is not yet real in us, Satan comes to us with his temptations and we are inclined to say that there is no point in even trying to continue. Instead of the vision becoming real to us, we have entered into a valley of humiliation."

Here's what happens to us and I have to laugh out loud at this description because I can clearly identify with this:
"God gives us a vision and then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of that vision. It's in the valley that so many of us give up and faint. Every God-given vision will become real if we will only have patience. Just think of the enormous amount of free time God has! He is never in a hurry. Yet we are always in a frantic hurry."

Get the "battering" part? Uh-huh. But oh, after the battering, oh, oh, what blessings come from His loving hand! Ephesians 3:20 comes to mind: "God is able to do more than we can ask or think of asking Him according to the power that is at work within us." And that's God-power!

But until we actually stand still on the Potter's Wheel, we "while still in the light of the glory of the vision we run out to do things, but the vision is not real in us yet," continues Mr. Chambers. "We have to go through fire and floods in the valley [yes, more battering] so God can batter us into shape and then He'll be able to trust us with the vision. Ever since God has given us the vision He has been at work. He is getting us into the shape of the goal He has for us and yet over and over again we try to escape from the Sculptor's Hand in an effort to batter ourselves into the shape of our own goal."
What's the matter with us???? Oh, yeah, our flesh rears up! Here's why our fleshly desires never accomplish anything worthwhile: Psalm 127:1 says, "Unless THE LORD BUILDS THE HOUSE its builders labor in vain." It's got to be done HIS way. So I'll take this verse as a warning: Don't make plans without God.
Instead, Scripture tells us: "Commit your ways to the Lord, trust in Him and He will do it. He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn and the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." Psalm 37:5.
Mr. Chambers continues: "What is my vision of God's purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and His power NOW. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is accomplished in me. It's the process, not the outcome that is glorifying to God. "His training is for now." It's our DAILY walk with Him. "If we realize that moment by moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious."

God speaks to us all day, every day! Are you hearing Him? Listen. Pray. Study His word. Tune your heart and head toward Him.

"'Seeking to do the will of my Father" was the one dominating concern throughout our Lord's life. No matter what came into His life He never wavered," says Mr. Chambers.
OK, there is our example! I believe if we will 'seek to do the will of our Father' daily we will reach His goal for each one of us. If the focus is Him instead of Self or Success or Money or Material Things, then all of a sudden -- one day --- we're going to find ourselves in the midst of our heart's desire because it will be HIS desire/goal for us! Our vision became a reality because we were standing still on The Potter's Wheel and letting Him shape us and and batter us into HIS vessel! Yeah, there is a very good reason for this battering!!!!
I am so encouraged by the following story and I seem to tell it often.....and now I'm going to tell it again...to hopefully encourage you because it has everything to do with where to go for help when we don't know what to do next!!!! When King Jehoshaphat was told that a vast army was coming to attack, the first thing he did was to pray to God. (2 Chronicles 20:12). This was part of his prayer: "...for we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." Do you know what happened??? Jehoshaphat prayed fervently, he and his men went out into battle praising God and by the time they got to the battle field ALL of the enemies had turned on each other and were dead! Not only did God take care of the enemy(problem) but since God's power is limitless, HE also gave Jehoshaphat's army all the plunder....and because there was so much bounty it took them three days to carry it off!
Now that doesn't mean we're all going to have to get Hummer Limos to carry away all the money we're going to get from the services we provide for others but it DOES mean that as we cast ourselves and our prayers at the feet of our Lord, he will do more than we could even think of asking.
His vision for each one of us is already established: Acts 17:26: "He determines the times set for them and the exact places where they should live."

God gives all (wo)men life and breath and everything else! If God isn't our life and breath and everything else then He needs to become that to each one of us today! :)
Acts 17:27 reads: "....for in Him and through Him we have our being." God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him though He is not far from each one of us."
When seeking God's vision and direction for each life's calling, Mr. Chambers exhorts, "Don't be afraid to be different from other people.....the path God has called you to is exquisitely right for you...develop your gifts..".

Philippians 2:12: "....continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you to will and to act accordign to His good purpose." We need to work it out to the finish, NOT earning our salvation by works but to our salvation in spiritual growth and development. Salvation is not a gift received once for all: it expresses itself in an ongoing process of perseverance, humble service, spiritual growth and maturation. (NIV commentary)

We're talking about VISION and God's will for each of our lives...OK, so He points us in a direction and we're prayerful and faithful and we hear HIM and we step.....but then what???? Answer: I Thessalonians 5:23-24: "The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it." (NIV commentary: Paul's confidence rests in the nature of God, who can be relied on to complete what HE begins. :)

WE need to start living like we believe the truth that "we are HIS workmanship created to do good works which HE has prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesisans 2:10)
You are not alone and if you believe that then you believe a lie. God will never leave His child alone. We've got to keep stepping and continue to keep our eyes on Him. We've got to keep listening for His voice. He will help us fulfill His purposes and visions and desires for each of our lives. He is with us! He will do it!

I am closing this with another excerpt from Oswald Chambers: "...the vision that God gives us in not some unattainable castle in the sky, but a vision of what God wants us to be down here. Allow the potter to put you on His wheel and whirl you around as He desires. Then as surely as God is God, and you are you, you will turn out as an exact likeness of that vision. But don't lose heart in the process. If you ever had a vision from God, you many try as you will to be satisified on a lower level, but God will never allow it." Whoo hoo! [my emphasis, of course!]
Love & blessings,
The pottery in these photos are creations of my sister, Julie Brown, potter extraordinare....and those are her hands in the potter's photo!!!! :) Please visit her website and view more of her creations @ http://www.workinclay.com/ or contact Julie @ info@workinclay.com. I love you, Julie!