“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)
Habakkuk describes his vision as, ‘The oracle (a BURDENSOME MESSAGE – a pronouncement from God) which Habakkuk the prophet saw‘ (Habakkuk 1:1 NKJV). He ‘SAW’ it wherever he went. It drove him to his knees. He even cried out, ‘O LORD, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And you will not save. Why do You SHOW me iniquity, And cause me to SEE trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds‘ (Habakkuk 1:2-4 NKJV).
Saints, 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; separating yourself from familiar people, places and things. 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!
Many of us love to quote Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us.” (AMP) However, we tend to forget that a vision from God, and His purpose for us can also BURDEN us with a weighted responsibility that’s, “…superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us.” 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! 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). 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 right 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 when you do find out your reason, know that’s 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, ‘…one 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). SAINTS, 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 ACCOMPLISHING YOUR MISSION! Proverbs 4:23-27, “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; IGNORE ALL SIDESHOW DISTRACTIONS. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.” (MSG)
Ever heard of ‘a white elephant?‘ When the King of Siam wanted to destroy an enemy, he supposedly gave them a white elephant. In those days white elephants were considered sacred, and nobody dared refuse a king’s gift. The trouble was, white elephants couldn’t be put to work…but they had to be fed – A LOT! So the king’s ‘gift’ ended up causing his enemy’s downfall. Listen Carefully! Guard yourself, your vision and purpose against ‘white elephants’ that drain your time, energy and resources, and do nothing towards anything that works for you! In order to protect your vision, live by these words, ‘…lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God…consider Him…lest you become weary and discouraged… ‘ (Hebrews 12:1-3 NKJV).
DON’T LET DISTRACTIONS DIVERT YOUR VISION! ‘Divert’ means 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)
People of God, Pass the Test! James 1:2-4, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (MSG)
Now, some of you may ask, ‘but what do you do when you already received a vision, but it died?’
Well, Bill Gothard describes this process as: the birth of the vision, the death of the vision, and the resurrection of the vision. When you’ve no funds, no friends, and no fight left in you (the death stage), remember the words of Jesus: ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain‘ (John 12:24 NKJV). The Message Bible says it like this: “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” (vss.24-25 MSG). 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 even had a problem with his temper, 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! For, 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)
You say, ‘I’ve failed so badly.‘ Well, David committed adultery, yet his psalms bring strength to multitudes and he’s quoted in pulpits around the world still today! God didn’t excuse David, but he forgave him and used him still! ‘…David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God…was buried… ‘ (Acts 13:36 NKJV). The Bible describes God as, ‘… ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness… ‘ (Nehemiah 9:17 NKJV). Notice the words ‘ready to pardon.‘ God is ready when you are, all you have to do is turn back to Him! Just because you mess up doesn’t mean you miss out on God’s vision and purpose for your life! He’s always right there ready to pardon (which means ‘the excusing of an offense without exacting a penalty; to release from the legal penalties of an offence; to forgive a fault; to absolve from the consequences of a crime.)!
Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t judge our failures like man does?
But here’s something else from Habakkuk. He said, ‘I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected‘ (Habakkuk 2:1 NKJV). Did you catch that? Corrected, but NOT Discarded! Isn’t that wonderful?
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 again! Keep your ear to God’s mouth, receive His instructions, obey them, revive your vision, and this time let it live!
2) A LEG TO STAND ON: The 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 Vision! Your 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!
People of God, as you can see from cover-to-cover in the Bible there are tons of stories of those who Found Their Vision, Followed Their Vision and Fulfilled Their Vision…Even AFTER Fumbling Their Vision! And even those who suffered and recovered from the death of their vision. So, Keep Your Eyes of Faith Focused! A Rich Future Is Ahead of You, But Only If You’ll Finally Invest In the Value of Your Vision!
It can and it will come to pass, hold on to it, and let nothing and no one distort it!
Habakkuk 2:2-3, “And then God answered: “Write this.Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.” (MSG)
IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO WRITE THE VISION SO WE CAN ALL RUN WITH IT!
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