1. Hello, listening friends.
2. We are delighted that you tuned in to this broadcast.
3. We are coming toward the end of the series of messages entitled, “Looking Up”… when life knocks you down,
4. and I want to begin by asking you a question.
5. Have you ever had a dream to do something great
6. and, then, obstacles came your way,
7. or, difficulties arose in your life,
8. or, circumstances were just not favorable;
9. and, then, you gave up the dream?
10. Perhaps, you had a vision for your life,
11. and you were on top of the world with that vision.
12. You wanted to accomplish the vision,
13. and, then, somebody discouraged you.
14. Somebody told you that it is impossible.
15. Well, I want you to listen carefully today,
16. because this message can be used of God to renew His vision for your life.
17. This message can be used of God to rekindle your passion for Jesus Christ.
18. This message can be used of God to encourage you to overcome human tendency.
19. It will encourage you to overcome natural inadequacies.
20. It will encourage you to overcome surmounting circumstances;
21. but what do I mean by a “vision” or a “dream?”
22. I don’t mean the selfish-ambition type of vision or dream.
23. I am talking about a God-given dream,
24. a God-given vision for your life.
25. I am talking about doing something that would be impossible without God.
26. That’s the kind of dream I’m talking about.
27. In Acts, Chapter 9,
28. when the Apostle Paul encountered the resurrected Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus,
29. the Lord Jesus said to him
30. that he is not only persecuting the church of Jesus Christ,
31. but he was persecuting Christ, Himself;
32. and, then, Jesus said to him,
33. “I want you to get up and go to the city of Damascus,
34. and, there, you’ll meet a man by the name of ‘Ananias.’”
35. Meanwhile, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke to Ananias and he said to him,
36. “I want you to go and see Paul,” or Saul of Tarsus, as he was known then.
37. Ananias’ heartbeat was racing out of fear because of Paul’s reputation.
38. He said, “This man is known to be killing Christians…”
39. and here’s what the Lord Jesus Christ said to Ananias in Acts 9:15 -
40. I want you to listen very carefully, because here is the dream that God had for Paul
41. and he told it to Ananias -
42. Here it is:
43. “Go! For he is a chosen instrument of Mine to carry My name before the Gentiles and to kings and to the sons of Israel...”
44. and here it is, in one verse, the Lord Jesus Christ spelled out His vision for the Apostle Paul.
45. What was it?
46. That he would testify to the name of Jesus before kings and rulers,
47. that he would testify before people in power,
48. and to the Gentiles and to the sons of Israel.
49. Before Paul was born, God had a vision for his life.
50. Before the earth was created, God had a vision for Paul’s life.
51. The same is true for you, if you are a child of God.
52. If Jesus Christ is the Savior of your life,
53. then, God has a vision for your life also -
54. not just a vision to redeem you,
55. not just a vision to save you,
56. but a vision to use you.
57. There is a message, here, for every one of you who are listening to us right now.
58. If you are running around saying, “God cannot use me.
59. I can’t do anything for God.
60. I am not gifted.
61. There’s nothing that I can accomplish for God…”
62. then, my friend, you are making a mockery of God’s plan for your life.
63. You are making a mockery of God’s call upon your life.
64. Parents often have a vision for their children;
65. but the best of our visions for our children cannot be compared with God’s vision for His children.
66. God’s vision for Paul is spelled out here in Acts 9:15;
67. and, then, many years later, in Acts, Chapter 26, that vision is fulfilled.
68. Most of you know that there is a long period of time between Chapter 9 and Chapter 26.
69. During that time, there were many difficulties and obstacles and barriers.
70. There was a lot of suffering and pain for the Apostle Paul.
71. There has been a lot of endurance on the part of the Apostle Paul -
72. endurance of starvation,
73. endurance of stoning,
74. endurance of lashing,
75. endurance of insults,
76. endurance of imprisonment;
77. but the dream kept on burning
78. and a vision kept on moving forward,
79. because it was God’s vision,
80. not something Paul created.
81. From the time of Acts 9, when Paul was confronted by the resurrected Jesus,
82. Paul had experienced so much joy in seeing people saved;
83. but he also experienced many problems and difficulties.
84. In Acts 9:15, God told Ananias about His vision for Paul;
85. and, in Acts, Chapter 26, Paul gets the opportunity to witness to the name of Jesus before King Agrippa.
86. Someone recently said that our world, for the most part, lives for today.
87. The future seems so uncertain that we have lost our vision;
88. and, therefore, we live only for immediate happiness;
89. but the Bible said that, without vision, people perish.
90. This is exactly what has happened to so many Christians.
91. They have lost sight of the blessed hope.
92. They have lost sight of their God-given vision.
93. I pray to God that today be a day in which every child of God who is listening to us would renew your God-given vision.
94. I have three things that I want to share with you very quickly.
95. These are three things that Paul was able to overcome because of his God-given vision;
96. and, when you know and obey God’s vision for your life, you will be an over-comer too, like Paul.
97. The reason many Christians are not living victoriously
98. is because, either they don’t know how to, or they refuse to obey God.
99. Others don’t live the victorious life because they have forgotten God’s vision for their life.
100. Please listen to me, my listening friend.
101. The truth is God has a vision for your life,
102. regardless of your age,
103. and regardless of who you are.
104. Ananias surely told Paul about God’s vision for his life;
105. but seven years passed between the time when Paul knew that God has given him this vision and the time he began to preach.
106. Can you imagine the endurance that Paul had?
107. Simply because he knew that this was God’s vision for him,
108. and God never lies.
109. If you do not know God’s vision for your life,
110. begin asking God what is His vision for you
111. and He will show it to you.
112. Now, I want you to look at those three things about God’s vision in Paul’s life which empowered him to overcome;
113. and they will empower you to overcome also.
115. he overcame human tendency.
117. he overcame natural inadequacies.
119. he overcame surmounting obstacles.
120. Because of God’s vision for Paul’s life, he was able to overcome human tendencies.
121. What are these human tendencies?
122. In Paul’s case, after spending two years in prison,
123. it was a natural temptation for him to wonder about God’s vision.
124. It would have been easy for Paul to question God’s vision.
125. It would have been easy for Paul to say, “It must be over for me.
126. I’ve done my part.
127. I have preached the Gospel around the world.
128. God must have finished with me.
129. I want to get out of this prison and go to retirement.”
130. They are all human tendencies.
131. Our human tendencies say, “Someone else will be more effective.
132. Somebody else has the right qualifications...”
133. but had Paul given up at this point,
134. he would have lost out on the fulfillment of God’s vision for his life,
135. a vision to testify to kings and rulers.
136. Every one of us knows what these human tendencies are.
137. The problem is most of us allow these human tendencies to keep us from fulfilling God’s vision for our lives;
138. so, my listening friend, be careful of allowing your human tendencies to deter you from fulfilling God’s vision in your life,
139. because not only will God’s vision empower you to overcome human tendencies,
140. but, secondly, God’s vision will help you overcome natural inadequacies.
141. Paul tells us that he had an eye problem that affected his sight.
142. Paul tells us that he was not a very impressive man.
143. Paul said of himself that he was not very eloquent.
144. Just one of these inadequacies would have been enough to discourage him.
145. Our inadequacies are always before us.
146. They cannot escape our attention;
147. but the issue is this:
148. will you allow your inadequacies to hinder you?
149. Will your inadequacies render you ineffective for God?
150. Paul was able to overcome his natural inadequacies
151. because he knew that he was serving a powerful God;
152. but he also knew that his natural inadequacies plus God’s adequacy are a mighty force.
153. Paul knew that it’s “not by power, nor by might, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord...
154. and he would not allow his inadequacies to halt God’s vision;
155. so he overcame his human tendencies.
156. He overcame his natural inadequacies.
157. Thirdly, God’s vision for Paul empowered him to overcome the surmounting obstacles.
158. Paul was in the court of the king.
159. It would have been easy for Paul to be intimidated by Governor Festus and King Agrippa.
160. It would have been easy for him to be intimidated by all the regalia that surrounded him in the palace;
161. but, instead, Paul was confident of God’s vision
162. and he was not overwhelmed with the surmounting obstacles,
163. because he wanted the King’s salvation, not his favor.
164. Paul wanted to glorify Jesus Christ and not himself.
165. Paul wanted to seek and save the lost,
166. because Paul not only wanted to tell the story of his conversion,
167. he wanted the conversion of everyone listening to him.
168. Agrippa may have scoffed at this attempt,
169. but it was Jesus that Paul wanted to please.
170. My listening friend, let me give you some encouraging words, as I conclude today.
171. When you begin to feel defeated,
172. when you become overwhelmed with human tendencies,
173. when you get overwhelmed with natural inadequacies,
174. when you become overwhelmed with surmounting obstacles,
175. you will discover that it is because you have lost sight of God’s vision for your life
176. and, at these times, you need to remind yourself that God has a vision for your life.
177. God has a dream for you;
178. and God will empower you to fulfill His vision.
179. Will you begin today by asking God to reveal to you His vision for your life
180. and, then, let that vision empower you to victorious living;
181. and, then, write to us and let us know?
182. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.