By John J. Blanchard
October 12, 2013
Good morning everyone. Today’s subject is becoming a visionary. A visionary is a person able to grasp a truth or a concept or an idea or an eventual outcome before the vast majority of other people can grasp it. They are the first to understand or see the potential of something in the future. But a visionary does this through their imagination first.
When you are trying to visualize something that has never taken place that will take place in the future or a new idea or new invention, you have to see it in your own mind first. Then you work toward making it become reality. A visionary has the potential when they do this to change or alter the course of history.
Today I want to focus on vision that gives hope for the future, because today humanity needs hope. Things look so bleak. The news that goes on around the world is so confounding, and there are so many issues. It seems the human race just can’t deal with it all anymore. Abraham Lincoln who faced his fair share of difficulties had this to say about hope. Quoting Lincoln, he said, “The power of hope upon human exertion and happiness is wonderful.” He realized that the human race needed to have hope and that there is power with hope, but the only way you can have hope is to have a vision of the future that is hopeful. It has to give you something to live for and something to believe in.
PEOPLE SEE A BLEAK FUTURE
Far too many people today have a bleak vision of the future. They look at what’s going on around the world, and they look at the issues our nations face and the people face. It may be the climate or whatever the case may be, and they say the future looks very glum. A business associate of mine this past week said something to the effect—and I am sure you have heard many people say this—our lifetime is probably the last lifetime that has something really good to live for because things are headed in the wrong direction so fast. He was speaking about him and me. I tried to tell him, of course in a minute, that I have a much different view of the future, but I understood why he was saying what he was saying. A lot of people look into the future and it looks very dark and bleak.
In the past we have had people with visions of the future that they tried to enact or bring about that turned out to be real bleak. They had visions that wreaked havoc on the human race. I am just going to mention a few because I want this to be an upbeat Bible study. There was Nazism, Fascism, and Communism. They were all visions of the future that turned out to be a mess for mankind. There have also been a lot of megalomaniacs in the past such as Napoleon, Genghis Khan, or so many others who had a vision of grandeur for themselves, their nation, or their people that also turned out to be very, very bleak and messy for the human race.
VISION ON A GRAND SCALE
We want something to believe in that’s beautiful. We want a great vision for the future that can be something to live for, to have hope for, and to strive for. Mankind needs a great and beautiful vision of the future and visionaries to promote it. Mankind needs visionaries who catch a glimpse of this ahead of time and see the reality is about to happen and share it with other human beings.
The first Scripture I want to turn to today is Proverbs chapter 29:18. If you have your Bible handy, turn to Proverbs chapter 29, and we will read verse 18. A statement is made here that should give us pause. The King James Version reads: “Where there is no vision…” The New King James Version reads: “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.” The King James says, “…the people perish.” The idea with this from whatever version you are reading is that if you have no vision of the future, you have nothing revealed that you can understand or have hope for. You cast off restraint, and you live dangerously! It leads to a lot of problems.
A false vision or a lack of good vision—a hopeful vision—leads to problems for the individual and indeed the entire human race. That’s why a great number of the world’s problems continue to abound. People have various visions of the future that they cast in their own image that they want to happen, and it puts them at odds with other human beings. We have a lot of conflicts. We have a lot of confusion because of the various visions that people have or a total lack of vision. A lot of people coming up in the generation behind us, for instance, look at the future and they ask, what is there to live for? I have known so many young people who seem to think there’s nothing to live for. Why worry about the future? There is no future! There is nothing to prepare for.
We need vision on a grand scale around the world in order to have people turn around, look up, and have hope. The vision itself must be great enough and beautiful enough to be embraced by all of mankind. Therefore, it must come from above mankind. It must come from a greater source. There is no human being that can come up with a vision that’s going to please everybody. Only God can do that, so the vision must come from a higher authority. It must come from a higher power, and, of course, that is God.
TEACHINGS ARE LIKE RAIN
If you would, turn in your Bible to Isaiah chapter 55, we will tap into some of God’s thoughts. We will get an idea of what He has in store for us. I want to start in Isaiah 55, verse 1: “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you…”
God is saying come to Him for the food and the water that gives eternal life and that is very satisfying. Don’t just keep chasing your tail running around in circles to make money to provide the physical necessities. God says in other places, I can take care of that for you, but you need to come to Me for the things that really matter.
Now let’s go to verse 6 of Isaiah 55: “‘Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’”
Let’s pause there for a minute because God is talking about His thoughts being so much higher above humans. God’s thoughts are recorded in the Bible, and they are woven together in ways that would give us hope if we knew how to read it. That’s what He wants us to understand.
He goes on to say in verse 10: “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
God’s word is sent from heaven to help the human race prosper. It is to help the human race have a future that is bright and wonderful. He says, My thoughts are like rain. His thoughts, of course, originate from His throne in heaven, and they are His word—the Bible—that has been brought to us by angels and spoken through prophets. They were written down by apostles, so that we may have it to read and study. He says it does the same thing that rain does on the earth.
A land without rain becomes parched and dry. Eventually it becomes a barren wilderness. The rain and the sun work together to make it verdant, fruitful, and bountiful. That’s what God wants to do with the human race through His word, the Bible.
Continuing in verse 12 of Isaiah 55 He said: “For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”
This requires spiritual vision to contemplate because when God talks about mountains and hills, He is talking about nations and communities. He is talking about people who have formed various communities and nations around the world coming to Him in joy and in peace. When He says the trees of the field shall clap their hands, He is talking about visionaries who are sharing a vision with other people and who get excited when the world is able to understand what brings this joy and peace through God’s word. They are happy and clap their hands. The chief tree is Jesus Christ, the tree of life. We won’t get into all of that too much today, but it is part of the understanding that sets your mind free, so that you can understand the hope of the future.
Then He concludes in verse 13 of Isaiah 55: “Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
One of the signs God says to watch for is when the earth becomes fruitful in God’s way of being fruitful. It is full of peace and joy. There is understanding of His word and then putting it to use in our lives.
If you have done any gardening at all, you will understand how thorns, thistles, and briers take over your garden and make it difficult to grow crops. He said instead of the thorns and the thistles of life, I want that replaced with a fruitful earth full of beauty and verdant life. We need to have that hope of the future.
We are very close to achieving this. God is going to make it all happen, and He wants to use human beings who understand it to share it with other human beings. Then we can all have hope for the future.
GOD’S BIG PLANS
God doesn’t make little plans. You can imagine the God of the universe makes big plans! There is a truth about big plans that goes for whatever plan you have. If you have a little desire for the future and you only try to achieve a little, that’s what’s going to happen in your life. But if you enter life with hope and you think you can accomplish some big things, you are more likely to go on and accomplish big things. God is the Master of great plans!
There was an architect by the name of Daniel Burnham who helped design the great metropolis of Chicago. After the fire the city was destroyed, and things looked very terrible for the people of Chicago. A lot of people lost their lives, their homes, and their businesses. He said this: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood….” He had a grand design forChicagofor skyscrapers and for beautiful streets and shopping areas. That plan came to fruition because he could envision it. He could see it in the future. When everyone else was looking at a devastated landscape, he could see a chance to start again and make it better than ever.
God is like that only infinitely greater! His plans for this earth and for the people on it are fantastic! They are beyond what we can even truly imagine, but we have to realize He never fails. What He has in store for us is fantastic, and we can be a part of it! We can become some of the visionaries to grasp this ahead of time and share it with the rest of the human race, so that they don’t feel so bleak. They can start having hope for the future and then work towards it.
I Corinthians chapter 2 tells us a little bit about God’s plans for us. He can’t reveal everything at this time obviously, but it gives us just a glimpse of how we are to think beyond little plans into big things. I Corinthians chapter 2, starting in verse 6: “However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.”
Paul says here, we speak of a wisdom that is beyond the people of the earth. It is beyond earthly bounds.
Verse 7 of I Corinthians 2: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’”
On our own we can’t even begin to imagine what God wants to do with the human race.
In verse 10 of II Corinthians 2 Paul goes on to say: “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.”
He says, we are fortunate that we are visionaries with whom God has shared His vision of the future with. We get a glimpse into the future. We see how awesome it is. That’s where we are. God wants to share His vision with all of mankind. If we allow God to work in us at this time, we can prepare to have it happen in the very near future.
Verse 11: “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?”
In other words, it is in your own imagination like Daniel Burnham. He could imagine a great future for Chicago. He could understand physical things, but he couldn’t necessarily understand spiritual things without God’s help, so the second half of verse 11 of I Corinthians 2 says: “Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.”
Only God knows the vision for the future that He has in mind, so it is up to Him to share it.
I Corinthians 2, verse 12 goes on to say: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
He says we have been given this vision. We have been given an understanding of the future, and now we speak those things to others. With the Holy Spirit entering them and helping them, they can then understand. It takes God with a vision and a plan for the future sharing it with people who become visionaries. Then they share it with mankind. We are at the point today that we need more visionaries. We need more people who can grasp these truths of God and share them with this human race that is in such a confounded mess right now. It is so divided and so confused! It is losing hope more rapidly by the day. We need to be able to share this vision, and we need people to help us do it.
Continuing in verse 14: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”
We need the mind of Christ (the Holy Spirit) to help us grasp His vision of the future, and then we can share it with the human race. God will open up their minds as they desire because at the end of the age God says, I want everyone to have this vision. I want them to prepare for the future.
God’s vision is discerned spiritually because His plans come from a spiritual place–heaven. It requires spiritual vision in order to see it. The physical vision that you and I are blessed with, if we have our vision, is marvelous. It’s a miracle! The human eye connected to the brain looking out and seeing the beautiful things of the earth is awesome. It is a tremendous creation of God that we can have this.
Spiritual vision is something that should be sought after beyond physical vision, and it needs to be cherished. Once we have a vision of the future, we need to hang on to it and realize it’s real. What God talks about is more than human imagination. It’s going to happen! It’s real. It’s in the near future. Therefore when we grasp God’s vision, it’s not like coming up with an idea or a concept and then trying to turn it into reality. It’s getting a glimpse of reality for the future and then working toward making it more possible now, so people can have hope. People can have something to live for. Young people can look forward to the future and have families, children, and get educated. Those who live in the more desperate places of the earth can realize their destitution and their hopelessness is not going to go on forever. It’s about to change!
We can have this vision of the future now if we desire it and seek it because God says at the end of the age, I will pour out my visions. I will give people dreams. I will give My Spirit to all who want it. We have to want it. We have to believe it and share it. I want to show you what this requires because God gave us a wonderful miracle in Mark chapter 8. It gives us an idea of the difference between physical vision and spiritual vision, and how we can actually use our physical vision to look out at creation and see things that God has in mind. Throughout all creation His thoughts and His plans are built right into it! You can see it if you know how to look at it.
Turn to Mark chapter 8 for this beautiful miracle that Christ did which is open now to our understanding. When you read this and with a little help from God, you can grasp this in the way Christ intended and what He wanted to show with this miracle.
I am in Mark 8, beginning in verse 22: “Then He [Jesus Christ] came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, ‘I see men like trees, walking.’ Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. Then He sent him away to his house, saying, ‘Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.’”
This vision into spiritual vision, you might say, was for the apostles to understand. Now it has been opened up to us at the end of the age to understand what was going on here. The man had Christ spit. In other words, from His mouth He touched this man’s eyes. The man saw the twelve apostles and Jesus Christ standing in front of them as trees walking. Jesus Christ is the tree of life, as I mentioned earlier. That’s why once the trees are happy and they see other people sharing and understanding the truth, they start to clap.
Eventually on the first Day of Pentecost the apostles saw three thousand people get baptized, and they understood the truth. You can imagine their joy and their happiness! Perhaps they were clapping and singing together afterward, singing for joy. Those were trees clapping. Now you can see how this all goes together, but you need spiritual understanding and spiritual vision to grasp it.
Christ says at the end of the age, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. If they want it, they can have it. They can have this vision, but it takes a bit of healing from God first to heal us of this physical constraint that we have. Then our mind’s eye is open. Our imagination is open to His vision of the future.
As we saw throughout the Bible, His thoughts from heaven are recorded. We can start to grasp those thoughts and put them together to form a marvelous tapestry that gives us a glimpse into the future. It becomes very real. If God blesses us with this vision, it will allow you to see beyond the sadness and beyond the news of the day. You will see beyond the silly arguments and the visions that seem to take place all around us and in governments at the highest levels. It will allow you to see beyond the conflicts to a time near at hand when there will be peace, joy, and prosperity. That is what’s coming!
Visionaries can see it now, and then they share it with others. We need people to help us share this vision. We’re just a little group of people. We need others to join us to grasp what God is about to do and to get a vision of the future, so it can be shared with others. Then we can begin to give hope to the human race. Hope and the power of hope work wonders as Abraham Lincoln said.
The confusion, the conflicts, and the suffering that we see in the world is a temporary state. It has gone on for thousands of years, but it is about to come to an end. A beautiful beginning is about to take place. You need to understand how. You need to have that hope in your life and then live toward it and share it with other people.
AN INNUMERABLE MULTITUDE
We know there is a promise in the Bible that the world will grasp this and very soon. If you want to turn to the Book of Revelation chapter 7, we will only quote one Scripture from Revelation today. We would love to share many, many more with you, but for time’s sake, we are going to share this glimpse into the future, so that you will see God ultimately wins and wins big! God makes no little plans.
Revelation chapter 7, verse 9: “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever.’ Amen.”
There is tremendous happiness when this innumerable multitude from around the world understands and grasps the vision. They get their robes cleaned. They come to Christ, and the healing of their minds, hearts, and bodies takes place, so that they can enjoy a bounteous future that is just ahead.
The world is not going to get destroyed. The world is not going to come to the place where there is nothing to live for. God says, that’s not going to happen because I am not going to allow it. If we could look into the Bible and see what He plans for the human race, we would have a vision that gives us hope. We would start now living a more bountiful life. Christ said, I come to bring life and life abundant, and not a diminished life of suffering. He wants to help us in every way.
If we go to verse 15 of Revelation 7, you will see He goes on to say this: “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
We know Christ says He is the river of life, and whoever is a visionary can become a spring of living water and share this living water with other people. God says, I am going to bring you to fountains of living waters. I am going to bring you to people who can share this with you, and I will be among you all. We will wipe away every tear! As we saw in Isaiah 55, instead of tears, there will be joy, happiness, and peace. The briers and the thorns of life will disappear. That is the wonderful vision of the future that God is going to bring about.
God wants visionaries now who understand this and who are willing to share it with the rest of mankind. He wants visionaries who are willing to share His beautiful thoughts with the human race, and you can become one! If you desire it, God says I have opened up My word now at the end of the age to share it with everyone. We can come. We can be part of the innumerable multitude, but we can be part of the first to see it and to grasp it. Then we can share it with our friends and our neighbors and our countrymen.
If you have found the Bible confusing in the past or the Book of Revelation scary, or if you have been turned off by hypocrisy, why don’t you let us try to help you see how wonderful the book really is? Then you can help us utilize God’s thoughts and His word to share a beautiful vision with the rest of mankind. God can heal their eyes and have this earth become a beautiful paradise. As it said in Isaiah 55, God sent His thoughts in the form of rain in your Bible to bring about a beautiful world, not a devastation. We need to know how, so that we can share it with others. The poor people in the world who are suffering right now will have hope, and the power of hope is wonderful!