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      CHANGING YOUR VISION

Many Christians are hoping and praying, and after a while realize that they do not get answers to their prayers. They are basing their prayers on human hope which is only wishing for the prayer to be answered. If the person is using divine hope, while believing and praying, he moves into the area of the kind of hope that is allowing divine faith to operate.

      AN INNER IMAGE

Everything in this world is governed by a law and these laws become blueprints to success. When a person follows the laws of music he is able to compose beautiful harmony. Great buildings and bridges have been built because people followed the laws of engineering. When you ignore or go against the laws of physics you run into difficulties and can cause buildings or bridges to collapse.

Divine hope is the blueprint from which divine faith will work. Without faith there is no substance, so you will not see answers to your prayers. Without divine hope, faith will have nothing to work from, and your faith will accomplish nothing.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9. not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2. through whom also we have access by faith into this grace (favor) in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; (Greek: patience), 4. and perseverance, (patience), character; and character, hope. 5. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Many people hope for something and become disappointed when they do not receive it. Romans 5:5 states that hope does not disappoint. It is talking about the divine hope that comes from God. There will be no disappointment because it will allow the faith God gives you to produce victory.

In Hebrews 11:1 you are told that faith is the substance of things hoped for. Usually the person who is disappointed is using human hope instead of divine hope. On some occasions the divine hope was counteracted by hope that was not glorifying, such as being secretly happy when a person or a ministry had problems, or fell. When you wish that someone would have problems, or you have the attitude or say, "Well, it serves them right" after a problem, you are working with the wrong kind of hope. This type of person is not living with the love of God controlling his life. God is love, and He expects you to pattern your life after Jesus.

A person who has a blueprint of a house cannot live in the blueprint because he is only looking at pieces of paper. The house needs to be constructed from the blueprint before the person can live in it. Many people get excited about their home when they see the blueprint. You ask them where their home is and they will show you a blueprint and start describing the different parts of their dream house in great detail. They are excited about the plans, even though the house has not yet been built. They will tell you that this is their home, even though it is only a drawing on some paper. They have an inner image of what the home is going to look like. God expects you to become excited about the divine hope He has given you. Even though you do not see the answer to your prayers yet, you have given your divine faith a blueprint from which to work.

I have heard people who are talking on the telephone say to the person they are talking to, "I see that." Are they trying to give us the impression that they can see through the telephone wires? No, they are trying to say that they can see the image in their mindís eye, rather than through the physical eye. God expects you to have the same type of vision in the spirit realm. The person of faith has three eyes. The first two are natural eyes and the third is "the eye of faith." God wants you to expect to see the answers to your prayers through your spiritual eyes before you see the answers with the natural eyes.

      DESTROYING YOUR HOPE

Many Christians have the image of themselves as an unworthy person whom God has saved. Their common statement is that they are only a sinner saved by grace. This comes from traditional teaching and is not accurate. If you are only a sinner, you are not saved by grace. If you are saved by grace, you are no longer a sinner. Saying, "I was a sinner, but now I am saved by grace," tells the correct truth. God receives the glory, because the person is no longer a sinner.

In Mark 7:24-30 a Syro-Phoenician woman compared herself to the little dogs who ate the childrenís crumbs that fell from the masterís table. She was not born again at that time and she did not have a changed inner image. We who have been born again must have a new inner image. The old image must be changed to match the image that God has of us.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Ever since the time of Adam the world has been death oriented rather than life oriented. People will say, "My feet are killing me," or "Iím dying to see that thing." You will not hear them say, "My feet are making me feel younger," or "Iím living to see that view." It is easy to die, because people have an inner image of death, in place of an inner image of divine health or they are expecting to be totally healed. The older people become, the more they will see the inner image of death running through their mind.

Many Christians are doing exactly the same thing as the world. Their inner image is showing exactly the same thing seen on the outside. They continually wonder why their good mother, father or friend had to die when they prayed so earnestly. They wonder why their needs are not being met when they are earnestly praying for victory. The inner image of hope has not been changed. They are looking at the circumstance instead of what God tells them is going to happen.

Words are simply inner transferring tools. If I use the word "cat" I am transferring the image of a cat to your mind. You did not think of the spelling of the word. You think of a picture of the word. You will always think in pictures. Now add your own ideas of what the cat looks like, but if I give you a verbal description of the cat, that will change the image.

Human hope comes from knowledge. Many people never dreamed it possible to be able to go to the moon. When people saw the landing on the moon via television, they received a hope that others would be able to go to the moon. Many base their faith on how they feel. When they donít feel their salvation, they claim that they are not saved. Our salvation is not based on how we feel, it is based on what the Word teaches and how we react to what it teaches.

Divine hope comes from knowledge, received by reading and believing the promises that God gives to you in His Word. Draw hope from the Word which will renew your spirit and start expecting God to work in every circumstance. Become fully persuaded that God wants to honor His Word and supply the things that are promised.

Each one of us who is born again is convinced that our names are written in Godís Book of Life. How many of us have seen the Book, or our name written in the Book? What tangible proof do you have that your name is in Godís Book? You are basing your statement on the divine hope that is in your spirit. This was put there because you can depend on the promises of God.

Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17. and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Divine faith is produced by studying the Word and divine hope is put into your spirit as you are building your divine faith. Faith of the senses is a result of not studying the Bible. Human hope, which has no power to work from, ends up in hopelessness, therefore the situation becomes worse.

One reason people do not receive answers to their prayers sooner, or in a greater way, is because they donít set aside enough time to build the hope from the Word in their spirit. They are constantly just waiting for God to do something about it. You must set aside time to study His Word to change what is on the inside of your spirit.

Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then YOU will make your way prosperous, and then YOU will have good success. 9. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

When you meditate on the Word and do all it tells you, you will have good success in the affairs of life. In Joshua 1:8 you see that WE are the ones who will make our ways prosperous. This is not necessarily going to be done because of your own wisdom or strength. This will be accomplished because the Holy Spirit will be guiding you and work in and through you.

Many people spend much time at work. When they get home they claim that they are too tired to think, so they watch television, listen to the radio, or talk to their friends. They drop their guard which allows the subconscious mind to accept everything they hear. They fail to spend time in the Word, which is the only way they will be able to renew their minds and allow Godís divine faith to fill their spirits. Allow time so that the Holy Spirit can start the change in your spirit.

On one occasion, while crossing the Atlantic Ocean, we stopped at a port of Trinidad. The captain of our ship told the oil company to fill up the shipís fuel tanks and they used a large high pressure hose to transfer the fuel. The pumps worked all night as well as part of the next day. It did not happen quickly and during the time our ship was being refueled we could not go anywhere. Any ideas of going on to the next port of call were set aside until we received the fuel.

There will be times in your life when you must set aside time to refuel yourself with divine hope. The human hope that stops the divine hope from working does not come into your spirit overnight. It is going to take time to break the old habits and learn to trust God to fulfill all His promises for you. You must frequently meditate on the promises of God instead of the circumstances that are affecting you in an adverse way.

      DEVELOPING A NEW INNER IMAGE

Colossians 1:23 If indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Paul mentions the hope of the Gospel in verse 23. This is the God given hope which is needed to fill your spirit. In Romans 4:18 Paul is using hope as a force in itself. Verse 21 states that Abraham was fully convinced of the things that God had promised him. This was only possible if Abraham was using the hope he had as a divine force. When you become fully convinced that God will honor the promises He makes to you, you will start to see His power work through you in a far greater way.

The hope of the Gospel is an inner image of:

      1. Who you are in Christ Jesus

      2. What you can do in Christ Jesus

      3. What Christ Jesus is in you

      4. What the Holy Spirit and the promises of God, or the Word, will do in you.

The believer who has filled his spirit with the hope of the Gospel will have a new inner picture. It is entirely different from the way he used to see himself. Now begin to see yourself in Christ Jesus, Who is working through you to meet your needs.

Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14. in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. 15. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 18.  And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. 19.  For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20. and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 21. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22.  in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and irreproachable in His sight.

Paul shows you in Colossians 1:18 that Jesus is the head of the body - which is the Church, and that all the fullness should dwell in Him. A head without a body, or a body without a head, is useless; they must work together. See yourself as part of the body of Christ, with Jesus in you, and not yourself controlling things. You are the righteousness of God and must allow the Holy Spirit rather than your carnal nature to direct you.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

God has an inner image of life which produced Jesus on the earth. God desires that you conform to the image of His Son, and allow His divine inner image to fill your spirit. You then can reflect the nature and character of Jesus in your life, which will cause more people to want to come to Him.

People of faith begin to look at the Scriptures for promises to obtain answers for their needs. They become excited because they are expecting God to honor His Word to cause things to come to pass. This comes from the inner image which is based on divine hope. This sounds and looks foolish to the people of the world, because they are seeing the things on the outside rather than the inner blueprint.

A lady once moved to a new area. She bought a beautiful home on the side of a mountain, overlooking the town. When winter arrived she realized that she had made a bad choice because the mountain stopped the sun from warming her home in the mornings. She asked the Christians in the local church to pray with her that the mountain would be removed, see Mark 11:23. They were firmly convinced that it would never take place. Regardless of what they thought she continued to ask God to move the mountain. One day the highway department needed a large amount of dirt to raise the level of the road they were building. They moved the mountain. The image in the ladyís spirit was an expectation that the mountain would be removed, and she eventually saw the fulfillment take place in the natural.

We must change our minds from an idea of failure to a winning attitude, and develop our spirits to have the hope of the Gospel. Reach for that hope that comes from God and allow it to govern your circumstances, instead of being controlled by the situations. Stop allowing the circumstances to be the controlling factor of your life. Your actions will determine the victory, but it will not happen overnight. You did not get into the problems in one day. Your faith and divine hope will have to be cultivated and watered with the Scripture on a continual basis. These Scriptures have to change the inner images in you that were established over a long period of time.

Unbelief can cause people to be overly critical and have a complaining spirit. Some seem to think that their lot in life is to pick out the faults in others. This attitude will always stop divine hope from working in their lives.

      YOU HAVE AUTHORITY

Mankind is faced with many problems. Some accuse God of not being in control or of allowing the problems on the earth. They fail to realize that God gave the task to men.

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

The satanic forces that have been controlling the world since the time of Adam were defeated at Calvary. Their control was taken away from them and was given over to the Believer.

Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.

Colossians 2:15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

It is the Believer, - NOT GOD - who is not taking control of these problems. You must change the wrong image that human faith has given you and start to develop the God-given image that comes from divine hope. You must ask God what His will is, as well as the timing. You are to ask God to direct you so that you start controlling the circumstances He wants to have changed.

John 14:12 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

In the above verses you are given the promise to duplicate the things you saw Jesus do in the Gospels. On one occasion Jesus stopped the wind on the Sea of Galilee, see Mark 4:35-41. Is it Godís will for you to speak to the wind every time there is a bad storm? The answer is no. Sometimes He is using the storm for judgment and on other occasions He is using it for His glory. If it is for judgment of certain places, or the benefit of others, you can speak to the wind so that it will not affect you.

On one occasion I was driving a heavy truck up a high mountain. The wind was pushing against me very hard. I wanted to speak to the wind to tell it to stop. It was not the will of the Lord for the wind to stop, because it was needed to cool the very hot valley I had just left. The Lord allowed the wind to curl just behind me to help push me up the mountain. I was immediately able to change into a higher gear. The wind that was cooling the valley, was helping me instead of affecting me. I had two men in the truck with me and I asked them if they had seen what I had just done. They saw me change gears, even though the wind was still coming against us.

Once a Church on an island of the South Pacific purchased a piece of property near the ocean. The Lord directed them to build a three foot wall around the edge of the property before they started constructing the church. They thought that this would be a good idea if there was a high tide. A terrible storm, which lasted for three days, came after the wall was completed. The waves beat against the beaches with tremendous force. During the storm the members of the church thought that the wall would be washed away. They went to examine the wall after the storm was over. God had allowed the storm to bring enormous quantities of sand, which was deposited on the inside of the wall. This had raised the property to the height of the wall. They were then able to build the church three feet higher than before the storm.

Many times God will use adverse circumstances to become stepping stones. It is very important that you find out the will of the Lord before you use your divine faith to remove the problem.

Ephesians 1:22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23. which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

God put everything under the feet of Jesus, and made Him to be the Head. The Church is His body. We become the part that makes Jesus full and complete. What affects the body, will also affect the Head. If one member suffers, then this will affect the efficiency of the whole body.

God sees the true Believers as part of the body of Christ. In order to allow this to take place He has to see us as righteous people. This is possible because Jesus exchanged our old nature for a new one. We must now change the old inner image in ourselves to match the divine image that God has for us.

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