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      DEVELOPING A VISION FOR VICTORY

Many people who are surrounded by adverse circumstances, have the feeling that there is no hope to overcome them. Possibly the only large employer in their area has just closed down and many have been laid off. Their friends see no change on the horizon, so the feeling of hopelessness colors the whole picture. Is this the feeling you now have? God has a better picture for you and He wants you to develop a vision of victory in your spirit.

2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

You canít remain with a feeling of despondency when God wants to cause you to triumph. God wants to turn your circumstances around, so that He can demonstrate what will happen to you through His power, when you continue to depend on His promises and remain faithful. He wants to turn the circumstances around, even though it may seem impossible in the natural. If you trust Him you will not remain discouraged, because the impossible circumstances will turn around, when you dare to believe and depend on the promises of God. Note the first part of the above verse that shows you God wants to lead you in triumph. To be led in triumph you must be willing to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, or else you will not be triumphant.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

God has wonderful plans in store for you, but He needs your cooperation. Donít limit Him through negative thinking or talking. Remember that God designed your spirit and mind to think positive as well as to think big. He expects you to pay attention to the Word, allowing it to control you rather than the circumstances that are affecting you.

      CHANGING YOUR FOCUS

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5.  casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

When the Children of Israel were given orders to leave Egypt, they thought their troubles were over. Little did they realize that they were just beginning a life of living by faith, and those who refused to live by faith were going to die in the wilderness. They were leaving Egypt in victory, with a very impressive line up of people. All the Israelites were marching in columns, and had brought out a lot of wealth which was given to them by the Egyptians. Moses led them between two mountains going toward one of the deepest spots of the Red Sea.

When Pharaoh heard that the Children of Israel were leaving Egypt with everything they had, he became very angry, and decided to chase after them, and take everything of value they had.

Exodus 15:9 The enemy said, ĎI will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my desire shall be satisfied on them. I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.í

Pharaoh sent all of his chariots as well as the rest of the army in pursuit. They caught up with them at the Red Sea. The Israelites felt that they were in a tremendous trap with the Red Sea ahead of them, mountains on both sides and the Egyptian army at the rear. They could hear their screams and were firmly convinced that they would all be killed.

It is very possible that the majority of the Israelites began yelling, "They are going to kill us." It became very important for them to change their focus if they were going to allow God to help them. Their negative words would have stopped victory from coming. 

Have you ever felt that you were in a similar situation, with all types of problems around you, and there appeared to be no way of escape? Moses told the people to listen to what he had to say. He wanted them to realize that there was nothing to worry about, because God was in control.

Exodus 14:13 And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14.  "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace."

God shows no partiality (Acts10:34), because He honors divine faith. Moses told the people that God would fight for them, and since He shows no partiality, He will fight for you as well. If God plans to fight for you, who can stand against Him and win? Make up your mind that you are on the winning team. 

After Moses made that wonderful statement the Israelites still found themselves in the same place. The sea was ahead of them and the Egyptians were still chasing them, which meant that there was no change in their situation. Is that where you are right now? Letís look at what happened next. The angel of the Lord moved to protect them from the Egyptians.

Exodus 14:19 And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. 20. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.

Psalm 34:7 The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, (reverence and worship God), and delivers them.

Psalm 138:8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Then Moses was told to make a way for them to cross the Red Sea. As a result of Mosesí obedience, God caused an enormous cyclone to make a path across the Red Sea. Because the wind was sucking up the water so rapidly, the sides of the walls of water became frozen, leaving the bottom dry. (For more details about the crossing of the Red Sea, read "The Night The Red Sea Froze" by my father, John S. Richards.)

Exodus 14:15 And the Lord said to Moses, "Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. 16. "But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. 29. But the children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

The vision of victory for the Israelites came when they listened and believed the man of God. As a result God was able to cause a miracle to take place, which allowed the people to move to the other side of the Red Sea. You may not need such a dramatic miracle to take place to bring you victory, but you will still need to use your faith if you are going to allow God to work in your behalf. The first thing is to raise your level of divine hope, so that your faith will have a blueprint from which to work.

When your divine hope matches the teachings of the Bible, faith will become an unconscious reality. You will see Godís ability to meet your needs instead of only wishing that they would be met. Go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to direct you to Scriptures to depend on to see your needs met. Once a Korean lady was reading her Bible before a prayer meeting started. She was asked what she was doing. Her reply was, "Iím looking for Scriptures to hurl up to God when I pray."

By changing the words in various verses and putting them in the "first person" you begin to see that Jesus expects you to do the believing if you want to receive. Next write those Scriptures in a notebook, in the first person. Start memorizing them, and then apply them to your situation. An example of Scriptures in the "first person" is seen in the following verses:

Psalm 91:1 As I dwell in the secret place of the Most High I shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2.  I will say of the Lord, "You are my refuge and my fortress; my God, in You I will trust." 3.  Surely You will deliver me from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. 4. You will cover me with Your feathers, and under Your wings I will take refuge; Your truth shall be my shield and buckler. 5.  I will not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, 6.  Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. 7.  A thousand may fall at my side, and ten thousand at my right hand; but it will not come near me. 8.  Only with my eyes will I look, and see the reward of the wicked. 9.  Because I have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, my habitation, 10.  No evil will befall me, nor shall any plague come near my dwelling; 11. For He will give His angels charge over me, to keep me in all my ways. 12. They will bear me up in their hands, lest I dash my foot against a stone. 13.  I will tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent I will trample under foot. 14.  Because I have set my love upon Him, therefore He will deliver me; He will set me on high, because I have known His name. 15.  I will call upon Him, and He will answer me; He will be with me in trouble; He will deliver me and honor me. 16.  With long life He will satisfy me, and show me His salvation.

Matthew 7:7 Ask and it will be given to me, seek and I will find; knock and it will be opened to me.

Matthew 17:20 Jesus says to me, "If I have faith as a mustard seed, I will say to this mountain, ĎMove from here to there,í and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for me."

Mark 9:23 Jesus says to me, "If I can believe, all things are possible to me who believes."

Mark 11:22 Jesus answers and says to me, "Have the faith of God." 23. For assuredly He says to me, when I say to this mountain, "Go throw yourself into the sea," and if I donít doubt in my heart, but believe that those things which I say will come to pass, I will have whatever I say. 24. Therefore Jesus says to me, whatever things I ask when I pray, believe that I receive them, and I will have them.

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."

John 16:23 And in that day I will ask Him nothing. Most assuredly He says to me, whatever I ask the Father, in His name, He will give me. 24. Until now I have asked nothing in His name. Ask and I will receive, that my joy may be full.

There are many other examples that could be given, but as you start changing the Scriptures from the third person to the first person, you start to think in terms of, "This promise applies to me." The more you do this the more you raise your level of divine hope and change your vision to what God wants to do in your life. It is extremely important that you change your inner vision of defeat to one of victory.

Remember the Lord is coming for a victorious bride and He wants to help you in every part of your life, spirit, mind and body. Divine hope will become a revelation from Heaven. He expects you to have a renewed vision of this divine hope, so that you start receiving all He has for you. He wants you to be a shining example to your neighbors, friends, and others, showing how the Lord is meeting your needs and helping you and your family. Remember the more He meets your needs in response to the use of your divine faith and hope, the more the Father receives glory. As you start to see the fulfillment of what you are believing for, you will release your faith even more, which will bring a greater testimony for others to hear. Expect to inspire others with what God is doing in your life, which will cause many others to start raising their level of faith.

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