The Vision and The Reality

…to those who are…called to be saints…  1 Corinthians 1:2

Thank God for being able to see all that you have not yet been. You have had the vision, but you are not yet to the reality of it by any means. It is when we are in the valley, where we prove whether we will be the choice ones, that most of us turn back. We are not quite prepared for the bumps and bruises that must come if we are going to be turned into the shape of the vision. We have seen what we are not, and what God wants us to be, but are we willing to be battered into the shape of the vision to be used by God? The beatings will always come in the most common, everyday ways and through common, everyday people.

There are times when we do know what God’s purpose is; whether we will let the vision be turned into actual character depends on us, not on God. If we prefer to relax on the mountaintop and live in the memory of the vision, then we will be of no real use in the ordinary things of which human life is made. We have to learn to live in reliance upon what we saw in the vision, not simply live in ecstatic delight and conscious reflection upon God. This means living the realities of our lives in the light of the vision until the truth of the vision is actually realized in us. Every bit of our training is in that direction. Learn to thank God for making His demands known.

Our little “I am” always sulks and pouts when God says do. Let your little “I am” be shriveled up in God’s wrath and indignation— “I AM WHO I AM…has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14). He must dominate. Isn’t it piercing to realize that God not only knows where we live, but also knows the gutters into which we crawl! He will hunt us down as fast as a flash of lightning. No human being knows human beings as God does. From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 20-22; Ephesians 6


The attitude of a Christian towards the providential order in which he is placed is to recognize that God is behind it for purposes of His own.

from Biblical Ethics, 99 R




Great advice from King David . . . and my mother, day 18

Today’s reading is drawn from Psalm 69:1-6.

It was going to be the biggest business deal of my life. My partner and I had orchestrated the purchase of a major corporation. We had done our due diligence, we had met with the executives of the for-sale company, we had prepared a business plan, we had raised all the money we would need to make an offer . . . and several counter-offers. We also had plenty of top-notch, meter-running lawyers and hard-charging brokers on point.

The rush of this deal was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I thought about our transaction all the time. I can remember waking up in the morning, lying quietly for a split second, then having “the deal” scream into my mind like a siren. I strategized about it in the shower and talked about it over oatmeal. My wife was very patient. I thought about the deal while driving to the office, eating lunch, sitting in church, flying on airplanes, jogging . . . you get the idea. Finally, on one mid-summer Tuesday afternoon, we tendered our opening offer.

The next morning, only a few hours after the company’s board had met to “accept our proposal,” I got a call from a broker. Somehow a very clever buyer — with a no-shop deal — had come to the table at the last moment. With no opportunity to let us counter-offer, the board accepted the other proposal. Our whole Wall Street transaction had slipped through our fingers. I was sick, broken, angry, embarrassed and confused. How could this have happened?

The first two words of today’s psalm say it all: “Save me.” King David must have just lost the deal of a lifetime. ”the floods engulf me . . . my throat is parched” (vv. 1 – 3). That’s okay, David, I know just how you felt.

When I was a kid, my mother used to lean in on me when I was facing an unusually horrible youngster-type crisis. “Robert,” she’d warn, “this is a test. How well you do will be an example for good or not-so-good.” Her wise words came crashing back on my consciousness that July morning. It’s not what happens to me that matters, I recalled from something I had read, It’s what happens when something happens to me that really counts.

Did you read verse 6? “May those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me.” The lesson is unmistakable. My friends are watching me when the deal goes bad, when my faith is shattered, when things don’t turn out as I had planned. It’s my chance to show them how my love for God and His love for me is absolutely enough. My reaction to failure delivers an opportunity — a test — to prove how quick He is to meet my needs. It’s my chance to make Him look good.

Thanks for the reminder, David. Thanks, Mom.



The Blessing

“I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” Isaiah 44:3

Author Bruce Wilkinson and his son, David, were sitting quietly in Bruce’s living room. Suddenly David spoke up. “Dad, will you bless me?” Surprised, Bruce said, “David, you know I do bless you.” “No, Dad,” David said. “I want you to really bless me.” David stood up, walked to his father’s chair, and knelt in front of him.

Bruce was stunned, but also filled with a tremendous desire to answer his son’s request. He put his hands on David’s shoulders and began to pray—for David’s mind, health, interests, and skills, for his friendships and work, for his dreams, for every part of his life. Bruce didn’t stop until he was sure his son not only was blessed, but also felt blessed. Both father and son now say that moment deepened their relationship and gave David a new sense of spiritual confidence.

Some children spend their entire lives striving for the love, acceptance, and blessing of their parents. They suspect that their parents love them and are praying for them, yet they’ve never encountered a tangible example of this heartfelt affection and support.

Don’t let your children go through life without a blessing. Kneel down with them today and pray for the Lord’s abundance and mercy to be with them always.

Before you say good night…

Do your children feel blessed by you?

In what specific areas do your children need blessing?

Should you establish a tradition of regularly blessing your kids?

Lord, You are the Fountain and Source of every blessing. May Your blessing upon our lives flow through us to the children You have given us. Help us bless them in a way that will bring confidence, peace, and joy to their hearts. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Illustration adapted from The Prayer of Jabez Devotional by Bruce Wilkinson with David Kopp (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 2001).