I know there will be many posts about 2020 Vision. My prayer is that you will take the time to read this one. It may be a little different than some of the others. Hopefully, it will at least make you think and will bring some thoughts of action, growth, and change to your mind.

It is hard to believe that the year 2020 will be here soon. My thoughts go back to all of the lofty goals, planning and strategizing that were to be met by the year 2020. I remember sitting in meetings and presentations for my daughter’s college, our church, and other organizations several years ago as we looked ahead to the year 2020. Many goals have been met and many new plans are being made.

I have been thinking about the coming of this year for a while now. It has had more of an impact on me than most. I guess just because it has made me contemplate some things that are becoming vitally important in my life as I get older, and as I watch my children navigate this life as adults, and my grandchildren grow so quickly. Also, as I observe the deep and disturbing place in which we find our society and our world socially, the desperate need for the ability to see beyond “self” to a greater vision has me constantly asking the question –

“What is it going to take to change the tide?”

So here are my thoughts. My plans for 2020. Maybe you will decide to come alongside me on this journey.

I have not been one to choose a “life word” every year and try to use it as a guide. But, this year is going to be different. God has been working on my soul with this for months and I am trying to pay very close attention to His prompting. Maybe He has been doing the same thing to you and my words will help just a little.

Vision, focus, and clarity will be words that I try to keep in the forefront of my thoughts for 2020. Here is the key – this is an impossible task. I do not have the capability to see things clearly. Everything is blurred because of my humanity, my past experiences, my opinions, my outside influences, and so much more.

Scripture even solidifies that thought…

1 Corinthians 13:12 says this, For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

But just because I am looking at an impossible task to complete fully, that doesn’t mean I will not do my best to find ways to improve.

When I went to the eye doctor 2 weeks ago, he said that he could get my eyesight close to 20/20 with trifocals. So now I have to decide if I need to see far away, up close, or mid-distance and choose to look through that part of my glasses to get a clear view. I must say I am not a fan of this new stage of life but I am thankful for the doctor who was able to make it possible for me.

But as I was struggling to figure out a way to make these glasses work without getting dizzy or falling up a missed step (epic fail on that two days ago by the way), I realized that this was the perfect way to organize the thoughts that God had been impressing on me for such a long time.

Just as I had a wonderful eye doctor here for my earthly eyes, I have an eye doctor for my soul. I have the greatest eye doctor of all time. He created me and knows exactly what I need to correct my vision. As I see every situation, every person that crosses my path, every problem, every triumph,  every social issue, every political personality, every hard decision, even as I look at myself; I need to see it all through the eyes of Jesus.

Up close … Mid-Distance … and Far Away

If my desire is vision, focus, and clarity; I must start with myself; up close and personal. I have to see myself for who I really am, pray for focus and clarity, and accept the vision that God puts before me. I must see myself through the eyes of Christ who loves me more than life itself, who knows my thoughts before I even say them, who guides my steps and guards my way. The One who has written my story and who holds time in His hands. The one who chose for me to live on the earth for such a time as this. (might read the book of Esther for that one)

So, who am I?

*As I gaze through the eyes of Christ I will begin to see myself as planned, chosen, loved, guided, and protected.

Psalm 139

[1] O LORD, you have searched me and known me!

[2] You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.

[3] You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.

[4] Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.

[5] You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.

[6] Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

[7] Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?

[8] If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

[9] If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

[10] even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.

[11] If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”

[12] even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

[13] For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

[14] I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

[15] My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

[16] Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

[17] How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

[18] If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.

[19] Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me!

[20] They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain.

[21] Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?

[22] I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.

[23] Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

[24] And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (ESV)

*I must see myself as a sinner saved by grace. Valued so greatly that the Creator of the Universe would come to earth and give His own life to mark my debt of sin as “paid in full”.

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23 (ESV)

*I must see myself as forgiven. And as I see the forgiveness of Christ toward me through His eyes then maybe, just maybe, I can see my sin in full and still have the capability to forgive myself.

Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. Isaiah 1:18

*I must see myself as a child of the King. And as I gaze through my Father’s eyes, may I realize that I have been given the kingdom of God and that I am equipped with everything I need to fulfill His purpose in my life.

But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

 I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me. Phil. 4:13

*I am loved

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19

So what will I do in response to this knowledge? What will you do as well?

I will stop being my worst critic.

I will not be pompous and proud on my own merits but will offer glory and praise to God for His work through me.

I will value myself and do my best to stop any negative self-talk.

I will pray daily for God to make clear to me the things I need His help to change, but will also focus on the forgiveness and grace and mercy that I have already received.

I will forgive myself.

I will forgive others and see the best in them.

So, according to my near vision, how will I answer the question I asked earlier?

“What is it going to take to change the tide?”

Changing the tide must begin with me.  The focus on my relationship with Christ must be my first priority. Clarity of who I am and the place God has given me in this world must take a place of importance. My vision must be completely tethered to God’s vision for me.

Now that we have tackled the near vision, we must expand our field of view. The mid-distance vision is where, looking through the eyes of Christ, we become His hands and feet. What will I do today, and how will it affect those around me?

As I broaden my focus, I see my family.

I must see my family as God sees them.

I will encourage them to do the same. I will offer my own life as a guide of drawing into focus those things that are most important. That means there is a vast amount of work to be done!

I must look through the eyes of Christ and be Light and Truth to them. Please God, may I be an example to my children and grandchildren of God’s amazing love. I want my life to lead them straight to You! May I offer to them the same love, grace, mercy and forgiveness that Christ has offered me.

My concentric circles then will broaden to my church. How can I take my newly corrected 20/20 vision and apply it to my church? I am only a small part of my church and my church is only a small part of this community, but the impact can still be great. If we see each other in our own congregation as Christ sees, then we will respond differently, we will love more, and we will work more diligently for the kingdom of God. I have a fabulous church, but I can only imagine how incredible it would be if we all had the vision, focus, and clarity of the eyes of Christ.

As we see each other through the eyes of Christ, then we can turn our gaze outside of our walls to the lost community around us. What a glorious and exciting time that would be! Once again, my church is wonderful and we do so many things for our community. But what about a single vision, focused fervently on the will of God; all members seeing our neighbors, coworkers, fellow congregations and community leaders through the eyes of Christ. We would become the hands and feet of Christ in our church and in our community! We would be the light as Christ is the light. Isn’t that what we all want as the church of Almighty God?

“But how?”, you may ask. I can only quote what God has already said in scripture. So here is what I see.

If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked way, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Jesus replied,”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it; “Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

There are so many other scriptures that could be used here. This will get us started on the journey.

Now I have to concentrate on getting clarity for my distant vision. How do I even figure out where to look? There are so many things in the world today that offer answers to all of life’s questions. I know there is only one way to the truth.

Hebrews 12:1-3 says it this way –

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (NIV)

I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalms 121:1-2

Jeremiah 29:11-13 gives us a beautiful promise. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

So, here is my prayer for myself and for you my friends for this new year, 2020. I pray that we will search for the vision God has for our lives. I pray that we will place our focus on those things that have eternal significance. I pray for clarity as we look at ourselves and this desperate lost world through the eyes of Christ.

There are two scriptures that I want to pray over us as well.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.  Ephesians 1:18-19

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. Numbers:6:24-26

Have a blessed new year everyone! Thanks for reading.

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