”After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” Revelations 4:1
I welcome you to another “ember” month in 2020, the month of October. I decree that in this new month, the LORD will remember His covenant children for good, in Jesus’ Name. This month’s theme is “Higher Vision.”
We thank God that He has been speaking to us, His Covenant children, throughout 2020. In January, the LORD gave insight into “The Great Turnaround,” in February, “Secrets of Spiritual Warfare” from Ephesians 6:12, “Let There Be Light” in March, and “Goliath Must Fall” in April. In the following months, He revealed to us that “Upon Mount Zion,” we all triumph in Jesus (May), and that in the “Fullness of Time,” He lavishes us with His provision, protection, and guidance (June). The expositions in July, August and September, respectively, were on “The Unprecedented Touch,” “Wonderful,” and “Ye Are My Witnesses.”
The LORD revealed the theme, “Higher Vision” to me through my Father in the LORD, Pastor E.A. Adeboye. Right then I knew that the previous months had been a divine setup to this month’s theme. I pray that, more than ever before, we shall begin to see, hear, and do ministry differently and according to His standards and desires, in Jesus’ Name.
In expounding on this month’s theme, two words will be defined preliminarily. They are “Higher” & “Vision.”
[Biblical] Vision: To understand God’s vision for one’s life, one must have a clear definition of vision. Helen Keller, a woman who was born blind, said, “To have sight without vision is worse than being born blind.” Eugene Peterson’s Paraphrase in The Message renders Proverbs 29:18 thus, “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what He reveals, they are most blessed.”
The Macmillan dictionary defines vision as “The ability to think about and plan for the future, using intelligence and imagination.” However, Biblical vision does not require your intelligence or imagination, and is therefore not reliant upon these. Rather, Biblical vision is a discovery of God’s plan as it relates to your life. According to George Banner, it is the “clear mental image of a preferable future imparted by God to His children based upon an accurate understanding of God, self and circumstances.”
Based on this definition, there are three aspects of vision:
- GOD – Your vision comes from God; it is not something you thought up overnight.
- SELF – Your priorities and spiritual gifts will help you focus on your vision.
- CIRCUMSTANCES – Your vision begins where you are now; so, you must face and solve your problems, and then overcome all barriers to fulfill your dream. The vision statement is, consequently, a “where” question. Not so much where you are right now, but where you are going and what you are becoming!
Higher: This means having a considerable extent or reach upward, exceeding the common degree or exalted in rank, station, and eminence, according to the dictionary. May we all experience eminence in every area of our callings, in Jesus’ Name. In life, in ministry, or in the nation, you are either going up or coming down. There is no standing still. The moment you stop ascending, you start descending. We are admonished, by the Word of God, to continue to mount up with wings as eagles (Isaiah 40:31). God’s continuous invitation to His covenant children is to come up higher! This is an invitation to divine communion, divine companionship, divine fellowship, divine relationship, and divine intimacy. It is an initiation into the reality and experiences of the supernatural.
There were visions given to the Apostle John, the Beloved, which together constitute the Book of Revelations. I have ceaselessly wondered why this vision was given to one of the foremost witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. By that point in history, John the Beloved had written the books that were the Epistle of John, and the 1 John, 2 John, 3 John letters. He was about 92 years old when he wrote the book of Revelations while a prisoner of Rome on the remote desert penal colony of Patmos, an island in the Aegean Sea (similar to Moses being in the desert at age 80). One would have thought that at that age, and given his life’s experiences, there would not have been anything else to see or hear or talk about. I mean, the Apostle John was a man who lived and served with Jesus for three and one-half years and wrote an exposition on love! 1 John 4:8 says, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
However, just as was true for Joshua in his old age and after all his noteworthy accomplishments, God said, “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed” (Joshua 13:1). The key here is that, as far as God is concerned, there is no retirement from His assignment until He calls you to glory! In the believer’s walk with God, there will always be more to know, see and hear until the call home. This is the reason God’s invitation to His covenant children to come up higher is continuous!
LESSONS FROM JOHN’S HEAVENLY VISION
Until you see a clear vision of God, it will be difficult to have a vision of eternal value for your life. Like the Apostle Paul, the impact of a heavenly vision is one you will never forget in your life, even if you forget messages you hear at church. Both John and Paul were controlled by the vision of heaven they individually received. The Apostle Paul lived by his vision of heaven and it affected others also.
We can learn a few lessons from how John & Paul’s heavenly visions impacted both their lives and the lives of others:
- God’s vision demands total obedience:
The vision of Christ, no matter how one perceives it, demands total obedience and the submission of self to God. Through John’s obedience, he got a better definition of who Jesus is, which had never been revealed to any human, dead or living, or even angels. Revelation 1:8 says, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
- The vision must affect others:
By this revelation at the close of the first century A.D., John was able to speak the mind of God to the seven churches in Asia minor (the churches then and now). God gave the message to Jesus, Who sent it via an angel to the apostle John (Revelation 1:1). In the case of the Apostle Paul, as he talked to King Agrippa, the vision began to wield a strange power of its own, so strong that King Agrippa, an unbeliever declared “…Keep this up much longer and you’ll make a Christian out of me!” Acts 26:28 (MSG). When you receive a heavenly vision, important people will seek you out to listen to your wisdom. They will go back to their people and implement your ideas; thus, you influence nations without much exertion! A vision can also change your status quo. Because of one vision Joseph got from God, he and his descendants were impacted forever! This is the kind of vision that God wants to give you!
- The vision propels you to go higher:
The vision John received was a revelation of things to come to give us hope. We now know that life does not end here, and that there is a heaven and there is a hell. He was able to succinctly give us a description of heaven.
The Apostle Paul was always quick to point out that he had not attained but was still seeking to be more like Christ. “ Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV).
Qualifications for Higher Vision:
- Redemption: This takes place in the spirit (Revelation 4:2). The mystery of redemption is that it transforms a man by bringing his spirit alive, causing a divine coexistence of the supernatural with the natural. John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 4:24 says, “God is a Spirit…,” so, it follows that His sons and daughters are spirits. John 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” 1 John 3:9 (NHEB), “Whoever is born of God does not commit sin…”
- Sanctification: This is defined as being set apart and consecrated to a holy God. To be sanctified means to be dead to sin (Colossians 3:5-10); dead to self, God-focused and God-centered (Philippians 2:5-7); totally renewed in the mind (Romans 12:1-2). One must pass this test to go higher with God.
- The Holy Spirit: One must have an encounter of being filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues (Luke 4:1; Acts 2:4). One must be indwelt by the Holy Spirit so as to be led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11,14).
- Meditation on the Word of God: Joshua 1:8 says, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
- Fasting & Prayers: Jesus told his disciples that certain things will not happen in the spirit realm except by fasting and prayer. “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:21. Fasting is intended to discipline the body and mind and enable more effective prayers (Matthew 4:1-2). It is he who asks that receives (Matthew 7:8; Isaiah 40:31). In Chuck Swindoll’s book, The Church Awakening, he said, “While we were not paying attention, we slipped from what we used to call a “modern world” into a “postmodern world” –Today’s citizens are more biblically ignorant than people of virtually any other time since the Dark Ages.”
- Teachability: Charlie Chaplin was the most famous person on the planet in the 1920’s. Born into poverty, he worked on stage to support himself and by age 17 he was a veteran performer. He was successful not just because he had talent and drive; he was teachable. He kept learning and perfecting his gift. Even at the height of his popularity as the highest paid performer in the world (he signed his first million-dollar contract in 1918; something unheard of). Even after he became famous, he did not exchange teachability for arrogance; he still remembered the basics and always kept learning. Proverbs 18:15 (NIV) says, “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.” There is no place in God’s Kingdom for know-it-alls. When you stay teachable, God can use you!
- A thirst and yearning for more of Jesus: Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” John 6:35, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.”
In conclusion, as God earnestly beckons his children, “Come up higher” (Revelation 4:1), the devil is also forcefully beckoning “Come down” to God’s obedient saints (2 Kings 1:9,11). Satan is against anyone going up, he wants men to come down. However, down below is the place of spiritual dryness, powerlessness and carnality. When Moses stayed with God up there on Mount Sinai, he was enveloped with God’s glory so much that when he came down, the children of Israel, and even Aaron, could not look at his face (Exodus 34:29-35). It was up there upon Mount Carmel that Elijah called down fire from heaven, the fire that burnt stone and licked up water (1 Kings 18:36-38). Therefore, up thither, where God is beckoning are divine sight and divine endowment. The lower realms of life where the devil is king are destructive to spirituality, detrimental to ministry and destiny fulfillment, and cannot produce the supernatural life God desires for His covenant children.
- Blessed be the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, Who is rich in mercy and abundant grace.
- Thank You my Father for Your Great love that kept us from January to now, and that will keep us for the remaining of 2020.
- We are grateful for redemption through the Blood of Jesus, through which we are sanctified.
- Holy Spirit of God, please help me to meditate on the Word of God day and night so I have good success that heaven approves of.
- Spirit of the living God help me to fast and pray diligently so that I can remain more than a conqueror in the realm of the spirit, particularly with praying in tongues.
- LORD Jesus, keep me teachable so I can continue to learn from You till I see you face-to-face.
- I need more of You, LORD. Help me to persistently hunger and thirst after righteousness so that I may prosper according to Your will for my life, in Jesus’ Name.
- Oh God, lift me above the rock that is higher than me as from today, in Jesus’ Name.
- Oh, thou evil covering cast upon my life and destiny, tear now by fire, in Jesus’ Name.
- Every power that is hiding my destiny in the corner and the valley places of life, be roasted now by fire, in Jesus’ Name.
- Every power that is keeping me down and depressed in life, be consumed now by fire, in Jesus’ Name.
- Every power that is taking evil decisions against me in the spirit world, be roasted now by fire, in Jesus’ Name.
- Anointing for divine sight, divine hearing, and divine empowerment, fall upon me as from today by fire.
- Every limiting law of life that my destiny is responding to, be revoked, and annulled now by fire, in Jesus’ Name.
- Oh, thou demonic embargo upon any area of my life, be lifted and be terminated now by fire.
- I am sitted with Christ in the heavenly places, therefore, the devil and his cohorts are under my footstool as from today, in Jesus’ Name.
- From henceforth, I command all doors of breakthroughs in life to begin to open unto me of their own accord, in Jesus’ Name.
- I prophesy that I will begin to succeed and make progress in life with ease, in Jesus’ Name.
- From henceforth, the supernatural becomes my normal order of life, in Jesus’ Name.