Restoring Our Vision

No matter what kind it is, whenever someone is in a race their focus is on one thing, to be the first one to cross the finish line.  When a person is running a race, it is vital that they keep their mind and focus on the finish line.  If they were to get distracted with something or someone else, they run the risk of not only getting beat to the finish line by someone else, but they also run the risk of never finishing the race.  For the follower of Christ, we are running a race.  The writer of Hebrews encourages us in Hebrews 12:1-2, that as followers of Christ we are to run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.


It amazes me, while Biblical end-time events are being fulfilled right before us, so many Christians are oblivious as to the ever-closer imminent return of Jesus for His bride.  Scripture tells us that deception will be great in the last days, and we need to be careful to not be deceived ourselves.  There are many who are focusing on false prophets and the many false teachings they are promoting, but there is another form of deception that is also gaining ground in the days we are now living in.  I was listening to someone earlier today, someone who has become well known and that many are calling a prophet of God, but one word kept coming to my mind when I was listening to him.  That one word, which is a form of deception, was misdirection.  I can hear some of you right now saying, “What?”  Let me explain.


In the “Great Commission”, as recorded in both Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15-18, we are commanded to go and preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to heed and obey all He had commanded us.  This is to be the primary focus of the Church, and the means for accomplishing this task as outlined in these passages is simple, to preach, teach, and disciple others, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  This is where the misdirection begins.  Instead of focusing on what Jesus commanded us to do, many churches have turned their focus on seemingly good things, things that gain the recognition of others, builds a reputation and a positive image within their communities, all for drawing more people to their churches.  In Matthew 16:18, Jesus makes it clear that He will build His Church, and in John 12:32 Jesus makes it clear that He will draw all men to Himself.  So, why is it that churches feel they need to utilize world-based methods for reaching the lost and building their churches, unless they’ve fallen for that form of deception found in the misdirection.  Yes, we should be involved with charitable acts and community service of sorts, but when those things become the primary focus and top priorities of a church or follower of Christ, especially with the hope of gaining more attendees through them, then the enemy has successfully misdirected our focus away from where we’re commanded it is to be, namely to preach and teach the good news of the Gospel as it relates to the cross and the penalty of sin Jesus paid on our behalf, as well as Jesus’ soon return for us.


Speaking of good news.  The person I was listening to misunderstands what the Scriptures are talking about regarding good news.  This person indicated that the good news the Bible is referring to is the good news that is reported in the news.  For example, according to this person, good news is what is reported about the good things our current President is doing, and that bad news is the lies and negative reports being promoted by some in the media.  He was basically taking Scripture out of context to support a Kingdom Now mentality that believes everything will get better once Christians start listening to good news and start doing what they are supposed to be doing in the different areas of society and government.  Well, the good news of the Scriptures is that Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, came to earth to die a brutal death by crucifixion to pay our debt of sins for us.  The good news is continued with the resurrection of Jesus on the third day that proves as followers of Christ that we have eternal life in Him.  And, if that wasn’t enough, the good news continues in that Jesus is coming back for His bride, His followers, to receive us unto Him with resurrected and transformed bodies for all eternity.  Now, that’s the good news the Bible is talking about.  However, apparently this person has fallen for the misdirection Satan is promoting in part because he doesn’t understand even the basics or the message of salvation in Jesus as clearly explained in Scripture.


What I shared previously regarding the great commission is only one area in which the enemy has effectively deceived many Christians through misdirection.  The misdirection I was seeing earlier today is something that is inherently a part of each American, and that is in patriotism.  Oh, the heritage the Red, White, and Blue represents is great, and it’s one that every American can be proud to be associated with.  It’s a heritage that we don’t want to see destroyed and brought to ruins, and our patriotism causes us to seek the return of the glory this nation once had both domestically and abroad.  We want to see America restored in so many ways, restored so that our descendants can know and appreciate the same heritage we have for this great Country.  The problem with this is that we become more focused on America and seeing it restored, especially without the necessary repentance and returning to God that is desperately needed, than we are with what Scripture tells us and what Jesus commanded our focus to be.  We forget that we are first and foremost Christians, followers of Christ, and that America is not our eternal home.  Scripture tells us that our home is in heaven with Jesus, and that we are here as His ambassadors.  No where in Scripture are we directed to build His kingdom here on earth, or to “expand our influence” in the world to establish a Christian utopia of sorts.  In addition to the great commission I mentioned earlier, we have been commanded by Jesus to be watching for His return for us, and to pray that we’ll be counted worthy to escape what is coming to the earth.


People, including the one that I was listening to earlier today, want to be critical of Christians who believe that Scripture teaches things are going to get much worse, labeling us as “gloom and doom” people.  Well, to begin with, I choose to believe the Holy Spirit-inspired Scriptures more than someone who claims they have heard from God, believing that God will never contradict His Own Words.  Second, people who want to claim Bible believing Christians are “gloom and doom”, they are living with earthly mindsets focused on making life here on earth great.  I say that because, while Scripture does speak of some extremely terrible times coming soon, we’re focused more on that which Scripture says is in store for followers of Christ, which is all more good and glorious than anything ever to be experienced here on earth.  We recognize that the fulfillment of the signs found in Scripture, including that which pertains to the Great Tribulation period, are merely signs that our physical redemption is drawing ever closer, and that we will soon be with Jesus for all eternity.


The danger with this misdirection, a misdirection I believe is from the enemy of our souls, is that we become more focused and concerned about life here on earth, whether it’s trying to better society or in trying to make America great again, than we are in watching for Jesus’ soon return for us.  On multiple occasions Jesus made it clear that we are to be watching for Him, and this strongly emphasized command of His to us is non-negotiable.  Like it or not, Jesus also makes it clear that those who are not watching for Him will be caught off guard and left behind.  Satan, appearing as a great angel of light or the source of a warm, fuzzy feeling as some describe, is doing all he can to keep people from what God has in store for followers of Christ.  If he can’t destroy you, and if he can’t pull you away from living your life for him, then he’ll do whatever he can to get your attention misdirected onto things, good things, that will keep you from being watchful and ready for Jesus when He returns.


As one person put it, the greatest problem with deception is that it is so deceiving.  Deception comes in various forms, and it is our responsibility to guard ourselves from it.  We are to study the Scriptures, stay in an attitude of prayer and worship to Jesus, and pay attention to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit who will help us stay clear of the enemy’s different traps.  Always remember, the Holy Spirit will NEVER contradict any of the Scriptures.  And no matter how convincing or good sounding a “word” may be, if it contradicts Scripture then it’s not of God, though it may be of another spirit associated with Satan and the powers of darkness.


If your vision has gotten off somewhat, now is the time to get it restored, put back into focus, and realigned to what God’s Word says, the whole Word and not just parts of it.  Restored vision, that’s what many in the church needs right now.  Just as a vision of 20/20 is considered perfect vision in the natural, so is a vision that is focused on Jesus and what Scripture says about our path to eternity with Him.


John Johansson


[thrive_leads id=’457′]

What Will It Be For You?

I was recently reminded of an experience I had several years ago, in fact back when I was just a few years out of high school.  I’m not one to try and live in the past, but I believe that the past can often times teach us things and can be used to encourage others in this thing we call ‘life’.  So, as I relate this experience I ask that you will take it to heart and ask the Lord what He may want to teach you through this.

I was just out of high school working for a large vending company.  My job was one where I frequented several businesses on a regular basis maintaining the various machines and the product they contained.  Two of the locations I was responsible for were a part of one company and worked closely together as they were just a couple blocks from each other.  I had gained a level of report with the workers at both of these locations and had many opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel with them, as well as opportunities to speak into their lives in various ways.  It was exciting when I saw a mini-revival of sorts begin to take place at both locations and Christians began to come out of the “woodwork” so to speak and begin to make themselves known to those around of their faith in Jesus.  I was so excited seeing God at work and yet so humbled that He would use me as He was, but something was about to happen.

It wasn’t too long after this began to happen that my immediate supervisor met me at one of these two locations.  This wasn’t out of the ordinary as he would do this frequently just to check on things, but this time was different.  I remember that I was busy filling one of the machines when he walked up to me and handed me a bit of a bombshell.  He told me that they had been notified by the management of these two locations that they didn’t like me talking to the workers about Christ.  He then went on to tell me that I was to stop talking to others there about Jesus or risk losing my job.  He didn’t press me for a response at the time but he knew that was asking a lot of me.  He knew that my relationship to Christ was everything, and that I was compelled to share Him with others.

After he left me standing there by the machine I felt like the wind had just been kicked out of me.  What happened?  Why did this happen to me?  What was I going to do?  These were questions that just seemed to bombard me one right after the other.  One of the workers then came into the break room that I knew to be a vocal Christian and so I shared with him what had just happened.  He asked what I was going to do and I told him that I couldn’t stop talking about my Jesus especially if I felt led to do so, but at the same time I didn’t know.  He encouraged me not to make any rash decisions and to just take it to the Lord in prayer, which I did, and he was going to have some of the other Christians there begin to pray as well.

A couple days later this brother in the Lord came to me and asked me a simple question, had I been talking to this one particular person at the other location?  Well, I didn’t immediately recognize the name but when he described her I realized who he was talking about, and I then told him I had been talking to her.  I further shared with him that she had approached me and was asking me questions and asking for my advice on things.  He then, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, told me that the enemy was using her to lay a trap for me and began to share some things with me.

You see, during this time one of the warehouse workers began to ask my advice on some issues in his life and marriage, which I have to admit was surprising to me since I was a single guy barely out of high school.  He was telling me of some of the struggles he was having, and I just kept pointing him to Christ making sure he was seeking right relationship with Him.  At the same time I had someone else, among many, approach me at the other location asking my advice on issues in her life, issues that also involved her marriage and I also pointed her to Christ.  What I did not know was that these two people were married to each other.

Apparently, while this lady was asking me questions and my advice on things, professing herself to be a Christian, she was going to others and telling them that I was pushing my faith on her and had filed a complaint against me with her supervisors.  When the Lord revealed this brother in the Lord we began to pray and other Christians got involved, which included Christians in “high places” in the company.  I had already determined that I was going to continue sharing my faith with others as the Spirit led me to, even if it meant my job, but now I was more determined to do so.  I don’t know what ever happened to the complaint or to this woman, but God was with me and I never heard another thing from my supervisors as I continued as I already had been, sharing the good news of Jesus to those around.

I share the above experience to ask you a simple question.  What will it be for you?  Are you going to share the good news of Jesus to those around you, to those who need to know there is a comfort and a rest to be found with a life surrendered to Christ, or are you going to keep your mouth shut in the fear of public opinion or the loss of employment and career?  What will it be for you?  Are you willing to speak words of life, hope and peace through Jesus to others even if it offends others?  Or will you keep your mouth shut to maintain a false sense of peace and to avoid ‘rocking the boat’?  Only you can decide that, but before you do consider two things.  One, if you’re willing to keep the good news from others to avoid conflict now, how can you be so sure you would speak up later when the pressure is greater to stay silent, or worse yet, to renounce Jesus?  The second thing to consider is this, if we fail to share the good news of Jesus to others, whether or not others are talking to them about Jesus, if they find their eternal destination in hell then their blood is on your hands.  Is that something that you want for yourself?  I don’t, and I sometimes have to keep reminding myself of that.  I already deal with that though with someone from my past, and I don’t want others to be added to that list.  How about you?

So, what will it be for you?

John Johansson –

Verified by ExactMetrics