Catch The Vision,
Don't Quench the Spirit

I Thess. 5:16-24

How many of you are familiar with Jerry Springer's TV program? Well, you don't have to have actually watched it, but you have seen glimpses of it maybe in advertising or in TV news. The audience at times shouts, "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!" Well, every time I pump my hand in the air, like this…….I want you to shout, "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!" That is, shout "Jesus" four times. Let's try it……..

Scripture tells us to be joyful, no matter what. Joy isn't the same as happiness. Joy is in the heart. No one can take your joy away because the source of your joy is Jesus. Don't give up praying, no matter what. Prayer is the most powerful form of communication. Don't give up just because it looks like your prayer isn't answered. Be sure you look for an answer from God that is other than the way you expect or want God to answer your prayer. Thank God in all circumstances, no matter what happens. A grateful heart is open to all of God's blessings and doesn't second guess God. The most contagious spirit is enthusiasm. Scripture tells us that this is the way God wants those who say they belong to Christ Jesus to live. (SHOUT JESUS)

Do not put out the Spirit's fire; don't suppress the Spirit. Don't be a "naysayer" on top of other folks' optimism. Don't stifle those who have a spiritual word from the Master. Don't presume to know what reality is for everyone. Always look for the spiritual reality. Don't say, "I'll believe it when I see it." Jesus teaches us that we'll see it when we believe it. (JESUS)

Aren't those wonderful words? I'll see it when I believe it!! Aren't those words to live by? Catch the Spirit. The most contagious spirit is enthusiasm. The greatest asset is faith. The most powerful force in life is love. The most power-filled words are "I can." The most powerful channel of communication is prayer. The greatest joy is giving. (JESUS)

So many folks go through life without ever playing the music within them. They don't sing a joyful song to the Lord because they haven't tapped into the joy deep in their heart. They only see what the world has taught them to see. They don't see the spiritual reality. The Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven is a new spiritual way of thinking that Jesus taught us. You can't make abundance appear out of an attitude of lack. So often folks can't see their abundance and so they don't give out of abundance, they give out of lack. And people with an attitude of lack often stand before us and try to guilt us into giving, rather than have someone recognize their abundance of blessings from God and give out of an attitude of gratitude for that abundance. The world teaches us about lack. God teaches us about abundance. We generally listen to the worldly teachings.

Do you know that if you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep that you are richer than 75% of the people in the world? Most folks tend to look at life as what they don't have or what they don't have enough of or what someone else has that is greater than what they have. But just think of it-simple things that we take for granted like food to eat, clothing, a place to live and to sleep-75% of the people in the world don't have that. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet and spare change in a dish, you are among the TOP 8% OF THE WORLD'S WEALTHY. That's not saying how much, but just the fact that you have those three things-just think of it-just to have any money in the bank, any money in your wallet and some loose change in a dish, you are wealthier than 92% of the people in the world. (JESUS)

So when folks talk lack, lack, lack they don't even know what they're talking about and they don't recognize they are certainly spirit quenchers, spirit suppressors; they definitely are trying to put out the spirit's fire.

If you can attend worship without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death, you are envied by, and more blessed than three billion people in the world. If you can simply read you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

But so many people really don't see themselves as blessed. They can't look at what they have and see they are blessed. They look at what they have and see lack. Well, that's a spirit suppressor for sure.

A lion came across a group of cats who were deep in conversation. "I'm going to eat them," he thought. A strange calmness suddenly came over him and he decided, instead, to sit down and listen to what they were saying. "Dear God," said one of the cats, oblivious to the lion's presence, "we have been praying all afternoon for mice to rain down from the heavens." "And nothing has happened," said another cat. "Perhaps God does not exist," said another.

The heavens remained as they were, with no shower of mice. And the cats agreed they had lost their faith in God. The lion got up and went on his way, thinking, "Well, who would have thought it? There I was all ready to kill the creatures, and God stopped me. Yet they ceased to believe in Divine Grace simply because they were too concerned about what they didn't have to notice that their lives had been spared." (JESUS)

We are indeed blessed; but it seems we have to see it in order to believe it, rather than believe it and then we will see it. Now which is better: for someone to stand up before you and tell you we are lacking in funds and you need to give more out of what you also perceive in your life, that is, that you are also lacking? Or, is it better to help someone see how blessed they are, how much abundance there is in their life, (and not by making them feel guilty about it) and help them respond to God with a grateful heart out of the abundance they see in their life? Well, I'll give you a hint. You can never guilt someone into being a grateful giver.

And recognizing abundance means Catching the Vision. Recognizing all the assets we have personally in what God has given us in terms of talent and ability, and all the assets we have as a gathered people, relying on the strength and guidance of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. (JESUS)

Catching the Vision means enthusiasm; it means being grateful; it means giving thanks in all circumstances; it means using the powerful channel of communication we have-prayer; it means encouraging others; it means using our greatest asset-faith; it means using the most powerful force in the world-love; it means focusing on the spiritual in our thinking, rather than worldly teachings; it means not believing what the world presents as reality, but believing in the reality that Jesus teaches, recognizing that when we believe it, we'll see it; Catching the Vision means being joyful, knowing the abundance is there, and we only need to believe in it to see it and experience it. (JESUS)

Some folks don't want you to believe that Trinity has an abundance, especially in money, because they are afraid (and fear is the greatest problem to overcome) that people, you folks, will then not see the need to give more to meet expenses. So, a picture of lack is painted for you to believe in, rather than a picture of abundance, as though anyone would give out of lack rather than abundance. And God must be laughing at us that we ignore the abundance that God has given us by setting it aside into other funds, as though they didn't exist as abundance, and we just focus on what is perceived as lack. It isn't a matter of using what was set aside; it's a matter of how we perceive it. There are lots of people who are wealthy who cry "poor." They have money set aside in stocks and bonds and in CD's and yet they cry poor because their income is not what they want it to be.

But I use those examples of money because that's what folks seem to relate to. Remember, food, clothing, shelter are blessings of abundance, too. Your talent, the time you have been given, those are blessings of abundance also. To Catch the Vision means to see the future as limitless, as holding incredible possibilities built on and out of all that we already have, and building on that, all that is yet to come! To Catch the Vision is be enthusiastic about the future because we are enthusiastic about the present which holds all the seeds to the future. You can't be enthusiastic about the future if you aren't enthusiastic now. So, abundance is not a matter of what's ahead, but what is now. (JESUS)

Don't be a spirit quencher, a spirit suppressor-a person whose attitude and outlook are negative and born of lack and who's thinking and actions put out the Spirit's fire within them. Catch the Vision-be joyful, pray, listen to and read the words of Jesus, focus on thinking spiritually, feed your spiritual self, believe so that you can see. (JESUS)

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all. One is evil; it is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, fear, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, ego, negativity, ungratefulness, gossip, hopelessness and a vision of the future that is limited because it is tied to lack.

The other wolf is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, trust in God, gratitude, generosity, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, truth, compassion, optimism, faith and a future that is unlimited based on God's vision of abundance."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Catch the Vision. Feed optimism and enthusiasm, trust, and faith. (JESUS) (JESUS)


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