Thursday, December 13, 2007

A New Perspective - Don Moen

According to Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, the word "perspective" also means "point of view". It is described as "the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance and to view your own task in a larger framework".
In Numbers 13, Moses sent out 12 men to spy out the land of Canaan. After 40 days, they came back and told Moses and the people that it was truly a land flowing with milk and honey, just as God had promised, but the people who inhabited the land were huge and the cities were fortified. They saw many feared enemies there and all but two of those men shared the same perspective. In verse 30, Caleb said, "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it". Joshua shared Caleb's perspective. The other ten men decided it was not worth the risk so they spent 40 years in the wilderness and never saw the land. In verse 33 they said, "There we saw the giants; and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight." It all depends on your perspective.
Joshua and Caleb knew that they were part of a bigger plan promised by God. In Deuteronomy 6:10-11 God had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob large and beautiful cities which they did not build, houses full of all good things they did not fill, vineyards and olive trees which they did not plant. They had a different perspective, which determined the way they reacted to adversity.
Perspective changed the way Elisha's servant saw his enemy. God opened his eyes and he saw what had been there all the time; (2 Kings 6:14-17) Therefore he (the king of Syria) sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed, and said, "Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. Seeing an army of horses and chariots of fire can certainly change your perspective. They were there all the time but the servant couldn't see them. When God changes your perspective, although your enemy is strong, you know that God is stronger. And although your enemy may seem big, you know that God is bigger! It's how you see things. It's your perspective.
As a young boy, I took piano, violin and trombone lessons. Music was something that was around our house all the time. As I grew older, I began to focus on the violin as my major instrument and eventually, began to play in symphonies, operas and ballets. I spent quite a bit of time "wood-shedding" various violin passages from the classical pieces I was playing in the symphonies and when we were performing, I was concentrating and focusing mostly on my part. I took for granted all of the beautiful sounds and textures produced by the orchestras and it was several years before I began to appreciate these sounds. What was it that changed my way of listening to an orchestra? One thing. Perspective. My perspective had changed.
I had spent several years travelling with a musical group doing quite a bit of arranging and orchestrating for various projects and as a producer, I would sit in the control room of studios and listen to the musicians as they played my arrangements and orchestrations. I knew I had a lot to learn, so I began to study as much as I could about orchestrating and arranging. I began to analyze how the combination of different instruments made different sounds and I was amazed at the endless possibilities.
After several years of this, I returned to the symphony, once again as a violinist. Although I was playing some of the same pieces I had played years earlier, I was amazed at how beautiful they were! I had never heard such beautiful sounds. Now I was listening through the ears of an orchestrator, not just a violin player. I heard things I hadn't heard before, although the sounds were there all the time. I was enjoying the music from an entirely different perspective.
Jesus was always operating from a different perspective. In Matt. 14:13-21 we read the story of the feeding of the 5000. Jesus had been ministering to multitudes of people all day. When it was evening, and the people were hungry, the disciples recognized that they had a problem. They came to Jesus in verse 15 and said to Him, "This is a deserted place and the hour is already late, therefore we need to send the people into town so they can buy some food." They had two observations and came to a logical conclusion. Because of their perspective, they pursued the solution most of us would have pursued. I can hear the disciples discussing among themselves. "We've got a problem here. We have 10,000 people and no food. All we have is a little boy with 5 loaves and 2 fishes. There is no way we can feed all these people with this. We need to send them into town to get food."
But Jesus did not even consider those elements as hindrances. In verse 16, He said, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." Jesus was already seeing things from a different perspective. The disciples couldn't see it. So Jesus said, "Bring me what you have". In verse 19, Jesus commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass. He didn't wait to see if His prayer was going to answered. Why? Because He was seeing things from a different perspective. He didn't see 10,000 hungry people, He saw 10,000 full and satisfied people because of God's provision. Then He blessed and broke the loaves and the fishes and gave them to the disciples to distribute. You all know the rest of the story. Everyone was fed and there were still 12 baskets full of what remained. Our God is generous with His provision! He didn't provide only what was needed. He provided more than what was needed! What is your need today? Identify it. What do you have that Jesus can bless? Identify it. Now, visualize God providing for your need by taking what you have and multiplying it. Ask Him to let you see things as He sees things. Take a moment and do this.
In Luke 8:41-56 Jairus came to Jesus because he had a 12-year-old daughter who was dying. He needed Jesus to heal his daughter. But while he was there, someone came and told him that his daughter was dead. The obvious thing to do was suggested to Jairus in verse 49. "Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the teacher". However, Jesus saw things from a different perspective. He said, "Do not be afraid, only believe and she will be made well". When He came to the house He found all of the people weeping and mourning for the dead girl. When Jesus said, "Do not weep; she is not dead but sleeping", the people laughed at Him because they knew she was dead. At least from their perspective she was. If you will allow yourself to see things from a different perspective, there is always hope for any hopeless situation. What is in your life today that is sick and dying and perhaps dead? Is it your marriage? Is it a dream that God has given you that you've never seen fulfilled? Perhaps you are only seeing it from one perspective. What is Jesus saying to you today? Only believe. With God, nothing is impossible.

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