By Bo Sanchez
NEW YEAR TIME is resolution time – to have a better life. To watch your diet, lose – or gain — a few pounds. To earn more money, to save more money. To have more time for your loved one. To have more time for yourself.
But I know some people who have long given up making New Year resolutions – because they don’t get to do what they set out to do. The resolutions, their dreams, don’t come true.
Why? My answer is so profound, so earthshaking, many won’t believe it. Resolutions, dreams, don’t come true because you don’t believe they can come true.
Let me tell you a story. There is this baseball team that is losing one game after another. One day, they are going to compete in a city that has a famous faith healer.
Before the game begins, the coach tells the team, “Our problems are over.” He then distributes the bats and says, “I had these blessed by the faith healer in this city.” The team wins that game, and the rest of the games for that tournament.
Who is the faith healer that blessed their bats? It doesn’t matter. What caused them to transform from a losing team to a winning team? They believed.
Yes, it’s that simple. What matters is your faith. Will you believe that you will indeed be blessed in 2011?
Here’s my blessing to you.
In 2012, you’re not going to experience a drizzle of blessings. You’ll not experience a quick and light rain of blessings. In 2012, you’ll experience a downpour of blessings.
God doesn’t want you to get moist. God doesn’t want you to get damp. God doesn’t want you to get a little bit wet. God wants you to get drenched by a downpour of blessings in 2012.
If you want to be drenched by blessings in 2012, you need to do four things: See the Blessings; Speak the Blessings; Grow the Blessings; and Enjoy the Blessings.
Here’s what I believe: What you can conceive, you can achieve. Unless you see the blessings, you won’t receive the blessings. Unless you see the blessings in your mind, you won’t be able to hold the blessings in your hand.
I get my inspiration from the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18:41-44: Then Elijah said to King Ahab, “Now, go and eat. I hear the roar of rain approaching.” Let me give you a background of the passage.
There was a drought in the land of Israel. For three years, it did not rain. How many of you have experienced a drought in your life? When God seemed silent and blessings were scarce. When you got sick; or when you lost a job; or when your son or daughter was going with the wrong crowd; or when your close friend betrayed you. We’ve had all these difficult times when we looked up and we could not see a single cloud in the sky.
But in the story of Elijah, we are told that every drought ends. Every problem—no matter how big—will pass away. “While Ahab went to eat, Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel, where he bowed down to the ground, with his head between his knees. He said to his servant, ‘Go and look towards the sea.’ The servant went and returned, saying, ‘I didn’t see anything.’”
How many of us will get discouraged at this point? “Oh no, why aren’t my prayers getting answered?”
Our problem is not a just a lack of faith, but a lack of patience. Some of our biggest blessings will come only through time. Have faith and be patient — and your blessings will come.
“Seven times in all Elijah told his servant to go and look.” Seven is very important number. God created the world in seven days. Seven is the symbol of perfection. And when it refers to time, it symbolizes God’s perfect timing. You can’t rush. The best fruits are ripened on the branch. Are you waiting for an answer to your prayer? Wait for God’s perfect time.
“The seventh time he returned and said, “I saw a little cloud no bigger than a man’s hand, coming up from the sea.” Elijah ordered his servant, “Go to King Ahab and tell him to get into his chariot and go back home before the rain stops him.”
What makes the difference between ordinary and extraordinary people? Extraordinary people see blessings where ordinary people cannot. They’re looking at the same thing. But one sees a miracle and the other doesn’t – because ordinary people see with their eyes. Extraordinary people see with their faith. The servant of Elijah could only see a small cloud. Elijah saw gigantic storm clouds within that small cloud. The extraordinary person is someone who can see big blessings within small blessings.
Do You Want Big Money? Start With Small Money.
Early last year, I taught my maids to invest in the stock market. They started by saving PHP2,000 a month. A few friends laughed at me. Someone asked me, “What can happen with their PHP2,000 a month? That’s so small.”
But that’s why people remain poor. They don’t see the big money in the small money. Today, one of my maids has PHP70,033 in her stock market account. The other one has PHP83,584 in her account. These amounts may mean nothing to you, but to them, they feel very rich.
First, they started with a small amount. Just PHP2,000 a month. But when they discovered how investing worked, they were hooked. So when I gave them a raise or gave them a bonus, they didn’t spend it. They invested it.
Here’s my fearless forecast: I have no doubt that in less than 10 years, my maids will be millionaires.
Second, they simply followed my instructions and bought the stocks I told them to buy. And that’s why they’re able to grow their money. My point? Unless you see the big blessings in the small blessings, you’ll never receive the big blessings. Because every small blessing has a big blessing waiting to come out.
Be a Blessing Expert
My friend is a bird expert. He can spot a bird from far away; tell you its breed, its lineage and its migratory timetable. I told him I only know two kinds of birds – small bird and Big Bird. Yes, the one who lives on Sesame Street. I have a friend who is a plant expert. She can spot a plant a mile away, and tell you its scent, and its scientific name. She won’t just say, “sampaguita”. She’ll say, “sampaguitatious beintepesos” or something like that. I have another friend who is an artista – an actor expert. She can spot an artista a mile away. When she does, she’ll tell you the artista’s latest movie, latest song, latest boyfriend, latest liposuction treatment…
Me? I’m a Blessing Expert.
I can spot a blessing a mile away. I know a blessing’s shape, smell, color, sound… Because of this, I see blessings everywhere.
Blessing Experts are happy people. But I know people who are Problem Experts. Believe me; you don’t want to hang out with them. To them, everything is a problem. Including you. They’re miserable people and they’ll make everyone else miserable. When you’re a Blessing Expert, you see more blessings. And thus, you receive more blessings. Athletes call this the power of visualization.
Imagination Is Powerful
Ask any champion in any sport. Olympians. Serious athletes. Whether they’re runners. Or swimmers. Or boxers. Or weight lifters. Or golfers. Or bowlers. All of them will tell you that they practice visualization.
What is visualization? It’s doing your “sport” over and over again in your mind, with the “right moves” and the “right results.”
Many years ago, I was talking to a basketball coach. What he shared to me was fascinating. He said that coaches all over the world are now realizing that aside from training the body, you need to train the imagination. If you were a runner, even before you stood up from bed, you’d already be visualizing your perfect run. You’d picture yourself crouching on the starting block, hearing the starting gun, and launching yourself from the starting line. You’d imagine yourself burning the track like you were the Flash. It’s a multi-sensory picture: he smells the freshly cut grass, he feels the gust of wind on his face; he hears the roar of the crowd on the bleachers. He sees himself crossing the finish line, snapping the tape with his chest. He pictures himself receiving a gold medal around his neck.
Why do all champions do it? Because visualization works. And mind you, it doesn’t only work in sports.
I realize I use visualization all the time. I use this in my work too. Before a meeting, I picture in my mind a successful meeting. Before I start a project, I picture in my mind a successful project. And before I preach, I picture in my mind a successful talk. And speaking of preaching, before I preached to 30,
I already preached to 30,000.
When I was 13 years old, I gave my first talk. It was a prayer group of 30 persons. It was a very biased audience: half of the seats were already filled by my parents, my five sisters, my four aunts, my four cousins. A lot of people don’t know this fact: That before I gave a talk to 30 persons, I already gave a talk to 30,000 persons.
How in the world did that happen? In my mind.
One day, I woke up and saw myself preaching in Araneta Coliseum – the biggest coliseum in the Philippines. I was holding my Bible, preaching in my pajamas. Whether that was a vision from God or from my playful imagination, I don’t know. But all of a sudden, I knew it was a desire of my heart. Today, that dream has come true again and again. That’s why I believe God has given you the power to make your dreams come true.
Let me tell you the story of my friend Rudy Torres.
The Story of the Electric Fan
When Rudy got married, he was so poor he couldn’t even buy an electric fan. He and his wife were renting a tiny room for PH90 a month. And this tiny room got warm during summer, and without a fan, it got really hot. But even in his poverty, Rudy believed in his dreams.
He was also a great believer in having pictures to remind him of his dreams. So he did the ridiculous. He got a newspaper, cut out a photo of an electric fan, and pinned it on their wall. And each time he saw the photo, it reminded him of his great goal in life at that time: That he’d be able to buy an electric fan for his beloved wife.
Whenever he saw beads of perspiration on her forehead, he’d go to the photo, and “press” the switch of the fan. He focused on his dream. Four days later, Rudy heard a knock on the door. When he opened it, he saw his neighbor holding an old electric fan. The neighbor said he was moving out and wondered if Rudy wanted to buy his old fan for PHP50. Rudy was overjoyed. “Yes!” he said. In four days, the real fan replaced the photo.
The next photo he pinned on the wall was a beautiful white van. Foolish, right? How in the world can a poor man who couldn’t even buy an electric fan now dream of buying a van?
But he kept on dreaming for that van and worked hard. The white van came. And so did the larger homes – both here and America.
Today, Rudy is a multi-millionaire. His secret? He saw the blessings in his mind before he received them.
The Story of Anawim
Many years ago, I had a dream: To build a home for the poorest of the poor.
It was simply an idea. But I used my imagination to the hilt. I saw myself living with the poor, serving God’s favorite people. In my mind, I saw a huge track of land with many homes.
And I saw myself living in a bahay kubo, a nipa hut. In my mind, I saw myself surrounded by a rice field, fishpond, and coconut trees.
All that came true!
The Anawim Home for Abandoned Elderly began as a huge track of land in Montalban. In 12 years, the center has welcomed and cared for over a hundred abandoned elderly.
Anawim was beautiful—with 10 nipa huts on it. But unknown to me, nipa huts were very expensive to maintain. When storms come, they got destroyed easily. Last year, because I wanted to focus on my preaching ministry, I felt it was time to pass on Anawim to other people. And God sent Aida Dy and Lynda Reyes.
Last year, at the Feast, I asked people to draw a Dream Board. Aida and Lynda showed me their Dream Board. It was an amazing Dream Board. I noticed it didn’t contain anything about their children or grandchildren. Their Dream Boards were all about Anawim!
Both of them told me, “Brother Bo, Anawim will look like a resort. The elderly people will think they’re in Baguio or Tagaytay—popular tourist destinations in the Philippines.” Their dreams were far better than mine!
Two weeks ago, we blessed four beautiful homes in Anawim. They’re so beautiful, they look like the homes in Camp John Hay in Baguio! Aida and Lynda’s dream has become a reality.
In the first version of Anawim, we had nipa huts. Why? Because that was what I saw in my mind. In the second version of Anawim, we now have these beautiful resort-like homes. Why? Because that was what Aida and Lynda saw in their mind.
Remember, your reality is only limited by your vision. What you hold in your hand is only limited by what you see in your mind. Your inner world will always manifest in your outer world. Here’s a fact: Your imagination is a blueprint of what will happen in your world.
In my mind, I will be drenched with blessings in 2012.