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Romans 13:6-7 (NIV)

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes;  if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Not necessarily associated with Tax Day, I wanted to announce that I have added a page where you can ask for prayers and leave prayers for others;  it can be reached through one of the tabs at the top of the blog.  The more we pray for others, the more God answers our own prayers, so I thought it would be a nice addition.

I hope some of you saw the total lunar eclipse last night;  it was a fantastic reminder of the beauty and wonder that God has provided us with.

 

Another great reader question:

 

“This might be a dumb question, but I don’t care. I read this a few minutes ago

(((Be honest with God. God doesn’t need you to put on a happy face. The book of Psalms is full of examples of God’s people pouring out their hearts to Him. One psalmist wrote:

In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord;
In the night my hand was stretched out without weariness;
My soul refused to be comforted (Ps. 77:1-2).

Pour out your heart to God and allow Him to encourage you (Ps. 62:8). Confess any frustration, anger, discouragement, or bitterness. If you refuse to express your genuine feelings to Him, you won’t experience the full measure of His comfort.))))

“Why do you need to pray if God already knows what really going on with you. Why do you have to speak it out… Sometimes, I think when you pray the enemy can hear it too and try to stop it. What if a person can’t really rely how they are feeling. “it’s better if God read our minds.” (kidding)”

 

Lead to this hopefully semi-great answer:

That’s not a dumb question at all!! Anything to do with our relationship with God is vitally important.

God does want us to be completely open and honest with Him at all times, as proof of our trust; He can read our minds and hearts, so He knows whether we are doing this or not.

So why do we need to pray? Because He wants us to.

WHY? Because He wants our focus to be on Him at all times, to show that we know Who He is and place the proper value on Him and His love. Because He wants us to show our total dependency on Him, our understanding that we can do nothing without His help. And, since His entire reason for creating us was to have people to love and to share our lives, He wants constant contact with us in the same way that most people crave constant connection to their loved ones; He does not have texting or Facebook, so we have to do it all with prayer.

And from a selfish perspective; when we pray, God rewards us with greater blessings.

The enemy does not have access to our prayers; God is in control. Evil people can cause you enormous harm without access to your communications with God, and the enemy, with millennia of experience in evildoing, can get you much more easily; your best defense against him is your rock-solid connection to God.

You don’t have to get on your knees, fold your hands, or use formal language when you pray; just talk to God all throughout the day as if you were talking to your best friend… because you ARE.

from JO’s sermon tonight:

every day, we get to choose what kind of attitude we’re going to have; we can choose to be happy, look on the bright side, expect good things, believe that our dreams will come to pass, or we can choose to be negative, focus on our problems, dwell on what didn’t work out, live worried and discouraged.  it’s a choice that we all make; nobody can force you to have a certain attitude. life will go so much better if you will simply choose to be positive. when you wake up in the morning, choose to be happy, choose to be grateful for the day, choose to focus on your possibilities. a good attitude doesn’t automatically come;  if you don’t make this choice, most likely you will default back to a negative mindset, thinking, “I don’t feel like going to work, I’ve got so many obstacles, nothing good ever happens to me.” the problem is, a negative attitude will limit your life. we all face difficulties, we all have tough times, but the right attitude is, “this didn’t come to stay, it came to pass; it’s only temporary.” maybe you didn’t get the promotion you were hoping for; you could easily be sour, but, “that’s alright, I know God has something better in store.” you got caught in traffic; “I’m not going to be stressed, I know I’m at the right place at the right time; God is directing my steps.” perhaps the medical report wasn’t good; “I’m not worried, God has me in the palm of his hand;  the number of my days He’s promised to fulfill.” or maybe it’s that your dream is taking longer than you thought, but, “that’s alright, I know the right people, the right opportunities, are already in my future; at the right time, it will come to pass.” when you live with this positive mindset, you can’t be defeated;  no matter what comes your way, you shake it off and move forward.

stay positive, learn to focus on the bright side, see the silver lining in every cloud.  a lot of people use the excuse, “I’m negative because I’ve had negative things happen to me: my business didn’t make it, a friend did me wrong, I’m dealing with this sickness, that’s why I’m sour.” no, the truth is, it’s not our circumstances that make us negative, it’s our attitude toward those circumstances. you can take 20 positive people and 20 negative people, and give them the same problem, put them on the same job, the same family, the same house, and the positive people will come out just as positive, with a great attitude, as happy as they were before, and the negative just as negative. same problem, exact circumstances, 2 different outcomes. what’s the difference? their attitude. positive people have made up their mind to enjoy their lives;  they focus on the possibilities, not the problems. they’re grateful for what they have, not complaining about what they don’t have. positive people know that God is in control, and that nothing happens without His permission;  they choose to bloom where they’re planted.  they don’t wait for the situation to change, and then they’re going to be happy;  they’re happy while God is changing the situation. when you’re positive, you are passing the test;  you’re saying, “God, I trust you. I know you’re fighting my battles for me.” I’ve learned, if you don’t get happy where you are, you probably will never get to where you want to be.

don’t wait for everything to work out, then you’re going to have a good attitude;  have a good attitude now, then God can begin to change the situation. let’s keep the right perspective:  some people would love to have your problems;  they would gladly trade places with you.  they would love to have that job that has you frustrated, they would love to sit in traffic in that car you don’t like, they would love to have your husband that gets on your nerves, they would love to live in that house that you think is too small, “and as soon as I get into this new neighborhood, then I’ll be happy.”  no, why don’t you choose to be happy right where you are?   why don’t you decide to have a good attitude with what you have, or with what you don’t have?  it’s all in our approach to life:  one man gets up and says, “good morning Lord,” another man gets up and say, “good Lord, it’s morning.”  which man are you?  you control what kind of day you’re going to have;  you’re as happy as you want to be.  a lot of times, we’re making ourselves unhappy.  we can’t control the weather, the traffic, how people treat us;  if our happiness is based on everything going on way, everybody treating us right, we’re going to live frustrated.  before you leave the house, you need to make up your mind;  you’re to going to stay positive and enjoy the day no matter what comes your way.  you have to decide ahead of time.  that’s what it says here:

Colossians 3:2 (AMP)

And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.

the higher things are positive things. when you wake up in the morning, you need to set your mind for victory, set your mind for success. our attitude should be, “this is going to be a great day. God’s favor is on my life;  I’m excited about my future.” when your mind is set, positive, hopeful, expecting good things, that’s when you’ll go places that you’ve never dreamed, new doors will open, the right people, the right opportunities will come across your path. but if you don’t set your mind, negative thoughts will set it for you. you cannot start the day off in neutral; if you’re passive, lying in bed, the thoughts will come;  “you’re never going to accomplish your dreams, nothing good happens to you.  you’ll never get married, you’re too old. you’ll never get well, you’ll never get out of debt.”  you may not realize it, but that’s setting the tone for defeat, for failure, for a lousy day. right at the start, get your mind going in the right direction.  this is the reason why some people don’t have the energy they should, the passion, the enthusiasm, the vision;  their mind is set in the negative  it’s been that way so long, they don’t know any better;  it’s normal to them. they go out expecting problems, bad breaks, to not be treated right, to barely get by. they live by Murphy’s Law;  it says, “if anything can go wrong, it will, and at the worst possible time.  things will take longer than they look, everything will be harder than it seems.”  because they haven’t set their mind, they go out expecting the negative. they wonder why they can’t get ahead, why everything is a struggle;  it’s because their mind has been set by default for defeat, for failure, for bad breaks.

you’ve got to change your outlook;  you are a child of the most high God, you were never created to live an average, get by, short end of the stick life.  you were created to be the head and not the tail, to lend and not borrow, to reign in life as a king;  that means you have royalty in your blood, winning is in your DNA. now get rid of a negative mentality, and set your mind for victory, set your mind for increase, set your mind for good breaks. start expecting your plans to work out, expect people to be good to you, expect to have a productive day.  and if it doesn’t happen, don’t fall back into that old negative, defeated mentality;  “I knew this wouldn’t work for me, it always takes me longer than everybody else, I can never find a parking spot, nobody treats me right.”  no, you’re not a victim, you are a victor;  you wouldn’t have that opposition if there wasn’t something amazing in your future.  keep a smile on your face, keep a spring in your step, stay positive, stay hopeful;  God is still on the throne.  you may have had a lot of unfair, negative things happen in the past, but don’t let that become a stronghold, a pattern, to where you think that’s all there will ever be;  don’t live with a negative mindset.

if God were to show you all He has planned for you, it would boggle your mind.  if you could see the doors He’s going to open, the people He’s going to bring across your path, the opportunities that are going to show up, you’d be amazed, excited, passionate;  it would be easy to set your mind for victory.  this is what faith is all about; you have to believe it before you see it.  right now, God’s favor is surrounding you like a shield;  every setback was a set up for a greater comeback, every disappointment, every bad break, every person that did you wrong, was a part of the plan to get you to where you’re supposed to be.  don’t fall into that negative mentality, complacent, just taking whatever life comes your way, no, set your mind for victory, for success, for new levels.  enlarge your vision, make room for God to do something new.  you haven’t touched the surface of what he has in store.  find something to be grateful for;  go out expecting it to turn around, expecting new doors to open, expecting a breakthrough.

Psalm 112:4  (NLT)

4 When darkness overtakes the godly, light will come bursting in. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.

when it’s dark, when you don’t see a way out,  you’re in prime position for favor to come bursting in.  “wouldn’t that just be giving them false hope?”  here’s the alternative;  I could tell them to be negative, get bitter, give up on your dreams, be depressed, start complaining.  all that’s going to do is make matters worse.  you may be in a difficult time, but you have to dig your heels in and say, “I refuse to live my life negative. I refuse to give up on my dreams. I refuse to go through life with no passion. I may not see a way, but I know God has a way.  it may be dark, but I’m expecting the light to come bursting in;  I’m setting my mind for victory.”  that’s what allows the Creator of the universe to show up and do amazing things.  it’s not just mind over matter, it’s not just a positive attitude, it’s your faith being released.  when you believe, it gets God’s attention.  when you go out expecting things to turn around, expecting dreams to come to pass, expecting health, wholeness, favor, divine connections, then Almighty God goes to work. you may have had 1000 bad breaks in the past, but don’t use that as an excuse to be negative.  one good break can make up for all those bad breaks, one touch of God’s favor can catapult you further than you ever imagined.  maybe you feel like you’re falling behind, you’re not where you should be in life;  don’t worry, God knows how to make up for lost time, how to accelerate things.

now do your part and shake off the negative mentality, shake off pessimism, self-pity, discouragement, and get your fire back. life is flying by;  you don’t have time to waste another day being negative, you have a destiny to fulfill, you have an assignment to accomplish.  what’s in your future is greater than anything you’ve seen in the past.  we need to get rid of the old Murphy’s Law and live by just the opposite;  if anything good can happen today, it can happen to you and me.  it’s going to be easier than it seems, it’s not going to take as long as it looks.  why?  you’ve been highly favored;  Almighty God is breathing in your direction.  you are equipped, empowered, and anointed.  “you’re just getting people’s hopes up, you’re just trying to get us to live positive.”  yes, and here’s why;  God is a positive God.  there is nothing negative about Him.  if you’re negative, sour, discouraged, you are going against the flow of God.  when we’re positive, hopeful, expecting good things, we’re in the jetstream of Almighty God;  things will be easier, you’ll be more productive, you’ll live happier, healthier, see more favor.  but when we’re negative, discouraged, everything is a struggle;  we’re having to work harder, we’re not enjoying life.  pay attention to what you’re thinking;  you can’t think negative thoughts and live a positive life, you’re going against the flow.  if you go through the day thinking, “I’ll never pass this chemistry test, I can’t stand my job, my marriage is never going to last, I’ll never meet the right person,” your life is going to follow your thoughts.

you’re drawing in what you’re continually thinking about, just like a magnet.  “I can’t pass this test”;  you’re drawing in failure.  “I’ll never meet the right person”;  drawing in loneliness.  “I can’t stand my job”;  drawing in negativity.  “I’ll never accomplish my dreams”;  drawing in mediocrity.  here’s the key;  just because a thought comes, it doesn’t mean that you have to dwell on it.  you control the doorway to your mind.  if that thought is negative, discouraging, pushing you down, dismiss it;  don’t give it the time of day, keep the door closed.  choose to dwell on thoughts that empower you, inspire you, encouraging you, thoughts that give you joy, faith, victory.  if you’ll keep your mind filled with the right thoughts, there won’t be any room for the wrong thoughts.  all through the day, “something good is going to happen to me.  I’m strong, healthy, talented;  I will pass this test.  I will meet the right people.  I will overcome this obstacle. my best days are still out in front of me.”  when your mind is filled with thoughts of hope, faith and victory, you’re going to draw in the good things of God.

the battle is taking place in our minds. what are you dwelling on all day? that’s what you’re drawing in.  sometimes, your body will not get well until your mind tells it to get well.  you won’t accomplish your dreams  thinking, “I don’t have the talent, the education, the connections”;  you have to give yourself permission to accomplish your dreams, permission to get out of debt, permission to overcome that obstacle.  it starts in our thinking.  studies even tell us that, when we’re negative, we think sad, discouraging thoughts, our serotonin level goes down, that causes us to feel sad. it’s not just in our thinking, it starts to affect our moods.  but when we’re positive, hopeful, expecting good things, endorphins are released that cause us to feel happy, to have more energy, it puts a spring in our step.  if you go around thinking, “I’ll never get well, I’m so overweight, I can’t stand my job,” as you think those negative thoughts, your faith, your energy, your enthusiasm, is being drained right out of you.  just like a big vacuum, it’s pulling out the good things God has put in you. you’d be amazed at how much more energy you’d have, how much more productive you’d be, how much better you’d feel, if you’d just switch over to this positive mindset.  you have to think thoughts on purpose;  “this is going to be a good day.  2014 is going to be my year.  I’m expecting an abundance of favor.

 Ephesians 4:23 (AMP)

23 And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude]

yesterday’s attitude is not good enough for today.  every morning, you have to put on a fresh attitude;  “I’m going to choose to be happy today.  I’m going to be good to other people today.  I’m going to go with the flow today, not get upset.”  when you put on that fresh new attitude, it’s putting you in the jetstream of God;  that’s when you’ll accomplish things that you could not accomplish on your own.  you will overcome obstacles that look bigger, stronger, more powerful.  that’s what Daniel did:

Daniel 6:3 (KJ21)

Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him

he stood out in the crowd, he was a cut above.  how did he do it?  every morning, he got up early, opened his window, and thanked God for the day, thanked Him for His goodness, thanked Him that He was well able;  he was putting on a fresh new attitude, he was setting his mind for victory.

Daniel 6:10 (NIV)

10 Now when Daniel… went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.

as a young man, Daniel was serving the king of a foreign nation.  at one point, this king;

Daniel 6:7-9 (NIV)

… the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”So King Darius put the decree in writing.

that didn’t stop Daniel;  he kept on praying to the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. some of his enemies told the king:

Daniel 6:13-15 (NIV)

13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed…  15 Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.”

Daniel said, “King, don’t worry, I’ll be fine;  the God I serve is well able to deliver me.”  that’s what happens when you start the day off in faith, thinking thoughts on purpose;  when you face difficulties, you don’t fall apart, you don’t get bitter, “why is this happening to me?” no, you rise up in faith, and say, “my God is well able, I’m armed with strength for this battle, no weapon formed against me will ever prosper.”  the authorities had Daniel thrown into a den of over 100 hungry lions;  they were expecting him to be eaten immediately, but when you live with an attitude of faith, God will fight your battles:

Daniel 6:19-26 (NIV)

19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel…  21 Daniel answered… My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight… 23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den… 25 Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth… 26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God

in the scripture, nothing negative is written about Daniel or about Joseph.  I’m sure they made mistakes, but you can’t find a record of anything they did wrong.  other heroes of faith, like Abraham, Moses, David, the apostle Paul, there are accounts of times where they failed;  this is making the point that Daniel and Joseph were good people, but they faced bad circumstances, unfair things happened to them, they were mistreated, they faced incredible odds.  but if you study their lives, one common denominator is that they lived with this positive mindset;  they had an attitude of faith.  they didn’t get bitter and make excuses;  every morning, they got their mind going in the right direction, knowing that our God is well able.  they both saw God’s goodness, His favor, in amazing ways.  in the same way, you can be a good person and have bad circumstances.  it’s easy to get negative, and think, “I don’t understand why my child got sick, why I came down with this problem, why these people did me wrong.”  no, dig your heels in and do like Daniel;  get up every morning in the midst of that battle, look up, and say, “Lord, thank you for another great day.  Lord, I know You are bigger than this problem, greater than this sickness, more powerful than my enemies.  Father, thank you that today things are changing in my favor.”

in difficult times, more than ever, make sure you put on that fresh new attitude.  make sure you set your mind for victory, and here’s the key, keep it set.  when those thoughts come telling you, “it’s never going to work out, it’s been too long, the report is too bad,” no, dismiss them, and say like he did, “my God is well able, He’s done it for me in the past, and I know He’ll do it for me again in the future.” keep your mind going in the right direction.  learn to think thoughts on purpose;  “something good is going to happen to me.  2014 is my year.”  start the day off in faith.  if you’ll develop this habit of having a positive mindset, you cannot be defeated.  you’ll not only live healthier, happier, have more energy, but I believe and declare, you will accomplish more than you ever imagined, you will overcome obstacles that looked impossible, and you will become everything God’s created you to be.

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I devote a great deal of time to Bible study, both to better understand God and with the intention of eventually acquiring the thorough scriptural knowledge necessary to attend seminary.  If you’re studying the Bible too, here are my tips for understanding the Word:

I’m on this site

http://www.biblegateway.com/

2 dozen times a day looking stuff up. At the top of the page is the Search box, and to the right of that is the control for which version of the Bible you want to use… and that makes a big difference!!

The most accurate translation in the English language is the New International Version, and that’s where most of my Bible study takes place. However, The Message translation, which is written in a conversational way with the intention of making clear to a modern audience what is going on, is sometimes more useful; if you’re feeling unsure as to what a verse means, try there first. If you want to have a deeper understanding, and get the story behind the story, The Voice is the way to go; here are a couple of examples:

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+12%3A28-29&version=VOICE

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+9:16&version=VOICE

And finally, to get line-by-line explanations of what verses mean, try these sites:

http://www.ccel.org/study (use the 2nd Search box under the picture of the Bible)

http://www.enduringword.com/library_commentaries.htm (click the text icon to the right of the name of the book)

And to see really good essays on general Biblical topics:

http://www.gotquestions.org/

Here’s a good example:

http://www.gotquestions.org/curse-fig-tree.html

I’ll add any other great ones that I find.  If there are any sites that you love that aren’t on here, let me know!!

from JO’s sermon tonight:

there is an underlying pressure in our society to be number one.  if we’re not the best, the leader, the fastest, the most talented, the most beautiful, the most successful, then we don’t feel good about ourselves;  we’ve got to work harder, run faster.  a neighbor moves into a new house;  instead of being inspired, we’re intimidated, thinking, “that’s making me look bad, I’ve got to keep up.”  a coworker gets a promotion; we feel like we’re falling behind.  a friend is going to Europe on vacation; we’re going to our grandmother’s four miles down the road.  if we’re not careful, there’s always something making us feel like we don’t measure up, we’re not far enough along.  as long as you compare your situation to others, you will never feel good about yourself, because there will always be somebody more talented, more beautiful, more successful.  you have to realize, you’re not running their race, you’re running your race.  you have a specific assignment;  God has given you exactly what you need for the race that’s been designed for you.  a friend, a coworker, a relative, may seem to have a more significant gift;  they can outrun you, outperform you.  that’s okay;  you’re not competing with them.  they have what they need for their assignment;  you have what you need for yours. if you make the mistake of trying to keep up with them, wondering, “why can’t I sing like that?  why can’t I be the manager?  when am I going to reach their level?”  if you’re not content with your gift, comfortable with who God made you to be, then you’ll go through life frustrated, envious, thinking, “I wish I had her looks, I wish I had his talent, I wish I owned their business.”  no, if you had what they have, it wouldn’t help you, it would hinder you;  they have a different assignment.

quit trying to outperform someone, and then you’re going to feel good about yourself.  “soon as I move into their neighborhood, soon as my business catches up to theirs, soon as I get that promotion”;  no, one of the best things I’ve learned is to be comfortable with who God made me to be.  I don’t have to outperform you to feel good about myself;  I don’t have to outbuild you, outdrive you, outrace you, out minister you, outproduce you.  it’s not about you, it’s about becoming who God made me to be.  and I’m all for having goals, stretching, believing big, that’s important, but you have to accept the gifts that God has given you.  you shouldn’t feel less than if someone seems to have a more significant gift.  it takes a secure person to say, “I’m comfortable with who I am.  this is what I’ve been given;  I can improve it, I can develop it, I can cultivate it, but there’s always going to be somebody that can do it better, further along, more experienced.  that doesn’t bother me;  I know I have the gifts I need for my assignment.”  you don’t have to have a great gift for God to use it in a great way.  do you know what the gift was that David had that put him on the throne?  it wasn’t his leadership skills, wasn’t his dynamic personality, wasn’t his ability to write and play music, it was his gift to sling a rock;  he was a sharpshooter with the slingshot.  he could’ve thought, “oh great, big deal, I’m good with the slingshot;  this is not going to get me anywhere.  I’m out the shepherds’ fields, alone, no people, just a bunch of sheep.” but it was that slingshot, that seemingly insignificant gift, that enabled him to defeat Goliath:

1 Samuel 17:49 (ERV)

49 David took out a stone from his bag. He put it in his sling and swung the sling. The stone flew from the sling and hit Goliath right between the eyes. The stone sank deep into his head, and Goliath fell to the ground—face down.

and eventually put him on the throne.  quit discounting the gift that God has given you.  it may seem insignificant;  “I’m not as smart as my sister, not as talented as my coworker, can’t write software like my colleague.”  maybe not, but there’s something God’s given you that you need, something that will propel you into your destiny, something that will cause you to leave your mark on this generation.  don’t believe the lies that, “you’re average, there’s nothing special about you, you don’t have the personality like your cousin, you don’t have the talent like your friend.”  no, but you’ve got a slingshot.  it’s not so much what you have, it’s the anointing that God puts on it.  that slingshot, your gift, may seem ordinary, but when God breathes on it, you’ll defeat a giant twice your size, you’ll be promoted beyond your talent, you’ll go places where you weren’t qualified, you didn’t have the experience, you weren’t next in line, but suddenly a door opened, suddenly you defeated the giant, suddenly the dream comes to pass. too often, we look for titles and positions, then we’re going to feel good about ourselves; “when I make it to sales manager, when I get on the varsity cheerleading squad, when I’m the head usher, the senior partner, lead supervisor.”  that’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with titles, but you don’t need a title to do what God’s called you to do.  don’t wait for people to approve you, affirm you, validate you;  use your gift and the title will come.  if David would’ve waited for a title, we wouldn’t be talking about him today.

when he went out to face Goliath, the whole army was watching him.  what’s interesting is;  David wasn’t a general, he wasn’t a corporal, he wasn’t a sergeant, he wasn’t even enlisted.  he didn’t have a title, a name badge, a uniform, any credentials;  he could’ve said, “I can’t do anything great; I don’t have a position, nobody’s celebrating me, validating my gifts.”  in fact, it was just the opposite;  people were telling him how he was not qualified, he was too small, he was going to get hurt.  that didn’t bother David;  his attitude was, “I don’t need a title, I don’t need a position;  you didn’t call me, and you don’t have to approve me.  God called me;  He gave me this gift.  it may seem small, insignificant to you, but I’m not here to impress you, I’m not here to please you, I’m here to fulfill my destiny.”  he went out and defeated Goliath.  in a few years, they gave him a title;  king of Israel.  use your gifts, and the titles will come.  “as soon as they crown me king of the office, then I’ll start being my best.  as soon as they make me the head usher, then I’ll show up early, give it my all.”  no, it works the other way around;  you’ve got to show them what you’ve got, then the approval, then the recognition, reward, will come.  you can’t wait for people’s approval to do what God’s called you to do.  what you have may seem small;  you could feel intimidated, thinking that you don’t have the qualifications, the title, the position.  that’s okay, neither did David;  if you’ll use what you have, God will breathe on it;  His anointing on that simple gift will cause you to step into the fullness of your destiny.

in the scripture, there was a little boy;  all he had was a lunch, 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. nothing much, not very significant, yet when thousands of people were hungry, Jesus took his lunch, multiplied it, and fed the whole crowd:

John 6:5-11 (NIV)

5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip,“Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

think about this:  the little boy’s mother got up early that morning to make the lunch.  she baked the bread, she cooked the fish.  she could’ve been considered insignificant;  she was a homemaker, raising a child.  other people were out doing more exciting things, being celebrated, making a splash. if she wouldn’t have been comfortable with who she was, accepting her assignment, secure in her gifts, she would’ve been out competing, trying to outperform others, thinking, “I’m falling behind, they’re making me look bad. I’m just making a lunch, I don’t have an important title.”  no, titles don’t bring fulfillment, keeping up with your neighbors doesn’t bring happiness, trying to impress all your friends will make your life miserable, but running your race, understanding your assignment, being comfortable with who God made you to be, that what brings true fulfillment. we hear a lot about the little boy being willing to give the lunch, but it all started when his mother took time to make the lunch;  she used her gift that seemed small, just making a lunch, but God took the lunch, multiplied it, fed thousands, and we’re still talking about it many years later.

don’t discount the gift God has given you.  it may seem small, just making a lunch for your children;  you don’t know how God’s going to use the child that you’re making the lunch for.  you may be raising a president, a world leader, a great scientist, an entrepreneur, a business leader, a pastor.  you may not touch the world directly, but your child may change the world;  your assignment may be to help your seed go further.  are you secure enough to play the role that God has given you?  are you comfortable enough to not have to be number one, to be in the front, to have the title, the position, to keep up with others? we put so much emphasis on rising to the top, on being the leader, and yes, I believe in excelling, and having big gifts and big dreams, but I also know that everyone can’t be the leader, everyone can’t run the company, everyone can’t be on the platform;  somebody has to open the doors, somebody has to play the music, somebody has to show people where to sit, where to park.  the beauty of our God is, He’s given us all an assignment;  every one of us has a specific gift, a specific purpose.  think about this;  who was more important, the little boy with the lunch, or the mother that made the lunch?  without the mother, we wouldn’t be talking about the miracle.

who is more important, me being up here in front of all of you, or is the most important person really the ones that opened the building?  without them, we couldn’t get in.  or is it the ones that turned on the lights, the sound system, the cameras?  or perhaps the ones that paid the bills during the week?  or maybe it’s the ones that poured the foundation some 40 years ago and built this beautiful facility? or maybe it’s the ones that have supported the ministry down through the years, many of you. the answer is;  they’re all equally important.  without one, the whole thing wouldn’t function properly.  be secure enough to play your role.  we look at who’s in front, getting the credit, the recognition;  they’re the leader.  a lot of times, we look up to them, admire them;  that’s where we want to be.  but if that’s not where we’re called to be, if it’s not where we’re gifted, if it’s not a part of our assignment, then we’re going to be frustrated because it’s not happening.  if we do get there, we’ll be frustrated trying to keep ourselves there, because if you promote yourself, manipulate your way into a position, then you will have to constantly work to try to stay in that position.  but where God takes you, He’ll keep you;  where you force your way, you have to keep yourself.  it’s much better to have the attitude, “I don’t have to be ahead of my friend to feel good about myself.  I don’t have to be on the main stage;  I’m happy being in the background.  I don’t have to be the little boy with the lunch;  I’m happy to be the mom that made the lunch.  I’m happy to singing in the choir. I’m happy to make my company look good.”  when you’re not competing, not comparing, not trying to be something that you’re not, life gets a lot more free;  it takes all the pressure off.

and yes, I realize there are some positions that carry more weight and more importance, but in God’s eyes the usher is just as important as the pastor.  the people that clean the building are just as important as the people that own the building.  the secretary is just as important as the supervisor. God is not going to judge you based on your neighbor’s gift, or your brother’s gift, or by how high you rose in the company;  He is going to judge you based on the assignment that He’s given you.  did you run your race?  not, did you outperform your neighbor, were you more successful than your cousin, did you get more credit, more recognition than your colleague?  you’re not competing with them;  they’re running a different race.  God is going to say to Esther, “did you have the courage to step up and save the nation like I gifted you to?”  He’s going to say to the little boy’s mother, “did you get up early and make the lunch like I gifted you to?”  two different assignments, two different giftings.  God’s not going to compare:  “Esther, I’m prouder of you, you did so much more.”  to the mother, “all you did was make a lunch?  lady, you need to get with it.”  no, it’s all going to be depending on, “did you fulfill your assignment?”  you have to be big enough to accept, “I may not be a racecar, I may not be as fast as my coworker, as smart as my sister, as talented as my neighbor, but that’s okay;  an SUV is just fine.  there’s a place where I fit perfectly, where my gifts, my talents, my skill, my personality, will shine.”  every once in a while, you’ll see an SUV out on the Indy track, thinking, “I’m not gonna be happy unless I’m the fastest, out in front, getting all the credit.”  no, stay in your race.  there is nothing wrong with not being a racecar, nothing wrong with not being the fastest, most beautiful, most talented.

don’t get distracted competing in a race that you were never supposed to be in, trying to outperform your cousin, no, they’re in a different race.  feeling less than because a friend is being more celebrated, frustrated because your neighbor is further along;  no, stay in your race.  be comfortable with who you are.  ladies, you may have a friend that’s a size 4;  she’s naturally small, thin.  she doesn’t have to work out, watch what she eats;  that’s just who she is.  maybe you’re a size 14;  you could work out four times a day and not eat for three years and not get down to a size 4. you better keep your SUV off that Indy track;  quit comparing yourself to her, competing with her, just run your race.  there’s nothing wrong with being a size 14;  you’ve gotta accept what God has given you.  a lot of times, we think, “if I had their talent, if I had their looks, if I could do what they’re doing, then I’d be happy, feel good about myself.”  no, they may be doing something that seems more exciting, more appealing, but the truth is, if you traded places you wouldn’t be happy, you wouldn’t be fulfilled, because their gifts, talents, skills, personality, has been uniquely designed for their assignment.  you could try to do what they’re doing, but the problem is, the anointing on your life is for your gifts, for what you’re called to do.

if you’ll learn to accept your gifts, not competing, comparing, “wish I looked different, wish I had different talents,” no, just be the best that you can be with what you have, and there will be a fulfillment, a satisfaction.  God will open up doors;  He will get you to where you’re supposed to be.  when you’re comfortable with who you are, walking in your anointing, it takes the pressure off;  you enjoy life.  but when you’re always competing with a friend, trying to outperform a colleague, impress all your relatives, that is a frustrating way to live;  you’re competing with someone that’s not even in your race.  what happens when we’re competing with someone, trying to outperform them, dress better than them, make sure we’re more successful?  we end up competing in a race that we were never supposed to be in.  it takes a lot of energy, physical and emotional, to try to keep up with a coworker, dress better than a neighbor, be more successful than your cousin.  no, take the pressure off;  it’s very freeing to say, “I’m okay with you being ahead of me, getting more recognition, doing something more exciting. I’m not going to feel bad about myself if you have a bigger house, a better car, are more successful;  you have what you need for your assignment, I have what I need for mine.  I don’t have to keep up with you;  I’m not in the same race.”  you’re not really free until you know you’re not competing with anyone else.  this is one of the reasons that King Saul lost the throne;  he was happy, running his race, life was good, until he heard some women saying:

1 Samuel 18:7-8 (NIV)

7 As they danced, they sang:
“Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands.”
8 Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly.

from that moment on, he never looked at David the same way.  what was his problem?  he couldn’t handle somebody getting ahead of him.  he was fine as long as he was number one, but he couldn’t handle being number two;  he got distracted, and spent months and months trying to kill David, all because he wasn’t comfortable with who he was.  maybe like Saul, you’re a 1000 level person, but you have a friend that’s a 10,000 level person;  the real test to see if God can promote you is, can you celebrate people that pass you by?  can you be happy for them, and stay focused on your race, or does it frustrate you, and you think, “I’ve got to catch up with them?”  no, our attitude should be, “I may not be a 10,000 level person, God may have made me to be a 1000 level person, but I can promise you this;  I’m going to be the best 1000 level person you’ve ever seen.  I’m not gonna stop at 950, 980, 999, I’m gonna become all that God has created me to be.”

your race is made up of one person;  you.  don’t get distracted competing against a neighbor, a friend, a coworker;  just run your race.  you have exactly what you need for your assignment.  learn to accept your gifts;  there’s nothing wrong with not being the fastest, the most beautiful, the most talented.  don’t compare yourself; celebrate yourself. somebody else may have conquered 10,000, you conquered 1000, but you know what?  a thousand is still good;  celebrate what you’ve accomplished.  very few people today can say, “I like myself. I’m happy with my gifts. I am satisfied with who God made me to be.”  remember, you don’t have to have a great gift for God to use it in a great way.  it may seem small, making a lunch, slinging a rock like David,  but if you’ll use what you have, God will breath on it and do amazing things.  if you’ll learn this simple principle, being comfortable with who you are, you’ll not only enjoy your life more, you will rise higher, your gifts and talents will come out to the full, and you will become everything that God’s created you to be.

Miracle redux

Yesterday, I got a rare hit to a forgotten post, “”Now faith” worked FAST” from 7-20-10, and curiosity lead me to read it.  It said, in part:

“One of the things I had faith that God would do for me today was something unusual; that a friend (any friend) would contact me today, preferably by phone. And someone DID call”

When I saw that, it inspired me to ask Him to have someone contact me today;  I said a call would be nice, but email or IM would be great too.  When I got up today, I had an email from a friend who hadn’t responded in a MONTH, saying that she wanted to schedule a call.  And then someone I hadn’t chatted with in a while messaged me on the IM.  God is amazing!!

 

Edit 3-28:  I had to get rid of some messages on a forum I participate on to make room for new ones, and this caused me to see the names of long-forgotten people who used to message me in years past.  I vaguely wondered about what had happened to them, and how or why their messages had stopped coming;  yes, I understand how ephemeral online life is, and how anonymous correspondents don’t become lifelong friends, but I’d just never consciously realized how long it had been since I’d heard from any of those people.

And then this morning…  you guessed it!!  A woman that I’d last heard from 3.5 YEARS ago sent me a message, just to say “hi”!!  I sat there looking at the message-alert banner wondering if I was DREAMING.  No matter how many miracles God gives me, He still knocks my proverbial socks off.

from JO’s sermon tonight:

anytime you show honor, you are sowing a seed;  the honor you give away will always come back to you.  in the scripture:

(NB:  the 4 Gospels have significantly different versions of this story, and JO mixes them together in his description. I’ve included the most relevant verses, but if you want the full spectrum, you can compare them all here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anointing_of_Jesus )

Luke 7:38 (NKJV)

38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.

oil represents honor;  you could say she poured her honor on him.  and then:

Matthew 26:8-9 (NKJV)

8 But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”

Mark 14:6 (CEV)

6 But Jesus said:

Leave her alone! Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing for me.

Luke 7:39-48 (NKJV)

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”

40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”…  47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

because she showed honor, favor came into her life.  the honor you pour on others will become the blessing that comes back to you.  but with no honor, there will be no blessing, no promotion, no increase, no breakthrough. you will never receive what you’re not willing to give away.

Romans 12:10 (TLB)

10 Love each other with brotherly affection and take delight in honoring each other.

everywhere we go, we should look for opportunities to pour out the oil of honor, to encourage people, to compliment them, to make them feel better about themselves.  this should be a priority, on the forefront of our minds;  “who can I honor today?  who can I put in a good word for?  how can I make them feel special?”  the amount of honor you show others will be directly related to the amount of favor God shows you;  if you’re stingy with your honor, you won’t see a lot of honor coming back.  but if you’ll learn to be generous with your honor, and when it’s appropriate, tell the manager how great the waiter is, tell your supervisor what a great job your coworker did, tell your spouse, your children, how proud you are of them.  those are not just nice words, compliments, it’s deeper than that;  you’re pouring honor in.  the scripture talks about how, when you honor others, there is a commanded blessing on your life.  it’s like the oil that was poured on Aaron’s head, the high priest, and it flowed down to the rest of the body;  when you pour out the oil of honor on others, it always flows right back to you.  God commands you to be blessed.  some of you would see more favor, new doors open up, if you’d just take time to start honoring others.  look for ways to pour in the oil of honor.  if you’ll develop this habit of honoring others, you’ll find that you’ll be more rewarded than the person you’re honoring;  it’ll lift your spirits, brighten your day.

Acts 20:35 (TLB)

35 … ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

but the way God works is, you can’t give away something without God giving you more in return. when you pour out the honor, you give the compliments, the kind words, the encouragement, it’ll always come back to you.  it’s easy to live ingrown, thinking about “me and my goals, my dreams, I’m busy, I’ve got my own problems, my own challenges”;  when you lift up others, God will always lift you up.  when you make other people’s day, God will always make your own day.  every one of us has an honor supply to give out;  it’s not going to do you any good to hold on to it, it’s not for you, it’s for others.  if you will start giving it away, then you will see the honor, the promotion, the blessing that God has in store for you.  when you go out of your way to make people feel special, to let them know they’re loved and appreciated, all that honor you’re pouring out, one day is going to come back to you or to your children.  honor activates the commanded blessing.  when you have a spirit of honor, it gets God’s attention.

who are you lifting up?  who are you celebrating?  who are you making look good?  make sure you’re generous with your honor.  be free with your compliments.  take time to write the note, to send the text, call the friend and congratulate them;  don’t be too busy.  make honoring others a priority.  the scripture says:  “”David set out to honor Jonathan’s son.”  that should be our goal;  “I’m setting out to honor someone today.”  start with your family;  “I’m setting out to honor my wife, my children.”  “I’m setting out to honor my coworker, coach, friend, pastor.”  “they know I love them, I think they’re great”;  no, tell them again.  make them feel special.  nobody can hear “I love you” enough.  husbands, your wife will never get tired of you telling her, “honey, you are so beautiful.” set out to honor your parents.  maybe you’re older, you don’t live at home;  take them to dinner, call them, bring them a gift for no reason.  make them feel loved. the scripture says:

Deuteronomy 5:16 (VOICE)

16 Honor your father and mother, as I have commanded you. If you do, you will be blessed with long life and all will go well for you

I believe this principle is true even in general;  when you’re generous with your honor, all will go well with you.  when you take time to honor a man you hardly even know, you’re kind, you let him know that you believe in him, then somewhere down the road, when you need a good break, or when your children need favor, all will go well with you.  that wasn’t a lucky break, it wasn’t a coincidence, it was all connected to the honor you showed.  it was all directly related to the seeds of encouragement, the seeds of kindness, the seeds of loyalty.  it was the commanded blessing on your life.  if you’re not seeing a lot of favor, you’re not seeing many good breaks, you need to check up on your honor;  are you setting out each day to make somebody feel better about themselves?  are you missing opportunities to show honor?  it’s easy to be competitive, and think, “I’m not to give them a compliment, especially in front of my family, my coworkers, that may make me look bad.”  or, “she got engaged, but I’m not going to call and encourage her, I’m still single, that makes me depressed.”  no, more than ever, you need to pour out the oil of honor;  that’s what releases the favor.

husbands, wives, set out to honor your spouse;   “if he’d start honoring me, maybe I’d honor him.” no, you make the first move.  don’t let someone’s lack of honor keep your honor supply bottled up.  your honor is not dependent on what they do, it’s dependent on what you do.  set out to honor our your coworker;  bring them a cup of coffee in the morning, stay late and help them finish that project.  make them feel special.  this is not something that naturally comes to us, because we’re all busy, we’ve all got our own concerns.  that’s why David said made it a priority.  his attitude was, “I’m on a mission from God.  I’m going to honor somebody today.  I’m going to brighten their day.”  I wonder what kind of world this would be if we would all set out each day to honor someone.  set out to honor your relative, your friend, your boss.  it doesn’t have to be something big;  a phone call, “hey, I’m thinking about you, I want to tell you, you mean the world to me.”  you just poured honor in.  that friend at the office that works so hard, tell your supervisor what a great job they do, put in a good word for them.  simple things can honor people.  when you pour the oil of honor on, it will always flow back to you.  it’s not all about the other person, it’s about what I’m supposed to do;  I’m supposed to take delight in honoring others.

don’t miss opportunities to be good to people.  you can think honoring thoughts all day long, and it’s not going to blessing them. every so often, we have stored up honor;  we think about it, but we’re not releasing it, pouring it out. don’t miss opportunities to show honor.  if a coworker looks better than normal, tell them, “you look great today.”  that’s not just a compliment;  you’re pouring honor in.  you see the security guard walking out of the building;  “thanks for what you do, I appreciate you.”  pouring in more honor.  that friend you work with, “I sure enjoy working with you each day, you’re a pleasure to be around.”  that’s a spirit of honor.  some people today would be quicker to say, “you’re a pain to work around” than to give a compliment.  they’re quick to express the negative, but they withhold the positive.  we should be just the opposite;  be generous with your compliments, be stingy with your complaints.  be free with your honor;  withhold the dishonor.  there’s enough gossip, slander, talking badly behind people’s back;  let’s develop the habit of talking good behind people’s back.  if a person’s name comes up that you know, and you can put in a good word for them, don’t be passive;  pour in some oil of honor.  “hey, I know them, and they’re great, I think the world of them, they’re the real deal.”

talking good behind people’s back makes a huge deposit.  just like the bad always gets back to people, the gossip and slander, the good will get back to them as well. a secondhand compliment can be more powerful than a direct complement. for you to talk good about people in front of your friends, your family, your peers, your coworkers, without them being there, that honor you’re pouring in carries more weight.  put a good word in for somebody by talking good behind their back.  it’s easy to talk badly behind people’s back, to find fault, be critical;  but when you have this spirit of honor, you see the best in people, you focus on the good, you magnify what’s right.  if you hear somebody talking negative about a person you know, don’t just sit there and take it all in, “yeah, let me tell you what I know too,” no, be a part of the solution and not the problem. “yes, they’ve got a few shortcomings, but here’s what I like about them.”  that honor not only quiets the negative, not only helps the other person, but it’ll always come back to you.  you have to ask yourself, “am I sowing honor or dishonor?”  you can’t talk badly behind people’s back and not expect people to talk badly behind your back.  you can’t sow dishonor and expect to have honor.

Galatians 6:7 (PHILLIPS)

7 Don’t be under any illusion: you cannot make a fool of God! A man’s harvest in life will depend entirely on what he sows

this is especially important in our homes;  don’t talk badly about your family members.  you may not agree with them, your crazy uncle might get on your nerves, but don’t air out all your dirty laundry, putting that man down, telling all of his faults;  that doesn’t make you look good, nor him look good.  protect your family, protect those reputations;  stick up for your family.  don’t be dishonoring to your ex-spouse.  you may not like them, they may not have treated you right, but don’t fall into the trap of sowing seeds of dishonor.  if you have children, that man or woman is still the father or mother of your children;  it confuses a child to hear one parent disrespecting the other.  you can show honor by not being critical, not making them look bad.  they may have done 1000 things wrong, but you know what, you’re not the judge, God is. it’s in His hands.  you’ll never go wrong by sowing honor.  in the scripture, Miriam was disrespectful to her brother Moses (and so was Aaron):

Numbers 12:1 (NKJV)

12 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman.

she didn’t like the fact that he married an Ethiopian woman, someone from a different nationality;  this went outside of what she was used to.  she started talking badly behind Moses’ back, being critical of him, getting the whole family stirred up.  the scripture says:

Numbers 12:2 (NKJV)

2 … And the Lord heard it

God hears us when we honor people, and He also hears us when we dishonor people.  Miriam could’ve disagreed respectfully with Moses, without becoming bitter and negative.  sometimes the way you show honor is you just don’t stir it up, you just stay quiet. but she kept being critical, getting the whole family riled up.  here’s the problem:  what you sow, you’re going to reap.  the scripture says:

Numbers 12:10 (NKJV)

10 And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper.

(don’t worry;  Moses saved her:

Numbers 12:13-15 (NKJV)

13 So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “Please heal her, O God, I pray!”

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be received again.” 15 So Miriam was shut out of the camp seven days, and the people did not journey till Miriam was brought in again.)

(why was Miriam punished, but not Aaron?

“Miriam was struck with a leprosy, but not Aaron, because she was first in the transgression, and God would put a difference between those that mislead and those that are misled.”

http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/numbers/12.html )

you shouldn’t dishonor anyone, but especially don’t dishonor your own family;  show honor by covering some faults, protecting some reputations.  when you have this spirit of honor, you go to work each day, and you don’t just perform your duties, but you do it with the right attitude;  that’s how you honor your boss, you honor that company.  you can go to work and do everything you’re told, accomplish all of your tasks, but if you do it sour, “I don’t like these people, I can’t stand this company,” you’re doing your job, but that dishonoring spirit will keep you from rising higher.  promotion doesn’t come from people, it comes from God.  the environment may not be fair, the people may not be treating you right, but don’t let that be an excuse to be sour;  you are not working unto people, you are working unto God, and if you will do your job with a spirit of honor, God will get you to where you’re supposed to be.

Isaiah 1:19 (NIV)

19 If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land

it’s not enough to just be obedient, the question is;  “are you willing?  do you have a good attitude? do you do it with the spirit of honor?”  young people, this is so important;  if you will learn to honor your leaders, your teachers, your parents, do your work with a good attitude, then God can continue to promote you.  but if there’s a spirit of disrespect, and “I don’t know why I’m here, I know more than these people,” that will limit how high you can go.  but when you go to work, and you get there on time, you do more than you have to, you make that company proud that they hired you, all the honor you’re pouring out one day will come right back to you.  I’m sure at times, in the scripture, Joseph thought, “this is a waste, treating these people good that are treating me badly.  doing the right thing, and the wrong thing keeps happening to me.  it’s never going to pay off.”  no, some 15 years later, all the honor he showed Potiphar, the master that he worked for as a slave, all the honor he showed the prison officials when he was falsely imprisoned, all the honor he showed his brothers, the ones that threw him into a pit, all that honor eventually came back to him;  he was put in charge of the whole nation.

you keep having that spirit of honor, keep being your best, and like Joseph, you better get ready;  your time is coming, the honor is on its way.  what you sow, you will reap.  when you have a spirit of honor, being your best with a good attitude, talking good behind people’s back, taking delight in honoring others, then God will take you places that you’ve never even dreamed.  my challenge:  set out each day to honor someone.  look for opportunities to be good to people.  take time to write the note, to send the text, to make them feel better about themselves.  if you’ll do this, the honor that you send out will always come back to you. I believe and declare, you will accomplish every dream, overcome every obstacle, and become everything God’s created you to be.

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