from JO’s sermon tonight:
what we focus on, we magnify; we’re not changing its actual size, we’re simply making it bigger in our own mind. if you stay focused on your problems, on a negative medical report, what somebody said about you, how you’ll never get out of debt, all that’s going to do is make it bigger than it really is; it’s changing your perception of it. you can take a small coin, and if you hold it up close enough to your eye, eventually it will block the sun. that coin, even though it’s billions and trillions of times smaller, because you’ve got it so close, it’s distorting your perspective; it looks bigger than this huge object. in the same way, if you stay focused on something that you don’t like about yourself, “I’m too short, I don’t like my nose, I wish I had more hair, I wish my voice wasn’t so high,” if you stay focused on those things, it will block the amazing future God has in store for you. you may have some things you don’t like, some things you consider are wrong with you; we all do. but can I tell you; a lot is right with you! quit magnifying what’s wrong. quit focusing on what you don’t like, and start focusing on what God said about you. God said, “you are a masterpiece, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, you are one-of-a-kind, you have the right looks, the right personality, the gifts that you need for the race that’s designed for you.”
magnify what’s right about you and not what’s wrong. if you were to get a negative medical report, you could go home and spend 6 hours researching it on the internet, find 43 side effects to add to your worries, 27 different ways you can die from it, then call a friend and have them tell you how their cousin had it, he only made it four months, the next door neighbor, he got chills in 24 hours, all that time it’s becoming bigger and bigger in your mind. the actual size hasn’t changed, but because you keep dwelling on it, giving it your attention, letting it take all your energy, it’s become distorted. now it’s like that little coin that’s blocking the sun. stop focusing on the problems and start focusing on the promises. all through the day, instead of complaining, say, “God, You said with long life you would satisfy me, the number of my days You would fulfill, that I would live and not die, that You are restoring health back unto me.” it takes the same amount of energy to believe as it does to worry. you can go through the day thinking, “prices are so high, I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to send my kids to college, what if I don’t get the promotion, what if I don’t get the scholarship? what if I lose this client, I don’t know how I’m going to make it.”
you can use your energy to worry like that, or you can spend that same energy saying, “Father, thank You that You’re supplying all my needs. You said You take pleasure in prospering me, that You would open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings that I could not contain.” when you magnify the promises instead of the problems, that’s your faith being released; that’s what allows God to go to work. maybe you’re concerned about your children; you could go around thinking, “I don’t know if they’re ever going to get back on the right path, I raised them in church, I taught them to do what’s right, I just don’t understand it,” or, you can say, “Father, thank you that as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. God, You promised that the seed of the righteous would be mighty in the land. God, You said that if I raised my children in the fear of the Lord, they would not depart from it. they may be off course temporarily, but Lord, I want to thank You that they’re coming back, that they will fulfill their destinies.” if you’ll change your focus from the problem to the promise, worry, doubt, fear, negativity will go. faith will rise up. you’ll know that God is still on the throne. He is bigger than anything you’re facing; what He promised He will bring to pass. if you’re single and you want to get married, don’t go around thinking, “I’ll never meet the right person, I’m too old, I missed too many opportunities; it’s never going to happen.”
no, turn it around; “God, You said because I delight myself in You, You would give me the desires of my heart. Lord, You said no good thing will You withhold because I walk uprightly. Lord, I want to thank You that my good thing is coming; that man, that woman, that You’ve already picked out for me, it’s just a matter of time before they show up.” whatever you’re believing for, instead of magnifying the negative, instead of worrying, find a promise that you can stand on. all through the day, let that play in your mind. “God, You said You hold victory in store for the upright, Your favor surrounds me like a shield, the path of the righteous gets brighter and brighter.” the reason it’s so important to have a promise that you can focus on is because God is not obligated to bring to pass when we say, but He is obligated to bring to pass what He says. when you can say, “God, You said I would prosper and live in good health, that You always cause me to triumph, that my latter days will be better than my former days,” when God hears His promises coming out of your mouth, He says to the angels, “go to work, get busy, make it happen.” God is faithful to His word. Abraham focused on the promise instead of the problem. when God gave him the promise that he and his wife Sarah were going to have a baby, they were both way too old; in the natural, it was impossible. but:
Romans 4:19 (ASV)
19 And without being weakened in faith he considered his own body now as good as dead (he being about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb
in other words, he didn’t focus on the problem. he didn’t go around thinking, “God gave me this promise, but I must not have heard Him right, because Sarah is nearly 80 years old, I’m nearly 100 years old, it’s not going to happen.” he didn’t get on the internet and Google “chances of having a baby at 100.” he didn’t call his friends and get their input to see what they thought. if he would’ve stayed focused on his circumstances, that impossibility would have become so magnified, gotten so big in his mind, that the doubt, fear, negativity would have kept it from happening. God works when there’s faith. Abraham did the same thing that I’m asking you to do. it goes on to say that he considered not his circumstances:
Romans 4:20-21 (NIV)
20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
Abraham made this decision; “I’m not going to use my energy to worry. I’m not going to go around thinking about how it’s not going to work out. I’ve got a promise from God.” I can hear him all through the day saying, “God, You promised that I’m going to have a child, that I will be the father of many nations, that my descendents would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. God, it looks impossible to me, but I know You can do the impossible.” he kept focusing on the promise, reminding God what He said. that promise became bigger and bigger in his mind. he became fully persuaded, where doubt, fear, negativity, didn’t have a chance. faith rose up. and sure enough, against all odds, when they were nearly 100 years old, they had that baby. if you’re going to see your dreams come to pass, those promises fulfilled, there will be times, like with Abraham, you have to consider not your negative circumstances.
you may have to consider not a medical report; doctors do the best they can with the knowledge that they have, but there comes a point, sometimes, when I’m doctors run out of options, there’s nothing more they can do, medically speaking. the good news is, God can do what medical science cannot do. God never runs out of options; He has the final say. He made your body. you may have to consider not a financial situation. on paper, it may look like you’re not going to get out of debt until you’re 147 years old. if you stay focused on that, and just continually run the numbers, analyze it and reanalyze it, all that’s going to do is make you frustrated, stressed out, worried. instead of considering your circumstances, why don’t you start considering your God? He spoke worlds into existence, flung stars into space. He’s got you in the palm of his hand. one touch of His favor can catapult you to a new level. one good break, one explosive blessing, can put you into overflow, more than enough.
Psalm 68:1 (ASV)
68 Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered
when you make God bigger in your life, when you let Him arise, focusing on His greatness, knowing that He’s in control, fighting your battles, making your crooked places straight, and you go out with this attitude of faith, expecting breakthroughs and dreams to come to pass, when you let God arise like that, your enemies will be scattered. enemies of debt, lack, depression, sickness, injustice; nothing can stand against our God. He is the all-powerful Creator of the universe. what are you letting arise? what are you lifting up? “I’m in a slow season at work, somebody hurt me in a relationship. my health has gone downhill, that’s why I’m so discouraged.” No, that’s letting the wrong things rise: that’s doubt, defeat, self-pity. that’s not going to do anything productive. you’ve got to turn it around, change your focus from the problem to the promise, from considering your circumstances to considering your God. here’s how; all through the day, “God, You said I’m armed with strength for this battle, no weapon formed against me will ever prosper, the trap the enemy set for me they will fall in themselves, I haven’t seen, heard or imagined the amazing things You have in store. so God, I believe today that things are changing in my favor. You’ve done it in the past, I know You’ll do it again in the future.” when you let God arise, you can’t stay defeated; healing, promotion, favor, victory comes. your enemies will be scattered. in the scripture:
2 Chronicles 20:1-2 (NIV)
20 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.
2 Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom
in the natural, they didn’t have a chance; they were outnumbered 10 to 1. if anyone had a right to get down and discouraged, it would have been Jehosaphat. but he didn’t do it; he understood this principle. instead of complaining:
2 Chronicles 20:3-6 (CEV)
3 Jehoshaphat was afraid, so he asked the Lord what to do. He then told the people of Judah to go without eating to show their sorrow. 4 They immediately left for Jerusalem to ask for the Lord’s help.
5 After everyone from Judah and Jerusalem had come together at the Lord’s temple, Jehoshaphat stood in front of the new courtyard 6 and prayed
he didn’t say, “God, I’m begging you to help us, it’s not fair, I don’t know why this has happened to us.” no, he started talking about the greatness of God:
2 Chronicles 20:6 (CEV)
6 …. You, Lord, are the God our ancestors worshiped, and from heaven you rule every nation in the world. You are so powerful that no one can defeat you.
then he started remembering what God had done:
2 Chronicles 20:7 (CEV)
7 Our God, you forced out the nations who lived in this land before your people Israel came here, and you gave it to the descendants of your friend Abraham forever.
what was he doing? magnifying God, not his trouble. in our difficult times, instead of complaining, “I don’t know if my child is ever going to straighten up, business is so slow, I don’t think I’ll ever overcome this illness,” no, if you talk defeat, you’re going to have defeat. no, you’ve gotta do like Jehosaphat; “God, I know you’re an awesome God, nothing is too difficult for You. I know You are bigger than this financial difficulty; You make streets out of gold. You are greater than this sickness; You breathed life into my body. You are more powerful than people coming against me in this legal trouble; no one can stand against You.” the bigger you make God, the smaller your problems become, the more faith will rise in your heart. but too often, we do just the opposite. it’s easy to magnify the problem instead of magnifying God. this is what the Israelites did. Moses sent 12 men in to spy out the promised land:
Numbers 13:1-2 (NIV)
13 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.”
Numbers 13:25 (NIV)
25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land.
Numbers 13:25-33 (NIV)
30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size
Numbers 14:6-9 (NIV)
6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
both groups saw the same people, the same situation; the difference was their perspective. one group focused on the size of their obstacles, the other on the size of their God. out of the 2 million people that were camped next door to the promised land that day, the only two that ever eventually made it into the promised land were Joshua and Caleb. could it be that our own wrong perspective is keeping us out of our promised land? if we think our obstacles are too big, “I’ll never accomplish my dreams, I’ll never overcome this illness, I’ll never get out of debt.” then just like them, our own perspective will keep us from God’s best. that’s why David said:
Psalm 34:3 (KJV)
3 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together
he was saying, if you’re going to make anything bigger, don’t make the problems, opposition, negative medical report bigger, make God bigger. it’s interesting; when David faced Goliath, he never called him a giant. everyone else did; they talked about his size, strength, skill. not David; he called him an uncircumcised Philistine. he didn’t even give him credit for being big. he didn’t deny it, but he didn’t dwell on it. his attitude was, “if I’m going to magnify anything, I’m going to magnify the source of my strength. I’m going to talk about the greatness of my God. I’m not going to focus on how big my problems are; I’m going to focus on how big my God is.” David’s brothers, and the other Israelites, they were afraid, intimidated, didn’t know what to do. then:
1 Samuel 17:32-33 (NIV)
32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”
33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”
but David had a different perspective. he knew if God be for him, who dare be against him. he knew he was strong in the Lord. he knew he wasn’t going out there alone, that all the forces of heaven were backing him up.
1 Samuel 17:45 (NIV)
45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
notice what he was doing? magnifying his God, talking about His greatness. he didn’t have a chance in the natural, but:
1 Samuel 17:49-50 (NIV)
49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.
50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.
that’s what happens when you magnify the promises and not the problems. Paul said:
Philippians 1:28 (NLT)
28 Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies
like David, you may be up against a big giant right now, a giant called addiction, debt, sickness. you could easily be overwhelmed, and think, “I don’t have a chance.” no, don’t be intimidated, the forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you. have the right perspective; the most high God is on your side.
you’ve magnified that problem long enough. you’ve talked about how impossible it is, how it’s never going to work out, but if you’ll see it from the right perspective, you’ll realize that it’s nothing for our God. all He’s got to do is breathe your direction. your dream coming to pass may seem impossible to you, but it just takes one touch of God’s favor, one good break, meeting one right person. or that financial difficulty, that relationship issue, that addiction may seem insurmountable, but if you’ll see it from the right perspective you’ll realize that for our God, it’s a small thing. He parted the Red Sea for the Israelites; He can make a way in your life. you can’t go through life focused on the negative, and how it’s never going to work out; that will keep you from God’s best. if you’ll learn to focus on the promise and not the problem, you will overcome obstacles that looked insurmountable. you’ll accomplish dreams even though you didn’t have the qualifications, the resources, the connections. God will get you to where you’re supposed to be. this is what happened in the scripture to a man by the name of Zerubbabel.
Haggai 1:1-8 (NLT)
1 On August 29 of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the Lord gave a message through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah… 8 Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house
everything came against him. the city leaders tried to stop him; they hired lawyers and wouldn’t give him the permits. other people started stirring up strife and trouble. he couldn’t hire the workers that he needed, he couldn’t find the materials, everywhere he turned there was trouble. it looked impossible. he could have stayed focused on the opposition, how much more powerful they were, given up and gone home. “God, I wanted to do it, I had good intentions, they were just too big.” no, he said:
Zechariah 4:7 (AMP)
7 For who are you, O great mountain [of human obstacles]? Before Zerubbabel [who with Joshua had led the return of the exiles from Babylon and was undertaking the rebuilding of the temple, before him] you shall become a plain [a mere molehill]!
notice his attitude. not, “it’s too big, I can’t do this.” no, he said, “you may be a mountain right now, but I know a secret; I can already see through my eyes of faith, and it’s just a matter of time before you flatten out and become a molehill. I will complete this project.” if you don’t talk to your mountains, your mountains will talk to you. don’t complain about how big the problem is; tell that mountain, “you’re about to become a molehill.” like David, tell that giant, “this day I will defeat you.” you can’t talk defeat and expect to have victory. what you’re facing today may look big. I’m not asking you to deny it, I am asking you to see it from God’s point of view. have the right perspective. it’s no match for you; you’re a child of the most high God. you have the most powerful force in the universe breathing in your direction right now. don’t stay focused on the opposition, how impossible it looks. do what Abraham did; consider not the negative circumstances, and start considering your God. remind Him what He said. all through the day, let His promises keep playing in your mind; “God, You said I’m blessed, strong, healthy, highly favored. You said my best days are still out in front of me.” remember, it takes the same amount of energy to believe as it does to worry. if you’ll learn to focus on the promises and not the problems, you will defeat your giants, accomplish your dreams, and what God promised you He will bring to pass. you will become everything He’s created you to be, and you will have everything He intends for you to have.