from JO’s sermon tonight:
we all face situations that look permanent, in our health, our relationships, our career. it’s easy to think that that’s the way it’s always going to be. “I’ll always struggle with this addiction.” “I’ll always have to deal with this depression.” “I’ll always be at the same level.” “I’ll never break out of this rut, do something great.” but just because it seems permanent to us, doesn’t mean that it’s permanent to God. God doesn’t allow you to get into anything that He can’t bring you out of. even if it was your own fault, you brought the trouble on yourself, God wouldn’t have allowed it if He didn’t have a way out. He knew how to get you out of the trouble before you got in the trouble. He knows the end from the beginning. He had the solution even before you had the problem. it may look to you like it’s never going to change, but God is saying, “it’s temporary. you’re coming out of that sickness, chronic pain, loneliness, debt, addiction, legal trouble; it’s not going to last forever. it didn’t come to stay, it came to pass.”
God has already made a way for you to escape. He has already planned your coming-out party; It’s just a matter of time before you see the breakthrough, healing, abundance, restoration, new levels. the scripture says in Job that God has set an end to the difficulty, trouble. God is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. He has already set an end to the sickness, addiction, injustice at work. your coming-out date has already been established. now when thoughts tell you, “it’s never going to change, you might as well accept it, this is as good as it gets,” no, you have to remind yourself, “I will not always be lonely. God has set an end to this loneliness. He is bringing somebody great into my life. I will not always struggle in my finances. God has set an end to this lack. He has promotion, increase, abundance, coming my way. this child that’s off course is not always going to cause me heartache; the Creator of the universe, the one who spoke worlds into existence, has already decided the final date. this addiction, these bad habits, are not going to hinder my life; God has already put the end on His calendar, my time is coming. freedom, wholeness, victory is in my future.” The scripture says:
Isaiah 58:9 (NIRV)
9 You will call out to me for help. And I will answer you.
if you will stay in faith, there will come a point where God says, “enough is enough. that’s my son/daughter; I didn’t create them to live with addictions, sickness, lack, mediocrity, being taken advantage of, I created them to be victorious, healthy, free, to lend and not borrow.” God may have allowed it, but He wouldn’t have let you get into it if He couldn’t bring you out of it. He has already set the end to this sickness, legal problem, family situation, struggle. you don’t know, that end date could be today, this week, this month. what if you knew that on August 22 of this year that was the final date that God set for the difficulty? you wouldn’t drag around discouraged, thinking, “oh man, I never get any good breaks, I’ll never get over this illness.” no, you would go out each morning with a spring in your step, a smile on your face talking, acting like it was going to happen. that’s what faith is all about; you’ve got to believe it before you see it. you’ve got to act like it’s true before you see any sign that it’s happening.
if somebody asks you, “are you still dealing with that sickness? are you still under the weather?” don’t give them a 20 minute update of everything wrong with you, how bad the medical report was. your answer should be, “yes, I’m still dealing with it, but can I tell you, I’m coming out, I’m getting better, God is restoring health unto me, the number of my days He will fulfill.” “well, are you still struggling in your finances, you’re still in debt?” “yes, I’m still there, but I’m coming out, it’s only temporary, I will lend and not borrow.” “are you still with that same company, that same position? I thought you wanted to do something better?” “yes, I’m still there, but I’m coming out, my new job is on the way, God is opening doors that no man can shut.” you’ve got to get in agreement with God. He is saying, “where you are is not where are you’re staying.” you’re coming out of the drought into abundance. you’re coming out of fear and worry and into peace. you’re coming out of depression into joy. you’re coming out of constant struggle, bad breaks, into the favor of God. you may not see how it could happen, but don’t believe those lies; the end date has already been set. David put it this way:
Psalm 23:4 (KJ21)
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…
he didn’t say, “I stay in the valley, I built a house in the valley, I’m stuck in the valley,” he said, in effect, “I’m coming out of this valley.” the valley is temporary; you’re supposed to go through it, that is not your permanent home. but if you let it get permanent in your thinking, it will keep you from your destiny. every one of us is going through something: health issue, financial difficulty, a struggle at work. too often, we settle in the valley, and think, “I’ll always struggle, have this back pain, have strife and division in my family, that’s just who we are.” we put our stakes down, and build our house in the valley. I’m asking you to do what David did; pack up your belongings, pull up your stakes. the valley is not your home. you are just passing through; you’re not a citizen of the valley, you don’t belong there, you’re illegal in the valley. you are not a citizen of debt, cancer, mediocrity. that’s a temporary position. you may be there for a season, but the good news is, your day of departure has a ready been set. God has already purchased your ticket.
you may be in the valley of sickness right now, the medical report doesn’t look good, but take heart; your ticket says, you are headed for good health, you will live and not die. you may be in the valley of struggle, lack, not enough, but your ticket says you are headed to more than enough, overflow, abundance. maybe you’re in the valley of loneliness, you don’t have much company; stay encouraged, your ticket says that divine connections are coming, new friendships, the right people. perhaps you’re in the valley of disappointment; something didn’t work out, you went through a breakup, business didn’t make it, a friend betrayed you. don’t stay discouraged; don’t let the self-pity and bitterness take root. that is not your final destination; your ticket says, “beauty for ashes,” “what was meant for your harm, God will use to your advantage.” if you will be a prisoner of hope, Zechariah said:
Zechariah 9:12 (ESV)
12 Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.
God will pay you back for the unfair things that have happened. we are not supposed to stay in the valley:
Psalm 30:5 (NKJV)
5 … Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.
your ticket says, “new beginnings.” don’t get stuck in the valley. don’t put your stakes down in disappointment, loss, heartache, thinking you’ve seen your best days.
Psalm 84:6 (TLB)
6 When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of springs where pools of blessing and refreshment collect after rains!
that means, when you’re in the valley, if you’ll stay in faith, knowing that God has you in the palm of his hand, He will take your tears and turn them into pools to refresh you. you’ll have the strength you need for every situation.
Genesis 15:13-14 (KJV)
13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
what’s interesting is God is the one that sent them into slavery. He said, “I’m taking you into a place that’s going to be difficult.” if that was the end of the story, that doesn’t sound like a good deal. we’d think,”God, don’t do me any favors.” the truth is, that that setback was a setup for God to do something greater. God brought them out with great substance, with more than they had before. when you go through a difficulty, a disappointment, you may not understand it, but God wouldn’t have allowed it, not only if he couldn’t get you out, but God is going to take it one step further and bring you out with great substance, better off than you were before. God never brings you out the same; if you’ll stay in faith, He will bring you out with greater substance, joy, peace, resources.
Psalm 66:12 (NLT)
12 Then you put a leader over us. We went through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place of great abundance.
you may be in the fire, flood, famine right now, well, get ready, your next step is great abundance. God is going to do more than you could ask or think. when you go through a difficulty, when you face a bad break, you may not understand it, you may not like it, but God wouldn’t have allowed it unless ultimately He was going to use it to your advantage. recognize that it’s a setup for God to do something greater. when God told Moses to tell Pharaoh to let the people go:
Exodus 10:20 (NLT)
20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart again, so he refused to let the people go.
here God was the one that told him to let the people go, yet God wanted Pharaoh to say no.
Exodus 14:4 (CEB)
4 I’ll make Pharaoh stubborn, and he’ll chase them. I’ll gain honor at the expense of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.
Exodus 14:4 (NLT)
4 And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army.
there are enemies that God will allow into your life, not to defeat you, not to make you miserable, but so that God can receive great glory. you may be in a tough time, but when God brings you out, when you beat the cancer, break the addiction, when your marriage is restored, when you pay your house off, when you accomplish your dreams, everyone will know it wasn’t just you, it was the favor of God. God wants to show out in your life, make you an example of His goodness. but we pray, “God, keep me out of all the difficulties. God, don’t let me face any opposition.” but if that happened, number one, we wouldn’t grow like we should. our character is developed in the tough times; that’s when our faith is tested and strengthened. and number two, if we never had obstacles to overcome, if we never faced impossible situations, we wouldn’t see the greatness of God’s power. when we have difficulties, a lot of times we think, “why is this happening to me? what am I doing wrong?” no, you may not be doing anything wrong; God just may want to show out in your life. He may want to use that situation to bring Him great glory.
John 9:1-3 (ESV)
9 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
John 9:6-7 (ESV)
6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
for the rest of his life, that man was a testimony to the goodness of God. your situation may look impossible, the obstacle looks too big, the sickness too bad, the business too slow, the marriage too far gone. no, get ready, you’re a prime candidate for God to show Himself strong. God specializes in cases that look too big, impossible, no chance. that way, when He turns it around, you will give Him great glory at the expense of your enemies.
Exodus 10:20 (NLT)
20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart again
that tells me that God is in control, even of our enemies. when Satan wanted to test Job, he had to ask God for permission:
Job 1:11-12 (ESV)
11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” 12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.”
when Saul was persecuting the church, he had to get permission from the chief priest to arrest believers. he was headed to Damascus, thinking, “I’ve got permission to make their lives miserable,” when:
Acts 9:3-4 (NKJV)
3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
even though he had permission, God stopped it. there are times when God will give the enemy permission to test us, but just like with Saul, God will stop it. God can stop the cancer, the addiction, the legal situation. every one of us can look back and see times where we know God stopped it. God doesn’t let you get into something that He can’t bring you out of. whatever comes against you, God can stop it. He can stop the accident, addictions, family trouble. the enemy is not going to have the last laugh; you will. David said:
Psalm 129:1-2 (TLB)
129 Persecuted from my earliest youth (Israel is speaking), 2 and faced with never-ending discrimination—but not destroyed! My enemies have never been able to finish me off!
that difficulty is not going to finish you off. that bad break, disappointment, sickness, is not the end; God has the final say, and He is saying, “you’re coming out with greater substance, better off than you were before. as a child of the Most High, God has put something on you where you cannot be defeated. the medical report may not look good, business is going down, the odds are against you, but:
Isaiah 54:17 (NKJV)
17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper
it may form, it may look impossible, but the good news is, God will stop it. it’s not going to prosper. like David said:
Psalm 129:1-2 (TLB)
129 … My enemies have never been able to finish me off!
stay in peace. God’s got your back. He is fighting your battles. He has done it in the past, and He’ll do it again future. in the story of the three Hebrew teenagers:
Daniel 3:14-15 (NKJV)
14 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? 15 … if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”
I’m sure they prayed, “God, please keep us out of the fire, this is dangerous, we could be killed in there.” they wanted God to do it one way, but God chose to do it another way. sometimes, God will deliver you from the fire; other times, God will make you fireproof and take you through the fire.
Daniel 3:20 (NIV)
20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.
it looked like it was over, like they were done. but God never lets you get into something that He can’t bring you out of.
Daniel 3:27 (NKJV)
27 … they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.
the only thing that fire burned off were the cords that were holding them back. the King came to check on them:
Daniel 3:24-25 (NKJV)
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”
They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”
25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
the King said, “from this day forward, we are all going to worship the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.” your enemies cannot finish you off; they don’t have the final say, God does. you may feel like you’re in the fire right now. you don’t see a way out, but stay encouraged; where you are now is not permanent, it’s temporary. you’re coming out, not the same, but better, with great abundance. when you come out, all of your family, friends, and enemies will know; the favor of God is on your life. you’re going to be a living testimony of God’s goodness. now remember; the end of the difficulty has already been set. the end of the trouble, lack, addiction; the final date has already been established. the good news is; it could happen this week. get up every morning thanking God that it’s on the way. if you’ll do this, you will be coming out of sickness, depressions, addictions, lack and struggle. the tide of the battle is turning. you might as well start planning your coming-out party. God is going to bring you out with great abundance, joy, peace; great victories are in your future.