from JO’s sermon tonight:
in the scripture, God called Abraham:
Genesis 17:5 (NKJV)
5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.
at that time, he didn’t have any children; he and his wife Sarah were too old to have kids. it looked like God made a mistake. Abraham could have thought, “God, what do You mean? I’m not a father of many nations; I’m childless, my wife is barren.” here’s the principle; God calls you what you are before you become it. people call you what you are after it happens; God calls you what you are before it happens. when God rejected Saul as the king of Israel, He told Samuel:
Acts 13:22 (NIV)
22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart
what’s interesting is that David wasn’t a man, he was a teenager; he was out taking care of his father’s sheep. he was a boy, but God called him what he would become. in the same way, God calls you blessed, successful, strong, healthy, talented. that may not all be true right now; you could say, like Abraham, “God, what do you mean? I’m not blessed, I’m struggling in my finances. I’m not healthy, I’m dealing with this illness.” don’t worry; it’s on the way. God calls things that are not as if they already were:
Romans 4:17 (NIV)
17 … God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not
Romans 4:17 (AMPC)
17 … God in Whom he believed, Who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed.
there are promises that God has spoken over you, dreams and goals that He’s placed in your heart; you didn’t come up with them on your own. those aren’t just your ideas; God put them there. the scripture talks about:
Psalm 37:4 (AMPC)
4 … secret petitions of your heart
that means the things you’re dreaming about. you haven’t told anyone, it seems too big, too far out; that’s your destiny calling. that’s God telling you what you can become. you may not see how it can happen, every circumstance may say, “you don’t have the talent, you don’t come from the right family, you tried last time, it didn’t work out.” don’t talk yourself out of it. God has spoken it, He controls the universe; all He’s looking for is someone who will agree with Him, someone who will rise up in faith, and say, “yes, I can hear my destiny calling. I may not see a way, but God, I know you have a way; if you speak it, I believe I can become it.” human nature says, “when I see it, I’ll believe it.” faith says, “I’ll believe it, then I’ll see it.”
God will speak things over you that don’t seem logical: when you’re sick, the medical report says you won’t get well, God says just the opposite; He calls you healthy, whole, strong. when the odds are against you, don’t have the connections, resources, experience, God calls you successful, prosperous, the head and not the tail. when you’re struggling with an addiction, everybody in your family has had it, if you’ll listen, you’ll hear your destiny saying, “you’re free. this addiction is temporary. the buck stops with you.” God doesn’t call you what you are; He calls you what you can become. people can’t see what God sees in you. God sees your potential; He knows what you’re capable of. He’s the one that breathed life into you. don’t let people talk you out of it. don’t let family members convince you that you don’t have what it takes; they’re calling you what you are, God is calling you what you can become. they can’t hear what you hear.
don’t expect people to cheer you on. don’t count on your friends to keep you encouraged; they may not be for you. they may think you’re far out, and try to talk you out of it. don’t worry; you don’t have to have other people. when you hear your destiny calling, that’s between you and God. some things, you have to go alone; you have to say, “God, they may not be for me, but I know You are for me. You put this promise in my heart. I’m not going to be moved by who’s not cheering me on, I’m not going to give up because nobody’s encouraging me, I know You being for me is more than enough to get me to where I’m supposed to be.” you and God are a majority. that promise is not dependent on your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, your boss, the critics, the naysayers; it’s dependent on you. when you’re tempted to get discouraged, to settle for mediocrity, you have to dig your heels in, and say, “I don’t think so; I am in it to win it.” keep pressing forward, honoring God; your destiny is calling.
in Luke 1:
Luke 1:5-18 (NIV)
5 … priest named Zechariah… 7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old… 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him… 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John… 18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
he was saying, in effect, “I can hear my destiny calling, but I don’t see how it could happen; we’re too old.” God was telling him what he could become, but because he had been childless for so many years, he couldn’t conceive of it. when you’ve been a certain way for a long time, you’ve prayed and believed and it hasn’t happened, it’s easy to settle for who you are, instead of believing for who you can become. too often, we get comfortable with mediocrity; that may be who you are, but you don’t have to stay that way. God is telling you what you can become. freedom, wholeness, breakthroughs are in your future.
maybe you’ve been single a long time; you don’t think you’ll ever meet the right person. that is not the end, that’s a season; God has already lined up a divine connection for you, somebody better than you can imagine. perhaps you feel stuck in your career, you can’t seem to get a good break. that’s not permanent, it’s only temporary; there is a promotion in your future, new levels up ahead. don’t do like Zechariah, “this is too good to be true, I don’t see how”; let the seed take root, that’s your destiny calling. Zechariah said to the angel:
Luke 1:18-20 (NIV)
18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
what was that? God knew that if he went around saying, “it’s never going to happen. this angel told us we’re going to have a baby; we’re too old,” the promise never would’ve come to pass. you can talk yourself out of your victory. when you hear your destiny calling, you may not see how it could happen, but don’t start talking about how it’s not going to work out; do yourself a favor, and zip it up. it may seem unlikely, the medical report says no way, the child is off course, but if Gabriel were standing here today, he would say the same thing to you that he said to Zechariah; “I stand in the presence of Almighty God; what He promised you will come to pass.” if you will stay in faith, all of the forces of darkness cannot keep it from happening. God will open doors that no man can shut. He’ll turn situations around that look impossible. when there are obstacles trying to stop you:
Psalm 18:29 (AMPC)
29 For by You I can run through a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.
that means, if you can’t get through it, God will cause you to go over it. bottom line: God will get you to where you’re supposed to be. people, bad breaks, sickness can’t stop you; God has the final say. we’re not supposed to get stuck at one level; be grateful for where you are, thank God for what He’s done, but keep your faith stirred up. God wants to take you from glory to glory, victory to victory. there are new mountains for you to climb. He’s going to open new doors, give you greater influence, bring gifts and talents out in a new way. this is where you are, but God is saying, “you can become something greater.”
Luke 1:57-61 (NIV)
57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”
back in those days, it wasn’t good enough for the mother to name the baby; women didn’t have the authority and influence that they have today.
Luke 1:62-64 (NIV)
62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God.
friends and family came up with what they thought the best name for the child was; sometimes, well-meaning people will try to name your baby. We all have “theys” in our life. we should listen to counsel, take advice, but you cannot let other people name your baby. don’t let somebody else name your future; you know what God put in your heart. you can’t please people all the time and please God all the time. sometimes, people will name you something that you’re not: average, not talented, addicted, too short, too tall. don’t let them put limitations on you, and convince you that you can’t accomplish your dreams. sometimes, because of their own issues that they’re not dealing with, their own insecurities, they’ll try to keep you down so they don’t look so bad. you may have to disappoint a few people in order to fulfill your purpose.
life is too short to hang around people who are not making you better, pushing you forward. you don’t have time to waste on people who are causing you to compromise, draining your energy, getting you off course, negative, critical, bitter, jealous people. your destiny is calling. you have an assignment to fulfill. “what if I hurt their feelings?” what if you miss your destiny? what if you don’t become all that you were created to be? who’s naming your baby?
it’s interesting how, back then, the mother couldn’t name the child, so they had to look at Zachariah, the father, and ask him what the baby’s name was. the principle is, let your heavenly Father name your future. that’s why we say at every service, “I am who God says I am.” we’re saying, in effect, “I’m not who people, my circumstances, my past, my mistakes say I am, I am who the most high God, the Creator of the universe, the One who spoke worlds into existence, says I am. people may tell you, “you’re addicted, you’ll never get on the right course”; the good news is, they can’t name your future. God says, “you are free, clean, whole.” you may not be there yet, but God’s telling you what you can become.
your past may tell you, “you’re washed up, you’ve made too many mistakes, you’re a failure,” but your heavenly Father says, “you are forgiven, redeemed, restored. My mercy is bigger than any mistake.” the critics, naysayers, haters, may tell you, “you’re not valuable, attractive, you don’t have anything to offer.” don’t believe those lies; they don’t have the authority to name your future. your heavenly Father says, ”you are one-of-a-kind, you’ve been fearfully and wonderfully made.” He named you a masterpiece, a prized possession. He’s crowned you with favor. you have royal blood flowing through your veins. He’s created you to reign in life as a king/queen. make sure your heavenly Father is naming your future.
when God gave Abraham the promise that his wife Sarah was going to have a baby, she was 70 years old; it didn’t seem possible. in fact, when Abraham told Sarah, the scripture says:
Genesis 18:12 (HCSB)
12 So she laughed to herself: “After I have become shriveled up and my lord is old, will I have delight?”
she had been barren for so many years, they had prayed and believed; everybody else was having babies, but Sarah couldn’t have one. now, when she heard this promise, that after all these years, when it defied the laws of nature, that she was going to have a baby, that was so far out that it was funny to her. sometimes, God will put a promise in our heart that’s difficult to believe; instead of latching on to it, too often we do like Sarah, and think, “that’s never going to happen for me: I’ll never get out of debt, be able to pay my house off, have the funds to build that orphanage I’m dreaming about. I’ll never be free from this depression, I’ve had it my whole life.” this is the way Sarah felt. God did something interesting:
Genesis 17:15 (HCSB)
15 God said to Abraham, “As for your wife Sarai, do not call her Sarai, for Sarah will be her name.
Sarah means “princess.” if anybody didn’t feel like a princess, it would’ve been Sarah. I can imagine she felt inadequate, unattractive, left out; life hadn’t treated her fairly. God knew that He had to change her mindset; her destiny was calling, but she had been through so much, she couldn’t hear it any longer. now, every time someone said, “good morning, Sarah,” they were saying, “good morning, princess.” “how are you Sarah?” “how are you princess?” over and over, she heard that word, “princess”; something began to come alive on the inside. she started carrying herself differently. instead of discounting the promise, now I can hear her telling people, “I’m going to have a baby. God’s going to do something special in my life.” she let the seed take root. at the age of 90, against all odds:
Genesis 21:2 (HCSB)
2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time God had told him.
the promise that God put in you may seem far out; it’s taking a long time, you tried, and it didn’t work, but God didn’t bring you this far to leave you. what He started in your life, He’s going to finish. there’s no problem too big, no dream too great; God is not limited by your age, income, background, nationality, medical report. He has all power. when He speaks, worlds come into existence. He wouldn’t have given you that promise if He didn’t know how to bring it to pass. why don’t you shake off doubt, negativity, and get a fresh new vision for your life? God is calling you into new levels: freedom, health, abundance, victory. if you’ll get in agreement with Him, He’ll take you places that you’ve never dreamed. He’ll make things happen that you could never make happen on your own. if you could do it on your own, it wouldn’t take faith.
God will put things in your heart that seem beyond your talent, ability, reach. God will use people to speak life into your destiny. I believe He’s using me now to let you know that you have seeds of greatness, you haven’t seen your best days, you have what it takes to accomplish your dreams. that obstacle cannot stop you. that sickness is not going to defeat you. you haven’t made too many mistakes, missed too many opportunities; your future will be brighter than your past.
now do your part, and stir your faith back up. don’t let disappointments talk you out of it. don’t let what somebody did cause you to live bitter and give up on your dreams; God has beauty for those ashes. He said that He would pay you back double for the unfair situations. nothing that’s happened to you can keep you from your destiny. there are new levels, friendships, opportunities up ahead. don’t let a bad break name your future. don’t let the disadvantage convince you to settle for mediocrity. God put greatness in you. He created you to leave your mark on this generation. you’re supposed to set a new standard for your family. you may have had some setbacks, but the forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you. the most high God is breathing in your direction.
in the scripture, God called Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 1:5-6 (NIV)
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
6 “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
God was saying, “Jeremiah, before you showed up on this earth, I already knew everything about you. I knew every weakness you would have, every shortcoming, every person that would do you wrong, every bad break. I’ve already calculated all that into My plan for your life.” like Jeremiah, it’s easy to come up with excuses: “God, I don’t have a good personality. I still struggle with my temper. God, these people did me wrong. I didn’t have a good childhood. my boss plays favorites.” God has already taken that into account; it doesn’t have to stop you. God went on to tell Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 1:7 (NIV)
7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’
Jeremiah 1:7 (KJV)
7 But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child
if you’re going to reach the fullness of your destiny, you have to get rid of the say-nots. say not, “this problem is too big,” “I’ll never get well,” “I don’t have the talent,” “I’ve had too many disadvantages,” “I have too many weaknesses,” “I’ve gone as far as I can.” before you were formed in your mother’s womb, God equipped and empowered you. you are not lacking. you didn’t get shortchanged. you are well able. don’t let the say-nots keep you from your destiny. get your mind, words, vision going in the right direction. you are who God says you are. He says you are strong, healthy, forgiven, redeemed, successful. you may not be all that yet; you have to believe it first, and then you’ll become it. if you’ll do this, you are about to rise to a new level, overcome every obstacle, accomplish every dream, and become everything God’s created you to be.