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Remember your dream

from JO’s sermon tonight:

all of us have things that we’re believing for, something that we want to accomplish. deep down, we know it’s a part of our destiny; we can feel it so strongly.  but then, we hit some setbacks: we didn’t get the promotion, the medical report wasn’t good, a relationship didn’t work out. life has a way of pushing our dreams down; they can become buried under discouragement, past mistakes. there are dreams buried under divorce, low self-esteem. it’s easy to settle for mediocrity, even though we have all this potential buried on the inside. but just because you gave up, doesn’t mean God gave up. your dream may be buried; the good news is, it’s still alive. it’s not too late to see it come to pass. we’ve all been through disappointments, setbacks, life happens, but instead of remembering the hurt, the pain, what didn’t work out, the key to reaching your destiny is, you have to remember your dream, what God promised you, what He whispered to you in the middle of the night. the scripture calls it:

 Psalm 37:4 (AMP)

4 … secret petitions of your heart

things you haven’t told anybody about. it may seem impossible, every voice tells you it’s not going to happen, you’ve been pushing it down, but God is saying, “what I promised you, I’m still going to do. I spoke it to you;  it may not have happened yet, but I am true to My word.  it is on the way.”  if you’ll do your part and start believing again, get your passion back, God is going to resurrect what you thought was dead.  dreams that you’d given up on, you tried, it didn’t work out, it’s been so long, they’re going to suddenly come back to life. problems that looked permanent are going to suddenly turn around.  what should’ve taken years, God’s going to do in a fraction of the time.  He hasn’t changed His mind;  He has the final say. don’t let circumstances talk you out of it.  you may not understand why a business didn’t make it, why a person walked away, why you came down with an illness; you were doing the right thing, but the wrong thing happened. it’s all a part of the process.

every disappointment, delay, closed door, it’s not just a setback, it’s a setup for God to get you to where you’re supposed to be.  it may be taking a long time, it may look impossible; all it takes is one touch of God’s favor.  what are you remembering? the hurt, the pain, what didn’t work out? turn it around and remember your dream. what has God put in your heart? what did you used to be excited about? now you think, “it’s been too long, it’s too big, it’s not possible.” you don’t think you could write the book, finish school, see your marriage restored, start the business. no, get your passion back. you have not missed your opportunity, had too many bad breaks. you’re not lacking. you didn’t get shortchanged. when God breathed life into you, He put in you everything you need to fulfill your destiny. 

people can’t stop you, bad breaks, disappointments, loss; the most high God is on your side. you have royal blood flowing through your veins.  there are seeds of greatness in you right now, dreams so big that you can’t accomplish them on your own;  it’s going to take you connecting with your Creator, believing that you’re a person of destiny, that He’s directing your steps, that if He be for you, who dare be against you. when we go through opposition, these challenging times, we don’t have to fall apart; God controls the whole universe. He won’t allow anything to happen unless He knows how to bring good out of it.  but you have to do your part, and keep your faith stirred up.  the enemy would love to deceive you into burying your dream, thinking that it’s never going to work out. don’t believe those lies; it’s not too late to become all that you were created to be.

every time you remember your dream, say, “Lord, thank You for bringing it to pass,” you’re removing some dirt, digging it back out.  maybe you’ve struggled with an illness for a long time. early on, you believed you could get well, but now it’s been years, you’re just learning to live with it.  what’s happened is, your healing, breakthrough, freedom has gotten buried. it’s still in you, still alive; if you’ll start believing again, God can bring it to pass.  instead of thinking, “it’s never going to work out, I’ve had so many bad medical reports,” no, that’s putting more dirt on it, burying it deeper.  why don’t you get your shovel out and start removing some of that dirt?  how do you do that? “Lord, thank You that You’re restoring health back unto me, that the number of my days You will fulfill.  thank You that I’m getting stronger, healthier.” if you’ll keep talking, thinking like that, that dream that’s been buried is going to come back to life.

this is what allows God to do great things; God is moved by our faith. He’s not moved by our discouragement, complaining, self-pity. “I’m never going to meet the right person, I’ve been hurt too many times”; you are remembering the wrong thing. as long as you remember the hurt, you’re going to get stuck. turn it around; start remembering your dream. “Father, thank You that You have a divine connection coming my way, somebody perfect for me, better than I ever imagined.” instead of, “I’ll never be in management, get the promotion, this company, they don’t even like me”; you’re putting more dirt on your dream, burying it deeper. get your shovel and start digging that dream out.  some of you have done this so long, you need a backhoe, some heavy equipment. that dream is way deep, but you can dig it out, bring it back to life. 

it starts in our thinking, in what you’re believing, saying. no more, “it’s never going to happen, I’ll never break this addiction, live in a nice house, finish college.”  no, “I’m surrounded by God’s favor. blessings are chasing me down.  because I delight myself in the Lord, God, You promised You would give me the desires of my heart.” whatever God’s put on the inside, no matter how long it’s been, how impossible it looks, I’m asking you to stir it up. you have to get in agreement with God; He’s the giver of all dreams, the One that put the desires in you. you may need to get alone, in your quiet time, search your heart, say, “God, anything I’ve pushed down, anything I’ve given up on, show me what it is. God, don’t let me die with any dreams still buried on the inside.” 

this is what Caleb did. he and his friend Joshua went and spied out the promised land. they came back and told Moses:

Numbers 13:30 (TLB)

30 …“Let us go up at once and possess it,” he said, “for we are well able to conquer it!”

but the other 10 spies came back and said just the opposite;  they talked Moses out of it. the Israelites became afraid; some 2,000,000 people, even though they were camped right next door, they turned around, and that group never did make it into the promised land. I can imagine that Caleb was disappointed, discouraged. he knew they were supposed to go in; God put the dream in his heart. it looked like somebody else caused his dreams to get buried, caused him to miss his destiny. a lot of people could have settled there, and thought, “too bad, it didn’t work out,” but not Caleb;  the true mark of a champion is, even though some dirt gets thrown on your dream, instead of letting it get buried, you keep shaking it off, moving forward, looking for new opportunities.  45 years later, at the age of 85, Caleb could still feel that dream stirring on the inside. he wasn’t sitting around feeling sorry for himself, saying, “God, if only those people would’ve done right back then.”  no, he went back to that same mountain, that same place the others refused to go in, and:

Joshua 14:10-12 (NKJV)

10 … here I am this day, eighty-five years old… 12 Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day

what’s significant is that mountain had five giants living on it; there were other mountains with less opposition, that would’ve been much easier. I can hear friends say, “come on, Caleb, you’re 85, let’s go take this easy mountain”;  he said, “no thanks, I’m not going to settle for mediocrity when I know God has placed greatness in me.  I want that same mountain;  that’s the dream that’s been stirring in my spirit all these years.” at 85, he went out and conquered the mountain; he saw the dream come to pass.

have you allowed any dreams to get buried in you? at one time, you believed you could do something great, you believed you could lead the company in sales, break that addiction, but it’s been a long time, you had some bad breaks, it wasn’t all your fault, you could easily settle where you are, nobody would fault you. God sent me to light a new fire on the inside; that dream is still alive. you may have tried a year ago, 5 years ago, or 40 years ago;  it didn’t work out, no one was there to help you. God is saying to you what He said to Caleb;  “go back and try again. this is your time, your moment. your destiny is calling out to you.”  you have to be like Caleb, you can’t have a weak, defeated, give-up spirit; “I’ll take the easy way out, I’ll settle for second best, I don’t want to put forth the effort.” if you don’t stir it up, you can miss who you were created to be. you may have been knocked down, but you’ve got to get back up again, and say, “God, give me the same mountain. I don’t want a substitute. I don’t want second best. I’m going after what you placed in my heart.” if you will remember your dream like that, God will help you to accomplish what you didn’t accomplish early on.  what you gave up on, God didn’t give up on. what you wanted to do earlier in life, just because it didn’t work out, doesn’t mean that it went away. it’s still in you. Jeremiah said:

Jeremiah 20:9 (NIV)

9 … his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones

I believe there are some dreams shut up in you. like fire, you’re going to feel your destiny calling out.  it may not have happened the first time: the loan didn’t go through, you didn’t get chosen for the part, the medical report wasn’t good. that’s ok; this is a new day. what God started, He’s going to finish. you may have missed some opportunities, but God knows how to make up for lost time;  He’s going to give you another chance. He said:

Joel 2:25 (ESV)

25 I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten

you may have lost years because somebody else put you at a disadvantage, or because of your own choices; God knows how to make up for it. He’s still going to get you to where you’re supposed to be.

this is what happened to Joseph in the scripture. God gave him a dream that one day he would rule a nation:

Genesis 37:5-8 (NIV)

5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”

8 His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.

Joseph should’ve used more wisdom and not told his brothers the dream; certain things you should keep to yourself. some people can’t handle what God’s put in you;  they won’t celebrate you, they’ll be jealous, find fault, be critical.  one day, Joseph went to see his 10 brothers:

Genesis 37:19 (NIV)

19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other.

they weren’t upset because he was their father’s favorite child, or because he was wearing a coat of many colors, that represents favor, they were upset because he had a dream, they were offended because he was determined to break out of the mold, to do something great, to leave his mark. they would’ve been fine if he was content to be average, to accept the status quo.  but when you stir up what God’s put on the inside, believe that you have seeds of greatness, that you can overcome that illness, break the addiction, pay your house off, be blessed in spite of past mistakes, everybody will not celebrate you. when you have a dream, you’re going to have some detractors, people will get jealous, try to make you look bad, try to talk to you out of it, say things like, “you really think you can get that promotion? you don’t have the experience, the talent, I don’t think so. you really think you’re still going to get married? you’ve tried 3 times, it hasn’t happened yet, and you’re getting kind of old.” let that go in one ear and out the other; people don’t determine your destiny, God does.

the critics, naysayers and detractors, they cannot stop your dream. they may do something that puts you at a disadvantage, but God knows how to take what’s meant for harm and use it for your good. Joseph’s own brothers tried to push his dream down. sometimes, your relatives won’t celebrate you.  sometimes, the people closest to you will be the least supportive.  don’t get distracted fighting battles that don’t matter, trying to prove to them who you are, trying to convince them how they should be for you; you don’t need their approval, you have Almighty God’s approval. let it go and run your race.  what stirs them up is the fact that you’re moving forward, pursuing your destiny. they would love to convince you to keep your dream buried, so you don’t rise higher, and make them look bad.  they don’t realize, God has put dreams in them; if they would stir it up, they could fulfill their purpose.

successful people, people that have a dream, don’t waste valuable their time looking at what everybody else is doing; they’re too busy, focused on what God has put in their own hearts.  the enemy targets people who have a dream;  he’ll use opposition, discouragement, delays, jealousy, everything he can to try to convince you to bury that dream. if you’re going to reach your highest potential, you have to make up your mind that you are in it for the long haul. you’re not going to let people talk you out of it, circumstances discourage you, delays cause you to give up, critical people cause you to get distracted; you’re going to stay focused on your goal. you wouldn’t be having that opposition if you didn’t have something great in you.  if your dream wasn’t alive and on track, right on schedule to come to pass, you wouldn’t have so many things coming against you.

but when the enemy looks at you, he says, “oh no, here comes another dreamer, here comes another person full of faith, believing that they have seeds of greatness, not moved by their circumstances, not upset because they have a delay; they’re a dreamer. they know they have the favor of God, that because they believe, all things are possible, that God can make a way when they don’t see a way.”  when you’re a dreamer, you’re dangerous to the enemy;  you give him a nervous breakdown.  he knows you’re headed to a new level, you’re coming into overflow, you’re going to set a new standard for your family. here’s the most important thing: he knows that there’s nothing he can do to stop you.  the forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you.  but he will work overtime trying to convince us to settle, to give up, to stay where we are.  you have to remember this principle: when negative things happen, that’s not stopping your destiny, that’s a sign that you’re on your way to your destiny. every delay, the setbacks, the disappointment, that didn’t stop your dream, it’s all a part of the process.  

Joseph’s brothers, they were jealous of him:

Genesis 37:24-28 (NASB)

24 and they took him and threw him into the pit… 28 Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him up and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt.

Genesis 37:36 (NASB)

36 Meanwhile, the Midianites sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s officer, the captain of the bodyguard.

year after year, Joseph worked for Potiphar, kept a good attitude, kept being his best, but one bad thing after another happened to Joseph: Potiphar’s wife lied about him, falsely accused him.  he was put in prison for something he didn’t do; he spent years there. one night:

Genesis 41:1-41 (NASB)

1 … at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream… 8 Now in the morning his spirit was troubled… there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh… 14 Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph… 15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it; and I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”… 25 Now Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dreams are one and the same; God has told to Pharaoh what He is about to do… 39 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall [ah]do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.” 41 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”

years later, there was a great famine in the land;  people were desperate, trying to survive, trying to find food.  Joseph was in charge of the food supply, one of the most important positions of that day. his brothers, the same ones that threw him into a pit, traveled a long distance and showed up at the palace looking for food.  they were right before him, bowing down, but they didn’t recognize who Joseph was:

Genesis 42:8 (NASB)

8 But Joseph had recognized his brothers, although they did not recognize him.

you can imagine, this is a very dramatic moment for Joseph; these are the brothers that betrayed him, caused all the heartache and pain. you would think Joseph would be angry, bitter, vindictive; this was his chance to pay them back.  but the scripture says:

Genesis 42:9 (EXB)

9 And Joseph remembered his dreams ·about his brothers bowing to him

he didn’t remember the hurt, betrayal, the lonely nights, the times he was confused; he remembered the promise, what God had spoken to him. all those bad breaks, it looked like Joseph missed his destiny. the whole time, God was directing his steps, leading, guiding him; that was all a part of the process to get him to where he was supposed to be. 

(Joseph’s inspirational response to his brothers was:

Genesis 45:5 (NLT)
5 But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.

Genesis 50:20 (CEB)
20 You planned something bad for me, but God produced something good from it, in order to save the lives of many people, just as he’s doing today.)

when God puts a dream in your heart, when He gives you a promise, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to come to pass with no opposition, no delays, no adversity. there will be things that you don’t understand. you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get negative, and think, “I must not have heard God right.”  in those tough times, you have to do like Joseph, and remember your dream. God has not brought you this far to leave you; He has you in the palm of His hand. He’s directing your steps. now do your part; dare to trust Him, to believe. let Him fight your battles, be your vindicator. He has it all figured out.  “I’m upset, I don’t understand it, I got thrown into a pit”; don’t worry, another caravan is coming to move you on to your next location.  “a friend lied about me, I lost a loved one, I went through a divorce”; don’t get bitter, it’s just a detour on the way to your destiny.  the palace is coming, the promise is on track, the dream will be fulfilled.  the scripture says: 

2 Corinthians 4:17 (KJV)

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment

you face opposition, things don’t go your way; recognize that it’s not permanent.  that’s not your final destination. quit worrying about things that are only temporary. like with Joseph, the pit is temporary, the injustice is temporary, the betrayal is not your permanent home; it’s a temporary stop. the Psalmist put it this way:

Psalm 84:6 (AMP)

6 Passing through the Valley of Weeping

it doesn’t say settling in the valley, getting stuck in the valley, building your house in the valley; the valley is temporary, you’re passing through it.  my challenge:  quit losing sleep over a temporary stop. quit being discouraged over something that’s only for a season; it’s not permanent. are you worried about things that are only temporary? letting something steal your joy because you think that’s the way it’s always going to be? your dream is not dead, it’s just not in season.  your time is coming, the right people, breaks, favor, restoration, vindication, that’s what’s headed your way.

2 Corinthians 4:17 (WEB)

17 For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory

in other words, the adversity is temporary; the glory is eternal. stir up what God’s put on the inside. you may have a dream that you’ve buried; you need to get your shovel out and start thanking God that it’s still coming to pass.  perhaps you’re on a detour right now, something you don’t understand; don’t get discouraged, it’s just temporary. you’re just passing through. it’s easy to remember the hurt, disappointment, failure; I’m asking you to remember your dream, what God’s promised you.  if you’ll do this, dreams that you buried are about to come back to life, promises that you’ve given up on are being resurrected. like with Joseph, God is going to turn every stumbling block into a stepping stone. you’re going to rise higher, accomplish your goals, and become everything you were created to be.

(No new sermon this week.)

The past month has been pretty interesting. I wrote these entries as a sort of diary, so there are earlier entries that have verbs in the present tense, etc; I decided to leave them as written, and not try to clean them up:

7-19:

The powers that be at my church decided that there were some sort of demonic influences in the rooms that we meet in, so we went in at the crack of dawn to walk the rooms praying to eradicate this influence. I wasn’t expecting anything other than making the pastor’s wife happy, but as I was walking I got sudden excruciating pains in my hips, something that has NEVER happened before, and the idea coming strongly into my head that I should stop walking and sit down, and also call over one of the other walkers to pray for me. I recognized this as an attempt to get TWO of us to stop walking and praying against the darkness, and I responded by praying the blood of Jesus over myself and casting out spirits of pain and affliction. The hip pains went away with suspicious rapidity, let’s just say; I’m still a little freaked out by the whole spirits of affliction thing, but all of the recent evidence does point to it being real.

A couple of minutes later, I had a pressure in my chest and difficulty breathing, and I do not suffer from asthma, or allergies, and did not have a cold; I prayed the blood of Jesus again, cast out the spirits of affliction again, and once again that seemed to work.

There was a third attack, and I might as well call it that, even though I know what it sounds like, but because I didn’t write this down immediately I’m no longer 100% sure what it was; whatever it was, I think it was a headache but I’m not positive, following the same procedure got rid of it.

7-23:

I was thinking about sending some verses, about the sweet sleep that God provides, to a member of my church who has been having bad dreams and difficulty sleeping, but hadn’t gotten around to looking them up. As I was putting together an email to her on another topic, my other computer, which had my bookmarks menu up, suddenly loaded a page with a verse on BibleGateway… NOT the page that had been highlighted, either!!  I back-arrowed to the bookmarks menu, and it happened again. And AGAIN.  I am a believer and not a doubter, but I’m also a skeptic, so I tried to see if some odd interaction of my equipment had somehow combined to make this happen… and now, I can’t even MAKE it go to that page!! Every time I click on it, it loads a different page, or jumps to a different bookmark, or enables editing for that entry, but will not load the page that is now highlighted!!  All of these things are of course impossible, and since the verse it kept sending me to was the first verse in my section of saved sleep verses, I figured it was God’s subtle way of telling me that I was in fact supposed to send her the verses about sleeping, so I sent her the following: 

Psalm 3:5 (TLB)

5 Then I lay down and slept in peace and woke up safely, for the Lord was watching over me.

Psalm 4:8 (AMP)

8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust.

Proverbs 3:24 (NIV)
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Nine minutes later, I got the following response:  “Thank you very much. Those verses brought peace. I appreciate it.”  In order for someone to be brought peace, they had to have been LACKING peace, and since this was late enough that she should have already been in bed, clearly she was still up and feeling stressed… no surprise there.

8-7:

I had the video of the current JO sermon up on one of my computers, with the video paused; it had been paused for 2-3 days, I think.  I was working on my main computer, not doing or touching anything on the computer with the video paused on it, when suddenly, with no visible cause, it began to play, and the following line was spoken:

“At the right time, you’ll come into a stored up blessing.”

8-9:

The visiting Pastor who had prophesied restoration ×7 over me in January came to my church again.  I have learned since I first saw him that he is widely accepted to have the gift of prophecy.  What comes out of his mouth is taken very seriously; when he ministers to our young people, the pastors write down all the prophecies and submit them to the parents.  He recently ministered to my church’s summer camp, which included kids from other churches as well, and when the latter children, who didn’t know him, tried to test him by demanding that he tell them their middle name or some other thing that he could not possibly have known, he got it right every time.  

When it was my turn to be prayed over and given a word to, he said something like, “there’s a tradition of worship,” said I was blessed, that I could/should jump up and down on my bed saying that I was blessed…  and then said that he had seen the flag of Israel come down and wrap itself around my shoulders.  He was puzzled that the latter meant nothing to me; he even repeated what he had seen a second time, prompting me again as to whether it meant something to me, and was even more puzzled that it didn’t.  It puzzled the other members of my church, too; him saying something to someone who had no idea what it meant appears to be something new.  I just can’t connect the flag of Israel to anything in my life:  I don’t know anyone from Israel. I don’t know anyone who has ever BEEN to Israel. I don’t even know any Jews.

I have given this a great deal of thought. This was a Christian pastor speaking to a Christian woman at a Christian church service;  he knew perfectly well that there were no Jews present, myself included.  There are no converts who used to be Jewish.  There is no one who speaks with an accent that would suggest that their family of origin is Jewish, or that they were from Israel or anywhere in that part of the world.  There isn’t any kind of trip planned by the church or anyone within it to visit Israel.  If there was any hint of faking to anything this pastor does, EVER, the LAST thing he would want to do is come out with something so ridiculous, because it would damage his credibility.  

He was SURE of what he had seen. This wasn’t a vague sensation that he could’ve misinterpreted, or random words going through his head, this was something he SAW.  This is a man whose prophetic gifts have a spotless track record going back years within my church. There has GOT to be something to this.

Even without the oddly-phrased comment about how blessed I am, which for the record is true, this certainly seems like a positive message; anything coming down, in other words coming from above, is presumed to be coming from God, and something wrapping around my shoulders looks like protection, or something being given to me. Although Israel is the Jewish state, it is also the Holy Land, where Jerusalem is located, so it has enormous significance to Christians and to God…  but what is its connection to ME beyond that?  The woman who is widely considered to be the most spiritually mature in my church said that I shouldn’t take Israel literally, which would pretty much have to be the case, and that the first meaning that came to HER mind was shalom = peace.  There are certainly several unresolved social situations where peace would be appropriate and welcome.  Still, I’m sure the Holy Spirit is aware of the peace sign, which could easily be emblazoned on a banner, and Israel itself is hardly emblematic of peace, so…  

The one thing that came to my mind after I got home that day was the thought that I’m a descendent of the Israelites.  Considering that the Israelites, who we call Jews in the modern day, existed in the Western world thousands of years ago, pretty much EVERYONE with any Western descent, or descent from the sadly-many parts of the world that were occupied by Western nations, as well as anyone with Middle Eastern descent, probably has a tiny piece of Israelite in them.  Be that as it may, what would be the point of making an issue of my being a descendent of the Israelites? They were God’s chosen people; does that mean that *I* am chosen in some way?  Chosen for WHAT?

The other thing that came to my mind was this verse:

1 Kings 19:19 (VOICE)

19 … Elijah wrapped his cloak, his token of spiritual power, around Elisha

“The mantle was the symbol of Elijah’s prophetic authority. This was a dramatic symbol that said, “I call upon you to join in my work as a prophet.””

http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1119.htm

Interesting, given that a prophetic man is the one who saw this image, but it doesn’t explain why it was specifically the flag of Israel that he saw, and in any case he was not involved in the flag settling onto my shoulders. 

Other than that… I’ve got nothing.

I had really been looking forward to this pastor coming back; everyone in my church looks forward to his appearances.  There has never been a single peep about him being wrong, or coming out with something that didn’t make any sense; if you knew me in real life, you would totally understand that everyone who knows me would absolutely expect ME to be the one exception to that.  Anyways, if you have any thoughts about what the flag of Israel coming down around my shoulders might mean, however crazy, please let me know; when God sends me a message, there’s nothing more important than finding out what it means.

8-16:

This one will sound crazy, but it is nevertheless true:  I’m one of a handful of diehards within my church who are still going in at the crack of dawn to walk the rooms and pray.  I felt drawn to go and walk the secondary room when nobody else was there yet.  Two or 3 times, I heard some strange noises from the far end of the room; it was sort of a repeated crackling sound, that I had never heard any of the other times I had been in that room protractedly by myself. It didn’t seem like that big of a deal… until I saw a shadow where no shadow existed, a shape like a person but bigger, for a split second by the back door.  I am impossible to intimidate, however;  I finished walking the room and praying. When I was done, and was coming from the back of the room, I had to go down a few stairs. They are carpeted AND have no-slip rubber strips at the edges. There is also a little chunk of railing, that I had my hand on. I was moving slowly, because after all it was early in the morning, and wearing flat shoes with heavy rubber treads.  I have gone up and down the stairs a zillion times with no difficulties.  This time, my foot slipped; if I hadn’t already been touching the railing so I could grab it, I might have fallen.  SLIPPED.  I didn’t stumble or trip. I’m not saying for sure that whatever I heard or saw was responsible for that, but it’s at the very least suspicious.

I went back to the main room, and one of the most spiritually powerful ladies in the church showed up; I told her what I had seen, and asked her to go back and pray with me. She said that we needed to ask the pastor first, which actually we DIDN’T, but I went along with it, mostly so that I could tell him what had happened.  He gave us the ok, and we went to the other room and started walking and praying. In what I have since realized is a touching display of confidence in my perceptions, the pastor showed up a few minutes later to join us.  When he left, my friend and I continued to pray. And then, a couple of minutes later… I saw a GIGANTIC shadow, one that sort of… FLAPPED a couple of times, like a giant wing, in the aisle leading to the main door out, which was NOT the door where I had seen the previous, MUCH smaller shadow.  There was a clear sense, even though I only saw it briefly, that it was LEAVING. 

And then, a couple of minutes after that… what I can only describe as a big light appeared at the far end of the room for a split second, and I don’t mean an increase from the overhead lighting, I mean an opaque area of light that looked like it might have reached all the way down to the ground or close to it, extending 3-4 feet over the tops of the chairs, centered along the horizontal axis, and in width probably about one third of the size of a pretty big room. 

What was the light? What was the shadow? Clearly, I’m starting to step into some deep waters here.  If I’d been watching these events on a movie screen, the obvious plot line would be that the shadows are something bad, that they were trying to scare me or drive me away, but the combination of 3 people invoking the name of Jesus was too much for them, and they withdrew. The light, of course, would be some force of good (an angel?), showing itself to let me know that it was there, and that I was safe.

How close is that to what I actually witnessed? I have no way to know at this time.  What I DO know is that there has to be a great deal of spiritual power in my church for these manifestations to be occurring. Things might be about to get more interesting… 

On an unrelated note:  my restoration is poised to take an enormous step forward this coming week. I don’t want to go into any details at this time, but if you’d like to pray for me, I would truly appreciate it. Thanks!! 

Stored up blessings

from JO’s sermon tonight:

when God laid out the plan for your life, He put in it everything you need to fulfill your destiny. He’s already lined up the right people, breaks, favor, increase. Psalm 31 says:

Psalm 31:19 (TLB)

19 … you have stored up great blessings for those who trust and reverence you.

promotion is stored up for you. single people, there’s a husband, a wife, stored up for you. that baby you’ve been dreaming about is stored up. a contract, a business, healing; it already has your name on it, it belongs to you. if you’ll keep honoring God, at the right time you’ll come into a stored up blessing. you won’t have to go after it, it will find you. what God has destined for you can’t go to anyone else. that’s why you don’t have to be frustrated when you see other people being blessed. a friend moves into a new house; you’ve been believing for 10 years for a better place to live, you come every Sunday, give, serve, they’re just the opposite. “I don’t understand it, I wish I had that house.” no, if you had it, it wouldn’t be a blessing, it would be a burden; it wasn’t destined for you. what God has stored up for you cannot go to anyone else.  there’s a house with your name on it, a spouse with your name on them, healing with your name on it. 

don’t be jealous because a friend got a promotion. don’t be frustrated because your business partner saw a dream come to pass; they’re not getting your blessings. if you got what they have, it wouldn’t help you, it would hinder you. what God has stored up for you will be a perfect fit for your life. when you understand this, you’ll celebrate the success of others. you’ll be happy for their promotion, new house, beautiful baby, knowing that what God did for them is not going to stop what God’s going to do for you. sometimes, we act like God has a limited supply of favor; “if my coworker gets promoted, that may keep God from promoting me.” that’s the wrong perspective.  God never runs out of favor; He has unlimited resources. somebody else being blessed is not going to stop God from blessing you.  when you celebrate others, you’re passing the test. when you’re happy for their success, God can release what He has stored up for you.

maybe you’re single, you’ve been believing for a long, long time to meet the right person. your best friend just met the man of her dreams; he’s tall, dark, handsome, romantic. they’re madly in love, planning their wedding. she asked you to be the maid of honor. you say, “yes, I’d be thrilled to do it”; deep down, you’re thinking, “I am so depressed. God, why didn’t I meet him first? I’m more attractive than she is.” no, be happy for her; she’s not taking your blessing. what has your name on it cannot go to anyone else. your time is coming. there is a husband stored up for you that will be a perfect fit, better than you can imagine; they’re headed your way, could happen today, this week. you could see a stored up blessing released in your life.

this takes all the pressure off. you don’t have to live frustrated, wondering if a dream’s going to come to pass, worried that a problem won’t work out, jealous because a friend got a promotion; you can stay in peace, knowing that what has your name on it is not going to go to any other person, that God’s going to get you to where your supposed to be.  sometimes, it’s taking a long time, people are passing us up, we’ve missed opportunities, made some mistakes. those voices start whispering, “it’s never going to happen, you’re never going to get well, break the addiction, meet the right person.” it’s easy to get discouraged, give up on what we’re believing for. 

this is the way Peter felt after Jesus had been crucified.  when Jesus needed him the most, Peter denied that he knew him. Peter not only felt guilty about it, he was confused; this man he believed to be the Messiah was no longer with them.  he’d said he would rise from the dead, but they didn’t see any sign of it, so Peter went back to his previous profession; he was an experienced fisherman, he’d done it for many years. he’d been out on his boat all night fishing, and caught nothing. he’d worked hard, used his best efforts, put on the right bait, threw the nets where he thought the fish would be, again and again, hour after hour,g with no success. the next morning:

John 21:4-6 (NIV)

4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”

I’m sure they thought, “who does this guy think he is, telling us how to fish? we’re professionals. we’re tired, hot, aggravated, frustrated. there are no fish out here.”  they threw their nets on the right side of the boat:

John 21:6-7 (NIV)

6 … When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.  7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”

God knows where your fish are. just because you haven’t seen them yet, doesn’t mean that you’ve missed them.  like Peter, you may have worked hard, given it your best effort, used your expertise, your skills, exhausted your resources, your connections, but you came up empty; now, you don’t think it’s ever going to happen. “I’ll never get well, meet the right person, accomplish this dream. I’ve tried everything: I’ve worked 2 jobs, gone through rehab, I put my profile on 47 dating websites.”  you’re tired, frustrated, you could easily give up. here’s the good news;  God knows where your fish are. He knows where your husband is, where your healing is, your victory, that new house. it may not have happened yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. you always face the greatest opposition, adversity, discouragement, right before the breakthrough, healing, meeting the person of your dreams.

God is saying to you, “throw out your nets one more time.” that disappointment, loss, lack, was only a test. your fish are still out there. what has your name on it, if you’ll throw out your nets again, God will cause those stored up blessings to find you. the fish may not have been there last night, it may not have worked last time, that’s ok; God controls the fish. He knows how to get them into your net.  start believing again. get your fire back.  stir your faith up.  what God started in your life, He’s going to finish. what He promised you, He will bring to pass.  you may have been struggling trying to find the fish, working hard, giving it your best efforts, no success; this is a new day. the fish are going to find you. the scripture talks about:

Deuteronomy 28:2 (NKJV)

2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God

when you believe that your best days are still in front of you, that God will take you where you could not go on your own, you will come to a point where the fish will start tracking you down.  God will command His blessings to overtake you. there are some big fish that have your name on them. it’s just a matter of time before they show up in your net.  you need to get ready; I’m not talking about minnows, little goldfish, something you can fit in a small aquarium, I’m talking about some big fish, big breaks, big opportunities. Peter caught so many fish that he could not haul them all in;  notice, God is an overflow God.  what He has stored up for you is going to be bigger than you can imagine. sometimes, the reason your net is empty is because God has something better. like Peter, you fished all night, you didn’t catch anything; don’t get discouraged, God controls the fish. if you’ll keep honoring Him, stay in faith, He’ll bring the right fish to you.

when you face a disappointment, a door closes, have a new perspective; maybe that door closed because God has something better coming your way. maybe you were hoping to catch a normal, average-sized fish, but God has a whale coming, someone better, a bigger house. or maybe He’s going to launch you into a new field, with opportunity that you’ve never dreamed of.  there are some big fish that have your name on them.  nothing may have been biting lately; you’re throwing out your nets, using the right bait, but you keep coming up empty. every voice will tell you, “it’s never going to happen.  you’re wasting your time, forget about it”; no, don’t believe those lies, the fish are coming. the promotion is coming, the spouse, the healing, is headed your way. it may seem unlikely, you tried it before, gave it your best, it didn’t work out; that delay doesn’t mean that you missed your fish.  that disappointment doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen.

at the right time, God’s going to bring the fish into your net. now do your part; keep throwing out your nets.  keep believing. it’s not going to happen by your might, power, talent, strength; it’s going to happen by the hand of God. you may have come to the end of your ability, you’ve done everything you can; don’t worry, you’re not alone, you have the most powerful Force in the universe on your side. the God who controls the fish, spoke worlds into existence, He knows how to get the fish into your net. every morning, “Lord, I want to thank You that You’re causing the right fish to find me. thank You that those stored up blessings are going to be released in my life.”  if you’ll stay in faith, and keep throwing out your nets, like with Peter, God will do more than you could ever ask or think. God knows how to connect you to the right people. you keep throwing out your nets, and God will keep bringing the right fish.  He has blessings stored up for you.  

it’s interesting; when Peter was in his boat that day, he had just made one of the biggest mistakes of his life. he had just denied that he knew Jesus.  you would think God would say, “too bad, Peter, fish all you want, you’re not going to catch anything. you’re not going to have My blessing.  you had your chance, but you blew it.”  just because you make a mistake doesn’t mean that God cancels your destiny. Peter blew it big time, but just a few days later, he had this big-time catch, so much that he couldn’t haul it all in. that’s the mercy of God. when you make mistakes, God doesn’t get rid of your fish, He doesn’t take them away, He holds your fish; they become a stored up blessing. when you get back on the right path, God will release what should’ve been yours.

you may think, “I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’m sure God had some good things stored up for me, but it’s too late now.”   no, you’re just like Peter; God is holding your fish, they belong to you.  why don’t you start believing again? God knew every mistake you’d ever make. He knew the times we’d blow it, the times that we would fail;  if that disqualified us, all of us would come up empty, none of us would catch anything. when you make mistakes, the accuser will whisper in your ear, “no use you throwing out your nets. God’s not going to bring you any fish. you’re not going to catch anything.” God is saying, “I dare you to believe. I dare you to throw your nets on the right side of the boat”; that means, start making good decisions, honoring God, living with excellence and integrity. when you do this, the mistakes of the past won’t keep you from your future.  your fish are still out there. your dreams, healing, spouse, that breakthrough; it has your name on it.  throw your nets on the right side of the boat, and God is still going to bless you, heal you. you’re still going to accomplish your dreams, and become who you were created to be.  

we see this principle throughout the scripture.  as a young man, Moses knew that he was supposed to deliver the people of Israel out of slavery, but he got in a hurry, and tried to do it in his own strength:

Exodus 2:11-15 (NIV)

11 … He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian… Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.”

15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh

he spent years on the backside of the desert in hiding. it looked like he missed his destiny.  but 40 years later:

Exodus 3:2 (NIV)

2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.

that mistake didn’t stop God’s plan for his life:  

Exodus 3:10 (NIV)

10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

I’m sure Moses thought of excuses;  “God, I’m too old, I made too many mistakes, I don’t deserve this.”  he was saying, “I fished all night, I didn’t catch anything.” but God knew where Moses’ fish were; He had them stored up.  at 80, Moses delivered the people of Israel, saw favor again and again. you may have make mistakes, but God still has your fish. you can still become who He created you to be. even with Abraham, God promised him and his wife Sarah that they would have a baby; they were much too old, way past the childbearing years.  year after year went by; no baby. they got worried, and tried to help God out:

Genesis 16:3-6 (NIV)

3 … Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.

When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”

6 “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.

all kinds of dysfunction in this house.  you would think God would say, “too bad Abraham, you blew it. having a baby with another woman, what were you thinking? you’ve got one messed up family.”   but in spite of the dysfunction, in spite of the mistakes, God said:

Genesis 17:15-16 (NIV)

15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her

Genesis 21:2-5 (NIV)

2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son…  5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

you may have blown it, made mistakes, your nets are empty, you don’t think the promise will ever come to pass; God is still holding your fish.  He didn’t get rid of them; they belong to you. if you’ll start throwing your nets on the right side of the boat, you’ll still see God’s favor. He’ll still do what He promised you.

Jesus told a parable:

Matthew 20:1-15 (NIV)

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

(the owner represents God.)  here’s the point; even though you may have started late, you made mistakes, missed some opportunities, God doesn’t say, “I’m cutting your pay; I’m only going to give you half of what should’ve been yours.” if you’ll get back in the field, start making decisions that honor God, all those past wages, what God has stored up, the blessings, favor, increase, He still wants to release in your life.  you can still reach the fullness of your destiny. 

don’t let the accusing voices cause you to live guilty, condemned, thinking you’ve seen your best days. like Peter, you may have made mistakes, but God still has your fish. there’s still a great haul up in front of you. like with Abraham, God still has your Isaac. He’s still planning to bring to pass what He promised you. like this last group of workers, you may have started late, but God’s not docking your pay;  He wants to give you the full amount, if you’ll just get back in the game.  your voices, the thoughts may tell you, “you don’t deserve it,” other people might complain, but here’s the key: favor is not fair. it’s just the goodness, the mercy of God. why don’t you receive it today?  if you’ll do this, stored up blessings are about to be released in your life.  the fish are going to find you; not little minnows, but some big fish. big breaks, promotion, healing, restoration, the fullness of your destiny.

The blessing

from JO’s sermon tonight:

as parents, we have the ability to impact our children like no one else can.  while the mother’s role, nurturing, caring, is vitally important, without the father’s approval and validation, the child will feel a void. every person needs the blessing from their father. many adults still struggle today, with low self-esteem, working all the time, trying to prove that they’re good enough, all because of their father’s lack of affirmation. their father never told them, “I’m proud of you,” he never made them feel approved, so they’re still trying to measure up, gain this approval that can only come from a father. fathers, we have something to give our children that nobody else can give.  other people can tell them how great they are, how special they are, but when you tell them, it carries a whole new weight.

as the father, you have the God-given authority to bless your child. every time you say, “I’m proud of you, I love you, you’re beautiful,” God releases strength into your child, value, confidence, security. those are not just nice words, it’s what the scripture calls, “the blessing”; you are propelling your child toward their destiny. we’re all busy, it’s easy to get sidetracked, or even at odds with our children, “they’re not doing right, when they straighten up I’ll be nicer, when I’m not so busy I’ll spend more time with them” or, “they know I’m proud of them, I told them 14 years ago when we brought them home from the hospital.”  no, they need to hear it again and again; you’re the father, you carry the blessing. don’t withhold your love, your affection, your approval.

you may not have received this blessing from your father; he wasn’t around growing up, or maybe he was there but all he did was correct you, tell you what you were doing wrong, didn’t show affection, make you feel valuable. don’t let that negative cycle get passed to the next generation; you can be the difference-maker, you can set a new standard. start blessing your children, start calling out their seeds of greatness, telling them what they can become, prophesying their future. let them know you’re their #1 fan. when you see them in the morning, give them a hug; don’t let them pass by without showing your affection. sometimes, we were raised to think, “we’re men, we don’t express our feelings, we don’t hug, we don’t say nice things, that would make us look weak.” it’s just the opposite; when you show your feelings, you’re strong. real men hug their children. real men show affection, make their children feel valuable.  real men go out of their way to approve, validate, encourage.

fathers, our children have been given to us as a gift;  do you know how many people would love to have kids? they’re going through infertility treatments, spending thousands of dollars, enduring pain, suffering; they’d do anything to have children like ours.  God has entrusted you with His most prized possession; He’s counting on you as the father to give them the blessing. your approval, love, affirmation, carries more weight than any other man’s. without your blessing, your children will struggle in areas that they did not have to struggle in.  there’s a reason people are insecure, angry, overly competitive, promiscuous; many times, the root cause can be traced back to they never got the blessing from their father. 

what a difference it would make if the father would just pick up the phone and say, “Son, have I told you how proud I am of you, how I think you’re amazing, how you mean the world to me?” it seems so simple, yet it carries so much weight; it fills a void that only the father can fill, something we were all born with. even as little children on the playground, there can be 20 other adults, people that we know, but we’re constantly saying, “look at me Daddy, watch me run, jump, watch how fast I am”; we long for our daddy to watch us, to say, “that’s good, you’re strong, you can run really fast.” we can have our babysitter watch us, our cousin watch us, our neighbor watch us, but when it’s our dad, it takes on a whole new meaning. this longing for our father’s approval was put in us by our Creator. 

your children may be 50 years old, but deep down, they’re still saying, “watch me, Daddy, look at what I’m doing, look at how I’m raising my children, excelling in my career.” they still long for your approval. fathers, here’s the good news; it’s never too late to bless your children. you may not have done it while your kids were growing up, that’s not the way you were raised, but I wonder what would happen if you picked up the phone, called your son, daughter, they may be 30, 40 years old, you hadn’t spoken to them in a while, but you call and say, “I just want to tell you how proud I am of you, how much I love you, how I think you’re amazing.” your approval, even later in life, can be a turning point for them. your validation of their family, their success, their accomplishments, can put an end to issues they’ve been struggling with, can bring healing and wholeness, set them on a whole new path. 

the father holds a blessing that is a strategic piece to our puzzle.  maybe you haven’t been there for your children, they’ve had struggles and issues, and now you think, “my children don’t need anything from me, I’ve made a lot of poor choices, they’re doing better than I am”;  no, they still need your approval. don’t withhold your blessing. sometimes we think, “they know I love them, they know I’m proud of them, I don’t need to tell them”;  no, a blessing is not a blessing until it’s spoken. people don’t know what you’re thinking; they can’t read your mind. even though it may seem minor to you, as a father, when you tell your children you’re proud of them, it can do something major in their life. the blessing of the father carries so much weight, it can help release them to a new level of their destiny.  there’s a reason that people are secure, confident, feel valuable; it has a lot to do with the blessing from their father.

maybe you’re a father in a single parent situation; you don’t have your children with you all the time. that’s ok; you can still give them your blessing. don’t take the easy way out and make the mother do everything; your children need your love, guidance, support, mentorship. if a young lady doesn’t get the approval from her father, many times she’ll try to get that approval from other men; she’ll go from relationship to relationship, not valuing who she is, because she has not been valued by the most important male in her life, her father. your daughter, as a little girl, she looks up to you as her hero;  she admires you, she thinks you can do anything. she’s not going to feel good about herself until she knows you think she’s the greatest thing in the world. you’re teaching your daughter how other men should treat her; she’s learning from you what love is. she’s felt her mother’s love, but you are her first male love, you are her first boyfriend. it all starts with you. it’s going to be compared to the love that you show her. 

that’s why it’s so important, fathers, not only to treat your wife with honor and respect, but to treat your daughter like she’s a queen; you’re setting the tone for how she will allow other people to treat her.  if you’re harsh, rude, condescending, don’t have time for her, you’re teaching her, “that’s how men treat women, that’s ok, find somebody like that.” but when you treat her with respect and kindness, value her, make her feel loved, important, honored, that’s the standard she’s going to set.  a father sets the standard. don’t be harsh on your children.  don’t be too busy for them. if you don’t tell your daughter how beautiful she is, don’t be surprised if she finds a young man to tell her how beautiful she is. if you don’t make your children feel special, they’ll go out and try to fill that void with something or someone, a void that you can fill as a father.  let’s set a high standard.  this is your legacy, what you’re passing down. more than your money, success, accomplishments, values, principles, what you believe in, that’s what’s going to live on.  I’m asking you to model excellence, integrity; give your children the blessing. let them know that they’re made in the image of God, that they’re extremely valuable, that they have seeds of greatness on the inside. 

in the scripture, there was a father named Jesse; he had 8 sons. when the prophet Samuel came to his house to choose one of those sons as the next king, Jesse’s youngest son, David, was out in the shepherd’s fields. Jesse didn’t even invite David in;  he thought, “he doesn’t have a chance, he’s too young, inexperienced.”  when Samuel looked at the other seven boys:

1 Samuel 16:10-12 (NIV)

10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

Jesse had a king in his house and he didn’t recognize it; he had one of the greatest men that would ever live, but he didn’t see it. he just looked on the outside;  he saw his size, ability, experience. he couldn’t see the seeds of greatness on the inside. he didn’t see the giant killer, the army general, the skilled musician, the history-maker. don’t do like Jesse, and have a king, a queen, in your house, and not recognize it. you don’t know the gifts that God has put in your children; you could be raising the next giant killer, army general, David, history-maker. all they need is your blessing, encouragement, to know that you believe in them, that you’re cheering them on, that you’re their #1 fan.  fathers, when your children know you’re watching them, you believe in them, you’re cheering them on, that’s going to give them an extra boost to rise higher, go further, accomplish things they never thought they could accomplish.

I realize, not everybody got this blessing from their father. some people lost their father early in life.  half of the children today are being raised in fatherless homes. maybe your dad was around, but he wasn’t a good influence, he made it harder on you; notice, with David, even though his father didn’t believe in him, that didn’t change David’s destiny. what God had planned for David’s life, could not be stopped by how his father raised him. don’t use this as an excuse; “I didn’t get the blessing, now I know why I’m stuck, can’t accomplish my dreams.” no, what you did or did not get is not a surprise to God. you may not have had a father involved in your life growing up, but God said:

Psalm 68:5 (TLB)

5 He is a father to the fatherless

God will be your father. He will watch over you in a special way. He’ll get you to where you’re supposed to be.  many single mothers are doing an incredible job raising their children without the help of a man; God said He will be your husband, He will help you raise your children, He will give you wisdom, He will provide for your needs, He will take care of you and your children.  a lot of people today grew up without fathers; I wish that were not so, but if that’s you, let me tell you; your father is Almighty God. He’s chosen you, called you, set you apart; you didn’t get here by accident, you didn’t just happen to show up, God breathed His life into you.  you have a destiny to fulfill, an assignment only you can accomplish. 

maybe your father has not been involved in your life as much as he should have; you feel a void on the inside, a longing for that approval. I believe right now, that void is being filled: healing is taking place, wholeness, value, confidence. your heavenly Father is giving you the blessing; He’s saying, “I’m proud of you, you’re amazing, valuable, you’re going to do great things in life. some of you have a father who is no longer with us, he’s in heaven; you hear people say, “I wish my dad could see me now.” even when we lose our fathers, deep down there’s still a part of us saying, “watch me, Dad, look at what I’m doing.” the scripture talks about:

Hebrews 12:1 (CEB)

12 … we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us

people that have gone before us, that are cheering us on. in the grandstands of heaven right now, looking down, watching you closely, is your father, fathers that have gone before us.  you know what they’re saying? “look at my son, my daughter; look at how amazing they are. look what they’re accomplishing.” they may not be here in person, but you can rest assured, they’re proud of you, they still think you’re amazing, they still give you their approval.  we can look up and say, “watch me, Dad.” we’re just getting started; there are a lot of great things still to come. life is short;  make sure you give your children the blessing. it’s never too late; you can pick up the phone, call a son or daughter, tell them how proud you are of them.  if you didn’t get the blessing, your earthly father wasn’t around, God is your Father;  He put his blessing on you. because of that blessing, you’re going to rise higher, you’re going to accomplish your dreams, you’re going to set a new standard for your family, your children are going to be mighty in the land.

 

from JO’s sermon tonight:

there are genes locked up in your genetic code right now, not from your physical relatives, but from your heavenly Father. before you were formed in your mother’s womb, God not only knew you, but He put in you these destiny genes. the apostle Paul says: 

Ephesians 2:10 (AMP)

10 … living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live

God has already preprogrammed in your DNA: gifts, talents, favor, opportunity. those genes are lying there dormant; you might not even know that they’re in you. the scripture says:

1 Corinthians 2:9 (TLB)

9 … no mere man has ever seen, heard, or even imagined what wonderful things God has ready for those who love the Lord.

there are seeds of greatness locked up in your DNA; ideas, inventions, books, songs, movies, businesses, contracts. when that preprogrammed time comes, set by the Creator of the universe, nothing can stop it:  people can’t stop it, how you were raised can’t stop it, a bad break, an addiction, poverty, lack, nothing can stop what’s the most high God has already put in your DNA.  don’t just look at it in the natural, what you don’t have, “I don’t have the connections, I don’t have the resources, my family, we’ve always had these addictions.” no,  you need to get ready; they are destiny genes about to open up in your life. what God has locked up in your DNA is about to kick in and thrust you to a new level.  suddenly: you get promoted, a good break, the business takes off, your health improves, you break the addiction. you didn’t see it coming, you didn’t even know it was in you. what was that? a destiny gene.

you may not see how you could ever get out of debt, ever get well, ever accomplish a dream.  what you can’t see is what’s already in your DNA, what’s already been preprogrammed to open up: favor genes, idea genes, abundance genes, health genes. if you will keep honoring God, helping others, expecting good things, at the right time, you’ll step into your moment; suddenly, it will come to pass. there are destiny genes in your future that are going to open up and thrust you to a new level. you’re going to discover talent that you didn’t know you had. you’re going to find yourself doing things you never thought you could do: writing, inventing, singing, developing, exceeding your expectations, living bigger, more generous, more fulfilled than you ever imagined.

“this sounds good, but I think you’ve got the wrong person: I’m not that talented, I never get any good breaks,, I come from the wrong family.” no, you come from the right family; your heavenly Father, the One who spoke worlds into existence, the One who flung stars into space, He not only breathed life into you, He put a part of himself in you. you have the DNA of Almighty God. He didn’t create you to be average, mediocre, to endure, just get by, He created you to excel, prosper, set a new standard for your family, leave your mark on this generation. you are not limited by your environment, by what family you come from, by what you did or didn’t get; your destiny genes will override every negative circumstance.  you may have had some unfair situations, disappointments; before anyone could put a curse on you, God put a blessing on you. before you were born, before you showed up on planet Earth, God put in your DNA these destiny genes.

God saw every disappointment, every unfair situation; He didn’t say, “too bad, look what they’re going to go through, no use Me putting anything good in their future.” just the opposite; God saw the bad break and said, “I’m going to put something special right there. I’m going to make the enemy pay for bringing that trouble.” God saw the unfair situation, the lack, poverty; God said, “I’m going to put a destiny gene of increase, of favor. I’m going to take them to a new level.” maybe you struggle with an addiction, something that’s been passed down, been in your family for a long time; God saw that. He’s already put a destiny gene of freedom, wholeness, a breakthrough.

nothing you’re facing is a surprise to God; you may have had a setback, but stay in faith, a comeback is on the way. it’s just a matter of time before that destiny gene that’s already in your DNA opens up and takes you to a new level. you may be in an environment that feels limited, you don’t think you could ever get out; what you can’t see are the destiny genes that are put on the inside of you.  you probably can’t see right now:  a professional golfer, successful businessperson, entrepreneur, doctor, lawyer, teacher. those genes are lying dormant, but don’t be fooled; at the right time, they will activate and take you where you could not go on your own. Ecclesiastes says:

Ecclesiastes 9:11 (NCV)

11 …Time and chance happen to everyone

that means, there are moments of favor, increase, blessing, that are already in your future. good breaks, the right people, ideas, healing. against all odds, you’ll rise out of where you are, and go places you never thought possible. God has already lined up your good breaks, the right people to help you; those moments of favor have already been established.  quit worrying about how it’s going to happen, that’s not your job;  your job is to believe. all through the day, “Lord, I want to thank You that You put destiny genes in me. where I am is not where I’m staying. I may not see how it can happen, but I believe You have it all figured out.” one touch of God’s favor can put you 50 years down the road. one destiny gene opening up, and you’ll pay your house off, break the addiction, get healthy again, accomplish those dreams.

some of those destiny genes that have already been preprogrammed to take you to the next level, they’re about to be released in your life. you’re about to see divine connections, people with opportunity and influence to help you go further.  what you couldn’t make happen on your own is going to suddenly fall into place. you’re going to discover gifts you didn’t know you had, ability to do things you never thought you could do: starting your own company, running that business, building an orphanage, paying your house off.  what happened? a destiny gene opened up.  it was already in your DNA, but you stepped into your moment; time and chance came together. you may feel like you’re blessed, God’s been good to you, but what God is about to do, when this next destiny gene opens up, is going to far supersede anything you’ve seen in the past.  God said in Exodus:

Exodus 34:10 (GNT)

10 … I will do great things such as have never been done anywhere on earth among any of the nations. All the people will see what great things I, the Lord, can do, because I am going to do an awesome thing for you.

you know what’s in your destiny? you know what’s in your future, already preprogrammed to come to pass? something awesome, something that you’ve never seen. don’t believe those lies; “you’re stuck, you’ve reached your limits, not talented enough, not smart enough.”  no, when your next destiny gene opens up, you’re going to see new ability, talent, strength, friendships, a new level of your destiny. you may wonder why, when you hear this, something comes alive on the inside; your head may tell you, “it’s never going to happen,” but in your heart, something is saying, “yes, this is for me. I know something amazing is in my future.” you can feel an excitement, an expectancy; that’s your spirit coming into agreement with what God put in you. that’s your destiny genes beginning to activate.  if you will live with this expectancy, your faith can cause those genes open up.  God has already put in your DNA these destiny genes;  He has amazing things waiting to open up.

but, if you go around with the wrong attitude, in the wrong environment, thinking that it’s never going to happen, even though those genes are in you, you are deactivating them, you’re turning them off.  the way you turn on your destiny genes is to get in a good environment, surround yourself with people of faith, joy, victory.   when you hear me tell you each week that you’re strong, talented, prosperous, blessed, anointed, that you can do all things through Christ, that you’re more than a conqueror, that you are history maker, a world changer, one-of-a-kind, a masterpiece, I’m not just saying that to make you feel good, I’m calling out your seeds of greatness, speaking to those destiny genes put in you by your Creator, activating what’s already in your DNA.

I’m helping us to turn off the defeat genes;  we’re turning on the victory genes.  we’re turning off the lack, poverty, not-enough genes; we’re turning on the abundance, overflow, more than enough genes. we’re turning off the self-pity, “I’ve been hurt too badly” genes;  we’re turning on the beauty for ashes genes, the favor genes, the “something good is going to happen to us” genes. the external environment will impact the internal genes; that’s why you can’t hang out your whole life with people who are negative and critical, and expect your destiny genes to activate. if you have people always pushing you down, telling you what you can’t become, “you’ll never get out of debt, you’ll never break that addiction, you’ll never get well,” you won’t reach your highest potential; you’re turning the gene off. you have to get in an environment of faith, so those destiny genes can activate. 

when Mary the mother of Christ was pregnant with Jesus, she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist. when Elizabeth answered the door and saw Mary:

Luke 1:41 (NIV)

41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit

something came alive on the inside. when you get around people who are pregnant with destiny, people who are filled with vision, excellence, integrity, the destiny genes in them will help activate the destiny genes in you. get around people who make your baby leap, not people who put your baby to sleep. sometimes, we don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, “I know they’re not good for me, they pull me down, they’re negative, but we’ve been eating lunch together every day for the last 30 years at the office, I don’t want to rock the boat”; that boat’s already sinking. you need to see it in a new light; that is deactivating your destiny genes, turning off the amazing future God has in store. life is too short, your destiny too great, your assignment too important, to spend it with people that always pull you down. 

it’s not only affecting you, it’s affecting the next generation. God is counting on you to set a new standard, raise the bar; make sure you surround yourself with people of faith, hope, and victory. we all have to be around people that are negative and critical, God will give us the grace for that, I’m talking about when you do have a choice. all through the day, feed your spirit, your mind with good things: put on uplifting music, not something that’s going to drag you down, something that’s going to inspire you and build you up. at your house, at the office, put up scripture verses, inspirational sayings, things that motivate you. the environment you’re creating around you is either activating or deactivating your destiny genes. 

maybe because of a limited environment, people pushing you down, wrong thinking, your destiny genes are still locked up in your DNA. the good news is, those genes are still alive; it’s not too late to be activated. you can still become who you were created to be. one good break can make up for all the bad breaks. one moment of favor can thrust you to a new level. do your part; get in the right environment, not only physically, but in your mind. put on a new attitude, start dwelling on thoughts of faith, favor, hope, victory, vision. there are destiny genes in you that have not yet opened up; they’re still waiting to be activated.  

there are destiny genes locked up in you right now; my challenge today is, don’t die with the music still in you. don’t let people talk you out of it, don’t let circumstances convince you that it’s never going to happen. God has already preprogrammed it; He has the final say. get in agreement with God; all through the day, “Lord, I to want to thank you that the destiny genes You placed in me will come to pass, that I will become everything You’ve created me to be.” if you’ll keep activating the right genes, staying in the right environment, both physically and mentally, destiny genes are about to open up for you. God is going to take you further than you imagined. you’re going to discover talent that you didn’t know you had. something awesome is coming your way.

The healings have begun

(No new sermon again this week, but there WILL be one for next week.)

As one might reasonably expect, part of taking a healing class within the church requires the student to do some healings, and that is the latest thing that I have been doing. I should make clear that it is the Holy Spirit who does the healing, not me or any other human being, and that ANY believer can ask the Holy Spirit to come and heal someone, whether or not you have taken a class; Jesus says multiple times in the New Testament that we would be able to do everything he had done, and the center of his ministry was healing.  

The difference between what we do in my class and what most people do, which is just praying for people to get better, may seem small, but it clearly makes all the difference in the world; instead of praying in general that God will heal someone, what we do is pray for the Holy Spirit to come RIGHT NOW and heal the person we are currently laying hands on.  This may sound far-out to some of you, but we serve a far-out God; it WORKS. 

Before I started doing this myself, I saw some impressive healings take place, and I don’t just mean situations where people had pain and might have psyched themselves out of the pain, but the medically-verified restoration of sight and hearing as well.  And now, I myself have been able to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit and see people that I was praying for receive healing.

Here’s the really freaky part; remember how I reported a spiritual attack a few weeks ago, and God showed me how to eject an afflicting spirit in the name of Jesus?  There was an even better reason for that than I realized at the time;  each of the people I have prayed for so far has also had an afflicting spirit (this can be identified by the pain moving within the body and/or getting WORSE when it is prayed for, and is often the problem when the Holy Spirit is clearly present but the pain is not getting better as well). No one was more surprised than me, believe me.  What I’ve personally witnessed, both with myself and with them, is that the afflicting spirits DO leave when they are ordered to in Jesus’ name, and whatever suffering they were causing goes with them.

To many of you, especially those who attend conservative churches, I’m well aware that this will sound vaguely insane; if I had not personally experienced these things, and had read about them on a blog, I would’ve rolled my eyes and shaken my head, I freely admit it.  These sorts of miracles can seem like something from Biblical times only, but nowhere in the scripture does it say that the miracles were ever going to end, and in fact the miracles have NOT ended, it’s just that we have ceased to expect them, and God meets us at the level of our expectation. 

I know that discussing this sort of thing might drive some people off, but when God asked me to start this blog over half a decade ago, it was with the intention that I would give readers a clear and accurate picture of my spiritual experiences, so that people who were looking for information about God would know what was out there, so that people who have experienced similar things would know that they were not alone, and so that people who were yearning for more would see that the more was there waiting for them.  I’m not just preaching to the converted here; I’m pushing out of my comfort zone, and doing my best to push YOU out of YOUR comfort zone, so that we can all see that there is more to believing in God than sitting in church for an hour every Sunday, saying a few prayers, reading a few scriptures, and feeling like we’ve got all the bases covered. Jesus did not sit around just doing those things, he was a man of ACTION, and as Christians we need to be people of action as well.

I’m not for a minute suggesting that you give up church, although if your total church experience is actually just that one hour per week, I respectfully suggest that you find a more impassioned church with prayer meetings and such, a church that will keep you involved with God throughout the week, not just on Sundays.  If there is a church in your area that is healing people, check it out. If not, there is nothing stopping you from pursuing it on your own. I’m not trying to put money in anyone’s pocket, so I won’t recommend any specific resources, but if you do a search on Google, you can easily discover the names of the people who are best known in the Christian world for healing, and if you go on YouTube there are many videos of these people talking about healing and even performing healings so you can see how it works.  These people have also written books, which you can find on Amazon, and possibly in your local bookstore as well.  If anyone is seriously interested in this, and seriously stuck for how to get started, leave me a comment saying so and I’ll give you some more concrete information; I’m not trying to make it hard for you, I’m just trying to avoid the appearance of promoting any specific people, products, or methods. 

It is utterly astounding how much my life has improved in the past half-year; the most astounding part is, my life continues to increase and expand, rather than plateauing like you’d expect it to have done by now.  This healing thing, and my official entrance into ministry that it represents, will be the biggest thing EVER… but I guarantee you, God is not done yet. It was prophesied over me that I would have restoration × 7 this year, and as mind-blowing as my current life is, by the end of the year what I have right now will look like a foundation, not the high point that it currently is. Stay tuned!!

Spiritual attack

(No new sermon this week)

In the very early AM of 6-25, as you might’ve guessed from the title of this post, I experienced a spiritual attack. It sounds so bizarre to say that; I’d certainly heard people talking about it, both in my church and on a Christian forum, but any descriptions I had ever heard always sounded like someone just having the sort of bad time that everybody has periodically in their lives, and dramatizing it by calling a spiritual attack, not like something that could actually happen because there were actually spirits or demons of some sort that exist and act on humans.

Yes, the Bible talks about Jesus casting spirits and demons out of people, which is excellent evidence for them being real, but it’s one of those things that modern churches pretty much ignore, which I think leads to most people, myself certainly included, believing that this was something that was real in Biblical times but no longer exists. The thing is, most people and churches believe exactly that about speaking in tongues, and I discovered that that was a real thing when I suddenly started doing it myself at a prayer meeting, so I SHOULD have at least started giving some credence to the idea of spiritual attacks, on the grounds that if one thing clearly described in the Bible but denied by modern churches was real, so might another such thing… but I didn’t.

You know that saying about how the best trick the devil ever pulled was to convince us that he doesn’t exist? You can’t fight against something, or more to the point you DON’T fight against something, if you don’t believe it exists. I think the same thing may go for these spirits. Certainly, if I had believed that they existed, they couldn’t have gotten to me as badly as they did… but I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s what happened:

I was slogging through some homework, and negative thoughts started creeping in. They started out small, stuff like who in my church might not like me, or might not have faith in my ability to do things, and then how this might lead to my not being ALLOWED to do things, realizations that there are things going on in the church that I’m not privy to or included in, which is 100% appropriate since there are people that have been there for many years and I’ve only been there for 6 months, certainly, but it was tying into my previous understanding that, unlike in some churches where they’re begging for volunteers to do things, my church has an embarrassment of riches in that area, meaning that there were no openings for a new person to step into, and if anything new did come up the pastors would naturally default to the people they had already worked with for years… you see, how it started with what one might call unfortunate facts, in other words facts that were not to my benefit, that would tend to work against my accomplishing anything within this church, and then started connecting the dots and building from there? And boy howdy, did it BUILD; 3 hours later, 3 hours of nonstop, relentless expansion, my mind was full of thoughts about how one of the pastors hated me, and would prevent me from ever doing anything, and so I needed to leave the church and find one where I could participate n ministry!! I kid you not. It sounds crazy, but I think everyone has experienced times when your mind focuses on some trivial things for long enough that they build up into catastrophes. I would have assumed, once my head cleared, that that was all this was, BUT:

Something somehow in the back of my mind understood that there was more to it than just that. I found myself saying, for the first time ever when thoughts or circumstances had upset me, “Father, whatever this is, please take it from me!!” I paused, to see what was going to happen, and something totally unexpected did; from out of my mouth, with no premeditation whatsoever on my part, came the following:

“Spirit of oppression, in Jesus’ name, I CAST YOU OUT!!”

INSTANTLY, I felt that heavy mass of misery drop off of me; not just vanish, but it felt like it dropped DOWN and off of me.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know it sounds crazy, believe me I do, but those are the simple facts. It wasn’t until AFTER this happened that I belatedly realized that I must have been undergoing a spiritual attack, literally not until AFTER I drove the spirit out. Where did I get that line from, how did I know what to say? All I can conclude is that when I asked God for help, He gave it to me; He put the “magic line” into my mind and prompted me to use it. He could have removed the spirit Himself, obviously, but if He had, I would not have understood what had happened to me, and more to the point, I would not have understood that I could handle it myself, much less HOW to handle it. As always, God did the best possible thing; He taught me how to take care of myself.

Later that day, I described what I had experienced to the most spiritually mature person in my church; she immediately identified it as a spiritual attack.

The pastor that the spirit had been trying to convince me hated me, who I saw that evening, was unusually friendly, and even threw out, apropos of nothing, an extravagant group compliment to me and 2 other women, and we were just standing around talking, and hadn’t done anything praiseworthy that day. I’m guessing that God prompted this odd display in order to demonstrate that what the spirit had said to me was a lie… which agrees with what the spiritually mature person I had spoken to said, that everything that any such spirit would say to me would always be a lie, that revelations of the truth would only come from God.

And a final interesting tidbit: All of this happened BEFORE I reached the point in my reading where, it turns out, afflicting spirits are discussed. It’s as if the spirits realized that I was just about to learn about them, and wanted to be sure they got at me while I was still at my most vulnerable. Well, they got me alright, but as I always say, evil is at its base stupid; their best strategy would’ve been to NOT push me to the point where I turned to God for help, which would have allowed them to potentially plague me a bunch more times, because it could’ve taken a while for me to make the connection between what I had read and what I was experiencing. Instead, they overplayed their hand, and now, although they will very likely TRY to do this to me again, they will not succeed a second time.

If various people in my church are to be believed, there are many other kinds of spiritual attacks that could occur; time will tell. Whatever it might be, this time I’ll be ready for them.

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