Archive for November, 2012

I’m BACK!!!

Apologies to anyone who freaked out at the 17 hour period during which this blog was showing as suspended…  imagine how freaked out *I* was!!  What had happened was what happened years ago with my first blog;  although there’s absolutely NOTHING here with any hint of money-making, spam, etc, something about the unusual length of my posts causes me to be flagged as spam.  Wordpress said:

“Your site was flagged by our automated anti-spam controls.  We have reviewed your site and have removed the suspension notice.

We greatly apologize for this error and any inconvenience it may have caused.”

INCONVENIENCED?!!  I nearly had a heart attack!!  My faith survived unbudged, though, I’m proud to say;  I did NOT beg for God to get my blog back, NOT ONCE, no matter how upset I felt, although I naturally said that I’d like to have it back if it was still His will for me to blog (it was because He asked me to start a spiritual blog that I did so in the first place, and I mean He used actual words, one of the few times He has done so)…  instead, I repeatedly asked God for His will to be done, and if it had been His decision for me to stop blogging, that’s what I would have done.  (It would’ve been hard, but He has the right to expect me to do some hard stuff after all He does for ME.)

JO posted this on his Facebook page:  “When you feel overwhelmed and you’re tempted to take everything into your own hands, you have to make yourself be still. The battle is not yours. The battle is the Lord’s.” I got a hit with that term within 20 minutes… to “Trusting God’s Timing” from 10-8.  Did someone read his quote, do a search, and then go to a BLOG?  Seems silly.  The other choice is that God was behind it, perhaps to encourage me during my day of not knowing if the blog I’ve dedicated endless hours to, and am finally getting some real success with, was coming back or not.  And btw, how do you suppose the poor WordPress tech felt coming here to look for SPAM and finding endless posts about GOD, lol?

There WAS some good news today;  literally a couple of hours before all hell broke loose, I discovered that I’d gone over 1000 hits for the month for the first time ever…  not bad for a blog that for a long time averaged one hit a WEEK.

And:  it has always seemed natural for me to look for signs in unusual hit patterns, search terms and Bible quotes, but it has occurred to me that that might seem odd or inexplicable to some.  A site I saw while doing a search yesterday said the following:  “My angels give me signs from the animal kingdom, because they know that is where I keep my lookout for signs.  Your Angels know you just as well, and will use means in your daily life to bring you a sign.”  And what do *I* keep a big lookout for?  My stats and Bible quotes.  Words speak to me;  the feathers in the road and such that the author of that quote looks for would go right over my head.  It’s an important theological point;  God talks to us, but we have to actively pay attention in order to get his messages…  so keep an eye out in whatever your “zone” is.

And finally, the random Bible quote generator gave me:

Jude 1:24 (ESV)

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy

Kind of fits in with the past day, when my blog was examined and found blameless, causing me “great joy,” doesn’t it?  God’s mercy and kindness are without bounds.

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The power of I am

from JO’s sermon tonight:

what follows these 2 simple words will determine what  kind of life you live;  I am blessed, strong, healthy, or;  I am slow, unattractive, a terrible mother.  the I ams that are coming out of your mouth will bring either success or failure.  all through the day, the power of I am is at work;  we make a mistake, “I am so clumsy,” we look in the mirror, “I am so old.”  many times, we use the power of I am against us;  we don’t realize how it’s affecting our future.  what follows the I am will always come looking for you.  when you say, “I am so clumsy,” clumsiness comes looking for you.  “I am so overweight,” calories come looking for you.  it’s just like you’re inviting them.  whatever you follow the I am with, you’re handing it an invitation, giving it permission to be in your life.  the good news is, you get to choose what follows the I am.  when you go through the day saying, “I am blessed,” blessings come looking for you. you may not feel up to par, but when you say, “I am healthy,” health starts heading your way.  you’re inviting that into your life;  that’s why you have to be careful what follows the I am.

don’t ever say, “I am so unlucky, I never get any good breaks,” you’re inviting disappointments.  “I am so broke, so in debt” you are inviting struggle, lack.  you need to send out some new invitations.  get up in the morning and invite good things into your life:  I am blessed, strong, talented, disciplined, prosperous.  when you talk like that, talent gets summoned by almighty God, health, strength, abundance, discipline starts heading your way.  how may people, when they wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, the first thing they say, “I am so old, worn out,” you are inviting oldness, fatigue;  stop inviting that.  when you get up in the morning, look in the mirror, instead of complaining, you should be saying, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made, attractive, getting younger”;  God will renew your youth.  I know people, the older they get, the more attractive they are;  a lot has to do with our attitude.

when you go around saying, “I am being renewed in my youth, full of health, vitality,” that’s one of the best anti-aging treatments you could ever take.  when you get up in the morning, don’t talk about how old you are, how bad you look, say, “I am young, energetic, radiant, fresh.”  some of you women have never once said, “I am beautiful,” you’re so focused on your flaws. when you say, “I am beautiful,” beauty, youth, freshness comes looking for you. nobody can do this for you, it’s gotta come out of your own mouth.  ladies, don’t go around telling your husbands how unattractive you are;  you should never put yourself down, especially in front of your own husband.  you are his prize, to him you’re the most beautiful woman in the world, why would you wanna tell him anything differently?  don’t put those thoughts in his mind, it’s not going to do him nor you any good to discredit yourself.  if you keep telling him how bad you look, one day he may believe you.  but when you say, “I am beautiful,” not only does beauty start comin’ your way, but on the inside your spirit person comes alive, your self-image begins to improve, and you’ll start carrying yourself like you’re someone special. you won’t drag through the day feeling less than, inferior, you’ll have that spring in your step.  beauty is not in how thin or tall you are, how perfect you look, it’s in being who God made you to be with confidence.  take what you have and make the most of it.  God made you like you are on purpose, he gave you your looks, personality, nothing about you is by accident. you didn’t get overlooked, left out:

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

instead of going around down on yourself, feeling unattractive, dare to get up in the mornin’ and say, “I am a masterpiece, created in the image of almighty God.”  David said:

Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

Psalm 139:14 (New Century Version)

14 I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well

notice David’s I ams;   he was saying, not in pride, but in praise to God, “I am wonderful, amazing, a masterpiece.”  that goes against human nature;  most of us think, “there’s nothing amazing, wonderful about me, I’m just average, ordinary.”  no, there is nothing ordinary about you. you have a fingerprint that nobody else has.  there will never be another you.  even if you have twin, they don’t have your same personality, goals, fingerprints;  you are an original.  but as long as you go around thinking, “I’m just average, one of the billions of people on the Earth, nothing special about me,” the wrong I am can keep you from rising higher.  if all through the day, not in front of other people, but in privacy, instead of being down on ourselves, discrediting who we are, focusing on all of our flaws, what would happen if we would be bold to say, “I am amazing, wonderful, a masterpiece, valuable, a child of the most high God.”  you talk like that, and amazing comes chasing you down, awesome starts heading in your direction.  you won’t have that weak, defeated, “I’m just average” mentality.  you’ll carry yourself like a king, queen, not in pride, not bein’ better than somebody, but with a quiet confidence, knowing that you’ve been handpicked by the creator of the universe, and you have something amazing to offer this world.

God promised Sarah and her husband Abraham that they’d have a baby, but she was 80, well past childbearing years.  in those days, if a wife didn’t give her husband a child, even if it was the husband’s fault, she was seen as a failure, looked down on greatly;  there was a sense of shame for not being able to have a baby.  this is how Sarah felt.  she had never had a baby, she felt like she had let Abraham down.  her self-esteem was so low.  I can imagine her I ams:  I am inferior, a failure, not good enough.  she had God’s promise that she would have a baby;  God knew that it would never come to pass unless he could convince Sarah to change her I ams.  it was so imperative that she have this new mindset, God changed her name from Sarai to Sarah, which means “princess”:

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 Sarah16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

she heard “princess” over and over, and those words got on the inside and began to change her self-image;  she went from “I am a failure” to “I am a princess.”  instead of hanging her head in defeat, embarrassment, she started holding it up high.  her new attitude was “I am amazing, wonderful, a masterpiece.”  you may have had a lot of things in life try to push you down, bad breaks, disappointments, maybe even people had tried to make you feel like you just don’t measure up, you could easily let that seed get on the inside and ruin your sense of value, cause you to live inferior, but God is saying to you, “I want you to change your name to “princess,” not physically, but in your attitude.  you gotta shake off the negative things people have said about you, the low self-esteem, inferiority, and start carrying yourself like a princess, thinking like a princess.  instead of “I am inferior, less than,” no, “I am one of a kind, handpicked by almighty God, valuable, a masterpiece.” when you get up in the morning, don’t focus on all your flaws, look in the mirror and dare to say, “I am beautiful, young, vibrant, confident, secure.”  you may have had some disappointments, people may have tried to push you down, but quit tellin’ yourself you’re all washed up, say, “I am royalty, crowned with favor, excited about my future.” this princess spirit got on the inside of Sarah, it changed her self-image.  you gotta change on the inside before you’ll see change on the outside.  at 100 years old, Sarah had the baby.

what kind of I ams are comin’ out of you mouth?  “I am victorious, blessed, talented, anointed.”  when you have the right I ams, you’re inviting the goodness of God.  some of you, if you would just change the I am, you would go to a new level.  words have creative power;  with your words you can bless or curse your future. words are like electricity;  used the right way, they can be very helpful, but electricity used the wrong way  can be very dangerous.  same way with our words:

Proverbs 18:21 (KJV)

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

it’s up to you to choose what follows the I am.  never say negative things about yourself. most of us would never go up to another person and criticize them, yet we have no problem criticizing ourselves. “I am so slow, unattractive, undisciplined”;  that is cursing your future.  zip that up, we have enough in life against us already, don’t be against yourself.  if you go around saying, “I am so dumb,” dumbness is comin’ your way.  use your words to bless your future, not curse it:

Joel 3:10 (KJV)

10 Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.

notice, just the opposite;  not “I am so tired, run-down”;  that’s callin’ in the wrong things.  let the poor say, “I am well off,” not “I am so broke, in debt.”  let the sick say, “I am healthy, improving, getting better and better.”

Romans 4:17 (NIV1984)

17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

don’t talk about the way you are, talk about the way you wanna be.  if you’re struggling in your finances, don’t go around sayin’, “business is so slow, the economy is so down, it’s never gonna work out”;  that’s calling the things that are as if they will always be that way.  that’s just describing the situation.  by faith, you’ve gotta say, “I am blessed, successful, surrounded by God’s favor.”  as long as you’re sayin’, “I am a C student,” you’re not gonna make A’s, you’re callin’ in the C’s, and those C’s will come find you wherever you go.  change the I am, “I am an A student, smart, full of wisdom, a good learner.”  some of you’ve allowed what somebody said about you to hold you back;  a coach, teacher, parent, ex-spouse.  they planted these negative seeds of what you cannot do:  you’re not smart, talented, disciplined, attractive enough, you’ll always be mediocre, no, get rid of those lies, that is not who you are, you are who God says you are.

people may have tried to push you down and tell you what you can’t become, let that go in one ear and out the other, what somebody said about you doesn’t determine your destiny, God does.  you need to know, not only what you are, but what you are not:  I am not who people say I am, I am who God says I am.  I am not the tail, I am the head.  I am not cursed, I am blessed.  somebody may have spoken negative words over you, but before anyone could put a curse on you, God put a blessing on you, approved you.  when God made you, He stepped back and said, “I like that, that was good, another masterpiece.”  He stamped his approval on you.

other people may try to disapprove you, don’t go around feeling less-than, feelin’ inferior, our attitude should be;  I am approved by almighty God, I am accepted, a masterpiece.  when you talk like that, the seeds of greatness God’s placed on the inside will begin to spring forth.  you have gifts and talents that you’ve not yet tapped into, there is a treasure on the inside.  throughout life, the enemy will try to keep it pushed down, he doesn’t want us to reach our full potential.  that’s why there are forces constantly trying to make us feel intimidated, inferior, unqualified.  if you’re gonna fulfill you destiny, you gotta shake off the negative voices, the thoughts that are tellin’ you, “I am unable, unqualified,”  no, don’t invite weakness in, don’t give intimidation an invitation. you may feel unqualified, but before you were born God equipped you, empowered you, you are not lacking anything, God has already stamped his approval on you.  people may try to push you down, but when you know God has approved you, you realize, “I don’t need other people’s approval, I’ve been equipped, empowered, anointed, by the creator of the universe.”

could it be what someone has told you is keeping you from God’s best, the wrong I am is keeping you from rising higher and reaching your full potential?  change the I am, don’t let what somebody has spoken over you determine your destiny, get in agreement with God.  know what you are and are not.  “I not lacking, average, inferior, I am equipped, empowered, anointed, wise, a masterpiece.”

Moses sent 12 men to spy out the promised land;  10 came back and said, “Moses, we don’t have a chance”:

Numbers 13:31-33 (KJV)

31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.

32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

notice their I ams:  I am weak, inferior, intimidated, afraid.  What happened?  fear, intimidation, inferiority, came knocking at the door.  the other 2 spies, Joshua and Caleb, said:

Numbers 13:30 (KJV)

30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

Numbers 14:6-9 (NIV)

Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

notice, their I am was just the opposite:  I am strong, equipped, confident, more than a conqueror.  the negative report spread throughout the camp;  before long, 2 million people were intimidated and afraid.  a negative report always spreads faster than a positive report.  when people are complaining, talking defeat, be on guard, make sure you don’t let the wrong I am take root.

Numbers 14:2-3 (NIV)

All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?”

God answered back something very powerful:

Numbers 14:28 (HCSB)

28 Tell them: As surely as I live,” this is the Lord’s declaration, “I will do to you exactly as I heard you say.”

“you said you’re gonna die in the wilderness, so you will die in the wilderness.”  God’s saying the same thing to us;   I’m going to do exactly what you’ve been saying. don’t ever say, “I’m weak, intimidated, inferior,” the wrong I am can keep you from you destiny.  the other 10 spies were called to be history makers, they had seeds of greatness on the inside, but the wrong I am kept them from making their mark.  don’t let that be you;  you may be facing some major obstacles, be a Joshua, Caleb:  I am strong, confident, equipped, well able.  make sure you have the right I ams comin’ out of your mouth.  Joshua and Caleb were the only 2 to make it into the promised land.  it would do us all good to make a list of a dozen or 2 of these I ams, read over them all through the day, get them down in your spirit, meditate on them, they may not all be true right now, but you have to call the things that are not as if they already were:  “I am blessed, prosperous, talented, beautiful, attractive.”  what follows the I am is going to come looking for you.  if you will invite the right things into your life, the creator of the universe will breath in your direction, you will overcome every obstacle, defeat every enemy, and you will become everything that God’s created you to be.

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While doing a Google search, I found a site using this image as a background tile:

This is SO me!!This is SO me!!  I’d be thrilled if my first cross looked like this (or any other cross amongst the many I assume I’ll eventually have);  the 2-tone pink will match a Bible I bought recently.  (I know, it’s not “serious”…  but God knows that I’m very girlie in some ways.)

I got a hit from the search term “formerheathenwordpress” today;  it makes me happy to see an increasing # of people making a specific effort to come here.

A couple of days ago, I had the sudden urge to pack away a bottle of overpriced lotion for super-sensitive skin that had been given to me over a year ago that I’d never gotten around to opening and using (my skin is not remotely sensitive, and I like sweet-smelling lotions).  Once I had it in my hand, I realized that the widow of the friend who’d just died is one of those people who gets a rash from dust motes bumping into her, and so I should give the lotion to HER, as I was seeing her the next day for her husband’s wake.  The convenient timing and the generosity of the thought (this stuff is $20 for a smallish bottle!!) tells me that God prompted me, and I’m grateful that he gave me the chance to do a favor this this nice lady.

Earlier in the week, I ran across some notes I’d taken about a concept from an old JO sermon, being a “prisoner of hope”:

Zechariah 9:12 (NIV)

12 Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope;
    even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.

As part of those notes, I’d found a different sermon (by whom I no longer know) that explained this concept.  Here’s a piece of that sermon:

“”In the broadest sense, then, a prison is simply a set of conditions that defines and determines one’s behavior and future expectations. Prison does not take away all freedoms; it simply defines them. To say, then, that you and I as people of God are prisoners of hope is to name the condition within which our behavior and expectations are shaped and operate. ***As prisoners of hope everything we do and everything we expect are determined by hope.***

Hope, in the Bible, is fundamentally different from wish. Hope, in the Bible, is not the longing of the ten-year-old who says, ‘I hope I get a bicycle for Christmas’ or of the forty-year old who says, ‘I hope I win the lottery.’ Hope, in the Bible, is the confident expectation of good, the basis of ultimate confidence, and is always grounded in God. It is summarized in the sentence; ‘My hope is in God.'”

and from my notes on JO’s sermon:

“JO’s next intriguing idea was that being a “prisoner of hope” allows God to repay you double for whatever you lost or lack, and that you have to be careful to not limit God by assuming that you’ll get less, or nothing, because God can make a way for anything to happen, and will do more than you can ask or think if given the chance.”

Cool concept, especially when hope, by the exact definition given above, is the guiding force in my life right now.  Now here’s the kicker:  although I’d NEVER encountered that term in the over SEVEN years since I saw that sermon, I found it while clicking around on JP’s site just a couple of days later!!  In what universe is THAT a coincidence?  Kinda sounds like God is trying to encourage me, right?  His love and kindness know no bounds.

Edit 5-20-13:  I got the cross on Amazon-it came today!!  🙂

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PageRank 1!!

Google updated PageRank earlier this month, and somehow this blog, which has ZERO links, is suddenly PageRank 1.  I’m not just guessing about the links, I actually checked, and all that came up is a post I made in the WordPress support forum, which Google doesn’t count, and even if it did you can’t get a Pagerank 1 with 1 link.

And:  my other blog, which has PageRank 3 (and at one time was a PR6, just fyi), gets far FEWER hits from Google than this blog does…  and PR is supposed to dictate where you are in search results and therefore how many Google hits you get.

All I can think of here (other than divine intervention, which believe me I’m not discounting) is that, contrary to what every expert says, links are NOT the sole basis of PageRank.  I appear to be the only person transcribing JO’s sermons, and the bulk of my hits are naturally to those posts, with phrases from the sermons looming large in the search terms;  beyond that, though, it appears that Google has seen me receive enough hits from God-related searches that I’m far higher up in the results for such searches than my newly enhanced PageRank can account for, never mind how I was doing it BEFORE my PR went up.  The enormous length of my average post probably helps, too…  especially since Google sees it as original content, how’s that for irony?

As for divine intervention;  I think that plays a part too, although how much I can’t say, since I’m only guessing about what Google is up to.  Probably God is significantly involved, but there’s no way to be sure.

In any case:  PR1 is awesome news!!  🙂

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from JO’s sermon tonight:

too many people go around feeling wrong on the inside;  they don’t really like who they are.  they think, “if I was just a little taller, if I had a better personality, or if I just looked like her, then I would feel good about myself.”  no, when God created you He went to great lengths to make you exactly like He wanted;  you didn’t accidentally get your personality, height, looks, skin color, gifts, God designed you on purpose to be the way you are.  you have what you need to fulfill your destiny;  if you needed to be taller, God would’ve made you taller, if you needed to look like her, instead of you, you woulda looked like her.  you’ve gotta be confident in who God made you to be

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

that means you are not ordinary, you weren’t mass-produced, you are one of a kind.  nobody in this world has your fingerprints;  there will never be another you.  if you’re going to reach your highest potential, you have to see yourself as unique, original, as God’s very own masterpiece.  you are God’s most prized possession;  don’t go around feeling wrong about yourself, quit wishing you were taller, had a better personality, or looked like somebody else, you’ve been painted by the most incredible painter there could ever be.  when God created you, He stepped back and looked, said “that was good, another masterpiece.” He stamped his approval on you.  you know how on the back of our shirts most of the time there’s a tag that says “made in America (China, Mexico)”;  somewhere on you there’s a tag that says, “made by almighty God.”  now put your shoulders back, hold your head up high, you are extremely valuable.  you have royal blood flowing through your veins.  you are wearing a crown of favor.

when those thoughts come in the morning, telling you everything that you’re not, you need to remind yourself, “I’ve got the fingerprints of God all over me.  the way I look, smile, my gifts, personality, I know I am not average, I am a masterpiece.”  that’s the thoughts that should be playing in our mind all day long, not, “I’m slow, unattractive, just one of the 7 billion people on Earth,” no, God did not make anything average.  if you have breath to breathe, you are a masterpiece.  now, people may try to make you feel average, your own thoughts may try to convince you that you’re ordinary, life will try to push you down and steal your sense of value.  that’s why, all through the day, you have to remind yourself who your painter is;  when you dwell on the fact that almighty God breathed His life into you, He approved you, equipped you, empowered you, then any thoughts of low self-esteem, inferiority, they won’t have a chance.

it’s not so much what the painting looks like, it’s who the painter is.  the painting gets its value from its creator;  in the same way, our value doesn’t come from what we look like, or what we do, or who we know, our value comes from the fact that almighty God is our painter.  now, don’t criticize what God has painted;  accept yourself, approve yourself, you are not an accident, you have been fearfully and wonderfully made.  what if all through the day, instead of putting ourselves down, dwelling on the negative, we would go around thinking, “I’m a masterpiece, wonderfully made, talented, original, I have everything that I need.”  the enemy doesn’t want you to feel good about yourself, he would love for you to go through life listening to the nagging voices reminding you of everything that you’re not. I dare you to get up each day and say, “good morning you wonderful thing.  you are fearfully and wonderfully made.”  that’s what David said:

Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

Psalm 139:14 (New Century Version)

14 I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well

how many of us will be bold enough to say, “I’m amazing, a masterpiece?”  most people, those thoughts never enter into their mind, they’re too busy putting themselves down, focusing on their flaws, comparing themselves to others that they think are better;  no, your painter, your creator, says, “you’re amazing, wonderful, a masterpiece.”  it’s up to you to get in agreement with God;  if you go around focused on your flaws, listening to what other people are saying, you can miss your destiny.  the recording that should be playing in our mind all day long is, “I’m valuable, a masterpiece, a child of the most high God.”

some of you, this is what’s holding you back;  your recording is negative.  there are enough people in life already against you;  don’t be against yourself. change your recording, start seeing yourself as the masterpiece God created you to be.  every one of you has been painted by the most famous artist there could ever be, but if you don’t understand your value, you go around thinking. “I’m just kinda average, I’m not that talented, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in life,”  if you let that negative recording play, even though you have everything you need, even though you’re full of potential, you’ll never tap into it.  every morning, you need to remind yourself, “I am not average, I am not ordinary, I have the fingerprints of God all over me, I am a masterpiece.” Jesus said:

Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
if you don’t love yourself in a healthy way, you will never be able to love others in the way that you should.  this is why some people don’t have good relationships.  if you don’t get along with yourself, you’ll never get along with others.  we all have weaknesses, shortcomings, things that we wish were different, but God never designed us to go through life being against ourselves;  the opinion you have of yourself is the most important opinion that you have.  if you see yourself as less-than, not talented, not valuable, then you will become exactly that.  you are constantly conveying what you feel on the inside;  even subconsciously, you’re sending messages out.  if you feel unattractive on the inside, you can be the most beautiful person in the world, but you will convey feelings of unattractiveness;  that’s going to push people away.

the problem is on the inside;  you carry yourself the way you see yourself.  what’s on the inside will eventually show up on the outside.  people see you the way you see yourself.  if you see yourself strong, talented, valuable, with-it, that’s the way other people will see you, that’s the messages you’re sending out.  but if you see yourself as less-than, not talented, not valuable, that’s the way others will see you.  some of you, if you would change the opinion you have of yourself, quit focusing on your flaws and everything you wish was different, quit comparing yourself to someone else that you think is better, and start loving yourself in a healthy way, being proud of who God made you to be, then as you send out these different messages, it’s going to bring new opportunities, relationships, levels of God’s favor.  this is what the Israelites did;  when 10 of their spies came back from the Promised Land, they saw how huge their opponents were, they said to Moses:

Numbers 13:33 (KJV)

33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

they didn’t say, “Moses, those people insulted us, they called us grasshoppers,” no, they went in with a grasshopper mentality;  they said, “we were in our own sights as grasshoppers.”  that’s what they conveyed, here’s the principle at work, “and so we were in their sights.”  in other words, “they saw us the way we saw ourselves.”  if you put off feelings of inferiority, people will treat you inferior.  you may feel like you have a disadvantage;  you don’t have the size, talent, education, that’s all right, all that matters is almighty God breathed His life into you.  He  created you as a person of destiny, He put seeds of greatness on the inside;  now do your part, start seeing yourself as the  masterpiece God created you to be

Revelation 1:6 (KJV)

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

men, you need to start seeing yourself as a king;  women, start seeing yourself as a queen;  start carrying yourself like royalty.  not in arrogance, thinking that you’re better than others, I’m talking about in humility be;  proud of who God made you to be.  you are not better than anyone else, but can I tell you, you are not less than anyone else.  doesn’t matter how many degrees they have, how important of a family they come from, no, understand, your Father created the whole universe;  when He breathed His life into you, sent you to planet Earth, you didn’t come as ordinary, average, He put a crown of honor on your head. start thinking like royalty, talking like royalty, dressing, walking, acting like royalty.

if you and I could ever just start seeing ourselves as the kings, the queens, God made us to be, we would never be intimidated again.  you don’t have to be the most talented to feel good about yourself.  you don’t have to have the most education, success, when you understand your heavenly Father breathed His life into you.  you too come from a long line of royalty.  instead of being intimidated, insecure about someone that you think is more important, you can be at ease, kind, confident, friendly, knowing that you are one of a kind.  ladies, you may not be the most beautiful person, but be confident, you’re the queen.  men, you may not be the most successful, but stand up tall, you’re the king. not crowned by people, but crowned by almighty God.

a lot of times we think, “I can’t feel good about myself, I’ve got this addiction, I struggle with a bad temper, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in life, I sure don’t feel like a masterpiece.” well here’s the key;  your value is not based on your performance, you don’t have to do enough good, and then maybe God will approve you, God has already approved you.  when Jesus was baptized, he hadn’t started his ministry yet, he had never opened one blind eye, raised the dead, he had not performed one miracle, but:

Matthew 3:13-17 (ESV)

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

his Father was pleased with him because of who he was, and not because of anything he had or had not done.  we think, “well, if I could break this addiction, then I’d feel good about myself, if I could read my Bible more, if I bite my tongue and not argue so much, then maybe I wouldn’t be against myself,” no, you’ve gotta learn to accept yourself while you’re in the process of changing.  we all have areas we need to improve, but we’re not supposed to go around down on ourselves because we haven’t arrived.  when you’re against yourself, it doesn’t help you to do better, it makes you do worse.  you may have a bad habit you know you need to overcome, but if you go around guilty, condemned, thinkin’ about all the times you failed, the times you’ve blown it, that will not motivate you to go forward, that’s gonna cause you to do worse.  you gotta shake off the guilt, condemnation, you may not be where you wanna be, but you can look back and thank God you’re not where you used to be;   you’re growing, making progress, now do yourself a big favor and quit listening to the accusing voices;  that’s the enemy trying to convince you to be against yourself, he knows if you don’t like yourself, you will never become what God created you to be

Genesis 1:31 (NLT)

Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was excellent in every way. This all happened on the sixth day.

when God looks at you, He says, “You are excellent in every way.” “Well not me, I’ve got these bad habits, shortcomings, I’ve made some  mistakes in the past,” no, get out of that defeated mentality;   you may not be perfect, but God’s not basing your value on your performance, He’s lookin’ at your heart, at the fact that you’re trying.  you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have a heart to please God, now quit bein’ down on yourself, living condemned, and dare to believe you are excellent in every way.  our attitude should be, “yes I may make some mistakes, I may have some flaws and weaknesses, but I am not going to live my life guilty, condemned, I know God has already approved me, I am excellent in every way, I am His masterpiece.”  if you’re going to overcome in those areas, you have to not only stay positive toward yourself, but be bold enough to celebrate who God made you to be, be proud of who you are.

I know people, they’re good at celebrating others, they’ll compliment their friends, brag on a cousin, and that’s good, we should celebrate others, but make sure you celebrate yourself;  you are smart, talented, beautiful, there is something special about you.  you can’t get so caught up in celebrating others, putting them on this high pedestal, to where you think, “they are so great, and I’m so average.”   they may have more natural beauty, more talent in some area, but God didn’t leave anybody out;  you have something that they don’t have, you’re good at something that they’re not good at.  and it’s fine to celebrate them, and say, “wow, look how great they are,” as long as you follow it up by saying internally, “and you know what, I’m great too.  I’m smart too.  I’m talented, too.”  you gotta know who you are;  God breathed His life into you, you have royalty in your blood, you are excellent in every way.  now put your shoulders back, hold your head up high, start carrying yourself like royalty;  you are not average, ordinary, you are a masterpiece.

get up every morning and remind yourself who your painter is.  your value doesn’t come because of who you are, it comes because of whose you are. remember, the most important opinion you have is the opinion of yourself.  how you see yourself is how other people are going to see you.  I’m asking you today to see yourself as a king, a queen;  not arrogantly, but in humility.  some of you need to change the recording that’s playing in your mind, from “I’m slow, unattractive, nothing special about me,” no, dare to say like David, “I’m amazing, I’m a masterpiece, talented, one of a kind.”  if you will see yourself as the masterpiece God created you to be, then you will go through life confident, secure, your gifts and talents will come out to the full;  the right people will be drawn to you, and I believe and declare, you will overcome every obstacle, defeat every enemy, you will become everything God’s created you to be

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The 2nd to last time I woke up today, God gave me my 14th eyelid image (the other 13 being 11-1-10, 11-19-10, 11-24-10, 1-21-11, 1-28-11, 1-29-11, 3-22-11, 2 on 5-28-11, 10-5-11, 10-30-11, 7-20-12 and 10-22-12).  I saw threads of many colors, all of jewel or saturated tones, all stretched out very close together like you’d see on a loom.  I’m pretty sure I was awake, because I thought that this was an image I needed to record. Then…  I’m not sure if I didn’t slide back into sleep, but I saw a completed tapestry into which someone, maybe a child, poked a finger through several times, leaving holes.

The final time I woke up, I saw a pile of dishes on my counter by the kitchen sink.  There was a large, translucent Tupperware container, and it appeared to have a roundish black something in the middle of the far side  of it.  I thought it must be a spider, and vaguely imagined it running around…  and suddenly it WAS running, along the backs of dishes that I guess had suddenly become transparent also.


Yesterday, my relationship with my roommate, which had gotten worse than I could ever imagine it would, suddenly and in some way that I can’t point to, did a sudden turnaround and became radically better.  I had offered up a “bold prayer” for God to fix it.  He did.  Pray in expectation of explosive blessings, as JO suggests, and you’ll get them.

There’s a cool and pricey item that I’d been offered a chance to test, but hadn’t been chosen.  Then they asked for those of us who didn’t get it to re-apply.  I submitted the final bit of my application today, turned on the TV, and the first ad that came on was for….  you guessed it!!  It’s the first ad I EVER saw for this thing.  With that sort of timing, I think there’s a good chance that I’ll get it this time.  God’s generosity knows no bounds.  (Edit:  I didn’t get it;  occasionally things ARE coincidental, because God is too smart to give us everything we want.  This doesn’t change God’s astonishing generosity and goodness.  Edit 12-2:  I’m getting a conceptually somewhat similar but twice as expensive item from a different company instead;  faith IS rewarded.)

The quote of the day at Biblegateway is a great one:

1 Peter 2:15 (NIV)

15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.

The random Bible quote generator gave me:

Proverbs 20:22 (NIV)

22 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”
    Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.

and the one that describes exactly what I’m going through right now:

Romans 12:2 (NLT)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.


Psalm 86:4-5 (NLT)

Give me happiness, O Lord,
    for I give myself to you.
O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive,
    so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help


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Not fueling the fire

from JO’s sermon tonight:

we all have opportunities to make people look bad;  we hear rumors, things that we don’t know for sure are true, but it’s tempting to repeat them.  it’s not that we’re a bad person, we’re just telling what we heard. or maybe we know something about a person that is true, they made a mistake, they had a failure;  it’s easy to justify telling that because it’s the truth. but there are a lot of things that are true that we don’t need to tell;  we should do our best to never show people in an unflattering light

1 Peter 3:10 (MSG)

Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, Here’s what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful;

we live in a society that’s filled with rumors, gossip, innuendos.  there’s a lot of chatter these days, people talking on the internet, at work, at school;  they’re nosy, busybodies, they love to get things stirred up, they have no problem repeating things they know are only half-true, on purpose they’ll leave out certain details just to prove their point.  if we’re not careful, we’ll get pulled in and become carriers of their poison.  “did you hear what I heard?  I got some big news, juicy information.”  I read a quote that I like:  “have you heard a word against your neighbor?  then let it die within you.”  have you heard any gossip lately, have you read something juicy on the internet, has a friend told you some inside information about a person?  it’s true, it’s hot off the press;  they lied, cheated.  here’s what you’re to do:  don’t go to the phone, don’t get on the internet and expose them, God says, “let it die within you, don’t say a word about it.” every person carries a bucket of gasoline and a bucket a water;  when you hear a rumors, gossip, juicy information, you can either pour your gasoline on it, add fuel to the fire, and make it worse, or you can do what God says and pour water on it, help to try to put it out.  too many people are using their gasoline;  they try to justify it, saying it’s the truth, they were wrong, I’m just stating the facts.  they may be guilty, but the scripture says love covers a fault:

1 Peter 4:8 (NIV)

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

love doesn’t expose, tell 5 friends, get on Facebook and add fuel to the fire.  love says, “they made a mistake, but God can restore them.  they messed up, but God has a new beginning.  they did wrong, but I’m not gonna add to their pain by talkin’ about them, makin’ them look bad, I’m gonna show mercy and let it die within me.”  when you know something negative about a person, you could easily show them in an unflattering light.  that is a test;  how you respond will determine how high you will go. if you add fuel to the fire, tell all your friends, get everything stirred up, that will keep you stuck where you are, because God will not promote a gossip, busybody, faultfinder.  but if you’ll get your bucket of water and help put the fire out, don’t say anything about it, cover that fault, then you’ll pass the test;  that’s the kind of people that God promotes

when we hear juicy information, when it’s hot off the press, will we use our discipline to let it die within us?  human nature wants to tell it, it’s very tempting to just throw a little fuel on the fire;  when you protect a reputation, you are sowing a seed for God to protect your own reputation.  we need to ask ourselves:  do I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is really true, or have I heard it 3rd or 4th hand?  and, even if it IS true, is it absolutely necessary, do I really need to tell it, or do I just WANT to tell it?  a lot of times we think, “well, I’m just gonna tell this one friend, that’s not gonna hurt anything,” but that person will tell another person, that person another, on and on, and no matter how they retell it, it won’t be the same;  things will be exaggerated, blown out of proportion, what’s big will get bigger, what’s bad will get worse.

if you’re hearing things 3rd or 4th hand, you should take it with a grain of salt;  it can be so tainted, so misconstrued, that very little of it is true.  don’t believe it ’til you hear it from the real source.  don’t believe everything you hear, don’t let the internet, and people that are jealous, and people that can’t handle success, poison your opinion of somebody else.  you shouldn’t let people fill you with a bunch of trash;  somebody wants to talk bad about a person, gossip, put them down, don’t sit there and take it all in, tell them, “no thanks, my ears are not garbage cans, I don’t wanna hear that trash.  if you want to talk bad about them, gossip, judge them, stir up strife, that’s your choice, but you’re gonna have to find somebody else to do it with.”  you gotta put your foot down and not allow people to poison your life.  you shouldn’t go to lunch every day at the office and sit with people that gossip, badmouth the boss, complain about the company, trash your friends;  that’s sowing discord, that’s one of the things that God hates:

Proverbs 6:16-19 (NIV)

16 There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
17         haughty eyes,
        a lying tongue,
        hands that shed innocent blood,
18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19         a false witness who pours out lies
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

I would rather be lonely and not poisoned than to let that trash go into me.  do you know;  spirits are transferable:

Proverbs 22:24-25 (NLT)

24 Don’t befriend angry people
    or associate with hot-tempered people,
25 or you will learn to be like them
    and endanger your soul.

you hang around gossipers, and you will become a gossip.  you hang around faultfinders, you’ll become a faultfinder. you hang out with nosy busybodies, and that nosy, busybody spirit will get off on you.  be careful who you associate with;  your time is too valuable to be poisoned.  we all know people that mind everybody’s business except their own.  they’re nosy, prying into people’s affairs, trying to get the latest scoop, “lemme tell you what I heard, you won’t believe what I found out,” they’re busybodies, they’re always spreading rumors, they’ve got an opinion about everything, and they’re gonna give it to you whether you want it or not.  they try to run everybody else’s life;  the truth is, they can’t even run their own life.  be kind, be respectful, but don’t associate with a busybody.  if they’ll talk about somebody else in front of you, don’t be fooled, they’ll talk about you in front of somebody else.  we have to realize it is just as wrong to listen to gossip as it is to tell it.  it takes 2 to gossip, the mouth and the ears, the seed and the soil.

Proverbs 11:13 (TLB)

A gossip goes around spreading rumors, while a trustworthy man tries to quiet them

a gossip has the gasoline, but when you’re an honorable person you’ve got the water;  you defend, show mercy, cover.  if somebody starts gossiping around you, starts talking bad about a person, you can say, “I just realized I’ve gotta go make a telephone call, I’m gonna have to step out.”  you can politely excuse yourself.  if you want to be more bold, you can say, “hey, instead of talking about them, why don’t we pray for them.”  if we would spend the same amount of time praying for people as we do talking about them, then they would change.  when you’re a person of honor, you stick up for your family, defend your friends, you cover their weaknesses.  if I hear somebody talking about you, and I know you’re a part of the Lakewood family, I’m going to do everything I can to take up for you.  I’m not gonna pour gasoline, I’m gonna pour water.  that’s the way you need to be with the people in your life.  defend them, stick up for them.  somebody starts gossiping, badmouthing, your attitude should be, “you’re messing with the wrong person, that’s my family, they’re a part of my church, they’re my friend.”

you have a responsibility to help stop that gossip.  you should be especially loyal to your own family;  you may not always agree with them, they may get on your nerves from time to time, they may be a little bit different;  it doesn’t matter, if somebody starts talking about your family, it’s your duty to put a stop to it.  that’s your blood, that’s who God has chosen you to be with.  I’ve seen people, somebody starts talking about a family member, they jump on the bandwagon;  no, put a stop to it.  they may not be perfect, but you can say, “I know they’re a little different, they’ve got some issues, but you know what, they’re growing, changing, deep down they’re a good person.  that’s my family, I love them.”  be loyal, stick up for them.  “you don’t know what they’ve done, my brother borrowed $ from everybody in the family, hasn’t paid us back, my dad ran off with somebody else, messed up our family”;  that’s unfortunate, but it’s still your family.  it’s easy to kick people when they’re down, to be judgmental, say I told you so, but the honorable thing to do is stay on the high road and help restore them, help bring peace back to your family.  they got enough people trying to push them down, they should be able to count on you as family to help lift them up.  if we can’t count on our family, who can we count on?

Proverbs 17:17 (ESV)

17 A friend loves at all times,
    and a brother is born for adversity.

that’s saying, your friends are great, we all need them, but there’s something about your family, they were born for adversity, and in the tough times your family needs you more than ever.  too often we let strife, jealousy, competition, division, pull us apart;  rise above that, get over the petty differences, quit arguing over things that don’t matter.  in a little while, we’re all going to be gone;  your relatives need you.  stick up for your family, defend them, cover their faults.   the book of Genesis says that Noah got drunk, and was lying on the floor of his tent, passed out, totally naked;  his youngest son, Ham, came in, saw his father lying there drunk and naked.  Ham ran out and started telling everybody;  instead of covering his father’s fault, he exposed it, he added fuel to the fire.  the other 2 sons did just the opposite;  they went to Noah’s tent, turned around, refused to look at their father, got blankets, backed into the tent, never looking at their father in that shame, and covered Noah up.  they were saying by their actions that although Noah was wrong, “he made poor choices, but we’re not gonna do like Ham and expose him, we got this water, we’re gonna cover his fault.”

when Noah found out what had happened, he told Ham that his children and grandchildren would always struggle, that there’d be a curse on his descendants because he had dishonored him;  he told the other sons that they and their descendants would always be blessed, they would prosper, rule over cities, “you will have God’s favor because you showed me honor even when I deserved dishonor.”  when we make the choice to make people look bad, to say things to damage a reputation, to show them in an unfavorable light, that puts us on Ham’s side instead of the 2 brothers’ side.  but when you show honor even when honor is not due, maybe what the person is doing is wrong, they deserve shame, but because you choose to cover the fault, because you choose to stick up for your father, because you defend your brother, cousin, relative, God says to you, “you will be blessed, prosper, be in a position of honor.”  make sure you stay on the 2 brothers’ side.  now let’s take this beyond our biological family:  how about our church family, if they fall, make a mistake, are you going to cover them?  how about that coworker that blew it;  they were wrong, are you going to expose them, blow it up bigger, after all, it’s true?  no, just because it’s true doesn’t give us the right to repeat it.  “they’re guilty, they were wrong”;  yes, but only the guilty need mercy.  Paul said:

Galatians 6:1 (NIV1984)

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

(The Amplified Bible has a more complete, more thought-provoking translation:

Galatians 6:1 (AMP)

6 Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also.)

notice he didn’t say to expose them, tell everybody, make sure they feel embarrassed and ashamed, he said to gently restore them.   if you will cover people when they fall, cover their weaknesses, God will make sure somebody will always be there to cover you.  but it’s easy to expose, want to be critical, judgmental, but remember this;  the same amount of mercy you show others is the amount of mercy God will show you.  when you protect a reputation, you are sowing a seed, not only for your life, but for your children.  the scripture talks about how we can store up mercy for future generations:

Deuteronomy 7:9 (KJV)

Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations

when you cover that fault, you may not receive the mercy;  it may go to one of your children in their time of need.  I’m going to be generous with my mercy;  I’m not going to be a faultfinder, I’m going to be a protector.  there’s nothing you can do that will cause me to expose you.  if you fall, I’m going to cover you.  if you blow it, I’m gonna protect your reputation. if somebody’s talkin’ about you, I’m gonna defend you.  if you drop out, I’m gonna help restore you.  I’m going to be a friend you can count on, someone that will stick with you through thick and thin, to protect you, to defend you, to cover you.  we live in a society that likes to kick people when they’re down.  a lot of people jump on the bandwagon, “wow, they’re wrong,” critical, judgmental, no, don’t be a fair-weather friend, stick with people;  your family, friends, they need you more in the tough times than they do the good times.

where are the people that will defend their family?  that will say, “yes, my cousin may have fallen, but don’t you dare talk about them, that’s my family.  he may be down, he’s not stayin’ down, he’s comin’ back again. this is not the end, it’s a bump in the road, he’s gonna come out stronger than before.”  “yeah, but I don’t see how he coulda made that mistake, what was he thinking?”  just ask them, “have you ever made a mistake?  have you ever done something that you’re not proud of?  if not, you can throw the first stone.  but if you have, you need to zip it up, because you’re talkin’ about my family, and these ears are not garbage cans, I don’t wanna hear that trash.”  defend your family.  stick up for your friends.  put an end to that gossip.  do what you can to cover a fault.  when we choose to expose, to run out and tell everybody, that’s just like Ham not covering for his father Noah.  when somebody has done wrong, when they’re at fault, you could say that situation is contagious, like a virus, you’ve been exposed;  now how you handle it is going to determine whether or not you come down with it.  what’s going to protect you is if you have a flu shot;  the vaccination will keep you from getting it.  when you’ve been exposed to somebody that’s done wrong, they’re contagious;  you can catch the exact same thing that they have.  here’s the key;  mercy is your vaccine.  covering the fault is the equivalent of taking a flu shot.  that’s what’s going to keep you from being infected.  but if you’re hard, you show no mercy, you let them have it, the very thing that you’re critical about, because they’re contagious, it can some right back to you.

we all face situations where we could be judgmental;  it’s much better to say, “I’ve been exposed to something that I don’t want, now I know the secret, I’m going to show mercy. I’m not gonna do like Ham, run out tellin’ everybody,” no, be a person of honor and cover it, show mercy, that’s what’s going to keep you from doing the exact same thing somewhere down the road.  when you stick up for one of God’s children, when you defend them, help restore them, protect a reputation, there’s nothing that God won’t do for you.  when you are generous with your mercy, you will always have God’s favor.  mercy sets the tone for blessing.  when you hear a word against your neighbor, against your family, your friend, be disciplined to let it die within you.  if you will be a person of honor, not let people gossip around you, cover those faults, then because you choose the water and not the gasoline, you will be blessed, prosper, succeed, and become everything God’s created you to be

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New miracles

In my post “A chill to show He’s listening, and “angelic” hints” from 10-25, I mentioned the return of a former friend who is in bad shape…  and clearly a prodigal. Today, I sent the following email about her to another friend:

“Into this chaotic time has returned a friend from the past, whose behavior made it necessary to sever contact…  and then she had some failed brain surgeries and many associated medical issues, including significantly affected mental functioning…  interesting coincidence, that last bit, if in fact it is.  She was also very Christian before, but what she has endured caused her to withdraw from God.  And meanwhile, all her alleged friends headed for the hills.  So, she reached out to the one person that she knew could always be counted on;  ME (in part because I saved her life from 2 suicide attempts).  JO says that when you’re in pain God wants you to reach out and help someone else who is in pain.  [This lady] is certainly in pain…  and she’s also a prodigal.  And VERY interested in MY relationship with God.  God has given me a precious gift;  the opportunity to help someone in need, not just by being her friend, but by encouraging her to turn back to Him.  While I was watching a show that I’d only caught by bizarre coincidence (it started at the very weird time of 7:19 and I literally spotted it in the Zap2it TV listings a minute and a half before it began), she sent me a Facebook message asking to text with me.  She told me she was having a rough time, and I was wondering what to tell her to encourage her…  and the following appeared on the TV screen:

Psalm 118:5 (GW)

During times of trouble I called on the Lord.
    The Lord answered me and set me free from all of them.

Exactly what she needs to hear right now. Another amazing “coincidence”…  except I know it’s not.  I am so very blessed.”

Both finding the show (I won’t start watching a show after it’s started) and the Bible quote were pretty miraculous.

And here’s the big one:  I had been waiting for the (substantial) refund from mother’s final tax return since last October;  some scumbag (who they have CAUGHT, no doubt with God’s intervention) submitted a fake return for her, and once they got MY return the whole legal juggernaut got underway…  which takes time.  All through the nightmare, I kept telling God that I had faith that he would get me my $, and without an audit or who knows what they could theoretically have done or be doing when they look at your case long enough. I contacted them, was promised progress, never heard back, contacted them, was told they couldn’t see why I wasn’t being sent the check, and that the issue was being escalated, never heard back, spoke to them…  and finally was told that they couldn’t imagine what had happened, that cases far more recent than mine were being handled, and that I was being escalated to a “consumer advocate,” the highest level of assistance.  And never heard back…  but today the check came!!  But the amount was wrong…  it was too HIGH.  Closer examination revealed that they had paid me $174 of INTEREST!!  Whoever heard of such a thing?!!  It turns out that they might do this if they have an unacceptable delay in processing your check.  They appear to have paid me 5%…  FAR more than I could have gotten from having the $ in a safe place like a bank account or CD.  All of this ended up being to my BENEFIT…  just like JO always says the tough times will!!  God comes through every time!!

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A no-stick anointing

from JO’s sermon tonight:

in life, we all have to deal with negative comments, disrespect, people that are critical;  no matter how good of a person you are, somebody won’t understand you, somebody will make fun of you, try to lessen your importance.  maybe a coworker, it’s not so much what they say, but how they say it, always condescending, like you’re not smart enough.  maybe it’s a relative;  they celebrate everyone in the family, but they would never give you one single compliment.  too often we respond the wrong way;  we get offended, we let that sour our day.

Psalm 45:7 (NLT)

You love justice and hate evil.
    Therefore God, your God, has anointed you,
    pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.

when you’re oiled up, nothing can stick to you;  I call it a no-stick anointing.  that means when the disrespect comes, it doesn’t have to attach itself, you can choose to either hold on to it, let it sour your life, or, you can let it slide right off of you, and not give it the time of day.  that coworker that’s talking behind your back;  you can get in there and try to straighten them out, no, when you have the no-stick anointing, you realize your time is too valuable, you are not who they say you are, you are who God says you are.  that relative that leaves you out on purpose;  you could be offended, let that change who you are, no, you’re like a teflon pan, nothing can stick to you. somebody gossiping about you, no big deal, God will fight my battles.  somebody talking about you, trying to make you look bad, that’s alright, God is my vindicator.  that family member left you out again, trying to belittle you, “I’m not worried, what God lifts up no person can push down.”  Every morning before you leave the house you need to spray on your Pam, so to speak;  “Father, thank you that nothing will stick to me today, no matter what people say, no matter what they do or don’t do, I’m not going to be offended, get upset, I’m gonna to stay in peace and enjoy this day.”

you have to make up your mind at the start of that day that nothing that comes your way is going to steal your joy.  you’ve gotta have a made-up mind you’re not going to let one negative comment, disrespectful coworker, classmate that’s makin’ fun of you, ruin your day.  no, decide ahead of time, “I’m gonna spray my Pam on before I leave.  I’ve got this no-stick anointing;  any disrespect, negative comments, are gonna slide right offa me, I’m not gonna give it the time of day.”  the attitude we should have:  somebody talking about you, tryin’ to make you look bad, don’t get upset, don’t lose your cool;  the more they talk, the more God’s gonna bless you.  they’re trying to push you down, God’s gonna use them to lift you up higher.  there will always be people that don’t understand you, that are critical;  you have to be strong enough in who God made you to be that you don’t let these negative comments change who you are.  if you succumb to that pressure, and you try to adapt to their comments, fit into their mold, please every person, all that’s going to do is keep you from your destiny.

some people, they don’t even know you, they’ve never spent time with you, they never heard your heart, yet they’ve already judged you from a distance, and decided what they don’t like about you, and what you need to change, and what’s wrong.  don’t make the mistake of taking that personally;  they don’t even know you, don’t let their opinion make you feel less about yourself.  your attitude should be, “you don’t even know me, if you knew me you would like me, if you knew me you would want to be my friend.”  you’re never going to please everyone, you might as well be who God made you to be.  people will always find some reason to be critical;  they’ll always find something to make fun of you about.  if you’re not secure, and you dwell on these comments, it’ll change who you are.  God made you like you are on purpose.  God gave you your smile, wear it well.  God gave you your personality, nationality, looks, style;  quit worrying about what other people think and just be who God made you to be.  if you will run your race, God will take care of your critics;  you don’t have to fit into their mold, argue with them, try to convince them that you’re ok, just be who God made you to be, and God will take care of your enemies.  this is what Elisha did:

2 Kings 2:23 (KJV)

23 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.

Elisha didn’t fight with them, didn’t start thinking he was inferior, he just kept doing what God called him to do (this is not quite true;  as the next line shows, Elisha cursed them, and he had reason to believe that God would take action on that curse.  also, isn’t mauling by a bear a tad harsh of a penalty for teasing?)

2 Kings 2:24 (NIV)

24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.

that teaches me 2 lessons:  don’t ever make fun of bald people, and God will fight your battles.  God will take care of the people who are making fun of you.  God hears the disrespect, He hears the hurtful, negative comments, and God will not allow one of His children to be continually disrespected.  you may go through a season that’s not fair, people are pushing you down, making you look bad, but that season will come to an end.  God will vindicate you;  now you do your part and keep the no-stick anointing on, let those comments slide right off of you, don’t give them the time of day, and God will do His part;  He’ll take care of those who are trying to push you down.  God’s calling on your life cannot be stopped by people;  it doesn’t matter what a parent has said about you, what a friend said, what a teacher said, what a spouse said, what a coach said;  all that matters is what God says.  you may have had negative words spoken over you, but that disrespect, lack of judgement, cannot stop God’s plan for your life.

God doesn’t judge by the outside, God looks on the inside.  people will judge you by your appearance, nationality, what family you come from;  God looks past the superficial things, and He sees the potential on the inside.  God sees the seeds of greatness that He has placed within you.  it’s one thing when people you don’t know very well are inconsiderate, and dishonoring, but David was disrespected by his own family.  David was dishonored, disrespected, by the people he loved the most.  one reason David was a champion is he understood this principle;  he had a no-stick anointing.  he let the disrespect, judgement, gossip, slide right off of him.  for a season, David was made fun of, disrespected, but because he did the right thing, that season not only came to an end, but God paid Him back for the disrespect.  God knows how to pay you back, how to take care of your critics;  if you will stay on the high road, God will always give you the last laugh.  when it’s all said and done, the people that were making fun of you, sowing seeds of strife, gossip, judgement, disrespect, they will see you promoted, in a place of honor, fulfilling your destiny.  God is a faithful God. quit letting what somebody said about you sour your day.  put on the no-stick anointing and let that slide right off of you;  your day of vindication is coming.

people don’t control your destiny;  what they say or do does not affect your future, God is in control, He has the final say.  He’s not only gonna bring you out, but because of their comments, He’s gonna bring you out better.  what they meant for harm, God’s gonna use to your advantage.  the more success you have, the more opposition you will face.  everybody can’t handle your success;  all your family members, friends, relatives, they’re not going to celebrate the favor on your life.  they were fine as long as you were at the same level, but when you get promoted, instead of being happy for you, knowing that if God did it for you He can do it for them, many times it stirs up jealousy.  if you don’t have this no-stick anointing, you will get involved in battles that don’t matter.  you’ve gotta let the criticism, disrespectful comments, slide right off of you.  it may be difficult, what they’re saying may be very hurtful, but God always gives you the grace for the season that you’re in.  you gotta remind yourself, “I have the power to overlook this insult.”

one of the greatest marks of maturity is to not be critical towards someone who is being critical of you.  human nature wants to get in there and fight that battle;  “they’re talkin’ behind my back, I’m gonna talk behind their back.”  when you are critical of someone who is critical of you, you’re letting their poison get on the inside.  the scripture says jesus did not answer his critics;  he let it slide right off of him, and he just kept running his race.  he knew not everybody would understand or like him, but that was ok.  shake off the criticism, everybody is not going to understand you or like you, and that’s ok;  you don’t have to prove to them that you’re alright,  don’t answer your critics.  we get involved in many battles that we’re not supposed to fight;  when people are critical, disrespectful, that is simply a distraction.  the coworker that’s talking about you, you could easily spend all your time and energy thinking about what they’re saying, trying to figure out how you can pay them back, or how you can change their mind, no, that’s a distraction, it’s a battle you’re not supposed to be engaged in.

God has given us a solution;  it’s the no-stick anointing.  let it slide right off of you, don’t think about it, don’t try to pay them back or convince them that you’re ok, let it go, and God will fight your battles.  God has the right people in your future, you should not waste your valuable time continually trying to convince somebody to like you.  go where you’re celebrated, not where you’re tolerated.  quit trying to win over a person that just tolerates you.  they’re not really for you, deep down the truth be known they’re kinda jealous of the gift God’s given you;  no matter what you do, they’re not going to be 100% behind you.  you may convince them for a little while, but as soon as you don’t perform perfectly they’ll find something that you’re doing wrong.  you don’t need their approval, you have almighty God’s approval.  you may have some relatives that are never going to celebrate you like they should, they’re never going to give you the respect that you deserve, and that’s hard, but you have to accept the fact that you don’t have to have their approval.  you don’t need them cheering you on;  be kind, be respectful, but dig your heels in and say, “I’m going to fulfill my destiny in spite of who is not behind me.”  The scripture says:

John 7:3-5 (NIV)

Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

that must have been difficult.  he left where he was tolerated and went to where he was celebrated.  some of you are spending too much time trying to win people over that are never going to be won over;  they should be for you, but they’re not.  human nature longs for the approval, we long for the acceptance, but you cannot waste your time trying to get something from someone that they’re never going to give you.  you keep moving forward, and you will come into the right people, people that God has ordained, people that will celebrate you, be for you.  you’re never going to please everyone

Romans 12:18 (NIV)

18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

some people don’t want to have peace with you;  they have their own issues that they’re not dealing with, quit trying to win over somebody that doesn’t want peace.  you’ve done your part, you’ve gone the extra mile, now just back away;  if they don’t wanna have peace, it’s not your problem, it’s theirs.  you are not responsible for somebody else’s happiness, you’re responsible for your own happiness.  but if you go around trying to keep everybody happy, meet all their demands, win over their approval, the one person who is not going to be happy is you.  some people you have to love from distance;  they’re your family, yes you love them, but you can’t be with them every day.  they don’t wanna have peace with you.  don’t frustrate yourself trying to make something happen that’s never going to happen.  that’s not being rude, disrespectful, that is being responsible with the gift God has given you.  you have a responsibility to use your time, energy, emotions, and alent for the right purposes;  you should not continually be trying to convince somebody to like you.  when Jesus sent his disciples into the different cities, he knew not everybody would understand them, so he told them:

Matthew 10:14 (AMP)

14 And whoever will not receive and accept and welcome you nor listen to your message, as you leave that house or town, shake the dust [of it] from your feet.

he didn’t say “try to win everybody over, make sure they know that you’re ok,” he said, “be kind, be respectful, but if they don’t accept you, shake it off and move forward.”  he was saying in effect, “don’t stay where you’re tolerated, don’t try to win over all your critics, don’t try to convince all your family members to like you, just shake it off and go where you’re celebrated.”  don’t let one family member that won’t show you respect cause you to lose your focus to where you spend all your time and energy trying to win them over.  don’t let one neighbor, coworker, classmate, cause you to get distracted and miss your destiny.  if they won’t respect you, shake it off, if they try to belittle you, shake it off, if they’re finding fault, trying to make you look bad, shake it off, your destiny is too great, your assignment too important, your time too valuable, to let these negative comments, gossip, criticism, weigh you down.  it is simply a distraction.  some of you are engaged in battles that you’re not supposed to fight, trying to win somebody over that’s never going to be won over;  it’s time to shake it off and move forward, don’t stay where you’re tolerated, go where you’re celebrated, you don’t have to have their approval, you have almighty God’s approval.  before we leave the house, spray on the Pam.  decide ahead of time;  nothing that comes your way is going to sour your day.  if you will keep this no-stick anointing on, let any negative comments, the disrespect, slide right off of you, then God will do for you what He did for the prophet;  the more people talk, the higher God will take you.  they’re trying to push you down, God will use them to lift you up.  no person will keep you from your destiny, no disrespect will stop God’s plan, no negative comment will hold you back;  you will overcome every obstacle, defeat every enemy, and become everything God’s created you to be.

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Today would have been my mother’s birthday (she passed away last year).  With all that’s been going on in my circle, I didn’t remind anyone, and was looking at just having a sad day with no support.

But God had a different plan, and as always His was not only superior but beyond my wildest dreams.

One of the companies I work for held a contest to essentially bribe us to login and participate on a forum.  I’d done so because it was part of getting chosen for future projects, not thinking of the contest.  I had no idea of when the contest would end, or any thoughts of winning.  When I brought up my inbox for the first time today, I saw a generic winners’ announcement, and was going to delete it…  but then I saw the OTHER email from them, with the name of the $160  high-tech gadget that was the grand prize in the subject line…  and, as the title of this post suggests, the winner was ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On my mother’s b-day.  !!!!!!!!!!!

There’s no doubt in my mind Who I have to thank for THAT.  As JO said in his most recent sermon, some might think it’s a coincidence, but not ME;  I’m a believer, and there’s no shred of doubt in my mind that God gave me this fabulous blessing on this specific day.  (I HAD asked God for a gadget like this at various times, and may well have asked reflexively for THIS one when I first read about it, I’m not sure;  do you suppose He intended all along for THIS to be the day I’d get one?)  When I called my aunt to tell her, the first thing she said was that this happened BECAUSE of what day it was…  and she’s an agnostic.  When I told my most-religious friend, it’ll come as no surprise that SHE saw it that way as well.

In addition to the gadget, they are also sending me a case.  The color choices were neutrals, and ONE actual color;  my fave color, pink.  I looked it up, and the full spectrum of colors are available for cases, but maybe not in stock for whatever design of case they had picked out?  I naturally chose the pink one, and told him it was my fave color, and so also awesome.

In my email of ecstatic thanks to the guy who’d told me of my win, I told him about my mother’s b-day, and how the win had turned a sad day into a celebratory one.  Here’s part of what he wrote back:

“Yay! I am so happy for you!! I’ve had a very dull week, so this has really perked me up! I’m glad the right person won – obviously Karma has come round the right way today!

And how weird – I was going to order the pink case anyway because – to be honest – it’s the nicest looking one, then I thought Id better check because I know pink isn’t everyone’s thing… But yay! Genuinely this has made my morning – I am so, so pleased for you, especially if it makes a tough time easier.

And again – congratulations – totally deserved winner!
(And I mentioned this to the girl who picked your number – it’s absolutely made her day too!)

Have a great day!”

So, I made some kind people happy, which is always a great thing;  it’s so sweet to see how excited they are from giving ME something, which means they’re truly good people, and it always lifts me up to deal with folks like that.  But wait, there’s MORE!!  While I was writing this, a * $50 * gift card showed up in my inbox from these same people, which was NOT part of the prize!!  All I could determine from the email that followed moments later was that I’d put them all in a good mood, they were thanking me for doing so, and so here’s $50!!  They must have gone into their discretionary fund or something.  Now, WHY would people who had just passed out a $160 (+ the price of the case) prize send another $50?  One reason;  God influencing them to do things that they wouldn’t normally do.

God took time away from looking after 7 billion other people to give me a bonus on top of my already mind-blowing win!!

I live every moment in expectation of unprecedented favor…  which is WHY things like this happen to me!!  If you only take away one thing from this blog, let it be that God loves you so much that He will go to extraordinary lengths to give you blessings;  all you have to do is love Him, trust Him, have faith in Him, believe that He WILL bless you, and His favor will surround you and benefit you in ways you can’t even imagine.

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