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Archive for December, 2012

I went to a Christmas Eve party, hosted by the woman God brought into my life, which I posted about in “God has brought me a friend!!” on 7-16-10.  There was a white elephant gift exchange, to which my roommate and I contributed a couple of my mother’s oddities.  In return I got (my roommate had no interest in this stuff, so I got “his” gift) 2 things that I’d wanted, for a while in one case and quite a while in the other case;  THREE items from that hideously overpriced hair care line you keep seeing advertised, and a little tech doodad that the price hasn’t come down enough on yet for me to have gotten for myself or even hinted about as a gift from anyone. This was an occasion where I’d expect to get goofy, useless items, and there were a fair # of those, but instead I got stuff I was THRILLED to have!!  As a bonus, I saw that my friend had a bunch of God-related magnets on her fridge, which if they were there the last time I was in her house 2 years ago I never noticed, and so now I’ll be able to talk to her about Him.  There’s no confusion as to Who was behind all THAT.

Merry Christmas!!

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I’ve always found the idea of FEARING God, whose entire nature is love, utterly horrifying;  JO and JP have both expressed the same idea many times.  JP revealed in a sermon I saw today that he has been questioned, it sounded more like attacked, about this claim, because in the Bible it says in various places to FEAR God.  His reply is that we should listen to what Jesus says on the matter, as the highest possible authority.  Brace yourselves, this is brilliant:

Deuteronomy 6:13 (KJV)

13 Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

Matthew 4:8-10 (KJV)

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

It wasn’t possible for Jesus to be in error, either in quoting scripture properly or about the nature of God, so his use of “worship” rather than “fear” is overwhelmingly meaningful;  he was telling Satan, and US, that we are to worship God, NOT to fear him.  And lest you think that this connection is a coincidental similarity of words that JP misused, here’s the NIV version with its footnote:

Matthew 4:8-10 (NIV)

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[a]

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 4:10 Deut. 6:13

God is NOT looking for thing to punish us for, He does NOT do us harm;  despite His infinite power, there is absolutely no reason to fear Him.  Fear makes you hang back, keep secrets, even hide away;  what He wants is for us to step fully into His arms and include Him in our every moment.  The rewards of doing so are enormous;  try it and see!!

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from JO’s sermon tonight:

we live in a society where mediocrity is the norm;  many people do as little as they can to get by.  they don’t take pride in their work, in who they are.  if somebody is watching they’ll perform one way, but when nobody is watching, they’ll cut corners and take the easy way out.  if we’re not careful, we’ll get pulled into this same mentality, thinking that it’s ok to show up late to work, not look our best, not give it our all, but God doesn’t bless mediocrity, God blesses excellence.  when you have an excellent spirit, you do the right thing whether anyone is watching or not;  you go the extra mile, you do more than you have to.  other people may complain, go out looking sloppy, cutting corners, but don’t sink down to that level;  “everybody’s doing it, everybody slacks off when the boss is gone at my company, everybody compromises at my school, everybody doesn’t take care of their yards in my neighborhood,” no, you’re not everybody, you’re a cut above, you are called to be excellent, God wants you to set the highest standard.  you should be the example your company uses as the model employee;  your boss should be able to say to the new hires, “watch this person, develop their skills, learn their habits, they are the cream of the crop.  they’re always on time, they always have a good attitude, they do more than they have to.”

when you have an excellent spirit like that, you’re not only going to see promotion, but you are honoring God.  a lot of times we think, “lemme go to church to honor God.  lemme read my Bible and pray to honor God,” and yes, that’s true, but it honors God to get to work on time, to be productive each day, to go out looking your best.  when you are excellent, your life is giving praise to God;  that’s one of the best witnesses we could ever have, because some people will never come to church, they’ll never listen to a minister, they’re not reading their Bible, they’re reading your life, watching how you live.  don’t be sloppy.  when you leave the house, whether you’re wearing a suit or a pair of shorts, make sure you look the best that you possibly can;  you are representing almighty God.  when you have a spirit of excellence, you do more than you have to.  you don’t just do the minimum amount required, you go the extra mile.  this phrase comes from the scripture;  Jesus said:

Matthew 5:41 (NIV)

41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.

 

back in those days, a Roman soldier, when they were traveling through the city, they could require by law a person to carry their armor for one mile;  after that mile, they would have to find somebody else.  Jesus said, “if they ask you to carry it for a mile, go beyond the call of duty, do more than is expected;  carry it 2 miles.”  that’s the attitude we should have, not, “I’m gonna go to work and do as little as I can to try to keep this job, no, I’m a person of excellence, I’m gonna go beyond the call of duty, do more than is expected of me.”  that means, if you’re supposed to be at work at 8:00, you show up 10 minutes early;  you do more than you have to.  you don’t start shutting down 30 minutes before the day is over, no, you go the extra mile.  some people go to work 15 minutes late, walk around the office, get a cup of coffee, get to their desk about 8:30, spend the next half hour surfing the internet, making personal phone calls.  they wonder why they don’t get promoted.  here’s why;  God doesn’t reward sloppiness, God rewards excellence.

Genesis 24 (NIV)

24 Abraham was now very old…He said to the senior servant… I want you to swear by the Lord…  go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac… 10 Then the servant left, taking with him ten of his master’s camels…11 He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town… 12 Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham… 13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac…15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder… She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.

17 The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”

18 “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.

19 After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.” 20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels.

Abraham told his assistant that the way you know you will find the right girl is…  (Abraham didn’t say it, see the verse quoted above;  the concept remains valid whoever said it).  a camel, after a long day’s walk, can drink 30 gallons of water.  this man had 10 camels with him.  if she had a 1-gallon bucket, she was offering to dip it 300 times (um, probably not, no woman has that kind of strength, but the concept, again, is valid).  that’s going way beyond the call of duty.  she is chosen to marry Isaac, who comes from the wealthiest family of that day.  God rewards excellence.  when you do more than what’s required of you, you’ll see God’s goodness in a new way.

 

you say, “I’m declaring God’s favor, promotion and increase is coming”;  that’s one part of it, but the 2nd part is, are you getting to work on time, doing more than you have to, better this year than you were last year?  your company shouldn’t get along nearly as well without you.  you should be so skilled, productive, valuable, needed, they can’t afford to lose you.  we live in a very competitive marketplace.  if you’re not growing, improving, learning new skills, you’re falling behind.  if you’re at the same skill level today that you were 5 years ago, you’re at a disadvantage.  you need to take steps to grow;  whatever you do, get better at it.  take classes, find a mentor, study ways that you can be more productive, efficient.  don’t get stagnant;  an excellent person keeps growing.

there’s always room for improvement;  we can always get better.  when you’re a person of excellence, you don’t get stagnant;  you’re always taking steps to improve, looking for ways that you can be better.  favor and excellence go hand in hand;  increase, promotion, reaching your highest potential, it is all tied to a spirit of excellence.  some people are driving a car that hasn’t been washed in 6 months;  if you don’t take care of what God’s given you, how can God bless you with more?   whether you have a lot or a little, whether it’s new or old, take pride in what God has given you.  when you have a spirit of excellence, it’s ingrained in you.  this building represents almighty God, we do our best to take care of it in a first-class way.  we represent God, and God is not sloppy, run-down, 2nd-class;  He is an excellent God.  that doesn’t mean that you have to have the best to represent God, it simply means whatever God has given you, take care of it the best you possibly can.  do what you can to represent God in an excellent way.

when our children were younger, we used to take them to Disneyland;  that place is always spotless.  take this to your own life:  your house, car, clothes, cubicle, office;  I’m not asking you to spend a lot of $, it’s all in how you choose to take care of what God has given you.  do it with excellence, knowing that you represent almighty God.  you may be in a situation where everybody around you is a little lazy, indifferent, undisciplined;  don’t let that rub off on you.  you be the one to have an excellent spirit, stand out in the crowd.  what kind of witness is it to our friends, neighbors, coworkers, if our yard is sloppy, our car is never washed, we’re always running late everywhere we go;  that’s not a good representation, not who you really are.  God made you as a person of excellence; maybe all you’ve seen modeled is mediocrity, but God is calling you to a higher standard.  He’s gonna take you places you’ve never dreamed of, but you’ve gotta do your part and stir up the excellence that’s on the inside.  don’t make excuses, come up to a higher level of excellence.

even in our personal appearance, how we dress, present ourselves, there are all different styles, we have different taste, one is not right and the other is wrong, you may not like to wear a suit, that’s fine, the main thing is make sure you present yourself in a way that you’re proud of.  don’t leave the house feeling sloppy, less than your best,  knowing that you didn’t take time to look as good as you could have.  you are a temple of the most high God;  God lives in you, take time to take care of yourself.  some of you ladies, you’re very good at taking care of others, you put the children first, you’re a great wife, you’re running the household, but you need to start taking time to take care of yourself.  go get your nails done, get your hair done;  it’s scriptural to take care yourself in an excellent way.  some of you men haven’t bought yourself any new clothes in 27 years.  you’re an excellent worker, a great provider for your family;  make sure you take care of yourself.  we represent almighty God, and God does not like sloppiness.  even around the house, of course we all like to be super-casual, but make sure you still look good for your children, spouse. ladies, get your husband’s credit card, go up to the mall, find something that makes you look like the masterpiece God made you to be;  now you men can thank me later.

when you’re at the store shopping and something accidentally falls off the rack, don’t act like you don’t see it and just leave it there;  a person of excellence picks it up and puts it back.  when you’re shopping for groceries and you decide you don’t want the cereal anymore, don’t just stick it over by the detergents;  a person of excellence takes it where it belongs.  somebody that has a spirit of excellence doesn’t park in the handicapped spot because they don’t feel like walking. when you have this spirit of excellence, you do the right thing, not because s0mebody’s watching you, not because they’re making you do it;  you do it to honor God.  a person of excellence does the right thing even when nobody’s watching, even when you don’t agree, even when you don’t think it’s necessary.  sometimes you have to say, “God, I don’t feel like doing this, but I’m gonna do it unto you.  God, what my boss is asking me to do is not right, but I’m gonna do it unto you.  God, I didn’t make the mess, I shouldn’t have to clean it up, but I’m gonna do it unto you.”  some people are not seeing God’s favor like they should because they’re not passing the small test;  being more excellent may not be some huge adjustment you need to make, it may just be something small, like getting to work 10 minutes earlier, not complaining when you have to clean up, doing the right thing even though you don’t feel like it.

Song of Solomon 2:15 (KJB)

Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines

I don’t want something small to keep God from releasing something big into my life.  are there areas where you know God’s dealing with you about coming up higher?  any time God asks you to do something, if you will obey, a reward will follow.  whether you realize it or not, people are watching you.  even in small areas, make sure you’re representing God in a great way.  In the book  of Daniel it says:

Daniel 6:3 (ESV)

Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. 

as a teenager, he was brought to Babylon; the king was training all these young men, and the best ones would become the next leaders.  Daniel had made a vow to God that he would always honor Him.  the Babylonians were worshipping idols;  Daniel was respectful, but he wouldn’t eat the king’s fancy food, he didn’t just follow along and do what everyone else was doing.  he made more excellent choices.

Daniel 6:3 (NIV)

Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.

it doesn’t say that God distinguished Daniel, and he got promoted, it says he distinguished himself.  the Message translation says:

Daniel 6:3 (MSG)

… Daniel, brimming with spirit and intelligence, so completely outclassed the other…

that’s what happens when, #1, you honor God with your life, and #2, you have a spirit of excellence.  you don’t compromise, you don’t just go with the flow, do what everybody else is doing;  like Daniel, you make the more excellent decisions.  when you have an excellent spirit, God will give you unprecedented favor, creativity, ideas, that will cause you to stand out.  you will outclass, in humility, those around you that are not honoring God.  are you distinguishing yourself, going the extra mile, doing more than you have to, making the more excellent choices?  God is always dealing with us about some area to come up higher in;  maybe it’s to be more excellent in how you treat people, present yourself, in your career, improving your skills.  don’t let something small keep God from releasing something big into your life. you are called to be a cut above.  you have excellence on the inside;  now stir it up and bring it to the outside.  God is going to give you more wisdom, ideas, strength, creativity;  you’re going to outclass, outperform, outshine. God is going to promote you, put you in a place of honor, and you will fulfill your God-given destiny.

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from JO’s sermon tonight:

in life, we all experience times of loss, situations where it feels like somethin’ was taken from us.  sometimes, it’s because of other people’s choices;  a friend does us wrong, a spouse walks out of a relationship.  other times, it’s because of our own choices:  maybe we get involved with the wrong crowd, develop bad habits, we end up with broken dreams.  we hear that voice tellin’ us again and again, “it’s your fault, you blew it, too bad, this is as good as it’s ever going to be.”  many people are living with regrets, thinkin’ about what they should have done, “if I’d just spent more time raisin’ my children, if I’d just been more disciplined and not hung around those people, or if I’d just stayed in school, where would I be today?”  they don’t realize that defeated mindset is keepin’ them from God’s best.  then there are times it’s not somebody else’s fault, it’s not our own fault, it’s just life;  you’re a good person, you’re honoring God, and all of a sudden you’re facing an illness, caught you totally off guard, you lost your health.  or maybe you’re being your best each day, you’re going to work, giving it your all, but business starts to slow down;  you had more than enough at one time, now you’re struggling to get by.

when we encounter loss, it’s easy to get discouraged, to settle where we are, and to not expect anything better.  but the good news is, our God is a God of restoration.  He never said we wouldn’t have unfair situations, He never promised we wouldn’t experience loss, but He did promise if we would stay in faith He would restore everything that was stolen.  when God restores, He doesn’t bring you out the same, He makes the enemy pay for bringing the trouble into your life.  God is so merciful, whether it was your fault, somebody else’s fault, or just life in general, He says He’s not only gonna bring you out, He’s gonna bring you out better than you were before.  get that down in your spirit.  you may have made mistakes, you brought the trouble on yourself, but God’s mercy is bigger than any mistake that you’ve made.  don’t settle there, have a restoration mentality;  God’s not only gonna bring you out, He’s gonna bring you out better.  in the scripture:

Exodus 22:1 (NIV)

Whoever steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.

 Proverbs 6:30-31 (NIV)

30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
    to satisfy his hunger when he is starving.
31 Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold,
    though it costs him all the wealth of his house.

Isaiah 61:7 (NIV)

Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.

notice the principle;  God never brings us out the same.  if we say we’re gonna restore this old car, that means we’re going to bring it back to the original condition, make it look like it did when it was brand new.  but that is not how God defines restoration;    His idea of restore is to increase, improve, promote. make better.  you may have gone through a loss, somebody did you wrong, or maybe it was your fault, you made poor choices.  the enemy would love for you to sit around your whole life and listen to his lies:  “it’s never going to change, it’s been this way too long, it’s your fault, just settle where you are.”  shake off that doubt, self-pity;  you may have suffered a loss, but your attitude should be, “I know my God is a God of restoration, and I’m not only comin’ out, I’m comin’ out stronger, promoted, increased, better off than I was before.  if you’re going to see God restore, you have to have this restoration  mentality;  that means you’re not sitting around nursing your wounds, thinking about what you lost, how many bad breaks you’ve had, no, you’ve got a smile on your face, a spring in your step, you’re expecting things to change in your favor.

somebody may have done you wrong, walked out of a relationship,  but you’re expecting to meet somebody better.  the loan may not have gone through, didn’t qualify for the new house, but you’re expecting a new door, a better deal.  the medical report doesn’t look good, but you’ve got another report, you’re expecting to get well.  you’re expecting to have a blessed, prosperous year.  for everything that you’ve lost, every person that did you wrong, every unfair situation, every sickness you had to endure, God is saying, “that is not the end, it is not over, I still have something amazing in your future.”  if you will have the right attitude, God will take the loss and use it to promote you:  God will use the person that did you wrong to take you to a new level.  God can even use the mistake you made;  you brought the trouble on yourself, but God is so merciful, He’s going to make the enemy pay, He can use that mistake to  take you higher than if you had not have made it.  do your part, and  get your hopes up.  quite reliving all your disappointments, quit tellin’ your friends how it’s never gonna work out, how you should just settle where you are, no, shake that off and have this restoration mentality.  our God is a God of restoration, nothing you’re facing is a surprise, He had the solution before you had the problem, He wants to bring you out better.

Exodus 6:9 (NLT)

So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery.

Exodus 6:9 (CEV)

When Moses told this to the Israelites, they were too discouraged and mistreated to believe him.

if you’re not careful, you can let negative thoughts play in your mind so long that they become ingrained in your thinking, and you become too discouraged to believe. when I tell you God wants to bring you out better, in your spirit, down in here, something comes alive;  somethin’ says, “yes, this is for me, I have not seen my best days, God has greater things in my future.”  your spirit will receive it, that’s where God lives.  but many times our mind will try to talk us out of it;  this is not for you today, you never get any good breaks, you’ll never be healthy, successful,” no, do yourself a favor, at least temporarily turn your mind off, and receive what God is saying.  you may have gone through a loss, but God is going to bring you out better, promoted, increased, healthier, stronger, wiser than you were before.  receive it by faith.  God knows how to restore;  don’t talk yourself out of what God wants to do.  you may have gone through a loss, it was painful, you could be discouraged, no, put on a new attitude;  it’s not over until God says it’s over, and God says, “I’m bringing you out promoted, increased, improved, better than you were before.”  can you get a vision for it?  it’s easy in the tough times to get discouraged and bitter, settle where we are, not expect anything good, but this is what faith is all about;  you’ve gotta believe it even when you can’t see it.

you’ve gotta thank God even when you feel like complaining.  you gotta say, “I know it’s on the way,” even when every voice is telling you it’s never going to happen.  if you’ll have the right attitude, God will take what was meant for your harm and use it to your advantage.  God is in the restoration business; don’t talk yourself out of it.  get up every morning, “Father I wanna thank you that you’re a God of restoration.  I know I’ve been armed with strength for this battle.  you  said you’d make the enemy pay.  my declaration is;  I’m comin’ out stronger, promoted, increased, better off than I was before.”   that’s what allows the most powerful force in the universe to go to work.  it may not happen overnight, God doesn’t say I’ll do this in 24 hours, or 2 weeks, or 7 months;  God doesn’t put a timetable on it, He simply says, ” in due season you will reap if you don’t give up.”  when you go through a loss, when you suffer a setback, God immediately establishes a due season, a set time to pay you back.  but along the way, God is watching;  “what are they saying, do they still believe it’s going to happen, are they still talking about how it’s gonna turn around, or have they gotten discouraged and settled where they are?”  pass the test;  all through the day, “Father, thank you that You’re restoring back everything that belongs to me.”  God said:

Joel 2:25 (AKJV)

And I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

God knows how to make up for years of your life;  no, you can’t relive your childhood, but God can make the rest of your life so rewarding, fulfilling, that you don’t even miss the years that you lost.  you may feel like you wasted years in a relationship that didn’t work out, but God can bring somebody into your life so great, so fun, so friendly, so attractive, that you don’t even remember the years that you’ve lost.  God knows how to make up for lost time. God can accelerate things, God can bring opportunities back across your path that you missed that will thrust you years ahead.  it may not have happened the first time, but God will always give you another chance.  He knows how to make up for lost time.   here’s the amazing thing;  even when it’s your fault, God is so merciful He’ll still give you another chance.  why don’t you quit worrying about what you lost, and how you’re not where you think you should be, and say “God, I believe You can restore the years that I lost, even when it was my fault.”  that takes a lot of boldness.

the enemy will bombard your mind, saying, “you’re a hypocrite.  you can’t expect anything good.  you should’ve been out studying, working, been more disciplined,” no, this what mercy is all about;  you don’t deserve it, you could live guilty and condemned, but when you shake it off and say, “God, I’m comin’ boldly to your throne, not because I’m perfect, but because Your son made me worthy, and God I’m askin’ you to turn back time and give me every opportunity that I have missed.”  God is not moved when we have that weak, unworthy, “poor old me” mentality;  “I don’t deserve anything good, I’ve made too many mistakes.”  no, God wants to restore, He’s full of mercy, but you’ve gotta have the right attitude. some of you have given up on your dreams, thinking about the years you wasted in the first marriage and how you didn’t spend enough time with your children, how somebody hurt you, no, quit blaming yourself, quit blaming others, God can still get you to where you’re supposed to be, He knows how to restore the years. why don’t you ask God to restore any opportunities that you’ve missed, relationships that are not what they should be;  God knows how to restore the years.

2 Kings 8:1-6 (NIV)

The Shunammite’s Land Restored

8 Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Go away with your family and stay for a while wherever you can, because the Lord has decreed a famine in the land that will last seven years.” The woman proceeded to do as the man of God said. She and her family went away and stayed in the land of the Philistines seven years.

At the end of the seven years she came back from the land of the Philistines and went to appeal to the king for her house and land. The king was talking to Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, and had said, “Tell me about all the great things Elisha has done.” Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to appeal to the king for her house and land.

Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” The king asked the woman about it, and she told him.

Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.”

when she got home she found somebody living in her house, farming her land, making $ off her property;  they wouldn’t leave.  she decided to go see the king.  the king wasn’t a godly man, but when she arrived Gehazi was there.  the king was very intrigued about Elisha, and Gehazai was telling him how Elisha brought the boy back to life;  perfectly on cue, this lady walked in the room.  the king was so moved, not only by the miracle but by the fact that this lady had shown up unannounced, perfectly on cue.  he said, “what can I do for you?”  she explained her situation;  the king instructed his officials to make sure that she not only got her house back, but he said, “see to it that she gets all the $ from any crops that were harvested during the 7 years that she was gone.”  what she had lost by being away for 7 years was returned to her in one day;  that was God restoring the years, paying her back for what shoulda been hers.

some of you are due payback;  you’ve lost some things, the good news is, they still have your name on them;  your health, dreams, finances, relationships.  if you’ll have this restoration mentality, God will pay you back for everything that should’ve been yours.  God can make up for 7 years of loss with one good break.  God can take 15 years of struggle and lack, and cause 1 person to show you favor that will make up for those 15 years. you may have struggled in your health, in a relationship, in your mind, no peace, but get this down in your spirit, it’s payback time, God is going to start restoring everything that should have been yours.  God knows exactly what you’re owed, He’s going to give you greater strength, joy;  you may have missed out temporarily, but you need to get ready, what you’re owed is still in your account, and God knows how to get it to you.  you may have put up with an illness for a long time, worked at a job where you’re not being treated right, struggled with an addiction for many years;  be encouraged today, payday is on its way,.  God’s not only gonna turn it around, He’s going to restore everything back to you that should have been yours.  the rest of your life is gonna be more rewarding, fulfilling, than anything you’ve experienced before.

Psalm 66:12 (NLT)

… We went through fire and flood,
 but you brought us to a place of great abundance.

that’s what God is going to do for you;  you’ve been through the famine, tough time, but you passed the test.  now God’s going to bring you, not to a place of abundance, but a place of GREAT abundance.  great joy, friendships, health, income.  our attitude should be, “God, I’m ready, I know it’s payback time, I’m not sittin’ around focused on what I lost, and who hurt me, and where I missed it.  I’m focused on the fact that You’re a God of restoration, You’re full of mercy, You know exactly what I’m owed, and You promised You would pay me back and bring me to a place of great abundance.”  that’s the attitude that allows God to restore, make up for lost time, health, wages, victories.  one time in the Old Testament, an enemy army had surrounded the Israelites and cut off their food supply:

2 Kings 7 (NIV)

7 Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?”

“You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!”

(God said restoration is coming, it’s going to happen sooner than you think, it’s going to be greater than you imagine, you’re coming to a place of great abundance.  but this assistant only looked at it in the natural;  he said, “it’s impossible, no way that could happen.”)

The Siege Lifted

Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? .. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans  At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there, for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.

The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and drank… 10 So they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them, “We went into the Aramean camp and no one was there… 11 The gatekeepers shouted the news, and it was reported within the palace…16 Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of the finest flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the Lord had said.

17 Now the king had put the officer on whose arm he leaned in charge of the gate, and the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died, just as the man of God had foretold when the king came down to his house.

the assistant said it would never happen, and for him he was exactly right.  God is sayin’ today He’s gonna restore what was stolen, He’s gonna pay you back for what you lost, He’s gonna bring you to a place of great abundance;  don’t be like that man, “I don’t see how it could happen, I never get any good breaks, I’ve been through too much,” no, that’s gonna keep you from God’s best.  you gotta have this restoration mentality;  “God, I agree, I know it’s payback time, I wanna thank you Lord for restoring the health, peace, joy, finances, ideas, everything that belongs to me.”  that’s what allows God to work.  some of you have let your thoughts and discouragement, what you’ve been through, talk you out of it, but today is a new day;  faith is rising, strongholds are being broken, favor is coming.  because you have this restoration mentality, God’s not only going to restore what’s been stolen, but you’re comin’ out stronger, promoted, increased, healthier, wiser.  you’re coming out to a place of abundance.

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There was an article that I was sent a link for in an email 6 months ago that contained info that I really wanted to keep track of about a natural treatment for stress and anxiety.  I just needed to bookmark it on my primary machine, the only one whose bookmarks are “permanent.”  I’d seen that email over and over when doing work in that inbox, but somehow never got it done.

Today, I was archiving work-related records that I’m hideously behind on, with this inbox that I usually only access on another computer up on the main machine,  and was finally getting some progress made, and suddenly had the urge to click the link in the email.  This was a really stupid time to do it, but the urge was strong and I did it.  The page was GONE!!

Using the title and the name of the site, I searched Google…  and there it was, in cache, thank God (literally, as you’ll see).  The last spidering of that page was a WEEK ago, so the page was literally just taken down this past week;  see the TIMING?  Once the cache refreshes, it’ll be gone forever, so I copied the article into a Word file.

But why would God have me wait until the article was gone from the site to give me the urge to bookmark it?  Because otherwise I’d just have bookmarked it and forgotten about it, and thus lost the info when the page went down;  only during this window when the article is gone from the site but still in Google’s cache would I see the need to copy it into a file.

This isn’t a huge deal in the scheme of things, but it shows that God will help with the small things as well as the large…  and that He wants to help me keep my stress and anxiety down, too, maybe.

Also in the news:  an even longer search term than the one from a couple of days ago:

“you can’t stop the thoughts from coming, but you can choose to not give them life by not speaking them out. when you don’t speak it that thought will die stillborn. it can’t take root and become a reality; but when you say it you are giving birth to what you are speaking. all through the day you need to ask yourself, ‘is what i’m about to say, what i want to come into my life?’ because what you’re saying, you’re inviting in.”

It led to “Be positive or be quiet” from 12-3;  point taken.

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Be positive or be quiet

from JO’s sermon tonight:

every one of us has promises that we’re standing on, things that we’re believing for;  maybe it’s to get out of debt, be healthy again, to meet the right person.  we know God has spoken to us, but we don’t see any sign of it happening, nothing is changing, it looks just like it did 6 months ago.*** the mistake we make too often is we start to talk ourselves out of it;  “I don’t think I’m gonna get out of debt, business is too slow,” “I could never accomplish my dreams, I’m too old, I missed my opportunity.” we don’t realize our words are what’s keeping the promise from comin’ to pass;  you cannot talk defeat and expect to have victory.  the moment you speak something out, you are giving life to what you’re saying, either good or bad;  that’s what allows it to become a reality.  negative thoughts come to every person;  you can’t stop the thoughts from coming, the key is don’t verbalize the negative.  you may think it, but don’t speak it out.  if you’re not going to say anything good, about your health, finances, children, future, zip it up, don’t say anything at all;  be positive or be quiet.

Proverbs 6:2 (NKJV)

You are snared by the words of your mouth;
You are taken by the words of your mouth.

you can talk yourself out of your healing, promotion;  negative words can keep you from your God-given destiny.  God gave Jeremiah a great promise, that he would become a prophet to the nations, but he was very young and unsure of himself;  he said:

Jeremiah 1:6-7 (AMP)

Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am only a youth.

But the Lord said to me, Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.

the first thing God did was stopped his negative words;  God knew if he went around sayin’, “I’m not qualified, I can’t do this, I don’t have what it takes,” he would become exactly what he was saying.  so God said in effect, “Jeremiah, zip it up;  you may think it, but don’t speak it out.”  Jeremiah changed what he was saying and became a prophet;  the promise came to pass.  God has called every one of us to do something great;  He’s put dreams, desires on the inside, but it’s easy to say, “I can’t do that, I’m too young, too old, I’ve made too many mistakes, I don’t have the education, experience.”  we can all make excuses, but God is sayin’ to us, “stop saying that, don’t curse your future,” those negative words can keep you from God’s best.  sometimes the reason a promise is bein’ delayed is because of what we’re saying.  imagine your answer is on the way;  God has already dispatched the angel with your healing, promotion, vindication, but right before it gets here, God says to the angel, “hold on, don’t go any further, stay right where you are.”  the angel says, “why, God?  this is what You promised, it’s in your word.”  God says, “no, listen to what they’re saying.  they’re talking about how it’s not gonna happen, how the problem’s too big, it’s been too long, they’ll never meet the right person.”  negative words stop God’s promises.

how many times are we just a couple of months from seeing the answer, meeting the right person?  you’ve been prayin’ for years that God would bring somebody great into your life, but right before they show up you let your guard down, start sayin’, “Aw, it’s not gonna happen, I’m too old, nobody’s interested in me.”  God has to say to the angel, “don’t go any further.”  the good news is, that promise is still in your future;  God didn’t cancel it because we get negative. He still has the right person for you, and if you’ll zip up the doubt and switch over into faith, at the right time they will show up.  God will release what negative words have delayed;  God still has your healing, promotion, restoration.  do your part;  quit talkin’ about how it’s not going to happen.  you may not see a way, but God still has a way.  it may look impossible, but God can do the impossible.  just because you don’t see anything happening, doesn’t mean God is not working.  right now, behind the scenes, God is arranging things in your favor;  He’s linin’ up the right people, He’s movin’ the wrong people outta the way, He’s positioning you exactly where He was you to be.  don’t delay the promise by speakin’ negative words.  you may think those thoughts, but don’t make the mistake of verbalizing them.  if you can’t be positive, at least be quiet;  you are prophesying your future.  if you say, “this problem is going to sink me,” then it will sink you.  you’re being snared by the words of your mouth.

Luke 1:11-13 (NIV)

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.

Luke 1:18-19 (NIV)

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news

but God knows the power of our words.  He knew if Zecharia went around speakin’ defeat, it would stop His plan, so God did somethin’ unusual;  the angel said:

Luke 1:20 (NIV)

20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

why did God take away His speech?  God knew he would go out and start tellin’ his friends how it wasn’t gonna happen;  God knows with our words we are prophesying our future.  a lot of times we think, “God’s God, if He wants to bless me He’ll bless me,” no,  God works by laws.***  yes, God wants to bless you, but it will not happen if you’re speaking defeat over your life.

Psalm 141:3 (NLV)

O Lord, put a watch over my mouth. Keep watch over the door of my lips.

in other words, be careful what you allow to come outta your mouth.  this is especially important in difficult times;  that’s when it’s easy to get negative, start sayin’, “I don’t think I’m ever gonna get well, I’ve had this sickness for 3 years,” no, put a watch over your mouth, don’t prophesy that defeat.  if you’re going to say anything, say what God says,”I will live and not die, God is restorin’ health back unto me, the # of my days He will fulfill.”  the thought comes, “you’ll never accomplish your dreams, you’ve gone as far as you can go”;  you can’t stop the thoughts from coming, but you can choose to not give them life by speaking them out.  when you don’t speak it, that thought will die stillborn;  it can’t take root and become a reality.  but when you say it, you are giving birth to what you’re speaking.

all through the day, you need to ask yourself, “is what I’m about to say what I want to come into my life?” because what you’re saying, you’re inviting in. when you say, “I’ll never get outta debt, the economy’s too slow,” you’re inviting struggle and lack.  when you say, “this problem’s too big, I don’t think I’ll ever get outta that,” you’re inviting defeat, mediocrity.  you need to send out some new invitations:  when you say, “I will lend and not borrow, God’s favor surrounds me like a shield, whatever I touch prospers and succeeds,” you are inviting increase, good breaks, success.  when you say, “I will overcome this problem, I am more than a conqueror, if God be for me who dare be against me,” you’re inviting strength, healing, restoration, vindication, breakthroughs.  pay attention to what you’re inviting.  change the invitation;  “I can do all things through Christ, I have good understanding, I am full of wisdom, I am an A student,” when you do that you’re inviting A’s, wisdom, God’s blessings.  make sure you’re sending out the right invitations.

Romans 4:17 (AMP)

17 … speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed.

you may not feel blessed, but you need to call yourself blessed;  the circumstances may not say you’re prosperous, but by faith you need to call yourself prosperous.  When Joshua was leading the people of Israel toward the Promised Land, they came to the city of Jericho;  it stood between them and their destiny.  they couldn’t go around it, they had to go through it.  Jericho was surrounded by a huge, thick, tall wall;  it didn’t look like there was any way the Israelites could get in.  God told them to do something that sounded strange:

Joshua 6:2-20  (NIV)

Then the Lord said to Joshua… March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. … On the seventh day, march around the city seven times… have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”… 10 But Joshua had commanded the army, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!”… 16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!”…20 … when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.

why did God not allow them to speak?  (technically, Joshua told them that, but perhaps the assumption is that God told him to.)  God knew, after a couple of times around, they’d start complaining and talk themselves out of it.  it had happened years before, when their relatives were camped next door to the Promised Land;  when the spies came back and told everyone how big their enemies were, that negative report spread like wildfire, all 2 million people were complaining;  their negative words kept them from going in.  God knew it’d happened once and it would happen again, so He told them to be quiet.  He was sayin’ in effect, “I know you’re not gonna be positive, so just stay silent.”  there are times where it’s difficult to be positive, and that’s ok, just stay silent;  don’t tell everyone what you’re thinking.  could it be that negative words are keeping you out of your promised land?  could it be if you would remain silent, and not talk about how big the problem is, not complain about what didn’t work out, not tell a friend how you’re never going to be successful, that if you would zip it up maybe the walls that are holding you back would come down?

imagine, behind that wall is your healing, promotion, your dream comin’ to pass.  every day, you’re walking around the wall. what are you saying?  “This wall’s never gonna fall, I’ll never be able to start my own business, I don’t know the right people,”  no, God is saying to us, “if you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all.” don’t let your negative words keep you from God’s best.  if you’ll stop talking defeat, lack, how it’s not gonna happen, and simply remain silent, God can bring those walls down.  sometimes we go day after day and we don’t see anything happening.  the thoughts come sayin’, “you didn’t hear God right, nothin’ is changing,” that is a time of testing. like the Israelites, you’re marching around the wall.  you may be on day 5, day 6, that translates into you’ve been doin’ it a year, 2 years, 5 years, surely it would’ve happened by now.  no, pass that test, don’t start complaining;  when the negative thoughts come, let them die stillborn. refuse to prophesy defeat over your life;  if you do this, you will come into your 7th day.   those walls will come tumbling down, God is a faithful God, He will do what He’s promised you.

2 Kings 4:9-35 (ESV)

Elisha and the Shunammite Woman

And she said to her husband, “Behold now, I know that this is a holy man of God who is continually passing our way. 10 Let us make a small room on the roof with walls and put there for him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, so that whenever he comes to us, he can go in there.”…..  ‘See, you have taken all this trouble for us; what is to be done for you?’ … 16 And he said, “At this season, about this time next year, you shall embrace a son.” … 17 But the woman conceived, and she bore a son about that time the following spring, as Elisha had said to her….

Elisha Raises the Shunammite’s Son

20 …the child sat on her lap till noon, and then he died. 21 And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God and shut the door behind him and went out. 22 Then she called to her husband and said, “Send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, that I may quickly go to the man of God and come back again.” 23 And he said, “Why will you go to him today? It is neither new moon nor Sabbath.” She said, “All is well.”…

26 Run at once to meet her and say to her, ‘Is all well with you? Is all well with your husband? Is all well with the child?’” And she answered, “All is well.”…

32 When Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. 33 So he went in and shut the door behind the two of them and prayed to the Lord… 35 …The child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.

a lot of times when we face difficulties, somebody asks how everything’s going, we do just the opposite;  we complain on and on.  it’s easy to talk about the problem, how bad it is, how it’s never gonna work out, but in those tough times, when you feel like complaining, you’ve got a good reason to be sour, you lost a job, a friend did you wrong, you’re not feelin’ well, that’s when you have to dig your heels in and say it by faith;  “business is slow, but all is well, God is still on the throne.  He’s Jehova Jireh, the Lord my provider.”  even in her darkest hour, when it looked impossible, she refused to get negative and speak defeat.  this lady chose to speak faith even though her mind was being bombarded with doubt.  she had a watch over her mouth;  she wasn’t gonna be snared by her words.  when you’re hurting, you’ve been through a disappointment, suffered a loss, you’ve gotta do like her, say it by faith, “all is well.”  it may not look well, may not feel well, in the natural you should be complaining, talkin’ about how bad it is, but instead you’re makin’ a declaration of faith, “all is well,” that’s when the most powerful force in the universe goes to work.

God can resurrect dead dreams, a dead marriage;  when you get in agreement with God, all things are possible.  you may be facing a big obstacle, it doesn’t look good, but don’t talk about the size of your problem, talk about the size of your God.  God stopped the sun for Joshua, parted the Red Sea for the Israelites, He can turn your situation around as well.  He can make a way even though you don’t see a way.  don’t let your negative words stop what God wants to do.  if you can’t say anything positive, zip it up;  you may think it, but don’t give it life by speakin’ it out.  your healing, vindication, promotion is right up in front of you.  God has already ordained you to do something great.  put a watch over your mouth, pay attention to what you’re saying.  for some of you, when you make this adjustment, God is going to release promises that have been delayed. what you’ve been prayin’ about, breaking that addiction, meeting the right person, suddenly things are gonna fall into place.  you’re going to see God’s favor in a new way, He’s going to open up new doors of opportunity.  every wall that’s holdin’ you back is about to come crumbling down, you and your children will make it into your promised land.

***  !!!!!!!!  That’s how long it’s been since my life went off the deep end, and it DOES appear as if nothing has changed in all that time.  Do you think that’s a coincidence?  Just fyi, these sermons are NOT being presented in the order JO did them currently…  and why do you think this particular sermon was shown today?  As JO himself would say;  I’m a believer and not a doubter.

***  I’m DYING to know what these are, what evidence JO has for them, etc, because his ideas that God “can’t” do certain things if our attitude is wrong tied in with my old metaphysical beliefs, and were the thing that drew me to JO, and thus to God, to begin with.  Just how much power, control or influence DO we have, based on what we do, say, think, feel, believe?  This is probably my #1 religious question.

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Psalm 37:1-9

I ran across this today, and it’s too beautiful, and powerful, not to share:

Psalm 37:1-9 (NLT)

Don’t worry about the wicked
    or envy those who do wrong.
For like grass, they soon fade away.
    Like spring flowers, they soon wither.

Trust in the Lord and do good.
    Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.
    Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
    and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

Be still in the presence of the Lord,
    and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
    or fret about their wicked schemes.

Stop being angry!
    Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
    it only leads to harm.
For the wicked will be destroyed,
    but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land.

Notice what I bolded?  That’s the hardest thing for me, and I think lots of other people too;  waiting, much less patiently.  (Perhaps not coincidentally, today I had a record 8 hits to “Trusting God’s Timing” from 10-8.)  Notice also that we’re warned against anger in THREE consecutive lines;  that’s a valid point to repeat, as anger often causes more harm than good (although like all so-called negative emotions it can sometimes be protective, motivating, strengthening, encouraging, etc, but how often is that, really?).  In addition, the random Bible quote generators gave me this:

1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 (AMP)

14 And we earnestly beseech you, brethren, admonish (warn and seriously advise) those who are out of line [the loafers, the disorderly, and the unruly]; encourage the timid and fainthearted, help and give your support to the weak souls, [and] be very patient with everybody [always keeping your temper].

15 See that none of you repays another with evil for evil, but always aim to show kindness and seek to do good to one another and to everybody.

I usually just look at the NIV version of any verse.  I’ve started looking at the NLT version occasionally, when the NIV has wording that seems a little awkward or otherwise sub-optimal to me.  Today I felt compelled to check out the Amplified version…  and there was a mention of keeping your TEMPER which neither other version even hinted at.  I guess God must be trying to tell me something;  I’ll try to make a conscious effort to rein in my temper (which I honestly don’t have that much of, but when I do get going I can reduce anyone to a smoking crater).  Is something coming that will try my temper?  The coming weeks may be interesting…

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