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Archive for March, 2013

from JO’s sermon last night:

many people don’t realize how God speaks to them;  they think it’s gonna be this big, dramatic voice, but one way God speaks is through impressions.  we think, “I know I should go visit my parents, or stay home and do my schoolwork”;  the “I knows” are God talking to you, that’s the holy spirit leading you, trying to keep you on the best path.  it’s a still small voice, not out loud, but a knowing, an impression.  be sensitive to what you feel down in here;  don’t ignore it, learn to be quick to obey.  a lot of times we know what we should do, but we make excuses, reason it out, try to soothe our conscience, “I’ll do it later, I’m real busy now.”  we have to understand;  God doesn’t ask us to do it for His sake, He asks us to do it for our own sake;  He’s trying to increase us, get us into the fullness of our destiny.  before God will release big blessings, He will give you small tests;  you’ll feel an impression to be good to somebody, a desire to just buy their dinner;  that’s not just a nice thought, that’s God asking you to do it.  too often, we dismiss it, and think, “I don’t feel like it, I don’t really know them, maybe another time”;  but if you don’t learn to pass these small tests, and do what God’s asking you to do, it will keep you from the big things God has in store.  God wants to know, “can I trust you, will you be quick to obey, or will I have to ask you again and again, try to talk you into it, argue with you?”

talk is cheap.  we can say, “God, give me a lot of $, I promise I’ll be good to people, give to the homeless, support my church”;  no, God says, “will you give that $10 I’m asking you to give now?  buy that person’s dinner?  give that coworker a ride home?”;  pass these small tests, obey the “I knows” on the inside. maybe you’re about to drink that 12th cup of coffee in the morning, something says to you, “put it down, that’s too much, that’s gonna be harmful,” that is not your mother’s voice, that’s God talking to you.  God speaks to us about practical everyday things;  you gotta pay attention to what you’re feeling down in here.  maybe you get around a certain person, you feel an uneasiness, an unrest, something says, “stay away, that’s trouble”;  those are not just bad vibes, that’s the holy spirit warning you.  it may be small, but it can keep you from big heartache.  “if I don’t hang out with them, I may not have any friends”;  no, God will give you new, better friends.  here’s the key;  if you don’t let go of the wrong people, the right people won’t show up.  you have to make the first move;  God doesn’t force us to do this, He’s given us our own free will.  but whenever God asks you to give something up, He’s never trying to take something away, He’s trying to get something better to you.  as we grow, develop, mature, the more of His blessings and favor will be released.  maybe down deep  you know you’re supposed to volunteer, be an usher, coach Little League;  you think, “I’m too busy, got so much goin’ on, they’ve got plenty of people, they don’t need me;  besides, I wanna do something more important.” no, unless you obey in the small, God can’t entrust you with much.

everybody is not going where you’re going, is not going to be sensitive to God’s voice, have the discipline and determination to become all they were created to be.  don’t confuse small with insignificant. it may be a small thing to buy somebody’s dinner, but without passing the small test you won’t step into the fullness of your destiny.  is there something small holding you back today?  you know you need to, but you don’t feel like it, you keep putting it off, thinkin’, “Aw, it’s no big deal,” no, it IS a big deal.  start passing the small tests;  every time you obey, a blessing will follow.  sometimes, we’re waiting for the big things;  we’d work hard, give it our best, if we got that promotion.  “God, if you give me that position I really want, I’ll get to work early, do more than I have to.”  no, here’s the real test;  will you be your best right where you are even though you’re doing something that you know is beneath you?  will you be kind to that coworker that’s not being kind to you, small test, clean the kitchen even though you didn’t make the mess, with a good attitude?  it may be difficult, but God will never ask you to do something and then not give you the power to do it.  whatever test you’re facing, you have the grace to pass it.  don’t believe those lies, “I’m too shy, I can’t make any new friends, I’ve been hurt too badly, I can’t forgive, I’m too undisciplined, I can’t take my grocery cart back,” no, you have what you need to do what God’s asking you to do;  don’t make excuses, excuses can keep you from your destiny.

John 9:6-7 (NIV)

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

Jesus could have just as easily healed the man right then and there, but Jesus asked him to do something small, ordinary;  it wasn’t difficult, he didn’t ask him to go climb a mountain, he asked him to wash it off.  when the man did, he could see;  it was his act of obedience that released the fullness of God’s power.  when you do what God’s asking you to do, even if it’s small, it will activate the greatness of God’s power.  it’s not so much what you do;  the power is in the obedience.   maybe God’s asking you to do something that seems small, that’s no big deal;  maybe God’s asking you to get to work on time, be kind to a stranger, not criticize your pastor, small things.  the size is not what’s important, it’s the obedience;  when you obey, blind eyes open, miracles happen, negative situations turn around.  today it’s as if God has placed the mud on our eyes;  He’s saying, “I’ve done My part, I’ve touched you, now the miracle will be activated when you do your part.”  it’s up to us to obey.

2 Kings 5 (NIV)

Naaman Healed of Leprosy

5 Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy…

10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.

same principle;  obey, and the miracle will show up.  Naaman didn’t want to go wash in the dirty Jordan river;  his attitude was. “that’s absurd, little, insignificant, not gonna make any difference.” how many of us would see our breakthrough, healing, promotion, dream come to pass, if we’d just do the small thing that God’s asking us to do?  when you obey, it releases a new level of God’s favor. sometimes, we don’t realize these little tests that we’re not passing, thinkin’, “it doesn’t really matter, I know I should treat my spouse better, I will one day, I know I should be kind to this new neighbor in the community, I’m busy right now.”  it’s keeping you from the fullness of your destiny.  it may be something small, but your act of obedience will cause God to release the big thing that He has in store.  could it be if you would do what God’s asking you to do, a dream would come to pass?  maybe you’re waiting on God, but God’s waiting on you;  He’s put the mud on your eyes, He’s waiting for you to wash it off.  it may not be something big, just a small thing;  if you will make that simple adjustment, your act of obedience will bring the miracle.  pass the small tests;  God puts people in our path on purpose so we can be a blessing to them.  any time you do good for others, you are sowing a seed for God to be good to you.  take time to follow what God’s put in your heart, be willing to be inconvenienced;  it may seem small to you, but you don’t know what kind of impact it will have on that other person.  obey quickly;  when God asks you to do it, do it right then.  when God told David to go face Goliath:

1 Samuel 17:48 (NIV)

48 … David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.

you know why?  if David would’ve thought about it long enough, he’d have talked himself out of it.  if he’d gone over all the facts, figures, how much bigger Goliath was, how much more experience he had, David woulda lost his courage and missed his destiny.  when God asks you to do something, don’t overanaylze it, reason it out;  if you think about it too long, you can miss your destiny.  “why should I apologize, I apologized first last time.  why should I be good to them, they’re not being good to me.”  quit making excuses, quit reasoning it out, quit thinking you heard God wrong, and just do it;  learn to be quick to obey.  God knows what He’s doing, He can see things that we cannot see.  it’s usually not the big things that keep us from God’s best, it’s the small things. when you argue with God, He’s always going to win.  you might as well save your breath and do what He’s asking you to do the very first time. when God asks you to forgive, He doesn’t mean partially forgive.  when He asks you to volunteer, He doesn’t mean do it when you get to heaven.  when He asks you to get your finances in order, He doesn’t mean just change banks so you can at least get your new balance.  do it wholeheartedly, completely;  partial obedience is not obedience.  finding them a ride when God asked you to pick them up is not obedience.  hanging out with that person that God told you to stay away from 3 days a week instead of 7 days is not obeying.  it may be hard, but the greater the difficulty, the greater the reward.  when you sow a radical seed of obedience, you will reap a radical reward.   don’t confuse small with insignificant.  it’s easy to think, “hey, it doesn’t matter if I treat this person right, etc,” no, it matters a whole lot more than you think.  before God can release big blessings, you gotta pass these small tests.

the prophet Samuel said to Saul, the leader of the Israelites:

1 Samuel 15:3 (NRSV)

Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”

1 Samuel 15:8-9 (NIV)

He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good

1 Samuel 15:13-14 (NRSV)

13 When Samuel came to Saul, Saul said to him, “May you be blessed by the Lord; I have carried out the command of the Lord.” 14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears, and the lowing of cattle that I hear?”

Samuel was saying, “Saul, partial obedience is not obedience.”  Saul ended up losing the throne because he wouldn’t fully obey;  he kept a few sheep, cattle, he didn’t pass the small test.  if God can’t trust you in the small, He can’t release you into the fullness of your destiny.  don’t let that be you;  let’s make a decision to fully obey.  pass the small tests.  God’s looking for people that He can use for His highest purposes;  people that He can take to amazing new levels, it’s going to be people who are quick to obey.  people that He doesn’t have to argue with, try to give 7 confirmations, 12 lighting bolts before they move, no, people that are so sensitive that at the smallest nudge they move.  God impresses them “go here” and they go.  “bless this person,” “no problem, I’ll bless them.”  “change in this area,” “yes God, I’ll change.”  it’s going to be people God can trust. when God looks down from heaven at you and me, I want Him to say, “I can count on those people, they are sensitive to my voice, they are quick to obey, I can use them to do great and mighty things.”  every time you obey a blessing will follow;  your act of obedience activates the fullness of God’s power.  don’t ignore the I knows, be quick to obey.   if you’ll learn to pass these small tests, there’s no limit to how high God will take you.

Deuteronomy 28:2  (VOICE)

All of the following blessings will be yours—in fact, they’ll chase after you—if you’ll listen to what He tells you.

Deuteronomy 28:2 (NIV)

All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God

you won’t be able to outrun the good things of God.  because you obey in the small, God is about to release big blessings, big opportunities, new levels of favor, healing, restoration, vindication, promotion.  you’re going to step into the fullness of your destiny and become everything God created you to be.

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Today, 3-21-13, I had a search term that was double my previous longest search term:

“we all have dreams and goals that god has placed in our hearts, things we’re believing for, situations we’re praying will turn around. these promises start off like seeds. they don’t come to pass overnight. there’s always a period of waiting involved. from the time we pray till the time we see it come to fulfillment, that’s called the trial of our faith. this is when many people get discouraged and give up. they start believing the negative thoughts, “it’s never going to happen. it’s taken too long.” now, that seed is lying there dormant, but it’s still alive. it still has potential. you have to do your part and start watering the seed. the way you water it is by thanking god in advance and declaring his word. you can’t wait until you receive the promise. you have to thank god that the answer is on the way!”

Whatever would possess someone to use such a gigantic term?  The post it leads to is “Thanking God in advance” from 10-1-12.

I don’t know if this means anything, but coming as it does during a time when I’m in the “period of waiting” for several important things…  well, as JO says, it’s better to give God credit and thanks for too much than too little, so I’ll take it as encouragement and be encouraged.

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from JO’s sermon tonight:

throughout life, people are constantly sticking labels on us, telling us what we can and cannot become.  sometimes this is good;  people speak faith into us, encourage us.  but then there are times that people put negative labels on us.  you cannot stop the negative comments, prevent the negative labels, but you can choose to remove them.  Walt Disney was told by his art instructor that he wasn’t creative, Lucille Ball was told that she didn’t have any acting skills;  the common denominator in the success of these people is they chose to remove the negative labels.  the same way today, people put labels on us;  that’s the way the enemy works.  he would love to put labels on you to keep you from reaching your highest potential.  he doesn’t fight you for where you are, he fights you for where you’re going;  he knows God has amazing things in your future, so he’ll try to discourage you, intimidate you, make you feel inferior.  words are like seeds;  if you dwell them long enough, they will take root and become what was said.  wrong labels can keep you from your destiny;  don’t go the next 20 years allowing one negative comment to hold you back.  you are not who people say you are, you are who God says you are.  people will label you not good enough, too slow, too old, too many mistakes;  God labels you strong, talented, valuable, more than a conqueror.  make sure that you’re wearing the right labels.  many people don’t know any better;  they wear the negative labels like they’re the truth.  they become so ingrained in their thinking, they end up becoming what people say they are instead of what God says that they are.

are there labels that are holding you back today?  what a coach said, counselor said, even negative comments spoken by your parents?  this is the time to remove every negative label.  people don’t determine your destiny, God does. the only power that label has over you is the power that you give it;  if you will remove it, in other words quit thinking about it, quit acting like it’s the truth, then that label will have no effect on you.  I know a gentleman who overheard his junior high teacher telling his mother that he was a slow learner;  for 30 years, he wore that label around, just kind of floundered through life.  one day I told him, “you gotta remove that label.”  if you’re gonna reach your highest potential, you gotta say, “no thanks, I am not wearing that “slow learner” label anymore.  that may have been her opinion, but I have another opinion, it’s from my Creator, and He says I have the mind of Christ, that I am full of wisdom,  that I can fulfill my destiny.”  don’t let negative labels hold you back.  the same God that can help you make a C can help you make an A;  why don’t you remove that label (of being a C student)?  the same God that can help you get by in life can help you excel in life.  are there labels that are holding you back:  divorced (“I’ll never meet anyone new”), overweight (“I’ll never get in shape”), addicted (“I’ll never break these bad habits”)?  whatever label you’re wearing,  you’re going to become what that label says, you’re giving it the power.  this is why some people can’t break an addiction;  they’re wearing that label, “addict.”

the real battle is taking place in our mind;  if you think you’re an addict, you’ve already lost.  you’ve gotta change the label;  God says you are free, clean, healthy, whole.  don’t go the next 20 years wearing that addict label, put some new labels on today.  don’t sell yourself short, remove any labels that are holding you back.  who told you all you can make in school are C’s and not A’s?  a counselor?  they didn’t know what God put in you.  who told you can never succeed, own a nice house, get married, accomplish your dreams?  those labels did not come from your Creator.  just because somebody spoke them over you doesn’t mean it’s the truth.  you have the power to remove those negative labels;  some of you have been wearing them way too long.  things like:  “you’ll never go to college, nobody in your family ever has”;  take that label off, you can be the 1st.  “you’ll never get out of that neighborhood, all the odds are against you”;  that’s what they told my father, he removed the label and God took him places that he never dreamed of.  we serve a supernatural God;  He can do what medicine cannot do, He’s not limited by your education, background, the family you come from.  He’s not moved by the things people have spoken over you.  He’s not up in heaven all frantic trying to figure out how to get you to your destiny.  He knows the end from the beginning.  He already has solutions to problems you’ve not even had;  He’s all-powerful and all-knowing.

people may have tried to push you down, but if you’ll just remove those labels and get in agreement with God, He’ll push you up.  He’ll take you where you could not go on your own.  you don’t have to figure it all out, all God asks you to do is believe;  when you believe, all things are possible:  doors will open that never should have opened, God will take you from the back to the front.  don’t let negative labels hold you down.  people will tell you, “you’re all washed up, you’ve made too many mistakes.”  if you wear that label. it will keep you from the amazing future God has in store.  God says, “My mercy is bigger than any mistake.  I can still get you to your destiny.  I’ll give you beauty for those ashes, I’ll pay you back double for the unfair things that have happened.”  you wouldn’t be alive unless God had another victory in your future.  why don’t you take off the washed-up label, take off the failure, guilty, condemned labels, and put on some new labels:  redeemed, restored, forgiven, bright future, new beginning.  people will tell you, “you’re too small, quiet, don’t have a good personality, you come from the wrong family”;  don’t you dare go through life wearing those labels, you have been made in the image of almighty God.  God did not make any mistakes;  you are the perfect size, you have right personality, gifts, looks, skin color.

Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

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

you are not an accident;  God designed you precisely for the race that’s laid out for you.  remove those labels:  too big, too small, unattractive.  put on this new label;  fearfully and wonderfully made.  one label far too many people wear is:  average, ordinary, nothing special about me, I’m just one of the 6 billion people on the Earth.  listen, you were never created to live an average life.  you have seeds of greatness on the inside, you were created to be a history-maker, you’re not supposed to live and die and nobody even knew you were here, you’re supposed to leave your mark on this generation.  God has an assignment for you that nobody else can fulfill.  God needs you;  He needs your gifts, smile, love, passion.  you are a part of  His divine plan.  you have something to offer that nobody else can offer;  nobody has your exact personality, looks, there is something unique about you.  don’t wear that “average” label;  if you think you’re average, then you’ll be average.  if you think you’re ordinary, then you’ll live an ordinary, get-by life, and never do anything great.

there is nothing ordinary about you;  you have the fingerprints of God all over you.  the Creator of the universe breathed His life into you.  He crowned you with his favor.  you have royal blood flowing through your veins.   you have a destiny to fulfill, something greater than you’ve ever even imagined, but if it’s going to happen, if you’re gonna become all God’s created you to be, one of  the first things you’ve gotta do is take off the average, ordinary label and put on these new labels:  masterpiece, valuable, one of a kind.  this is what David did.  when the prophet Samuel came to anoint one of his father’s sons as the next king of Israel, David’s father, Jesse, didn’t even bother to bring David in from the shepherd’s fields where he was taking care of the sheep.  Jesse thought, “I know it’s not David, he’s too small, young, not that talented, not as smart as his brothers.”  David had all these negative labels put on him by his own father.  Samuel looked at the other 7 sons, said, “not this one, not this one…” he finally ran out, and said to Jesse:

1 Samuel 16:11 (NIV)

11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

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

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

1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

God doesn’t label the way people label;  people look on the outside, God looks on the heart.  God knows what you’re capable of, God can see the seeds of greatness that He’s placed in you.  it’s so easy to let what someone has spoken over us to keep us from really believing in ourselves.

1 Samuel 16:12-13 (NIV)

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

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

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David…

right there, David had to make that decision that I’m asking you to make, he had to remove the negative labels.  he’d heard them 1000 times:  “too small, too young, you don’t have what it takes.”  David’s brothers, even though they saw Samuel anoint David as the next king, they still tried to stick their negative labels on him.  when David was out where the army had gathered:

1 Samuel 17:28 (NIV)

28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”

what was Eliab doing?  sticking a label on him:  inferior, not good enough, intimidated.  David could have said, “yeah, right, what was I thinking?”  David could have accepted that label and let it hold him back, but this time David had a different attitude.  he said, “Eliab, what you say about me doesn’t change what God said about me.  you’re still labeling me weak, defeated, inferior;  you don’t realize I’ve gotten rid of those labels, and the Creator of the universe, the God who breathed life into me, put some new labels on me. they say:  giant-killer, more than a conqueror, destined for greatness, king of Israel.”

(NB:  the Bible does not show David saying these things, but instead shows this reaction:

1 Samuel 17:29-30 (NIV)

29 “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” 30 He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before.

I assume that JO is making an educated guess as to what David might have been thinking based on his later actions.)

you may have had negative things spoken over you, even by people that should have been encouraging you

Isaiah 54:17 (AMP)

17 But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment* you shall show to be in the wrong. 

(*that means every negative label)  notice, God’s not going to do it, YOU have to show it to be in the wrong, in other words you have to remove the negative label.  nothing that was spoken over you has to define you, even if it was from people who raised you.  nothing that’s happened in your past has to keep you from your destiny;  even if you’ve made mistakes, or gone through unfair situations, you can show it to be in the wrong by shaking off the self-pity and moving forward with your life.  will you dare do like David and remove the negative labels?  quit dwelling on what your momma said, what a jealous sister said, what a cranky coworker said, you are not who people say you are, you are who God says you are, they cannot stop your destiny.  remove the old labels, I’ll give you some new labels to wear:  giant-killer, history-maker, world-changer.  has somebody told you you can’t accomplish your dreams?  you’re not talented, too big, too small, you don’t have the experience?  no, God didn’t put the promise in them, He put the promise in you.  along the way, there will always be negative voices trying to label you, but God would not have given you the dream unless He had already equipped you;  you already have what you need.  what may seem like a limitation, too tall, too short, God can use as an asset;  God knows what He’s doing. He has designed you specifically for the race that you’re in.  you may kinda feel like you’ve been cut from the team, the experts have told you what you can’t do, don’t have, here’s what I’ve learned;  the experts can be wrong.  experts built the Titanic, and it sunk;  amateurs built the ark and it floated.  don’t let the experts talk you out of what God has put in your heart.

sometimes people will put a negative label on you, not because of anything you’ve done, but because of the pain and heartache they’ve experienced.  hurting people end up hurting other people, bitter people are quick to stick on those negative labels.

Genesis 35:18-29 (NLT)

18 Rachel was about to die, but with her last breath she named the baby Ben-oni (which means “son of my sorrow”). The baby’s father (Jacob), however, called him Benjamin (which means “son of my right hand”). 

Benjamin grew up to be a great leader;  out of his family line came the kings of Israel.  God had a great destiny for Benjamin to fulfill, an assignment, but God knew that if he went through life wearing that label “son of my sorrow,” he would never become what he was created to be.  so God stepped in and said, “no, he’s not wearing that label, he’s not a son of sorrow, defeat, disappointment, this child is a son of destiny, he has seeds of greatness, his name will be son of strength.”  God knows how powerful labels are.  maybe someone has tried to label you average, slow learner, not talented, too may mistakes, no, God is saying the same thing to you that he said to Benjamin, “I am changing your name, placing a new label on you, no more “son of sorrow, mediocrity, broken dreams,” I’m renaming you to “son of strength, daughter of destiny, child of influence, greatness, victory.””  remove the old labels and start going by your new names:  masterpiece, valuable, one of a kind, more than a conqueror, history-maker, those are the labels that we should be wearing.  people can call you many different things, but you are not what people call you, you are what you answer to.  they can call you slow, lazy, too old, all washed up, that’s alright, just don’t answer to it, answer to victorious, talented, history-maker.  if you’ll do that, today is going to be a turning point, the bondages from the past are no longer going to have any effect on you, you are going to rise up and become the son of strength, the daughter of influence, the child of victory, blessing, favor, greatness.  you will overcome every obstacle, defeat every enemy, and become everything God’s created you to be.

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DailyBibleVerse.com sent me this today (3-9):

Psalm 26:2 (NIV)

Test me, Lord, and try me,
    examine my heart and my mind

Since all the stuff I’m going through right now feels like being tested, that caught my attention a little.  Then I went to my inbox, and the Bible widget gave me this:

James 1:2-4 (NIV)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

TWO quotes about testing got my full attention.  And THEN, at the bottom of the BibleStudyTools.com Daily Bible reading, where I didn’t normally look because I’d somehow gotten the idea that the links down there didn’t change, and I think they do stay the same for a while, because I’d swear that I saw the same thumbnails more than once…   in any case, today I noticed this:

“I’m So Glad Paul Used This Word…”

For whatever reason, I wanted to see what they meant, and found this:

“Christianity is about power.

Power to obey God. Power to change. Power to love those who are messed up. Power to get back up after being pummeled by wave after wave of affliction. Power to wield the sword of the Spirit and the shield of faith to extinguish the devil’s fiery darts.”

The mind-blowing thing about this is that this article is NOT about the word Paul used, although somehow the url that is clearly for that essay leads to this one.  Here’s the url from the email:

http://www.biblestudytools.com/blogs/mark-altrogge/i-m-so-glad-paul-used-this-word.html.html?utm_source=BibleStudyTools&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=030913

If you trim the junk off of the end, leaving just the title, like so:

http://www.biblestudytools.com/blogs/mark-altrogge/i-m-so-glad-paul-used-this-word.html

it then does lead to the expected essay.  The referenced word is “perplexed,” and this essay also deals with getting back up, and even about power:

“Why does God allow us to be perplexed? To display his power. To remind us that we are jars of clay and all our strength is from God.

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed” – When life beats us down and we rise up out of the ashes praising God, it displays his incredible power.

“Perplexed, but not driven to despair” – When we go through confusing circumstances that would drive others to despair yet we continue to hope in God, that displays his might.

“Persecuted, but not forsaken” – Others hurt us yet we find again and again that God is with us.

“Struck down, but not destroyed” – We just keep getting back up again. Why? Why don’t we just stay down? Why don’t we we just give up? Why do we keep coming back to God’s word, and to church? Why do we lift up our hands in praise when we should just quit? Because of God’s power!”

So, essentially, He wants us to show faith, which means trusting in Him in hard, painful or otherwise difficult times…  if we only trust in the good times, that’s NOT showing faith.  WHY does He want us to have faith?  What else can we give Him in return for all He gives US?

I had asked God to make me into whatever He wanted me to be, to push ’til it gave to evolve my brain into whatever form would best serve Him.  He took me at my word, and has been doing so for…  I can’t be sure of the starting point, but let’s call it a year and a half.  So, in these quotes we 1st have asking God to test us, and then advice to let the testing run its course because it will be of benefit long-term, and finally having the power to get back up…  and if you count my foray into the “perplexed” post, a 2nd dose of getting back up.  Probably coincidences…  but they don’t feel like it.

 

Edit 3-12:  Today’s Bible widget offering is:

1 Peter 5:10 (NLT)

10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.

The test is almost over;  stay tuned.

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from JO’s sermon tonight:

all through the day, we have the choice to believe that either God is in control, and good things are in store, or we can go around worried, negative, expecting the worst.  I hear people say, “I’m afraid I’m going to get laid off, my marriage is not going to last, my children are going to get into trouble”;  they don’t realize it, but they’re activating fear instead of faith.  fear and faith have something in common;  they both ask us to believe something is going to happen that we cannot see.  fear says, “that pain in your side is the same thing your grandmother died from, it’s gonna be the end of you”;  faith says, “that pain is not permanent, it’s only temporary.”  fear says, “business is slow, you’re going to go under”;  faith says, “God is supplying all of my needs.”  whatever you meditate on is what’s going to take root;  if you dwell on that fear all day, you let it play again and again in your mind, then you give it a right to become a reality

Job 3:25 (NIV)

25 What I feared has come upon me;
    what I dreaded has happened to me.

fear is using your faith in the wrong direction;  your faith will work in the negative just as well as it will the positive.  just as faith can bring in good things, fear can bring in negative things;  when you go around worried, expecting the worst, it’s like you’re inviting that into your life.  “I’m afraid I’m going to get the flu”;  you just invited the flu.  “I’m afraid I might get laid off”;  you just invited a layoff.  no, turn it around;  quit inviting defeat, sickness, bad breaks, and start inviting victory into your life.  use your faith in the right direction.  fear will try to dominate your thought life;  if you allow it, fear will keep you awake at night.  fear, worry, negative thinking is not just a bad habit, that allows the negative to become a reality.  when you agree with fear, you are giving what you’re fearing the right to come to pass.

Matthew 18:19 (NIV)

19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

that’s a promise that when we stand in faith with another believer, God will do what He said.  that principle is true even in the negative;  when the enemy puts a thought in your mind, if you agree, then your agreement is what gives it the power to come to pass.  but if you don’t agree, you turn it around;  the thought says, “your children are going to get into trouble,” “no, I don’t agree, my children will be mighty in the land, fulfill their destiny,”  you just stopped that fear from coming to pass.  the thought says, “that sickness is going to be what you die from, it’s been in your family line for 3 generations,” “no thanks, I don’t agree, with long life God’s gonna satisfy me.”  here’s the key:  don’t come into agreement with the fear.  if you don’t agree, the only way it can come to pass is if God gives it the permission, and if God does, you can rest assured it’s not gonna work against you, it’s gonna work for you.  pay attention to what you’re coming into agreement with.  I am not comin’ into agreement with fear, doubt, bad breaks, disappointments;  I’m activating my faith and not my fear.  if you expect your children, loved ones to get into trouble, cause you heartache, barely make it through life, then because you’re putting faith into fear, that allows it to come to pass;  you’re believing it in.  don’t go through life expecting disappointments, bad breaks, disasters, that’s putting faith into fear;  that allows it to become a reality.

2 Timothy 1:7  (YLT)

for God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind

2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP)

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

we’re not going to overcome fear, and live a powerful, victorious life if we’re not disciplined in our thought life;  that’s where the main battle is taking place.  your mind is the bulls-eye of the enemy’s target;  if he can control your thoughts, he can control your whole life.   if you don’t guard your mind, it will default back to these thoughts of fear, worry, anxiety, negativity.  don’t come into agreement with that fear.

Psalm 30:5 (NIV)

For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning.

when those thoughts try to tell you, “it’s not gonna last, it’s too good to be true,” no, turn it around;  “Father, I wanna thank you that your favor on my life, children, career, future is not temporary, seasonal, it doesn’t come and go, but God, your favor is for a lifetime.” you gotta be disciplined in your thought life;  your thoughts are extremely powerful. when we agree with the fear, it can come to pass.  how many times have we killed our dreams with our thoughts, stopped God’s blessings, favor, healing, restoration, because we’re dwelling on the fear.  a lot of people go around with a nagging feeling that something’s not going to work out;  “I’m afraid my business is gonna dry up, I’m not gonna stay healthy, my child’s gonna get off course”;  because they’re not disciplined in their thought life, they allow that fear to take root.  don’t agree with the fear, agree with what God says about you.  we can’t just wish things away, but when you choose faith instead of fear, it activates God’s power;  that’s what allows God to turn things around.

the first place we lose the battle is in our own thinking;  just as you activate fear, you can start activating your faith.  instead of going through the day worried, thinking about how it’s not gonna work out, start meditating on what God says about you, things like, “Father, You said the fruit of my womb is blessed.  God, You said because I delight myself in You, You would give me the desires of my heart.  So Lord, I wanna thank You that I AM able to conceive.”  fear can create a barrier;  wrong thinking can keep you from God’s best.  if you’re going to live in victory, you’ve gotta be disciplined in your thought life.  what you dwell on is what you’re inviting in;  that’s what you allow to become a reality.  a man believed that the refrigerated box car he was locked in was at a freezing temperature, and froze to death, but it was really only 61 degrees.  he froze to death because he was convinced in his thinking that he was in a freezing car;  the thing he feared came upon him.  are you fearing freezing to death, so to speak, even though it’s 61 degrees?  afraid you won’t get pregnant even though there’s really nothing wrong with you?

fear blows things out of proportion, makes problems much bigger than they really are.  maybe God sent you today for a perspective change.  maybe what you’re fearing is never even going to happen, that obstacle that looks permanent is really only temporary.  perhaps you feel trapped, everything tells you you’ll never get out, get ahead, get well, get married, no, God is saying, “don’t worry, the refrigeration unit is not on, I’ve got you in the palm of My hand, no weapon formed against you is ever gonna prosper.”  it may feel dark and lonely, like it’s not going to work out, but God is saying, “if you will stay in faith, I will deliver you, protect you, heal you, restore you, vindicate you.  I will not only bring you out, I’ll bring you out better off than you were before.”  now you gotta do your part;  don’t panic, fear the worst, imagine every negative thing that could happen, no, say:

Psalm 27:1 (KJV)

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1 (GNT)

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    I will fear no one.
The Lord protects me from all danger;
    I will never be afraid.

I may feel trapped, I don’t see a way out, medical report doesn’t look good, my bank statement tells me I’m not gonna make it, but that’s ok, I know a secret;  God is still on the throne, nothing I’m facing is a surprise to Him.  the enemy doesn’t have the final say, God has the final say, and He says, “I will always cause you to triumph.”  now be strong and of good courage;  the Lord your God is with you.  throughout life, fear will come knocking at the door, tell you the worst case scenario:  you’re not gonna make it out, stay healthy, your business is gonna go down.  no, here’s the key;  when fear knocks, let faith answer the door.  don’t give those thoughts of fear the time of day, don’t let them intimidate you;  answer back with faith. “Lord, You said, the # of my days You would fulfill, Your plans for me are for good and not evil, what’s meant for my harm you’d turn around and use to my advantage.”  when fear knocks, let faith answer the door.  fear presents itself much bigger than it really is, it will tell you all the worst case scenarios, to try to get you worried, anxious, uptight, panicked;  no, just smile and say, “fear, I know your tricks, you’re all bark and no bite, you may look big, but I’m not impressed;  I know the truth, there’s nothing really to you.”

that’s how you activate faith, and not fear;  when you do this, the greatest force in the universe goes to work.  those problems may be big, but our God is much bigger.  your obstacles may be high, but we serve the most high God.  when thoughts of fear, worry, doubt, negativity come, you gotta rise up and say, “I will not fear, worry, be uptight, dwell on the negative.”  look that fear in the eyes, so to speak, and say, “you don’t intimidate me, I know who I am, and I know whose I am.”  fear is like fog;  it’ll always look much bigger than it really is.  you have a pain in your side, fear will tell you, “that’s permanent, terminal, you might as well start planning your funeral,” no, the truth is, you just ate too much pizza the night before.  it’s no big deal, but fear will exaggerate it, tell you, “what if your company starts laying people off, you better worry, what if that pain is serious?”  no, you need to look at fear and say, “get lost, hit the road, I don’t have time for you.”  your destiny is too great, your assignment too important, your time too valuable;  don’t let fear intimidate you, you are a child of the most high God.  dare to say like David, “I will not fear.”

if the things we fear can come upon us, as the scripture says, how much more can the things we have faith for come upon us?  God’s power is so much greater than the enemy’s power;  when fear knocks, let faith answer the door.  don’t come into agreement with fear;  stay disciplined in your thought life;  this is the reason many people are down, discouraged, negative, they’re not guarding their mind.  that’s where the real battle is takin’ place.  if you’ll learn to activate faith and not fear, God is going to bring your dreams to pass, pour out floods of His favor;  you will overcome ever obstacle, defeat every enemy and become everything God’s created you to be.

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192 hits!!

In my post “Answered prayer:  100 hits a day” from 2-24 I said:

“So what do I ask for now?  My first thought was for 200 hits per day, but with the steady upwards trend… ‘

And how right I was to ask for more than I first thought of!!  Today (3-3), as you might have guessed from the title, I nearly reached 200 hits…  one WEEK after making an issue of getting *100* hits!!  (My previous best day was 167 hits on Christmas.)  5 of the 7 days since then got near or over 100 hits, including today’s eye-popper.  I had by far my best week ever at 791 hits, and February was my best month ever at 2255 hits;  that’s my 1st time over 2000 hits  March is looking certain to beat 3000 hits.  There’s no doubt that God is responsible, because I have done nothing to promote this blog, and there’s simply no reason for Google to send me anything like this # of hits.  I am VERY blessed.

I submitted a prayer request a few weeks ago, and on the day it seemed to me that it had been lost because requests after mine had already been aired, it DID air.  Today, it seemed like it had gone past the point where anyone could have replied…  and finally someone DID.  I clearly need to be more patient…  and, given the timing, I think God has a sense of humor.

Today’s JO sermon, which will be up soon if it’s not already, was about activating faith, not fear.  JP’s newsletter came, talking about how God’s love is the antidote to fear.  And Biblegateway.com’s verse of the day is:

Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Maybe a coincidence…  maybe an encouragement.  Time will tell.

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I saw the name of a friend I haven’t chatted with in a few months come up on the IM in my Yahoo inbox a few days ago;  I sent a hello, but she did not reply and was soon gone.  Oh well, it happens.  Today, she popped up again, and before I could think to try contacting her again, a message came through from HER, even though I was Invisible…  maybe she just missed the last one, and just got it today?  Or, maybe God took a hand.  In any case, we started chatting, and I told her about my studying scripture in preparation for applying to seminary, which was the 1st time I’d mentioned the latter to her.  She said:

“As I am sitting here thinking about you, I think this may be a good fit for you. You have always helped people in time of need, and had given good advice. You will still be guiding people just with a spiritual/religious base.”

That’s pretty nice, right?  Next was:

“I love JO because he is positive. One reason I strayed away from Church was I did not like being told i was a sinner everyday, and the world was coming to an end. JO preaches positively, and I think a lot of people and this country needs to feel positive vibes….”

I’ve known her for 20 YEARS, and she’d never said a single peep about religion, so I was astonished to read this…  although given the level of miracles God surrounds me with, I probably shouldn’t have been.  We shared some religious ideas, which were perfectly in accord, and then:

“I can see you offering messages of hope and love. You helped me so much in my breakup with K and finding my OWN identity… I think that is a gift and you should follow it and see where it leads you.”

VERY nice!!  Then, this woman who lives halfway across the country from me said:

“Who knows…one day we will see you give a sermon”

I think she’s the 1st one to say that.  And she didn’t say “might see” she said “WILL see”;  possibly just an oversight, but I don’t think so.  And then, this line REALLY woke me up:

“Are you doing a blog about your journey? I would love to follow along”

I have never said a single word to her about blogging;  the word “blog” has never come out of her mouth with me before, or out of my mouth with her, EVER.  Why would she ask me about a BLOG?  And notice the word “journey,” which we have also never used in conversation before;  the subheading for this blog is “My journey along a new path.”  These are NOT coincidences;  this was God alerting me that He was influencing my friend’s words.  (NB:  I did NOT tell her about this blog, because I need the anonymity in order to feel able to fully speak my mind.)  And what message did God mean for me to get, other than that He is HERE, and wants me to be encouraged about pursuing ministry?  THIS:

“Me: it’s so hard to imagine ME doing any kind of public speaking, but I can hear the sermons themselves, if that makes sense

Her: Yes, it makes sense cause you are finding the peace you have been looking for.”

I have never said one thing to her about looking for, wanting, needing, or even about not already HAVING peace.  Her comment about peace has nothing whatsoever to do with either public speaking or hearing sermons in my head, so it doesn’t connect at all to what I said, or make any SENSE as a reply to what I said…  although I didn’t see that at the time, and so was, let’s say “prevented,” from asking why she’d say such a thing.  In any case, the message is clear:  as part of the presumably many rewards of ministry, I will receive PEACE.  I am blessed beyond words.

Edit 3-2 5:25 AM:  I have started getting one of those freaky bombardments of “everything unknown” hits that I’d previously gotten mainly from Miami with a little Palo Alto thrown in, but this time it’s an even mix of Palo Alto and Menlo Park.  I still have no idea what causes it.

And:  I’m having a feeding frenzy on “It’s only a test” from 9-17-12, I think from Facebook.  And my verse of the day came from Biblegateway:

Job 23:10-11 (NLT)

10 “But he knows where I am going.
    And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.
11 For I have stayed on God’s paths;
    I have followed his ways and not turned aside.

Amazing…

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