Archive for March 25th, 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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