Archive for November, 2013

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be watching vampire and crime shows, but starting a month or so ago I began having the urge to check out shows that I’d never seen before.  These were all popular shows, but throughout my life I have seen astonishingly few popular series;  my parents never had any interest in checking out new shows or jumping in the middle of those that became successful (they were too busy watching sports and soap operas), so I never developed that otherwise universal pattern.  The shows are:

The Waltons

Highway to Heaven

Touched by an Angel

Doctor Quinn Medicine Woman

I’m greatly enjoying these shows, and there’s no reason to be surprised at that, given their popularity…  but why this urge to seek them out?  JO says that God wants us to watch clean and uplifting shows, so…?  I dunno.  I’ve learned to follow my inexplicable urges, and there’s no downside to this, so I’ll keep it up and see what happens next.

Happy Thanksgiving!!  I’m thanking God for many things today… including YOU!!  🙂

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Living favor minded

from JO’s sermon tonight:

God told Abraham:

Genesis 12:2 (AMP)

…I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] 

not just 1 or 2;  He said “I’m going to do favors for you in abundance.”  you and I are the seed of Abraham;  what if we could really believe that the Creator of the universe wants to do favors for us?  most of the time we think, “God’s got bigger things to deal with than me.  He’s not interested in that.”  no, you are God’s biggest deal.  He wants to make you an example of His goodness.  When you keep God 1st place, honor Him with your life, God puts something on you that causes you to stand out in the crowd, gives you an advantage, causes good breaks and opportunities to be attracted to you;  it’s called the favor of God.  “favor” means “to assist, provide with advantages, receive preferential treatment.”  the favor of God will cause you to be promoted even though you weren’t the most qualified.  God’s favor will cause your children to get the best teachers in school, help you find the best deals at the mall, put you at the right place at the right time.  God is saying to you what He said to Abraham:  “I’m going assist you, provide you with advantages, cause you to receive preferential treatment.”  “this never happens for me;  I must not have this favor”;  no, you do have it, but the reason many people don’t experience it is they’re not releasing their faith in this area.  they’re not expecting good breaks, preferential treatment;  they have an underdog mentality.

“everybody gets promoted except me.  I put my house on the market, it didn’t sell, just my luck.”  no, if you’re going to experience this favor, you have to live favor-minded.  that means you’re expecting and declaring it.  every day before you leave the house, you should say, “Father, thank You that I have Your favor.”  then go out expecting good things to happen, doors to open for you that may not open for somebody else;  you have an advantage, there is something special about you, you have the favor of God.  I’m not talking about being arrogant and thinking that we’re better than somebody else.  I’m talking about living with boldness;  not because of who we are, but because of whose we are.  you are a child of the most high God.  your Father created the whole universe.  you can expect preferential treatment.  you have been born into the right family.  you come from a royal bloodline.  your Father owns it all.  now you need to hold your head up high and start expecting to stand out in the crowd, and for good breaks, divine connections, opportunities to come your way.  you have favor because of Who your Father is.  why don’t you start carrying yourself like you’re a child of the King, expecting some advantages, good breaks, preferential treatment?  instead of thinking, “nobody likes me at work, I’ll never get ahead,” no, start declaring, “I have the favor of God, people are drawn to me, want to be good to me, go out of their way to be nice.”

that’s not just being positive, that’s releasing your faith.  if you’re going to see an abundant increase of God’s favor, you can’t have a limited, short end of the stick, underdog mentality.  it says in Psalms that God has crowned you with His favor.  you may not be able to see it, but everywhere you go you are wearing a crown on your head.  that crown does not represent lack, bad breaks, mediocrity, barely getting by;  it represents the favor of God, the fact that the Creator of the universe breathed His life into you. in the unseen realm, spiritual world, all the forces of darkness, just like they can see you wearing your robe of righteousness, they can see your crown of favor on your head.  that tells them that you’ve been set apart.  they can see you have a right to preferential treatment;  there’s something different about you.  here’s the problem;  if you don’t see yourself the right way, it’s going to limit you.  when you need an advantage, a good break, instead of shrinking back, thinking, “what’s the use?  it’s never going to happen,” no, stand up tall and imagine that crown of favor on your head.  let that be a reminder that you have a right to live in victory, stand out in the crowd, have these special advantages.

when the enemy tells you those lies, “you’re never going to get promoted, your boss doesn’t even like you.  you’ll never sell your house, the market is too tight,” no, tell him, “hang on, I’ve gotta fix something up here.”   {JO holds his hands up to his head}  he says, “what are you doing?”  you say, “I’m straightening my crown of favor, making sure that it’s on tight.” you’re not average, ordinary;  you come from a royal family.  you can expect advantages that other people may not expect.  God has crowned you with His favor. God knows how to give you an advantage.  He knows how to put you at the right place at the right time.  instead of thinking, “it’s never going to happen, I always get the short end of the stick,” no, why don’t you straighten your crown of favor, start declaring, “the favor of God is opening the right doors for me, causing me to stand out, taking me where I could not go on my own”?  that’s what it means to live favor minded.  you’re expecting it, declaring it. God’s favor will put the right people at the right place at the right time. some of you need to get your crown of favor out and put it back on your head;  you’re not expecting these advantages.  you need to start expecting good breaks, people to want to help you.  God wants to show you an abundant increase of His favors, but if you’re not releasing your faith for it, it will limit what He can do.

you can’t reach your highest potential on your own, fulfill your God-given destiny by yourself.  you need God’s favor, for Him to assist you, provide you with advantages, cause you to have preferential treatment.  but if we’re passive, and think, “if God wants to bless me, He’ll bless me, if He wants to give me a good break, He’s God, He’ll give me a good break,” no, God is moved by our faith.  when you expect and declare it, that’s when the Creator of the universe can show up and do amazing things,  it takes a boldness to believe that Almighty God will do you favors;  every voice will tell you, “what are you talking about?  God is not interested in you. you don’t deserve it.  who do you think you are?”  just put your shoulders back and say, “a child of the most high God, crowned with His favor.”  think about how, as parents, we love to do favors for our children.  how much more does God want to do favors for you, His child?  are you expecting it, declaring it?

Psalm 5:12 (EXB)

12 Lord, you ….  [surround them with favor] like a shield.

if it surrounds us, that means it’s with us everywhere we go.  you have favor at work, the grocery store, gym, in traffic, the mall.  the more aware you are of this favor, the more conscious you are that God wants to assist you, the more you’ll see His hand at work.  all through the day, “Lord, thank  You for Your favor with my boss, clients, that my children have favor with their teachers, coaches.”  at the grocery store, “Lord thank You that Your favor is helping me find what I need.”  God wants to help you in your everyday life, not just the big things.  “Lord, thank you for Your favor”;  this is not a magic formula, it is acknowledging God.

Proverbs 3:6 (TLB)

In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success

Proverbs 3:6 (NKJV)

In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

when something good happens, recognize that it’s the favor of God, and then learn to thank Him for it.  at the office, all of a sudden you have a good idea;  it comes out of nowhere.  “Lord, thank You for Your favor.”  at the mall, you find what you want on sale;  at lunch, you bump into somebody you’ve been wanting to meet.  those aren’t lucky breaks, coincidences;  that’s the favor of God.  if you will recognize it and thank God for it, you’ll see more of His favor.  when you live favor minded, God will cause good breaks to chase you down, people to go out of their way to do you favors.  the Creator of the universe has put favor on you.  David understood this principle:

Psalm 23:6 (NKJV)

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life

he was saying, “favor follows me everywhere I go.”  David knew he had an advantage;  God would assist him.  he could expect preferential treatment;  he was living with a favor mindset.  something is going to follow you throughout life;  if you go around thinking, “I never get any good breaks, nothing good ever happens to me,” then defeat, lack, mediocrity will follow you around.  but if you’ll switch over into this favor mindset, and have the attitude, “God’s favor is giving me advantages, causing me to stand out, bringing victory into my life;  when you live like that, good breaks, favor, increase, promotion will be what’s following you.  what would happen if we would get up each day and pray from:

Genesis 12:2 (AMP)

…I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] 

“God, I want to thank You today for an abundant increase of Your favor.  Lord, I thank you in advance for assisting me, providing me with advantages, causing me to have preferential treatment.”  that’s how you’ll step into the fullness of your destiny.  every day, you need to speak favor over your situation;  “Father, thank You that Your favor is causing me to stand out.  Lord, thank You that Your favor is shining down on me.”

Numbers 6:25 (AMP)

25 The Lord make His face to shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious (kind, merciful, and giving favor) to you

when you live favor minded, it’s just like a bright light is shining down on you;  it will cause you to go places that you could not go on your own.  other people may have more talent, experience, education, but the favor of God will cause you to stand out.  every day, you need to imagine you’re not only wearing a crown of favor, but God’s light is shining down on you. you are glowing with God’s goodness, radiating with God’s favor.  now get up every morning expecting it and declaring it;  not because of who you, are but because of Whose you are.  remember, you’ve been born into the right family.  you come from a royal bloodline.  if you’ll develop this habit of living favor minded, God is going to assist you, provide you with advantages, cause you to have preferential treatment.  you need to get ready;  you’re going to see an abundant increase of favor.  it’s going to thrust you into the fullness of your destiny.

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You can handle it

from JO’s sermon tonight:

nothing that comes your way in life is too much for you.  God promised that He will never let us face more than we can bear.  we all go through challenges, disappointments, unfair situations;  it’s easy to let it overwhelm us, to where we think, “this is too much.  I can’t deal with this illness.  I can’t handle this difficult child.  I can’t take this traffic, it’s driving me crazy”;  no, God would not have allowed it if you couldn’t handle it.  but as long as you’re telling yourself it’s too much, then you’ll talk yourself out of it.  you’ve gotta get in agreement with God.  you are not weak;  you are full of can-do power.  the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives on the inside of you.  all through the day, whether you’re stuck in traffic or facing a major disappointment, your attitude should be, “I can handle it;  I can handle this grouchy boss, difficult child, people talking about me.”  you can’t have a weak, defeated mentality;  you’ve gotta have a warrior mentality.  this is what Joseph did;  he was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a pit, spent years in prison for something that he didn’t do.  but he didn’t get depressed, start complaining.  his attitude was;  “I can handle it.  God is still on the throne.  He wouldn’t have allowed it unless he had a purpose for it, so I’m going to stay in faith and keep being my best.”  in the end, he was made 2nd in charge over all of Egypt.  no person, bad break, disappointment, sickness can keep you from your destiny.  Paul said:

Philippians 4:13 (AMP)

13 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me

listen to his declaration:  “I am ready for, equal to, anything, through him who infuses strength into me.”  he was saying, “the enemy may hit me with his best shot, but it won’t stop me, I’m more than a conqueror.”  Paul knew what he was taking about:  he had been shipwrecked, gone days without food, been falsely accused, beaten with rods, thrown into prison.  if anyone had the right to be negative, bitter, complain, it would have been Paul, but he understood this principle.  his attitude was, “I can handle it.  I am ready for and equal to it.  why?  because almighty God has infused me with strength.  He has equipped, empowered, anointed me, crowned me with favor, put royal blood in my veins, called me to reign in life as a king.”  in difficult times, you’ve gotta talk to yourself the right way;  if you don’t talk to yourself, your thoughts will talk to you.  they’ll tell you, “it’s too much, it’s never gonna change, it’s not fair, if God loved you He would have never let this happen.”  no:

Matthew 5:45 (NKJV)

45 … He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

just because we’re a person of faith, that doesn’t exempt us from difficulties.  Jesus told a parable about this:

Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV)

The Wise and Foolish Builders

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

the same storm came to both people.  the difference is, when you honor God, the storm may come, but when all is said and done you’ll still be standing.  the enemy may hit you with his best shot, but because your house is built on the rock, his best will never be enough;  when the storm is over, you’ll not only come through it, but you’ll come out stronger, increased, promoted, better than you were before.  shake off a victim mentality and  have a victor mentality. you’re not a weakling, lacking;  the most powerful force in the universe is breathing in your direction.  every morning you need to remind yourself, “I am ready for and equal to anything that comes my way, full of can-do power”  that sickness is no match for you.  that relationship issue is not going to keep you from your destiny.  the loss of that loved one did not stop God’s plan for your life.  don’t let it overwhelm you;  you can handle it.  you’ve been armed with strength.  when you have this warrior mentality, this attitude of faith, knowing that you’ve been equipped, empowered, then all the forces of darkness cannot stop you.

Isaiah 27:5 (KJV)

Or let him take hold of my strength

when you make this declaration, “I can handle it,” that’s not just being positive, you’re taking hold of strength.  when you say it, you’re getting stronger.  that’s why the scripture says:

Joel 3:10 (ASV)

10 … let the weak say, I am strong

if you’re always talking about the problem, “I can’t stand this job.  this professor is so difficult, I’ll never pass his course.  my loved one didn’t make it, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” all that’s doing is draining you.  when you talk defeat, strength, energy, creativity is leaving.  quit letting those things overwhelm you.  you are not a victim, you are a victor.  if it came your way, you can handle it.  you are ready for it and equal to it.  if you’ll stay in agreement with God, He’ll take what’s meant for your harm and use it to your advantage.  that difficulty won’t defeat you, it will promote you.  in difficult times, you have to remind yourself that that is not a surprise to God.  God is not up in heaven scratching His head, saying, “oh man, he got laid off, that messed everything up.  she got diagnosed with cancer, now what am I going to do?”  no, God knows the end from the beginning.  He has already written every day of your life in His book;  if you’ll stay in faith, your book ends in victory.  that difficulty is not meant to defeat you, it’s meant to promote you.  a setback is simply a set up for a greater comeback.  “it’s so hard, I don’t understand it, it doesn’t seem fair.”  you’re talking yourself into defeat.  if it came your way, you can handle it.  start talking to yourself a new way;  “I’m well able, equipped, empowered, ready for anything.”  God is not going to deliver us from every difficulty, keep us from every challenge;  if He did, we would never grow.  the scripture says, “our faith is tried in the fire of affliction.”  (I can’t find anything that says that, but this is conceptually the same

1 Peter 1:7 (NRSV)

so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. )

when you’re in a tough time, that’s an opportunity to show God what you’re made of.  anybody can get negative, bitter, blame God, lose their passion;  that’s easy.  but if you want to pass the test, if you want God to take to you to a new level, you cannot be a weakling, you’ve got to be a warrior.  dig your heels in and say, “I can handle it, I’m ready for it, equal to it.  I know God is still on the throne, fighting my battles, and on the other side of this difficulty is a new level of my destiny.”  Colossians 3:12 says, “God has given us the power to endure whatever comes our way with a good attitude.”  (what it actually says is:

Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.)

maybe at the office you’re not being treated fairly;  it’s one thing to go to work negative, discouraged, complaining, bad-mouthing the boss, that doesn’t take any faith.  but if you want to pass the test, you’ve got to go to work with a smile, a good attitude, being good to people, doing more than you have to.  at your house, maybe your spouse is not treating you the way they should.  it’s easy to think, “I’m going treat him the way he’s treating me.  these kids are disrespectful, I’m not going to give them the time of day.”  but if you want to pass the  test, you’ve got to be good to people even when they’re not being good to you.  you’ve gotta do the right thing when the wrong thing is happening.  see it as an opportunity to grow.  every time you do the right thing, a blessing will follow.  when you take the high road, there will always be a reward.  too often, the mistake we make is we’re constantly telling ourselves, “it’s not fair, not right, when they change, when it improves, then I’ll have a better attitude,” no, you’ve gotta make the first move.  you do your part, and God will do his part.

quit worrying about God changing another person, and first allow God to change you.  is there something you’re letting overwhelm you?  you think it’s too much.  get up every morning and make this simple declaration;  “God, I want to thank you that I can handle anything that comes my way today:  a difficult boss, getting stuck in traffic, plans not working out. Lord, thank you that I’ll have a good attitude wherever I am.”  you have to decide before you leave the house that nothing that comes your way is going to upset you.  God is in complete control;  you don’t have to get upset when things don’t go your way.  you have the power to remain calm.  you can handle any situation.  quit letting little things steal your joy.  every day is a gift from God.  life is too short to live it negative, offended, bitter, discouraged.  start passing the tests, believing that God is directing your steps, is in control of your life, has solutions to problems that you haven’t even had.  if you will stay calm and stay in faith, God promised that all things will work out for your good.  “I was in that same type of situation but it didn’t have a good end.”  you can handle it.

God has put an anointing on your life;  it’s like oil that causes things not to stick.  when you walk in your anointing, knowing that you can handle anything that comes your way, then things that should bring you down won’t be able to.  you get laid off, it wasn’t fair;  you should be discouraged, upset, but you stay in faith and you end up with a better job.  at the office, people are playing politics, talking behind your back;  you should try to get even, pay them back, but because of this anointing it just slides right off of you.  many of you can say, “how did you make it through that slow season at work, illness, breakup?  it’s because of the anointing God put on your life.  He gave you strength when you didn’t think you could go on.  He gave you joy when you should have been discouraged.  He made a way when it looked impossible.  now, we can all say, “where would we be without the goodness of God?”  God has infused strength into you.  He has equipped and empowered you.  you are ready for and equal to anything that comes your way.  when you face difficulties, remind yourself, “I am anointed for this.  I’m not going to fall apart, start complaining;  I can handle it. I know God is still on the throne, fighting my battles, and if God be for me who dare be against me?”

Philippians 1:28 (NLT)

28 Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies

don’t be intimidated by that cancer;  it’s no match for you.  sickness cannot keep you from your destiny.  God has you in the palm of His hand;  nothing can snatch you away.  if it’s not your time to go, you’re not going to go.  don’t be intimidated by that financial problem or by what somebody said about you;  there’s an anointing on your life that seals, protects, enables, empowers you.  God has infused you with strength;  the scripture calls it “can-do power.”  the way you need to see yourself is;  no matter how big that enemy looks, how powerful it may seem, there is a force in you that is more powerful than any opposition.  greater is He that is in you than anything that comes against you.  if you will refuse to give up, fall into self-pity, or let it overwhelm you;  instead, have this attitude,  “I’m ready for and equal to anything that comes my way, I’ve been anointed with can-do power, armed with strength for this battle.”  when you have this warrior mentality, this “I can handle it” attitude, all the forces of darkness cannot keep you from your destiny.

some of you, you’ve already decided, “I can’t handle this sickness, problem at work, taking care of my elderly parents and my family too.”  no, quit telling yourself it’s too much;  those negative, defeated thoughts are draining your energy.  you wouldn’t be there if you couldn’t handle it.  God would not have allowed it if you weren’t ready for it and equal to it.  you’re anointed for it.  when you press past what’s coming against you, on the other side of that difficulty is a new level of your destiny.  sometimes in life, it feels like we got pushed in;  we weren’t expecting it.  a bad medical report, a relationship didn’t make it, a business goes down.  it may be a surprise to us, but it is not a surprise to God.  if you get pushed in, don’t sit around nursing your wounds, just go for it.  keep being your best, honoring God, doing what you know you’re supposed to do.  God has already given you the strength, wisdom, favor, determination, not only to make it through, but to come out better than you were before. remember, that difficulty is not going to defeat you, it’s going to promote you.  you can handle it.  take hold of this strength.  get up every morning, remind yourself, “I’m ready for, and equal to, anything that comes my way.”  if you will do this, God promises He will infuse strength into you.  you will overcome every obstacle, defeat every enemy, and become everything  God’s created you to be.

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There was a woman that I had gotten somewhat friendly with a couple of years ago, before she moved to a neighboring city.  I tried to keep us in touch via email, but she stopped replying after a few months.  Six months after I’d last heard from her, I suddenly got an email from her, hinting broadly about being allowed to “rent” my mother’s house…  except a look at her Facebook page showed that she and her husband were deep in debt and about to be homeless, and they were literally selling off possessions and begging for $!!  So, what had actually happened was that one or more of our mutual friends had told her that I’m a doormat for every needy person, and she was hoping to get settled into that house and then give me sob stories rather than rent, and then I’d look like a bad person if I kicked her out into the street.  Her Facebook page today showed just what a BIG mess God saved me from by steering her away from keeping in touch with me when she moved away;  their truck was just repossessed, they owe over $800, they’re begging for $ again…  and some guy posted that the husband had never delivered work he’d been paid in advance for, so they’re not even making a best-faith effort with what they’re given!!

I ‘d been sort of bummed when this woman had faded away, but God knew better, as He always does;  He wasn’t taking something away, He was protecting me from having this train wreck installed in my mother’s house.


And the tap…  it’s VERY odd.  I was in my bathroom, getting ready for bed, and I felt a tap on the top of my head.  The only other living being in the house was asleep in his room, and there is nothing on the bathroom ceiling, not even a light fixture, from which a piece might have fallen onto my head.  I should have been freaked out, because typically one would expect a tap on the head to come from some physical source, and any such source would be something that was not welcome in my bathroom in the middle of the night, but I wasn’t.  I looked vaguely at the floor as if I might spot some unimaginable object that could have fallen out of thin air and…  I guess bounced off my head and landed silently on the floor.   Even as I was looking, I knew that it was God that had tapped.  Again, this should have caused a big reaction (after all it’s rare for God to do something so physical, and I’ve NEVER had contact like this before), or at the very least made me ask Him what He had gotten  my attention for…  but my mind just sort of slid away.

Today, I tried to duplicate the tap.  My fingers make a thud, not a tap.  Harder objects create too “sharp” of a feeling.  Nothing I can find mimics either the feeling or the sound…  but that should not come as a surprise, right?

But the central issue of course is:  WHY?  Why did God need my attention, why did He choose that way to get it, why did He steer my mind away from what was a nearly miraculous experience, and why has He given me no clue as to what it means?  I have no idea, but I record my spiritual experiences so here it is.

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Your seventh year

from JO’s sermon tonight:

when we’ve struggled in an area for a long time, it’s easy to think, “this is the way it’s always going to be;  I’ll always struggle in my finances, I never get any good breaks”;  too often, we see it as permanent.  “I’ve always been negative, that’s just who I am”;  they’ve convinced themselves that it’s never going to change.  the first place we lose the battle is in our own thinking:  if you think it’s permanent, it is.  if you think you’ve reached your limits, you have.  if you think you’ll never get well, then you won’t.  you have to change your thinking;  you need to see everything that’s holding you back, every limitation, addiction, sickness, as only temporary.  it didn’t come to stay, it came to pass.  the moment you accept it as the norm, decide, “this is my lot in life,” that’s when it can take root and become a reality.  a stronghold in your mind can keep you from your destiny,  some of you today, if you would just break out in your thinking, you would see things begin to improve.

you may have struggled in an area for 20 years;  the medical report says, “just learn to live with it,” but there’s another report;  it says, “God is restoring health back unto you, the # of your days He will fulfill.”  your attitude should be, “this sickness cannot stay in my body;  it’s on foreign territory, I am a temple of the most high God.”  in your career, you may feel stuck.  you haven’t had a good break in a long time. you’ve gone as far as your education allows.  it’s easy to think, “I’ve reached my limits, this is as good as it gets,” no, all through the day, “I’m not settling here, my greatest victories are still out in front of me.”  you have to stir up your faith. God is not limited by our education, nationality, background;  He is limited by our thinking.  I’m asking you to stand against these lies of permanency that say, “you’ll never lose that weight, break that addiction, own your own house.”  when those thoughts come, dismiss them;  God is saying, “it’s not permanent, it’s temporary.  it didn’t come to stay, it came to pass.

Deuteronomy 15:12-14 (NIV)

12 If any of your people—Hebrew men or women—sell themselves to you and serve you six years, in the seventh year you must let them go free. 13 And when you release them, do not send them away empty-handed. 14 Supply them liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to them as the Lord your God has blessed you.

if you were Hebrew, and you owed a person $, and you couldn’t pay them, then they could take you in as a slave and make you work full-time until you paid them back.  but every 7th year, if you were a part of God’s chosen people, you had a special advantage;  you got released.  no matter how much you still owed, in the 7th year you were set free.  all the pain, struggling and suffering, in one day was gone.  this tells me that God never intended His people to be a permanent slave to anything.  you may be in debt today, but God did not intend that to last forever.  you may be facing an illness, but it is only temporary.  you may be struggling with an addiction, but it’s not going to keep you in bondage.  you’re about to come into one of your 7th years.  the 7th year is when you break free from any limitation that’s holding you back:  sickness, addictions, debt, constantly struggling.  it looked like it would never change, looked permanent, but then one touch of God’s favor and it suddenly turns around.  suddenly you get a good break, your health improves, you meet the right person, a dream comes to pass.  what happened?  you came into a 7th year.

now quit telling yourself, “this sickness is permanent, I’ll always struggle financially, never break this addiction”;  no, you are a child of the most high God.  you have an advantage;  God promised you’re not going to be a permanent slave to anything.  now, you’ve gotta get in agreement with God, and say, “yes, I’m coming into my 7th year.  it is my time to break free, every chain has been loosed, every stronghold has come down.   I know I have been released into increase.”  God can do what medicine cannot do;  He’s not limited to the natural, He’s a supernatural God.  it doesn’t matter how long it’s been that way or how impossible it looks;  when you come into your 7th year, all the forces of darkness cannot stop what God wants to do.  is there something in your life you think is permanent?  you’ll never get well, start that business, get out of that legal problem;  as far as you can see, it’s permanent.  no, God is saying, “you need to get ready, you’re coming into your 7th year.”

the 7th year is a year of release from sickness, disease, chronic pain, depression, worry, anxiety, bad habits, addictions.  it’s not only a release from limitations, it’s a release into increase;  God is about to release you into new opportunities, good breaks, new levels.  He’s going to release ideas, creativity, sales, contracts, businesses.  the 7th year is when you get released into overflow, more than enough;  it’s when dreams come to pass.  now you have to receive this into your spirit today;  it’s easy to think, “this is never gonna happen to me, I  don’t believe anything’s gonna change just because you’re saying this, or that I’m coming into my 7th year.”  then this is not for you;  this is for believers, people who know that things have shifted in their favor, that every limitation is only temporary, that they’re entering into their 7th year.  there are some 7th years in your future, what you think could never happen:  “I could never afford that property, get well, meet the right person.” no, you need to get ready, when you come into your 7th year, God is going to do more than you could ask or think.  He is going to exceed your expectations.  it’s going to be bigger, better, more rewarding than you thought possible.

it may seem permanent now, but when you come into the 7th year, God is going to release you from leasing into owning, from debt into abundance, sickness into health, from constantly struggling into an anointing of ease.  get up in the morning and dare to say, “God, I want to thank You that I’m coming into my 7th year, that You’re releasing me into the fullness of my destiny”;  when you believe, all things are possible.   some of you, you’ve lived with that sickness, chronic pain, depression, addiction, long enough;  God is saying, “this is your time, get ready for release, breakthroughs, healing, increase, your 7th year.”  how do you get ready?  start talking, acting, thinking like it’s gonna happen.  “my arthritis, diabetes, financial difficulties are really weighing me down”;  no, don’t take ownership of those things.  that arthritis, diabetes doesn’t belong to you;  that’s not a part of who you are.  it may be there temporarily, but that’s not where it’s staying;  don’t give it a permanent address.  in your mind, don’t let it move in and take up residency;  you need to have one of those signs out that says, “No Vacancy Here.”  the apostle Paul said:

2 Corinthians 4:17 (NKJV)

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory

in your mind, it may be big, but by faith you need to see it as being light and temporary.  this is what Moses did.  the Israelites had been in slavery for many years.  it looked permanent, like it would never change.  Moses had a son:

Exodus 2:21-22 (NKJV)

21 Then Moses was content to live with the man, and he gave Zipporah his daughter to Moses.22 And she bore him a son. He called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land.”

names back in those days had a lot more significance than they do today.  When Moses named his son, he was making a declaration of faith, saying, “we’re in slavery, but slavery is not our norm.  this is not our permanent address.  we are foreigners in this land.”  every time he said, “good morning, Gershom,” he was reminding himself, “this lack, trouble, slavery, is not our normal state.”  when you’re in tough times, and it looks like you’re never gonna break out, you’ve got to do like Moses;  remind yourself, “I won’t be staying here long, I’m a foreigner, I don’t have citizenship here.  I am not a citizen of depression, lack, cancer, this disease is alien to me, it’s not my norm, it may be where I am, but it is not who I am.  I am blessed, healthy, strong, victorious.”  anything to the contrary you need to see as foreign, temporary.  it is not your permanent address.

Isaiah 38:1 (NIV)

38 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”

it looked permanent, like his days were over.  the prophet who spoke for God had just announced that his life was coming to an end. Hezekiah could have accepted it, but he had a boldness, radical faith;  he chose to believe even when it looked impossible.

Isaiah 38:2-5 (NIV)

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life.

Hezekiah’s faith is what brought about his 7th year.  your faith is what causes God to move.  “I’m 65, and I’ve never had one of those 7th years.”  are you releasing your faith, thanking God that it’s turning around?  are you declaring, “where I am is not where I’m staying?  this sickness is temporary, I’m coming out of debt, there are new levels in my future”?  when you have this attitude of faith, speaking victory over your life, that’s when the Creator of the universe can show up and do amazing things.  your faith can bring about your 7th year.  when Hezekiah got the news that his life would be extended, he didn’t feel any better, look any different;  the only thing that had changed was that God said that his life would be extended.  Hezekiah didn’t wait for his health to turn around before he gave God praise.  he didn’t wait until he felt better before he started talking like he was going to live and thinking like he was well.  faith says, “you’ve got to believe it and then you’ll see it.”  you’re coming into your 7th year.

you can look at the circumstances, study the financial report, see how you feel, and think, “it doesn’t look any different, I don’t see a sign of anything changing;  as soon as it starts to improve, then I’ll give God praise”;  no, your praise is what activates God’s favor.  when you have this boldness like Hezekiah, and say, “God, I don’t see how I could get well, the medical report doesn’t look good, I don’t see how I could ever meet the right person, how I’ll ever own my own home, but God, I believe You’ve already made a way, I’m stepping into a new season of favor, my 7th year, that every limitation has been broken, so Lord, I just want to thank You for Your goodness in my life.” when you talk, act, praise like it’s going to happen, that’s when God says to the angels, “turn around, go back, and tell them they’re coming into their 7th year.  I’m going to do what they’re asking, change what looked permanent.”

but a lot of times, instead of taking our praise to God, we’re taking our problems to God;  “God, I’ve had this addiction for 27 years, I don’t think I’ll ever break it, I’m working 2 jobs, I still don’t have enough, I don’t understand it.”  it’s easy to turn prayer into a complaining session, but God already knows your needs;  you don’t have to tell God everything that’s wrong, what you don’t like, and how long it’s been that way.  it’s much better to take your praise to God, rather than your problems.  your financial situation may not look good, but turn it around;  “Lord, I want to thank You that You are Jehova-Jireh, the Lord my provider, supplying all of my needs.”  you may not feel well, but instead of complaining;  “Lord, thank you that I’m getting healthier, stronger, better every day.”  praise gets God’s attention, not complaining.

Acts 9:1-13 (NIV)

9 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples… As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him… Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing… 10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision,“Ananias!”

“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 

notice this phrase, “I’ve heard”;  if you’re always telling God what you’ve heard, then you’re going to miss out on God’s blessings.  you’ll get discouraged, doubt will fill your mind;  “God, the financial report says I’m never gonna get ahead, my children are running with the wrong crowd.”  no, don’t tell God what you’ve heard;  God says you’re the head and not the tail, don’t tell Him all the reasons why you’re not.  God says, “you will live and not die”;  “but, God, the medical report says otherwise,” no, quit telling God what you’ve heard.  that’s not doing you nor Him any good.  don’t take your problems to God, take your praise to God.  “Lord, I want to thank You that with long life You’ll satisfy me.  and even though it looks permanent, Lord, I want to thank You that I’m coming into my 7th year, a year of release, healing, breakthroughs, abundance.”

Isaiah 61:1 (NIV)

61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners

he was saying, in effect, “it may look permanent, but I’m announcing your freedom, you’re coming out of debt, that sickness is not going to defeat you.  I’m announcing new levels are in your future.”

Isaiah 61:2 (NIV)

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

notice this principle:  he announced it, then he declared it.  what if we would do the same thing?  “I’m announcing today we’re coming out of debt, struggle, not getting ahead.  I’m declaring we’re coming into increase, overflow, abundance, we will lend and not borrow, we will be able to give to every good work.  I’m declaring that we’re blessed, prosperous, generous.  I’m announcing that we will not live negative, depressed, worried, anxious, stressed out.  I’m declaring that we are happy, content, confident, secure, full of joy, loving our lives.”  you’ve gotta announce it and declare it by faith.  nothing you’re saying may be true at the time;  this is what faith is all about.  God called Abraham the father of many nations before he had one child.  it didn’t make sense, it looked like God was mixed up.

Romans 4:17 (ASV)

17 … calleth the things that are not, as though they were

too often, we’re announcing and declaring the wrong things;  “I’ve been single so long, I’ll never meet the right person.  prices are so high, I don’t see how I’m ever gonna make it.”  that’s announcing defeat and declaring mediocrity. you’ve gotta change what’s coming out of your mouth, start announcing freedom from anything that is holding you back.  freedom from:  loneliness, depression, addictions, constantly struggling.  dare to start boldly declaring that God’s favor is coming:  breakthroughs, healing, victory.  you are prophesying your future, setting the tone for your life with your words.  some of you have struggled in an area for a long time, but let me declare this over you;  receive this into your spirit, “it is not permanent, you are coming into your 7th year.  this is a new day, the tide of the battle has turned, every chain has been loosed, every stronghold has been shattered, every limitation has been broken.  you are breaking free into a new level.  God is releasing you into increase, opportunity, favor, healing, breakthroughs, and the fullness of your destiny.

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