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Archive for February, 2014

God dictates a message

I’ve been experimenting with dictation software, and on 2-23 I was trying to transcribe a sermon.  As always happens, there were some wrong words being generated;  some that made sense, and some that were utterly bizarre.  An example of the latter was when MY NAME showed up as part of the transcription of:

“being in God’s perfect will doesn’t mean we won’t have difficulties.  you can’t reach your destiny without opposition, unfair situations, people doing you wrong.  when things come against you, it’s easy to think, “all is not well, look at these difficulties,” no, the truth is, the enemy wouldn’t be fighting you unless he knew God had something amazing in your future. you can stay in faith and declare “all is well” knowing that that opposition is a sign that something great is coming. The scripture says, don’t be surprised when you face various trials:

1 Peter 4:12 (NLT)

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.

don’t get bent out of shape because life threw you a curve, you had an unexpected challenge;  sometimes we face difficulties, not because we’re doing something wrong, but because we’re doing something right.”

I’ve been going through the worst trials of my life over the past couple of years, so…  !!!!!!!!!!  It’s kinda hard to not see my NAME appearing there as being a message that God is handling things for me.

And another oddity:  I was dictating an email on 2-24.  I hadn’t said anything for a few minutes because I was reading it over and watching TV.  And then the following appeared:

hey

As I sat blinking in amazement, it “erased” itself and changed to:

okay

I’d have sworn that I hadn’t made a sound.  I can’t imagine God using either of those words, though…  I honestly don’t know what to say about this one, but given the timing I’m throwing it in for completeness’ sake.

And 2-25…  marked 2 YEARS since the last time I saw the man I love.  Please pray that God brings him back to me soon.

Edit 2-29 2:30AM:  I was dictating an email, and “hi” appeared.  I did a search to see if this is a known glitch or programmer joke, but could not find anything.

Edit 3-10 7AM:  I just got another “hi” in a email.  I got a “hey” a few days ago, too.

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All is well

from JO’s sermon tonight:

it’s easy to go through life worried about the future, frustrated because the dream is taking so long, upset because somebody did us wrong.  but instead of complaining about the difficulty, being sour because your plans didn’t work out, you need to remember these three simple words:  “all is well.” God is still on the throne.  He’s directing your steps.  He wouldn’t have allowed it unless He had a purpose for it. when you’re tempted to get discouraged, keep reminding yourself, “all is well.”  “I lost my biggest client;  I’m not stressed over it, I know something better is coming. all is well.  I was cheated in a business deal;  that’s alright, God is my vindicator. all is well.  I prayed for my loved one, but they didn’t make it;  I’m not bitter, I know they’re in heaven rejoicing where there is no pain.  all is well.” when you have this “all is well” attitude, there’s a peace, a rest;  it takes the pressure off.  you don’t live on a rollercoaster. you know all is well when you’re on the mountaintop, and all is well in the valley. all is well when business is great, and all is well when it’s not so great. you have a made-up mind; you know God is bigger than any obstacle. as long as you stay in faith, nothing can keep you from your destiny. that’s what three Hebrew teenagers did in the scripture:

Daniel 3:12-15 (GNT)

12 … Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—who are disobeying Your Majesty’s orders. They do not worship your god or bow down to the statue you set up.”
13 At that, the king flew into a rage and ordered the three men to be brought before him. 14 He said to them, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is it true that you refuse to worship my god and to bow down to the gold statue I have set up?… bow down and worship the statue. If you do not, you will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.

they could have complained, “God, it’s not fair, we’re doing your will and look what happens.” no:

Daniel 3:16-18 (GNT)

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered, “Your Majesty, we will not try to defend ourselves.17 If the God whom we serve is able to save us from the blazing furnace and from your power, then he will. 18 But even if he doesn’t, Your Majesty may be sure that we will not worship your god, and we will not bow down to the gold statue that you have set up.”

they were saying, “all is well if it goes our way, and all is well if it doesn’t go our way. all is well if our prayers get answered, and all is well if they don’t get answered.”

Daniel 3:19-28 (NKJV)

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar… commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace…
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”
They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”
25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

when you know all is well, the Creator of the universe will make things happen that you could never make happen. like these teenagers, you may be in a situation where you don’t see a way out. you could be discouraged, upset, stressed. no, you need to start declaring, “all is well. I’m struggling in my marriage, but I’m not living stressed;  all is well. I’m dealing with this addiction, I’m not where I thought I’d be in life, but I’m not discouraged;  God is still working on me, I’m not a finished product, all is well. I never thought I’d be facing this legal problem, this sickness, this divorce, this bankruptcy, but can I tell you;  all is well. I’m at peace.  I know God is in complete control.” maybe you’re single, you thought you would’ve met somebody by now.  let me encourage you;  all is well. God already has the right person lined up for you; they are in your future.  stay in agreement with God. don’t go around thinking, “it’s never going to happen,” no, have this attitude; “all is well.” maybe your child made some poor choices;  worrying is not going to help, losing sleep doesn’t make it better.  all through the day, let this phrase play in your mind; “all is well.” you’ll hear the voice, “what if he doesn’t change?” answer back, “all is well.” “what if he gets in more trouble?” “all is well.” “what if it doesn’t work out?” “all is well.” replace the thoughts of worry with “all is well.” maybe the medical report wasn’t good;  it would be easy to let those words play all day long, “you’re not going to make it, learn to live with it.” no, turn off that recording, and put on this new recording;  “all is well. the number of my days God will fulfill. nothing can snatch me out of His hands.” or perhaps a legal situation; you don’t like it, it wasn’t fair, but all is well.  it says in Psalms:

Psalm 57:6 (CEV)

6 Enemies set traps for my feet
    and struck me down.
    They dug a pit in my path,
    but fell in it themselves.

when you meditate on this simple phrase, “all is well,” you’re saying, “God, I trust You. You’re bigger than this problem. You can turn any situation around.” it’s interesting;  the Hebrew teenagers were doing the right thing when the wrong thing happened to them. being in God’s perfect will doesn’t mean we won’t have difficulties.  you can’t reach your destiny without opposition, unfair situations, people doing you wrong.  when things come against you, it’s easy to think, “all is not well, look at these difficulties, ” no, the truth is, the enemy wouldn’t be fighting you unless he knew God had something amazing in your future.  you can stay in faith and declare “all is well,” knowing that that opposition is a sign that something great is coming. the scripture says:

1 Peter 4:12 (NLT)

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.

don’t get bent out of shape because life threw you a curve, you had an unexpected challenge;  sometimes we face difficulties, not because we’re doing something wrong, but because we’re doing something right.  Jesus told a parable about this:

Matthew 13:24-28 (NIV)

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

anytime you’re doing the right thing, honoring God, being productive, helping others, don’t be surprised if you find some weeds among your wheat.  like with this farmer, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong.  we think,” I’ve been loyal to this company for 20 years, how could they treat me badly? I raised my child right, now he’s veering off course.  I just don’t understand it.” those are simply weeds that the enemy has sown into your field. the good news is, those weeds cannot keep you from your destiny.  if that trouble was going to stop God’s plan, He would’ve never permitted it. the weeds always pop up right before the harvest:  your business slows down, a child acts up, you have trouble in a relationship.  don’t panic;  you are close to your breakthrough.  your harvest is about to come;  that’s why the weeds are popping up.  instead of falling apart,” God, why did this happen?”  no, our attitude should be, “it’s no big deal, it’s just another weed.  I didn’t sow it.  I don’t have to reap it.  God said He would take care of it for me.”  if for some reason you were to lose your job, don’t panic;  that’s just a weed popping up.  you stay in faith, and God will give you a better job.  if the medical report is negative, don’t get discouraged;  see that sickness as a weed.  it cannot stop you;  you’re a child of the most high God. you have the most powerful force in the universe breathing in your direction.  maybe somebody walked out of a relationship, did you wrong, caused you a lot of pain.  next time you see them, under your breath say, “hello weed.”  you don’t need them to become who God created you to be.  this parable ends with the workers asking the farmer:

Matthew 13:28-29 (NIV)

28 … “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

God is saying that to us;  the weeds that pop up, the unexpected challenges, the sickness, the trouble at work, you don’t have to fight those battles.  don’t spend all your life trying to pull up the weeds;  you can’t fix everything in your own strength.  if you’re constantly trying to straighten this person out, fix this problem, make this situation resolve, you’ll be frustrated. the scripture says:

Hebrews 4:3 (NKJV)

3 For we who have believed do enter that rest

at some point you’ve got to say, “God, I’m trusting you to take care of my weeds.” you keep honoring God, being your best, and God will move the wrong people out of the way, restore what’s been stolen, straighten out the situation at work, at home, for you.  the battle is not yours, the battle is the Lord’s.  be still and know that He is God:

Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God

we shouldn’t always be wrought up, uptight, worried, frustrated, trying to fix this, rebuking, resisting. a mature attitude says, “everything’s not perfect in my life. I have some struggles, some situations I wish were different, but can I tell you, all is well. I’m at peace. I’m not worried; I know at the right time God will take care of my weeds.  until then, I’m going to relax and enjoy my life.” but too often, we’re frustrated by the difficulties.  we have to realize, we can’t have a harvest without a few weeds.  David would have never made it to the throne without Goliath;  a big weed.  there will be weeds in all of our lives. we’re not always going to understand where they came from, why it happened. don’t get discouraged;  just keep moving forward, knowing that all is well, and God promises He will take care of your weeds.  when you see those weeds popping up, those unexpected challenges, you’re doing the right thing but the wrong thing is happening, that’s a sign that your harvest is getting closer.  God knows how to get rid of the weeds in your life.

2 Kings 4:16-20 (ESV)

16 And he said, “At this season, about this time next year, you shall embrace a son.” And she said, “No, my lord, O man of God; do not lie to your servant.” 17 But the woman conceived, and she bore a son about that time the following spring, as Elisha had said to her.

18 When the child had grown, he went out one day to his father among the reapers. 19 And he said to his father, “Oh, my head, my head!” The father said to his servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 20 And when he had lifted him and brought him to his mother, the child sat on her lap till noon, and then he died.

you can imagine how heartbroken, distraught this woman must’ve been;  after waiting all these years, now her only son is gone.

2 Kings 4:21-37 (ESV)

21 And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God and shut the door behind him and went out. 22 Then she called to her husband and said, “Send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, that I may quickly go to the man of God and come back again.” 23 And he said, “Why will you go to him today? It is neither new moon nor Sabbath.” She said, “All is well.” 24 Then she saddled the donkey, and she said to her servant, “Urge the animal on; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” 25 So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.
When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant, “Look, there is the Shunammite. 26 Run at once to meet her and say to her, ‘Is all well with you? Is all well with your husband? Is all well with the child?’” And she answered, “All is well.” 

“I’m not going to lie;  if it’s not well, I’m not going to say that it is well.” but really, this is what faith is all about:

Romans 4:17 (WEB)

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

when the situation doesn’t look good, you don’t see how you could accomplish a dream, your child’s off course, every voice says, “it’s not going to happen, it’s too late, just accept it,” but you dig your heels in and say like this woman, “all is well,” that’s not just being positive, you are prophesying your future, you are speaking faith into your future. don’t use your words to describe your situation, use your words to change your situation. It’s easy to talk about the problem, how it’s not going to work out;  “I just believe in telling it like it is.  my back has been hurting for 13 years, I’ll never get better.  I’ve had this addiction since high school, I’ll never break it.”  that’s prophesying defeat. why don’t you do like this lady?  in spite of the difficulties, you don’t see any sign of it changing, dare to say, “all is well.”  you lost a love one;  you should be depressed, no, “all is well.  God is still in the throne.” you didn’t get the promotion, your friend says, “it’s not right, you deserve it”;  don’t join in, “yeah, I can’t stand my boss.”  no, “all is well.  something better is coming.”  the medical report wasn’t good;  “yes, but God is good, all is well.” you’ve been in a drought and haven’t had a good break in a long time;  “yes, but I’m not worried.  I know the abundance of rain is coming.  all is well in my life.”

2 Kings 4:27-37 (ESV)

27 And when she came to the mountain to the man of God…  he arose and followed her… 32 When Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. 33 So he went in and shut the door behind the two of them and prayed to the Lord…  the child opened his eyes. 

a great miracle.  I don’t believe this would’ve happened if she would’ve sat around in self-pity, discouraged, “God, it’s not fair”;  it happened because she believed “all is well” before she saw any sign of it being well. you may be in a situation right now that is not well;  it is not well with your health, it is not well in your finances, or maybe it’s not well in a relationship. you have a choice:  you can accept it, get discouraged, complain, or you can do like this lady;  in spite of what it looks like, in spite of what your mind is telling you, in spite of the negative reports, you can dare to say, “all is well.” this is what Paul and Silas did:

Acts 16:22-25 (NIV)

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

they were saying, “we’re not distraught, upset;  all is well.”  and then:

Acts 16:26-30 (NIV)

26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Job went through a season of great trouble:  lost his health, his business, everything went wrong.  but Job didn’t get bitter.  he said:

Job 13:15 (KJV)

15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him

he was saying, “if it goes my way, or it doesn’t go my way, all is well.”  if you have to have everything happen your way in order to be happy, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. a mature attitude is;  “all is well if my prayers get answered, and all is well if they don’t get answered.  all is well if people are good to me, and all is well if they’re not good to me.”  you’re not moved by the circumstances;  that takes away the enemy’s power.  when you don’t have to have your way, he can’t control you;  you’re saying, “God, my life is in Your hands.  You know what’s best for me.”  Daniel did this:  he was about to be thrown into a den of hungry lions.  his attitude was, “if I get eaten by these lions, I’ll go to be with the Lord today; all is well.  if not, I’ll stay here and finish my course;  all is well.” the next morning, the guards came to check on him.  I can imagine Daniel lying there in the den of lions, asleep, at peace, at rest.  he knew the enemy doesn’t determine our destiny;  God determines our destiny.  when you have this “all is well” attitude, you’re not moved by the weeds, you’re not upset because of the disappointment, you don’t lose sleep because somebody did you wrong, you don’t live sour because your prayers didn’t get answered your way;  you know God is still on the throne, and He will get you to where you’re supposed to be.

no matter what comes our way, we need to be able to say, “it is well with my soul.  life may have thrown me a few curves, but it is well with my soul.  all my dreams haven’t come to pass yet, but it is well.  went through a divorce, I’m not bitter;  it is well.  lost a loved one, don’t understand it, but it is well with my soul.”  sometimes you have to announce it, not only so you can hear it, not only so God can hear it, but so the enemy can hear it.  he is expecting you to fall apart, get depressed, give up on your dreams.  but when you look that adversity in the eye and you’re not moved by it, you’ve still got a report of victory, you’ve still got a smile on your face, you’re still being good to people, that gives him a nervous breakdown.  he hit you with his best shot, but his best was not enough;  he doesn’t have the final say, God has the final say, and God has not brought you this far to leave you.  you’ve seen God’s goodness, mercy, favor in the past;  you’re going to see it again in the future.

when it’s all said and done, you’ll still be standing strong.  now you’ve got to do your part and speak victory into your future.  if you don’t talk to yourself the right way, negative thoughts will try to talk you out of it.  the “what ifs” will bombard your mind:  “what if you don’t meet the right person?” what if your health doesn’t improve?”  no, declare it by faith, “all is well.  God, I may not see a way, but I know You have a way.  this may be a surprise to me, but it’s not a surprise to You.”   how you respond in the difficult times will determine whether or not you reach the fullness of your destiny.  there will be obstacles on the way to your promised land.  we all have weeds sewn into our fields, things that don’t make sense.  we don’t like it:  loss, unfair situations, disappointments.  don’t complain, don’t get bitter, do like Daniel, Job;  dare to say “all is well.”  that shows God that you’re trusting Him;  that’s what allows Him to give you beauty for ashes, to take what was meant for your harm and turn it to your advantage.  maybe you’re in a situation now where you could be discouraged, upset, you don’t see how it could ever work out in your favor:

Isaiah 3:10 (AMP)

10 Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them

you are the righteous.  God says to say this to you, “it shall be well.” not “hope so,” not “maybe,” not “if you get lucky,” no, God promises it shall be well with you.  maybe you lost a loved one, you don’t see how you can go on;  that is not the end, that is a new beginning. it shall be well with you.  the job situation didn’t work out;  you lost a client, you got let go. don’t worry, God has something better;  it shall be well with you.  you’re struggling in your finances, you don’t know how you’re going to make it;  God has got it all figured out.  He’s called “the Lord our provider.”  He clothes the lilies of the field, He feeds the birds of the air;  it shall be well with you.  all through the day, let this phrase play in your mind.  when you’re tempted to get upset, to be worried, offended, just smile;  “no thanks, I know all is well.”  God has promised that all things, not some, all things, are going to work out for your good.  that means even the weeds are going to work to your advantage.  you may have some weeds in your life right now;  that’s a sign that you are close to your harvest.  you’re about to see a breakthrough, healing, restoration, promotion.  you may have to say it by faith today, but one day you will say it as a fact.  “all is well in my health;  I got a good medical report.  all is well in my career;  dreams are coming to pass.  all is well with my children;  they’re fulfilling their destinies.”  you will see the faithfulness of God.  promises will be fulfilled, negative situation will turn around.  I believe and declare, you’re coming into your harvest;  the fullness of your destiny.  it shall be well with you.

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Strategically ordered steps

from JO’s sermon tonight:

God is not a random God. He’s not vague, approximate, “maybe I’ll do this, maybe I’ll do that”;  God is precise, exact.  He’s already laid out the plan for your life down to the  smallest details, and just as God will strategically bring good breaks, promotion, the right people, God will also use adversities, disappointments, closed doors to move us toward our destiny.  at the time, we may not understand it;  we think, “this couldn’t be God, I lost my biggest client, I’m in a legal battle, my friend turned on me.”  no, God wouldn’t have allowed it unless He had a purpose for it.  God doesn’t just randomly say, “let Me give them some heartache, a bad break, let this person reject them.”  no, God is strategic;  He may not have sent it, but if He allowed it He can use it to your advantage.  God sees the big picture for our lives;  He knows what we’re going to need in a month, in a year, and in twenty years.  in the scripture:

Judges 14:1-3 (NIV)

14 Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. 2 When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.”
3 His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?”

God had instructed them to not get involved with foreigners, to stay with their own clan

Judges 14:4 (NIV)

But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.” 4 (His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.)

this is a situation that doesn’t necessarily fit into our theology;  God told them not to marry foreigners, yet God was the one that led Sampson to do it.  God knew that years down the road He needed an insider in the Philistine’s camp to carry out His plan.  here’s my point;  we’re not always going to understand why something happens. true faith is trusting God when it doesn’t make sense, believing that He’s strategic, that He knows what He’s doing.  it may be uncomfortable, we don’t understand it, but deep down we have to know that if God allowed it, that somehow it’s going to further us ultimately toward our divine destiny.

Proverbs 20:24 (VOICE)
24 Every one of our steps is directed by Him;
so how can we attempt to figure out our own way?

“why did my business go down, why did my child get into trouble, why did my relationship not work out?”  you may never know why, but you can come back to this core truth that God knows what He’s doing, His plan for your life is good, and even in opposition, like with Sampson, God is creating opportunity. somewhere down the road, it’s not going to work against you, it’s going to work for you.  if you don’t understand this principle, you’ll live frustrated, because there are times in God’s divine plan where it will look like you’re going the wrong direction;  your back is facing your goal.  you know you’re supposed to be going this way, but you’re headed just the opposite.  this is what faith is all about;  will you trust Him when it seems like you’re going the wrong way?  will you keep a good attitude when you’re praying for increase but seeing decrease?  will you stay in faith when you were the most qualified but you got passed over?  God knows what He’s doing;  He would’ve never allowed that if it was going to keep you from your destiny.  He’s too strategic to just randomly put that into the plan for your life.  it may not seem good, but if you’ll keep moving forward, one day you will see what God was up to.

God doesn’t always take us the most logical way.  we think we’ll go from A to B to C;  that make sense, that’s logical.  but God’s ways are not our ways;  He may take you from A to B all the way up to R and then back to C, then to M, then to F.  if you could see the plan God has for your life on a map, it would not be in a straight line.  imagine a bunch of stepping stones;  they would start off straight towards your goal, then there’s a turn, and another turn, now you’re headed back to where you started.  wrong direction, it doesn’t make sense, then there’s a U-turn, it goes back up little higher, then it dips down, on and on.  at some point, you could be on a stepping stone God ordained for you;  He strategically placed it before the foundation of time.  but the stone you’re on is facing the opposite direction of your goal.  it’s easy to think, “this is not God’s plan;  I’m going the wrong way.  why do these things keep happening to me?”  stay in faith.  God’s plan is not straight;  there are curves, detours, U-turns, shortcuts.  God knows what He’s doing;  He’s strategically directing your steps.  it may be uncomfortable, but God’s the One that put the stepping stone there;  it’s all a part of His plan.  we all want to go to a higher level, we all want to see more of God’s favor, but sometimes you have to come off the mountain that you’re on and go down into the valley, not to stay, not to live, but so you can go up to a higher mountain.  God has something better, something bigger;  you haven’t seen, heard or imagined what God has in store.

but too often, we think, “God, I’m going backwards.  You said “higher” and I’m going lower.  You said “rain”;  I’m seeing drought.”  no, don’t get discouraged, God is simply bringing you down that one mountain so you can go up to a higher mountain;  He is strategically positioning you to see more of His goodness. if you will stay in faith, one day you will look back and say, “it was good that I got pushed out of that job, or I would’ve been stuck in a limited environment.  it was good that that person left me, or I would’ve never met the love of my life.  it was good that I went through the difficulty;  it not only make me stronger, not only developed a greater confidence in God, but in the opposition God was creating opportunity, putting me in position for something bigger, something better, something greater.”  we see this principle in the life of Joseph;  God knew there was going to be a famine in the land, and the Israelites couldn’t survive without food from the Egyptians, so years earlier God put a dream in the heart of a young man named Joseph that he would rule a nation.  as a teenager, he had the promise from God;  his goal was in front of him.  he started out great;  he was his father’s favorite child, wearing his coat of many colors, headed toward his destiny.  but his brothers were very jealous of him;  they threw him into a pit and eventually sold him into slavery.  I’m sure Joseph thought, “God, where are You?  You said I would lead a nation, but now I’m a slave.  this doesn’t make sense.”  the truth is, he was in God’s perfect will;  he was just on one of those stones facing the opposite direction.

 here’s the key;  those stones are temporary.  that’s not where you’re permanently headed.  don’t stay focused on where you are.  if you isolate one stone, one bad break, one disappointment, one dry season, you’ll get bitter, sour.  that stone is simply one step in the plan God has for your life;  it is not the final piece.  God says His plans for you are for good and not evil.  the end of your path is victory, dreams fulfilled, promises coming to pass.  don’t judge your future by one negative stepping stone.  Joseph kept being his best, honoring God, even though things weren’t going his way.  he ended up second in command of all of Egypt;  the dream came to pass.  here’s how strategic God is:  there was a great famine in the land.  Jacob, Joseph’s father, thought that Joseph was dead, hadn’t seen him in many years.   Jacob told his other sons to go to Egypt and see if there’s any way they could possibly buy food;  they were about to starve to death.  God used the famine to send them to Egypt;  they would’ve never gone that way without the adversity.  in the same way, God will use dry seasons, disappointments, closed doors to reposition us to get us to where He wants us to be;  God knows what’s best for us.  the brothers showed up at the palace, and there was Joseph in charge of the food supply, running the whole nation.  some 20 years earlier, God strategically orchestrated Joseph to be inside a foreign country, not only so his dream could come to pass, but so that God’s people could flourish in a time of famine.

that’s how precise God is;  He’s looking years down the road.  we can see a little way, but God knows what you’re going to need 30 years from now.  the good news is, God is lining up people today that years later will be instrumental in you fulfilling your destiny.  nothing randomly happens. if Joseph’s brothers hadn’t rejected him, he would’ve never made it to the throne.  quit losing sleep over people that don’t accept you, try to make you look small, disrespect you, dismiss you;  if they weren’t in your life, you couldn’t make it to your throne.  God ordained them, not to hold you back, but to move you forward.  they may think they’re pushing you down;  really, they’re pushing you up.  you may be on one of those stepping stones facing the wrong direction;  it may set you back for a season, but don’t worry, a U-turn is coming.  at some point, you’re going to step past the stone of being rejected and lied about, the stone up a bad break, disappointment, closed door, and like Joseph you will step into promotion, into abundance, into new levels, into the fullness of your destiny.  don’t get stuck on one of those negative stepping stones.  people say, “if God so good, why did I have the bad break in the first place? why did my child get off course?  why am I still struggling at work?”  that adversity, difficulty is simply a test.  God strategically placed you there;  He would’ve never allowed it if you couldn’t handle it.

it may be a big challenge, but it is no match for you;  you are a child of the most high God.  you have been armed with strength for every battle.  you have the most powerful force in the universe breathing in your direction.  don’t complain about the difficulty;  dig your heels in and have the attitude, “I am in it to win it.  I am not going to let what somebody said about me, this rejection, this breakup, this closed door, this disappointment, this sickness cause me to get sour.  I know it’s a part of God’s plan;  He strategically placed me here.  when it’s all said and done, it’s not going to work against me, it’s going to work for me.”   if you have that kind of attitude, you better get ready;  like Joseph, you’re not going to stay in the pit, in defeat, in depression, in lack;  you’re headed to the throne.  you’re headed to victory.  you’re headed to the fullness of your destiny;  people can’t stop it, bad breaks, disappointments can’t stop it.  all the forces of darkness cannot stop what God has strategically ordained for your life.  think about some of the stepping stones in Joseph’s life:   he had the promise, the dream that he would rule a nation;  a stone in the right direction.  then he was thrown into a pit, a stone the opposite way;  still part of God’s plan.

Potiphar’s wife lied about him;  they put him in prison, 2 stones going the wrong direction.  in prison, a friend, another inmate, when he got out forgot all about Joseph;  another stone the wrong way.  Joseph could’ve thought, “this is a pattern, this is my destiny;  these stones are going the wrong way.”  13 years:  disappointments, betrayals, injustice.  surely he missed God’s plan.  no, God is directing our steps, not just when things are going our way, not just when the doors open, we’re promoted, people are good to us, but even when the doors close, people aren’t good to us, the report wasn’t good.  those stones going in the wrong direction are still the hand of God.  my question is;  will you trust Him even when you don’t understand it?  will you keep a good attitude knowing that it’s going to turn to your advantage?  just like Joseph, you will come into your U-turn;  the same God that orchestrated him being betrayed, lied about, thrown into a pit, orchestrated him being promoted, vindicated, taking the throne, fulfilling his dream.  don’t be discouraged about what you’re going through;  your time is coming.  where you are is not where you’re staying.  you may be in the valley;  God allowed you to go there, not to stay, but so you could come up to a higher mountain.  God has new levels in store for you.

Genesis 15:13 (GNT)

13 The Lord said to him, “Your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land; they will be slaves there and will be treated cruelly for four hundred years.

He was saying, “there will be negative stepping stones going in the wrong direction.  you’ll be tempted to think it’ll never work out.”  but God gave them the promise, “you’ll go through difficulties, but afterwords you will come out with great abundance.”

Genesis 15:14 (NASB)

14 But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.

 friends, there will always be an afterwards.  every person goes through unfair situations, uncomfortable times.  we don’t like it, but it’s a part of God’s plan.  if you’ll keep passing the test, doing the right thing when the wrong thing is happening, afterwards you will come out promoted, increased, stronger, healthier, happier, blessed with great abundance.  now don’t get discouraged by the problem;  it’s all a part of the process that God uses to bring about the promise.  God is not just going to bring you out, He’s going to bring you out better.  He’s directing your steps.  He’s still in control of your life.  nothing that’s happened to you is a surprise to God;  He allowed that difficulty, not to defeat you, but to promote you. God is saying to us what he said to the Israelites;  “if you will keep moving forward, after the hardship, after the breakup, after the disappointment, there will be great joy, great opportunities, great health, great relationships, great abundance coming your way.”  everything is working for our good.  we don’t like the disappointments, we don’t like when a friend betrays us, we don’t like a closed door, but if it didn’t happen you wouldn’t make it into the fullness of your destiny.  see, every setback is not the enemy.  we don’t like the disappointments, the uncomfortable times, but when you realize God is strategically directing your steps, nothing can happen without God’s permission, then you will not be frustrated.

the enemy is not in control of your life;  God is in control your life.  and yes, there are forces of darkness that come against us, but like with Job, Satan had to ask permission to even test Job.  if that disappointment, that bad break was going to serve no purpose, God would have never allowed it.  quit fighting everything that doesn’t go your way.  God has you in the palm of His hand;  nothing can snatch you away.  you may not like what you’ve gone through, but every difficulty has deposited something on the inside;  you wouldn’t be who you are today or where you are today without the difficult times.  in that opposition, God was creating opportunity.  He was developing you, repositioning you, getting you prepared for greater abundance.  sometimes, what we think is a setback is really a setup for God to do something great.  God works in mysterious ways.  everything about your life has been strategically ordained.  you may not understand it, it may not make sense;  that’s what faith is all about.  some of you are living frustrated, upset because of what somebody said, what didn’t work out;  come back to that place of peace.  it’s not going to work against you, it’s going to work for you.  I believe and declare;  you’re coming into an afterwards.  after the storm, after the difficulty, there will be great joy, great health, great relationships, great opportunities, great abundance, coming your way!

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Can you repay God?

JO had this on his site today:

 

“Repaying God

… talking about the goodness of God. I was saying that I just feel so overwhelmed by all of His blessings. When I see our family and the opportunities before us, when I think about what a great privilege it is to share the message of hope with so many people, I am just so grateful… “What can I possibly do to repay Him?”

As I thought about it, I knew that, of course, I cannot do anything that equals what He has done for me. But, I thought I would look in the Bible for someone who expressed feeling this way. I was sure someone in scripture felt this way. I just wanted to read what they said and see what they did.

I found what David said in Psalm 116:12, “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?” That’s exactly what I was saying, “How can I repay God for His blessings?” Then David said, “I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.”

Wow! David was saying, “My gift back to God is to receive what God has done for me.” The way he was going to repay God, so to speak, the way he was going to show his gratitude is by taking hold of everything God had in store. He was going to call on the name of the Lord!

Understand this: David didn’t know Christ. Jesus hadn’t come to earth yet. David could only see the foreshadowing of what was to come and what was prophesied in scripture. In our day, now that we’ve seen the fulfillment of the promise, how much more can you and I take hold of this free gift of salvation? Salvation isn’t just about eternity; it’s about how we live now. Yes, He has saved us from our sins and from going to Hell, but He’s also saved us from sickness, poverty, lack, despair and everything that is contrary to His promises. Salvation is total victory now and forevermore!

I encourage you to take some time to meditate on God’s goodness in your life. Show your love and gratitude by living for Him. Walk in all of His blessings, receive His salvation, and embrace the victory He has prepared for you!”

Powerful stuff!!  I found a version of the 1st verse that I like even more:

Psalm 116:12 (MSG)

12 What can I give back to God
    for the blessings he’s poured out on me?

We obviously can’t REPAY God, but we can GIVE to Him, because although He owns the entire universe there are things that He wants from us:  belief, gratitude, love, trust, FAITH.  If you give Him all you have of these things, you will be giving Him the greatest joy that you can;  isn’t that what He deserves?

 

 

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God gives me a hand

Early AM on Friday, I was finally in bed, but not yet sleeping despite my exhaustion (life has been stressful).  I was trying to get my thoughts to drift when I realized I had a large hand resting heavily on my back.  My roommate will sometimes come in and watch TV with me, and the TV was on, so I opened my eyes and turned my head…  and he wasn’t there.  I immediately realized that it was God, offering comfort and reassurance to help me “let go” and sleep.  I focused on the feeling of the hand;  it was very clear.  Looking back, my reflex should have been to reach up and try to feel it, although I would hopefully have blocked that urge;  it would, I think, have been ungrateful to try to “examine” the miracle. But, at that time I didn’t give any thought to it;  I have a pattern of not feeling any of my normal curiosity during contact with God…  I feel a quiet certainty instead.  I just let myself relax, said “thank you” under my breath, turned my head back to the right and closed my eyes.  Over the next few minutes I cautiously made a few small shifts in position;  the “hand” shifted with me.  I’m always restless during the time I’m heading towards sleep, always in the same pattern;  I start off facing right, but switch to the left and sometimes back again before actually dozing off.  I was ready to make that first switch, but wasn’t sure if the hand would stay there if I rolled around that much.  I compromised with another shift in position.  It made me feel a little fidgety to “break the pattern,” so I said, “A little harder please, Father,” and the feeling of pressure slowly increased.  My body relaxed again under it, and I fell asleep.

By the time I woke up, I’d forgotten.  God clearly wanted me to post, though, because now, early Saturday AM, I was belatedly reading the Daily Bible Reading from BibleStudyTools.com, and saw THIS:

Psalm 38:2 (NIV)

Your arrows have pierced me,
    and your hand has come down on me.

The full line is about something punitive, of course, but the thing about the hand brought the whole experience back…  as it was meant to.

Now it’s early Sunday AM.  I tried to use an online gift card a few hours ago, and it showed as invalid.  I sent an email to the company it came from, hoping to hear back early next week, and that it would not be too big of a battle to get the nearly 3 YEAR old card replaced.  At about 8AM their time, on a SUNDAY morning, they sent me an apology and a new code!!  On what planet is someone who is authorized to send out these codes checking the corporate emails and researching past payments and sending new ones out on a Sunday morning?!!  As the icing on the miraculous cake, he has the name of…  someone whose return I fully expect to occur this year.  I looked up that name and the company name, and the 1st result was a totally different man of the same name… who looks just like my roommate.  When the coincidences pile up, you can feel sure that God is hard at work.  I am blessed beyond all description.

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Today is your day

from JO’s sermon tonight:

a lot of times, we have faith for the future;  we believe one day we’ll get a good break, feel better, the problem will turn around.  if we’re not careful, we’re always putting our faith off, believing that in the future something good is going to happen.  but true faith is always in the present;  God is called “the great I Am,” not “the great I will be.”  He wants to show you His goodness, favor, mercy today.  if this is going to happen, you can’t just have faith for the future, you have to believe, “today is my day. this could be the day my health improves.  this could be the day I get the phone call I’ve been waiting for.  this could be the day my child comes back home.”  there has to be an expectancy that something good is going to happen:  not next week, not next year, not in the sweet by-and-by.  no, “today I could be promoted.  today I could break this addiction.  today I could get a contract on the house I’ve been trying to sell.  today I could meet the person of my dreams.”  when we get up in the morning, we should make the declaration, “something good is going to happen to me today.”  you need to set the tone at the start of the day.  you may have been dealing with a problem for 20 years;  your attitude should be, “today I’m expecting it to turn around.  today I’m expecting good breaks to chase me down.  today I’m expecting to see God’s goodness.” when you have this expectancy, this now faith, then God will do things suddenly:  suddenly you get the break you need.  suddenly you feel better.  suddenly your marriage is restored.  God has some suddenlies in store for you.

2 Corinthians 6:2 (NIV)

… I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor…

God wants to do something amazing in your life, now.  some of you believe that God going to do something good one day.  you got big dreams, you know one day you’ll meet the right person, one day you’ll get that break, and that’s fine, but I’m asking you to get out of a one-day mentality and come over to a today mentality.  if God can do it one day, He can do it today.  if He can do it in the future, He could just as easily do it now.  I realize there’s a perfect timing;  God knows when it’s best for us.  but what if the reason it’s not happening is because we’re not releasing our faith for today?  when you have this attitude, “today is my day.  God, I believe that right now You’re at work in my life. right now You’re lining up the right people.  right now You’re making my crooked places straight.  right now You’re fighting my battles for me.”  when you have this right now faith, this “today is my day” faith, that’s when you’ll see, not “the great I will be,” but “the great I Am” show up and do amazing things.  that’s when you’ll see suddenlies in your own life.  but too many people live with this “one day” mentality;  the problem with “one day” is it’s always in the future.  what if God answered your prayer, and said, “ok, one day I’m going to do it”?  next month rolls around, God says, “one day.”  next year, “one day.”  20 years from now, “one day.”  friends, “one day” never comes;  it’s always tomorrow.  why don’t you have a boldness to say, “God, I believe today is my day.  today I will see your favor.  today this problem start to turn around.  today I’ll meet the right person.”  this is what David did:

Psalm 118:24 (NLT)

24 This is the day the Lord has made

he was making this same declaration;  “today is my day.  I’m expecting something good to happen to me.”  we see his attitude in the next verse:

Psalm 118:25 (Wycliffe)

25 … O Lord, save thou us! O Lord, send us prosperity now!

he could’ve said, “God, please send Your favor next week, or next month when my bills are due.”   or, “God, at the end of the year at least, when I have to pay my taxes.”  no, David didn’t have a one-day mentality, he had a right-now mentality.  he had the boldness, audacity to say, “God, I’m asking you to do it today.”  have you ever asked God to do something now, to show you His favor today?  “I wouldn’t be that bold, presumptuous, that wouldn’t be right.”  David did it, and he’s called a man after God’s own heart.

James 4:2 (KJV)

… ye have not, because ye ask not.

sometimes we’re too passive, timid, we don’t want to be pushy, seem like we’re proud.  but when you have this boldness to say like David, “God, do it today, heal me today, restore me today, show me your favor today,”  God doesn’t say, “who do you think you are?  get back down in your place.”  it’s just the opposite;  your faith gets God’s attention.  one time, Jesus was walking through a town:

Matthew 8:5-9 (NIV)

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

this man had now faith;  he believed that “today is my day.”  like David, he was saying, “Lord, send healing now.”  Jesus didn’t get offended and say, “you’ve got a lot of nerve asking me to do it right now.”  no, Jesus looked at the man and said:

Matthew 8:10-13 (NIV)

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith…  13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.

that’s what happens when you have the boldness to say, “God, do it today”;  you will see some suddenlies in your life. some of you have been praying about a situation for a long time.  you know one day God’s gonna work it out.  but you’ve got to come over into now faith.  dare to say, “God, heal me now, deliver me now, bring my child back home now, show me the abundance of rain now.” God has “now blessings” for you, but you have to be bold enough to have “now faith.”  “what if I do this, get my hopes up, believe today is my day, and it doesn’t happen?  then I’ll go to bed all discouraged, disappointed.”  no, that’s the wrong approach;  you should go to bed saying, “Father, thank You;  now I know I’m one step closer to seeing it come to pass.” when you get up the next morning, be bold enough to say it again;  “Lord, send favor today.”  see, I’m not talking about something that you try for a couple of weeks, I’m talking about a lifestyle where you live with expectancy, you go out each day looking for God’s goodness.  the truth is, we all have to wait.  I’m not saying everything will change in 24 hours;  it might, but it might take much longer.  the key is to wait the right way, with expectancy, knowing that it could happen today.

it’s easy to get discouraged, and think, “well, my marriage is never going to improve, it’s been this way too long.  I’ll never get out of debt.  I’ll never be well.”  no, God is a God of the suddenlies; one touch of His favor, and it suddenly turns around, you suddenly get the break you need, you suddenly feel better, you suddenly meet the right person.  you may not see anything happening, but that doesn’t mean that God is not working. as long as you believe, as long as you know “today is my day,” behind-the-scenes God is at work getting it all lined up.  in fact, every time you say, “Lord, send favor, healing, freedom now,” in the unseen realm God dispatches the angels.  they’re arranging things in your favor, moving the wrong people out of the way, lining up the breaks that you need.  it’s just a matter of time before your suddenly shows up.  it’s like this man that was in his yard with a big sledgehammer trying to break apart this huge boulder.  he swung at it again and again with all of his might, didn’t see the smallest dent, not even a little crack.  but every day for a couple of hours he would go out and hit that boulder as hard  as he could, never seeing any sign of things changing.  a few weeks later, he hit it, and all of a sudden the whole rock split right apart.  he was surprised;  he didn’t think he was making any progress.  what he didn’t realize was on the inside of the rock, every time he hit it it was weakening the integrity of the rock.  there were no signs on the outside, but on the inside changes were taking place.  when that rock finally split apart, it wasn’t that last blow that did it, it was a culmination of all the times he had hit it before.

in the same way, every day you get up praying, believing, expecting, you may not see anything happening;  it all looks the same. thoughts will tell you, “it’s never going to change, your child’s never going to straighten up, you’ll never be able to afford that house you want, your health is never going to improve.”  don’t believe those lies.  keep saying, “Lord, send favor now.”  keep believing, “today is my day.”  keep expecting God’s goodness.  every day you do that, whatever is holding you back is getting weaker:  the sickness is getting weaker, the addiction is getting weaker, the depression is getting weaker, the lack is getting weaker, the family problem is getting weaker.  one day you’re going to get up and say, “today is my day,” you’re not gonna say it by faith;  suddenly it’ll turn around, the dream comes to pass, suddenly you get the break. but it wasn’t just that one time, it was all those days you chose to live with expectancy, believing that God was working even though you didn’t see anything happening.  you may think it’s going to take years for you to get well, years to get out of debt, years to accomplish your dreams;  how do you know that God doesn’t have a suddenly lined up for you?  you don’t know what God has around the corner.  you need to get ready;  God is about to turn some things around.  He is about to release an abundance of rain.  He’s going to speed up what should’ve taken years.  now you’ve got to get up every morning in faith, saying, “God, I want to thank you that today is my day.”  then go out expecting one of these suddenlies to chase you down.

John 5:2-6 (VOICE)

2-3 In Jerusalem they came upon a pool by the sheep gate surrounded by five covered porches. In Hebrew this place is called Bethesda.

Crowds of people lined the area, lying around the porches. All of these people were disabled in some way; some were blind, lame, paralyzed, or plagued by diseases[; and they were waiting for the waters to move. From time to time, a heavenly messenger would come to stir the water in the pool. Whoever reached the water first and got in after it was agitated would be healed of his or her disease]. 5-6 In the crowd, Jesus noticed one particular man who had been living with his disability for 38 years. He knew this man had been waiting here a long time.

I can imagine the first week he was there he was very excited, thinking, “today is my day! I’m going to be the one to get healed.”  about a month goes by, and he doesn’t see anything happening, a year goes by, still nothing, he gets a little discouraged, then five years, well, he’s finally completely convinced that it’s never going to happen.  then:

John 5:6 (VOICE)

Jesus (to the disabled man): Are you here in this place hoping to be healed?

instead of saying, “of course I am!  I knew it was going to happen!” he started making excuses:

John 5:7 (VOICE)

Disabled Man: Kind Sir, I wait, like all of these people, for the waters to stir; but I cannot walk. If I am to be healed in the waters, someone must carry me into the pool. Without a helping hand, someone else beats me to the water’s edge each time it is stirred.

here the son of God, Jesus, stands before him, the one that has the power to make him whole, but the man is focused on all the reasons why it’s not going to happen.  you can be at the right place in the wrong frame of mind and miss what God wants to do.  you may have been praying and believing about a situation for many years, you don’t see anything changing.  you could easily talk yourself out of it.  but I believe, like with this man, God is passing by today.  you’re at the right place;  are you in the right frame of mind?  do you believe that today could be your day?  do you believe that God could still turn it around, still bless you, still restore you?  don’t be like this man and come up with a bunch of excuses why you can’t be successful, why you can’t get well, why you’ll never get married.  no, shake off the doubt, turn off the negative voices.  have the attitude, “today’s my day.  it may not have happened in the past, but I know now is the time for God’s favor.  I’m expecting some suddenlies in my life.”

(don’t worry, Jesus healed the man anyways:

John 5:8 (VOICE)

Jesus: Stand up, carry your mat, and walk.

At the moment Jesus uttered these words, a healing energy coursed through the man and returned life to his limbs—he stood and walked for the first time in 38 years.)

the Scripture tells us to be prisoners of hope:

Zechariah 9:12 (NIV)

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

that means we’re chained to hope;  we can’t get away from it.  in other words, “I should be discouraged, it’s taking a long time, but I can’t help it;  I still believe God can turn it around.  I still believe a suddenly is coming.  I still believe that today could be my day.”  that thought says, “you’re never going to get out of debt, business is slow, looks like you’re going to go under,” just answer back, “yes, that may be true in the natural, I don’t see a way, but you ‘ve gotta understand;  I’m in a prison.  not physically, but mentally;  a prison of expectancy. I believe now God is working in my life. now is the time for God’s favor.”  whenever those thoughts try to talk you out of it, just tell them, “you’re too late;  I’ve already seen suddenlies in my life.”  go back and remember all the things God has done for you. if God did it for us once, He’ll do it for us again.  that’s a prisoner of hope; you don’t get talked out of it.

Isaiah 30:18 (AMP)

18 And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you

God wants to show you His favor, but there’s a requirement;  God is going to be good, but not necessarily to everyone. the rest of the verse tells us who:

Isaiah 30:18 (AMP)

18 … Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!

God is going to be good to the people that are looking for His goodness, people that are expecting his favor.  my question is;  what are you looking for?  what are you expecting?  to barely get by this year?  or are you expecting an abundance of rain?  do you think your situation will never change, or do you know that now is the time for God’s favor?  “I’ve had a lot of disappointments, I never get any good breaks, I don’t see how I could get well.”  no, if you’re not looking for God’s goodness, if you don’t develop this attitude that “today is my day,” then even though God is longing to be good to you, He will back off and put His blessings on hold.  faith causes God to act.  your expectancy, believing that things are changing, saying, “Lord, send favor now.  send healing now.  send restoration now.”  that’s not just being positive;  that’s your faith being released.  that’s what causes the Creator of the universe to go to work in your life.  there’s a saying:  “don’t expect too much. that way, when it doesn’t happen, you won’t be disappointed.”  that’s no way to live.  God meets you at the level of your expectations:  if you expect this to be an ordinary year, it’ll be an ordinary year.  if you expect the problem to get worse, it will get worse.  if you expect the sickness, the trouble, the lack, the depression to continue, it will continue.  you’ve gotta change what you’re expecting.

God wants to be good to you, but He’s waiting for you to start looking for His goodness.  our attitude should be, “I’m expecting this year to be better than last year.  I’m expecting good breaks to chase us down and overtake us.  I’m expecting divine connections, the right people to show up.  I’m expecting our children to be mighty in the land, to excel in school.  I’m expecting us to live debt-free, to lend and not borrow, to be the head and not the tail.  I’m expecting to overcome every challenge, that no weapon formed against us will prosper.  I’m expecting some suddenlies.  suddenly you get promoted, you get well, you thrust into overflow.”  you can wake up one morning with the same problem you’ve had for the last 20 years, nothing looks any different, but then today is your day and you go to bed and the whole situation is resolved.  one touch of God’s favor, one suddenly.  are you expecting it?  some of you are stuck.  you’re not expecting enough.  you need to get your “expecter”out.  you haven’t used that thing in 14 years, it needs to be overhauled.  start expecting to rise higher.  start expecting every enemy in your life to be defeated.  start expecting your mountains to be flattened into molehills.  start expecting new doors of opportunity, favor in your career, favor in your health, finances.

God is longing to be good to you.  He is looking down from the heavens right now, but you have to be in position.  what’s the position?  expectancy.  believing that “today is my day. something good is going to happen to me.”  that’s what gets God’s attention.  if somebody says, “you’re still not feeling well?”  “yes, that’s true, but this could be the day it turns around.”  “you still looking for that job?”  “yes, but this could be the day I find it.”  “you still struggling with that addiction?”  “yes, but this could be the day I break it.”  “you’re still in a drought?”  “yes, but this could be the day the heavens open up.  this could be the day I see an abundance of rain, a suddenly in my life.”  today a dream could come to pass.  today a marriage could be restored. today you could be thrust into overflow.  friends, our God is the great I Am;  present tense.  He’s saying, “I am healing.  I am restoration. I am breakthroughs.  I am abundance.  I am victory.”  if you’re going to see the great I Am show up, you can’t treat Him like the great “I will be.”  you can’t have a “one day” faith, you’ve gotta have a today faith, a now faith.  that’s what a lady did in the Scripture:

Mark 5:25-26 (NIV)

25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 

she could’ve gotten discouraged and thought, “well, it just wasn’t meant to be. I guess that’s it.”  no, her attitude was, “today is my day.  I may not see how it can work out, but Lord, send healing, favor now.”  she had this expectancy;  she knew God could suddenly turn it around.  I can hear her saying, “today is my day. this is my time.  things are about to change in my favor.”

Mark 5:27-34 (NIV)

27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask,‘Who touched me?’ ”

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

notice, it wasn’t God’s faith, God has all the faith in the world.  when you believe, your faith can stop the son of God in his tracks.  your expectancy can cause the Creator of the universe to do amazing things in your life.  what are you expecting right now?  not tomorrow, not next week.  now is the time for favor.  don’t have a “one day” faith;  have a now faith.  go out each day looking for God’s goodness.  it may not have happened yet, but be a prisoner of hope;  it can still happen, even today.  if you will develop this attitude that “today is my day,” then you better get ready, some suddenlies are coming your way.  God is going to suddenly bring a dream to pass, suddenly restore what’s been stolen, suddenly thrust you into overflow.  my prayer for each of you is what David prayed in Psalm 118:  “Lord, send favor now to your people.  send healing now.  send restoration, abundance, victory now.”  I believe and declare it’s coming your way in Jesus’ name!

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A sign about signs

Sunday, I followed the urge to click on a bookmark for a site about how to tell the difference between signs and coincidences, and the example the author gave from her life of how a sign will often be repeated was 3 references to the 80’s band Depeche Mode (the last of which was their song “Personal Jesus”);  she said that she asks for signs to be repeated 3 times so she can be sure they’re signs.  I thought that it would be nice to have that sort of confirmation, but I didn’t want to make that sort of demand on God so I did not ask for it.  God can read our minds, though…

Tuesday, I got a rare hit to, and reread, one of my old posts that refers to a sign that I saw many times, just like that author had described;  I made the mental connection, but thought nothing of it.  Later on Tuesday, I felt the urge to rearrange some of my bookmarks of famous quotes.  One of them was by English logician William Temple:

“When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I don’t, they don’t”

I don’t remember bookmarking or even seeing this quote before, but in any case it made me think a little more;  I figured I’d put it into post at some point.  Then, at about 3AM on Wednesday, I got a notification email from one of those little wanna-be social network sites, which some friend got me to register at a few years ago, so I have a page with literally two lines on it;  someone had claimed that my page “inspired him.”  This seemed ridiculous to me, but instead of dismissing it I went to the site to check him out.  The first thing on his page was a Bible verse:

1 Samuel 16:7b

For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 

There is ZERO religious content on MY page, so this was not a source of connection…  at least not in the natural.  It immediately made me think of the one and only person to ask to become my friend on another wanna-be social site, who also turned out to be very religious and have Bible quotes on his page;  he had an important spiritual message to give me, which he gave me and then vanished.  I was vaguely thinking that perhaps this man also had a message for me, and then I noticed that at the end of his list of interests, which was actually a bunch of different terms describing ONE interest, he had included one band name…  yes, you guessed it, Depeche Mode!!  THAT woke me up.

I’d planned to post about it then, but life is hectic and 2 days passed.  And then, while I was watching TV on Thursday, an ad for a designer cologne came on that featured very artsy black and white shots of a young man in the ocean and on the beach.  And the sound track to this glamorous commercial was, inexplicably, the very UNglamorous…  yes, right again, Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”!!  THREE references, just like in the article!!

This sure feels like a reassurance that the signs God has been giving me are in fact signs and not an endless series of gargantuan coincidences.  2014 is the year of my flourishing finish!!

PS:  As I’m proofreading this, Abby on NCIS just said:  “This could be a sign”!!  Amazing…

 

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