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Archive for September, 2014

Dropped But Not Forgotten

from JO’s sermon tonight:

we all go through situations where life is not fair. sometimes, other people’s poor choices have a negative effect on us. maybe you were raised in an unhealthy environment, now you’re still struggling with the same addictions, depression, anger; it keeps getting passed down. some people have been mistreated, taken advantage of, now they have to deal with guilt, shame, feeling like they don’t measure up; it wasn’t even their fault, somebody else dropped them. I’ve learned, you can’t live very long without being dropped: dropped by an illness, divorce, a friend that turns on you. it’s easy to get discouraged and think, “this is my lot in life, it’s never going to change.” no, you may have been dropped, but the good news is, God knows how to pick you back up. David said:

Psalm 40:2 (NIV)
2  He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
 out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock

David had been dropped by rejection, people coming against him, and his own mistakes and failures. but God said, in effect, “David, don’t worry, that drop is not the end. that bad break, that person that hurt you, addiction, sickness, is not the end of your story. you may have been dropped, but you need to get ready, God is about to lift you up, set you on a higher place, take you where you could not go on your own; to a new level, with new opportunities, new friendships, new joy, new health, new fulfillment. you’re not going to come out the same way; the scripture talks about how God will pay us back double for the unfair things that have happened:

Zechariah 9:12 (ESV)
12 Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
    today I declare that I will restore to you double.

Isaiah 61:7 (NIV)
7  Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land

when you go through a disappointment, when you get dropped, don’t get bitter, discouraged, get ready for double, increase, favor, new levels. God has not forgotten about you; He has seen every tear you’ve shed, every hurt, every lonely night, every person that’s done you wrong. God is a God of justice. He told the Israelites when they were in slavery, being mistreated, taken advantage of:

Exodus 3:8 (ESV)
8 and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians

He was saying, “I’m coming down to pick you back up, I’m coming down to bring justice.” notice what causes God to get off the throne, what causes the Creator of the universe to stop what He’s doing and take action, is when He sees you being mistreated. when God sees that injustice, He doesn’t sit back and say, “well, too bad,” no, He says, “that’s My son, My daughter, My most prized possession; they’ve been dropped, now I’ve gotta get up and do something about it.” when God goes to work, all the forces of darkness cannot stop Him. people, bad breaks, sickness can’t stop Him; God will make your wrongs right, pay you back for the trouble, get you to where you’re supposed to be. but the truth is, we all get dropped in life, and it’s easy to feel alone, forgotten, like you don’t matter, but don’t believe those lies; God said:

Isaiah 49:15-16 (NIV)
15 … I will not forget you!
16  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands

every time God opens His hand, He sees your name, He is reminded of you. you may have had some bad breaks, closed doors, some people come against you, but God has not forgotten about your dreams, the promises that He’s given you. He didn’t forget about that baby you want to have, that husband or wife you’ve been praying about, that wholeness, healing, freedom that you need. stay in faith. life happens to all of us; you may get dropped, but remember, it’s only temporary. God sees it; He’s not only going to lift you back up, but He’s going to set you on a higher place. you’re going to come out better off than you were before. this is what happened to a young man in the scripture named Mephibosheth. he was the grandson of King Saul and the son of Jonathan; he was born into royalty, destined to one day take the throne, his future was very bright. as a child, he was being raised by loving nurses, people that treated him with great kindness, made sure to meet his every need; they knew they were dealing with the future king. but when he was five years old, his father and his grandfather, King Saul, were both killed in a battle. messengers rushed to Mephibosheth’s house, to tell them the terrible news, and to inform them that the army was on their way to try to wipe out all of King Saul’s relatives.

2 Samuel 4:4 (NIV)
4 (Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became disabled. His name was Mephibosheth.)

Mephibosheth had not done anything wrong, it wasn’t his fault, yet he’s having to pay the price for somebody else’s mistake; it doesn’t seem fair. sometimes in life, well-meaning people can drop you. they didn’t mean to hurt you, they made a mistake, said some things that they shouldn’t have. or they worked all the time, struggling to make ends meet, they weren’t there when you really needed them.  perhaps they had bad habits and addictions passed down to them, now they’re passing them on down to you. they weren’t bad people, they had our best interest at heart, but like this nurse they dropped us. we can become crippled with low self-esteem, addictions, depression. even though Mephibosheth was the grandson of the king, even though he had royalty in his blood, he ended up living in a place called Lo Debar, one of the poorest, most rundown cities of that day. year after year went by. I’m sure he thought, “nobody remembers me. I used to be somebody important, somebody that was respected, I used to be excited about my future, I had big dreams, but look at me now, I’m a cripple, I can’t even walk, I’m living in the slums, nobody cares about me, I don’t have any friends, and it wasn’t even my fault; somebody else dropped me.”

he felt alone, forgotten, like it would never change. but here’s the beauty; nothing goes unnoticed with our God. God saw his father killed and taken away at a young age, and the well-meaning nurse drop him, his once-normal legs that could run and jump and play instantly becoming crippled. God saw the despair, poverty, lack, that he was living in. God didn’t say, “well Mephibosheth, you sure got some bad breaks, you need to find a more sure-footed nurse next time, she really messed your life up,” no, God said, “Mephibosheth, I have not forgotten about you; I’ve got you carved into the palm of My hand. you’re always on My mind. yes, you may have been dropped, but that bad break is not the end; I am a God of justice, I’m going to pay you back for what has happened.” one day, King David was on the throne of Israel, sitting in the palace minding his own business, when all of a sudden he felt this desire to be good to some of Saul’s relatives. this is unusual, because Saul was the one that tried to kill David; he was the one that chased David through the wilderness and make his life miserable. yet David said:

2 Samuel 9:1 (NIV)
9 David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”

why would David want to be kind to one of his enemies? that was God whispering in David’s ear, giving him a desire to be good to someone that had been dropped. God can make things happen that you could never make happen on your own. you may say, “I’m stuck. I’ve had these bad breaks, I’ll never accomplish my dreams, never get out of this mess, never be fulfilled”; no, you need to get ready, your time is coming. God is about to whisper in somebody’s ear to be good to you. you didn’t deserve it, you couldn’t earn it, but for no reason somebody gives you a good break, somebody offers you the job, somebody gives you the contract, somebody steps up and solves the problem for you. don’t get discouraged: justice is coming, restoration is coming, new beginnings are on their way. when David asked if any of Saul’s relatives were still alive:

2 Samuel 9:3-4 (NIV)
3 The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”
Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.”
4 “Where is he?” the king asked.
Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.”

one of his assistants said, “he’s crippled, he can’t even walk, no use wasting your time with him, he’s never going to amount to anything.” they tried to talk David out of it, but:

2 Samuel 9:5 (NIV)
5 So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel.

Mephibosheth was living in exile, hoping that nobody knew that he was related to King Saul; after all, Saul had not treated David right. imagine what the people thought when they saw these officials from the palace, wearing their royal uniforms, show up in Lo Debar and start searching through the slums for this crippled man; the whole city was stirring, buzzing with excitement. word finally reached Mephibosheth that people were there from the palace; he asked, “what are they doing here in Lo Debar of all places?” they said, “Mephibosheth, they’re looking for you.” his heart skipped a beat. he thought, “my luck has run out, they finally found me, they’re going to get rid of me.” the officials came bursting in and said, “Mephibosheth, get up and come with us, you’re being summoned by the king.” the problem is, Mephibosheth couldn’t walk; they had to carry him to the palace.

King David was expecting to see someone that looked like King Saul, his grandfather; Saul stood head and shoulders above the rest, looked like a king, had a presence that commanded respect, walked like he was royalty. but when David opened the door and saw Mephibosheth on the ground, frail, emaciated, legs shriveled up, hair not combed, clothes dirty, David said to his assistant, “are you sure this is the grandson of the King? are you sure this man is royalty?” they said, “yes sir, we are certain.” David looked at him and said, “Mephibosheth, what happened to you?” Mephibosheth wouldn’t even look at David; he was too insecure, afraid, embarrassed. he said, “King David, when I was five years old, and my father and grandfather were killed, somebody dropped me, and my life has never been the same.” that could’ve been the end of the story; David could’ve said, “too bad for you, you should’ve seen how your grandfather treated me, I don’t feel sorry for you one bit, you’re getting what your family deserved.” Mephibosheth is there on the ground, afraid, trembling, thinking that it’s the end. David smiled and said:

2 Samuel 9:7-9 (NIV)
7 “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”
8 Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”
9 Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.”

maybe today, like Mephibosheth, you feel like you’ve been dropped, you’ve had a bad break, a loss, you weren’t treated right. it would be easy to settle there, be discouraged, not expect anything good; no, you need to get ready, you’re about to be summoned to the palace. God is about to pay you back;  not just what should’ve been yours, God is going to give you what belonged to your forefathers. it’s going to be far and beyond favor; you didn’t have to work for it, it’s just the goodness of God, paying you back, bringing justice. you may not see how it can happen, but God has the right people He can speak to about you. He’s softening the right hearts. God’s going to pay you back for an unfair childhood, pay you back for the person they did you wrong, pay you back for that baby you couldn’t have. don’t sit around in self-pity; there’s a seat at the King’s table waiting for you. God has already prepared it; it has your name on it, it’s a seat of favor, healing, restoration, increase. you have royal blood in your veins; the most high God breathed His life into you. He has destined you to live in the palace: that means a place of blessing, wholeness, honor, victory.

don’t settle for Lo Debar, don’t get comfortable surviving, enduring, barely getting by. “I’ve have a lot of bad breaks, my life hasn’t turned out the way I thought”; that may be true, but that didn’t change who you are. you’re still royalty, you still have that crown of favor, you still have that DNA of Almighty God. get this down in your spirit; it’s payback time. people may have tried to push you down, but God’s about to push you back up. circumstances may have dropped you, but God is called “the glory and the lifter of our head.” there’s about to be some lifting, some things that you could not make happen; the favor of God is opening up new doors, causing people to be good to you, paying you back for that injustice. what’s interesting is, Mephibosheth never did get healed; he continued to be a cripple the rest of his life. it could have seemed like this story doesn’t have a good ending, but I’ve learned that if God doesn’t remove the difficulty, if He doesn’t totally turn it around, God will make it up to you.

you may have lost a loved one; you can’t bring that person back, but God can make the rest of your life so rewarding, so fulfilling, that it will help take away that pain. or perhaps somebody walked out of relationship, broke your heart, did you wrong;  God can bring somebody new into your life that is so loving, kind, good-looking, well-off, you don’t even miss that person that left you. God knows how to pay you back. Mephibosheth never walked again, but sitting at the King’s table every night, having people wait on him, bring his food, farm his land and give him the profits, for some reason I don’t think he ever complained. all he could say was, “Lord, thank You for remembering me, thank You for Your favor, mercy.” when God overwhelms you with His goodness, brings you out with double, you won’t complain about who hurt you, what didn’t work out, how unfair it was; you’ll be so amazed that God remembered you and promoted you and had people to carry you where you couldn’t go on your own.

like Mephibosheth, all you’ll be able to do is thank God for His goodness in your life. Mephibosheth was summoned to the palace, but he couldn’t get there on his own; he had to be carried to the palace. each night at dinner, he couldn’t get to his seat by himself, he had to be carried to his seat. you may think, “I’m never going to accomplish my dreams, I’m crippled, I’ve got this sickness, this addiction, this depression that I’m dealing with.” no, when you can’t get there on your own, God will always have somebody there to carry you. you’re not alone. you’re not forgotten; God has you in the palm of His hand. and God is not looking down at you because you’re still crippled, so to speak, you’re still struggling with some issues. God saw the times you’ve been dropped; you didn’t go down by yourself, and you’re not going to come up by yourself. God has already lined up the right people to carry, encourage you, to help you do what you could not do on your own. when Jesus was carrying the cross, on his way to be crucified, he was so weak, so exhausted, he fell down under the weight of the cross; he couldn’t carry it anymore. there was a man named Simon:

Matthew 27:32 (NIV)
32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.

you don’t have to be strong all of the time; even Jesus fell down under the weight of the cross. the good news is, there will always be a Simon there for you, somebody to help, encourage you, get you to where you’re supposed to be. on the cross, even Jesus felt alone, forgotten. in the Garden of Gethsemane, he was so stressed that he sweat great drops of blood:

Luke 22:44 (NIV)
44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

(“Hematidrosis” is a rare, but very real, medical condition where one’s sweat will contain blood. The sweat glands are surrounded by tiny blood vessels. These vessels can constrict and then dilate to the point of rupture where the blood will then effuse into the sweat glands. Its cause – extreme anguish.

http://www.gotquestions.org/sweat-blood-Jesus.html)

at one point he cried out:

Mark 15:34 (NIV)
34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)

(God would never forsake anyone, but Jesus cannot be wrong, so what does this mean? Jesus needed to experience the full range of human suffering, including the greatest possible agony, believing oneself to be separated from God. For the first and only moment in all eternity, God turned his back on Jesus, so that Jesus would have this horrible experience and thus be able to understand how human beings feel when they believe themselves to be forsaken.)

he was saying, “God, I’ve been dropped.” it looked like the end, but the enemy never has the final say; God does. three days later, Jesus was sitting at the King’s table, the victor, not the victim. God is a God of justice; when you don’t have the strength to move forward on your own, don’t worry, God will have angels to carry you. God is not going to let you stay in Lo Debar; He’s going to keep working, moving, restoring, speaking to the right people, until He gets you to your seat at the King’s table. dinner is not complete without you there. you may have been dropped, had bad breaks, feel broken, crippled, but today you’re being summoned to the table. we need your presence. we need your gifts. we need your smile, your joy, your laughter; not pushed down, not halfhearted, no, this is a new day. Isaiah said:

Isaiah 61:3 (ISV)
3 to provide for those who grieve in Zion—
    to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
a mantle of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

there’s too much heaviness in our world. people are letting circumstances and the stress of life push them down. I believe today as God is breathing new hope into your heart that gladness is coming and the sadness is leaving. the heaviness is going, and joy is on its way. your life is going to be filled with a new laughter; the scripture calls it:

1 Peter 1:8 (WEB)
8 … joy unspeakable and full of glory

the scripture says:

Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)
3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you

it doesn’t say, “call if you come to church, call if you know the scripture, call if you live the right kind of life”; no, anyone is welcome to call. there’s a seat at the King’s table waiting for you. God has not forgotten about you. you may be dealing with an illness, a loss, a bad break; you feel like life has dropped you. you need to get ready; God is about to lift you back up. not bring you out the same; He’s going to set you on a higher place, bring you out better off than you were before. it’s payback time; God is about to make some things up to you. He’s already spoken to the right people to come find you with healing, with encouragement, with blessing. you’re coming into the palace, the place of healing, the place of blessing, the place of abundance. you’ll take your seat at the King’s table, and become everything God’s created you to be.

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from JO’s sermon tonight:

we all face situations that we don’t like, where we’re uncomfortable, we’re not getting our way, somebody’s not treating us right, traffic’s backed up, a person gets on our nerves. it’s easy to get frustrated, think, “God, when are You going to change this?” but I’ve learned, you can’t pray away every difficulty. some of the things that are uncomfortable in your life right now, if God removed them, you wouldn’t be prepared for the promotion that He has in store. God uses difficulties to do a work in us. the scripture says:

Jeremiah 18:6 (NIV)
6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.

Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)
8 Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
    We are the clay, you are the potter;

when God is spinning us around on that potter’s wheel, and He comes across a lump of impatience, pride, jealousy, He’ll put us in a situation to bring those impurities to light. nothing randomly happens. every traffic jam, every person that irritates you, every time you’re tempted to worry, to be critical, to be jealous, that’s an opportunity for you to be refined. in the difficult times, we prove to God what we’re made of; that’s when our quality is tested. if you’ll work with God, and stay on the potter’s wheel, be moldable, pliable, willing to change, then your character will come up higher. as your character is developed, God will release more of His blessings and favor. but too many people, when they’re in an uncomfortable situation, instead of doing the right thing, keeping a good attitude, forgiving the wrong, being patient, they try to get off the potter’s wheel. they complain, get upset, offended, impatient;  “I don’t have to put up with this, I’m going to give them a piece of my mind.”  they respond the same way, year after year;  that’s why they get stuck.

this is what happened with the Israelites; they were headed toward the promised land, it was an 11 day journey, no big deal, but they started complaining, “it’s hot, we’re tired, we don’t like the food. Moses, it’s uncomfortable out here; can’t we just go back to Egypt?” they kept getting off the potter’s wheel; that 11 day journey ended up taking over 40 years, and they never did make it into the promised land. they kept going around the same mountain again and again; if they would have just recognized, “yes, this is uncomfortable, we don’t like it, but we know God wouldn’t have us here unless we needed it. He’s using it to refine, prepare us, to make us tougher, stronger; it’s not working against us, it’s working for us,” if they would have passed those tests, let God refine them, their character would have come up higher, and their whole life would’ve been so much better. my challenge to us today is; don’t do like they did, and spend the next 40 years responding to the uncomfortable situations the same way, getting upset, offended, impatient, feeling sorry for yourself, no, stay on the potter’s wheel.

next time you get stuck in traffic, instead of letting that sour your day, have a new approach; “God, I believe You’re guiding and directing my steps. You have me at the right place at the right time, so I’m going to stay in peace and enjoy where I am.” that’s passing the test, letting God refine you. when you go through a disappointment, an unfair situation, instead of being discouraged, living in self-pity, no, “God, You said You’d give me beauty for ashes, what’s meant for harm You’d use to my advantage, so I’m going to stay in faith, and get ready for the new thing You have in store.” “I always get upset when I can’t find my car keys, I always get offended when my spouse does a certain thing, I always get discouraged when my friend doesn’t call.” whatever the always is for you, the next time it comes up, respond differently; start passing these tests. life is flying by; you don’t have time to spend another year going around that same mountain, your destiny is waiting on you. God has amazing things He wants to release; new opportunities, levels. but it depends on the quality of our character.

none of us like uncomfortable situations, but here’s the key; if God is not removing it, that means we must need it. He’s using it to refine, purify us, to get us prepared for new levels of our destiny. if you’re still responding to difficulties the same way you did 5 years ago, getting upset, offended, you need to grow up. don’t go another 5 years letting those same things keep you from God’s best; recognize that that’s a test. you’re on the potter’s wheel; God’s giving you the opportunity to come up higher. instead of complaining about that person at work that gets on your nerves, have a new perspective; that person is there to help develop your character. next time you see them, and they say something rude, disrespectful, instead of responding the same way, letting it upset you or saying something rude back to them, no, stay on the potter’s wheel. let it bounce off of you, don’t pay any attention, just smile and say, “I hope you have a great day.” here’s the beauty; the next time you do it, it’ll be a little bit easier. next time, even easier. if you keep at it, you’ll look up in year or two, and it won’t bother you at all. what happened? your character came up higher. they didn’t change, you changed.

but too often, we’re praying, “God, change my children, they’re getting on my nerves, change my boss, he’s driving me crazy, change the traffic, it’s making me upset.” but God is more interested in changing me than He is in changing my circumstances. sometimes, we’re trying to pray away the very thing that God wants to use. the reason He’s not removing it is that He’s waiting for us to change. that person that irritates you, God can use them like sandpaper to rub the rough edges off of you. that neighbor that’s hard to get along with, God can use them to teach you how to be merciful, kind, understanding. or that loved one that says things that are hurtful; God can use them to toughen you up, to learn not to be easily offended. they’re not there by accident; God has them there on purpose. why don’t you look inside and say, “God, how can I change? how can I be more patient, forgiving, loving, understanding? how can I come up higher?”  don’t ever pray for God to change somebody else without first saying, “God, change me.”

a question I ask myself is, “how much have I grown in the last 5 years? do I have a better attitude? do I forgive quicker? do I treat people better? am I kinder? am I more considerate?” we shouldn’t be at the same place now as we were 5 years ago. if you’re still letting the same things upset you, the same people offend you, the same circumstances steal your joy, this is a wakeup call. I’m sounding the alarm; you don’t have time to waste another year going around the same mountain. your assignment is too important, your time is too valuable, your destiny is too great; you can’t afford 40 years like the Israelites, to learn a lesson that we could learn in a fraction of the time. you’ve got to put your foot down, and say, “that’s it, I’m done going around this mountain. I’m done having a bad attitude when I don’t get my way. I’m done getting stressed in traffic. I’m done arguing with my spouse over the same petty things. this is a new day. I’m not waiting for anyone or anything to change; I’m going to change.” the scripture talks about how there are different levels that we can grow into:

2 Timothy 2:20-21 (NIV)
20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

if you’ll stay willing to change, and not get stuck on one level, in your attitude and how you treat people, in how you respond to difficulties, but you’ll let God keep refining you, then you will become a vessel of gold used for His highest purposes. we all start off at the same place in life; like a lump of clay, we have impurities; impatience, selfishness, anger. God will put us in situations to work that out of us. the key is to pass those tests. don’t fight against everything you don’t like; that’s an opportunity to come up higher. if you don’t pass the test, the good news is, you get to take it again… and again, and again. it’s not going to go away until God does the work in us. the sooner you deal with what God is bringing to light, the better off you’re going to be. are there things that you keep letting upset you, stress you out? do you keep going around the same mountain again and again? this may be hard to swallow, but that other person may not ever change. why don’t YOU change? God wouldn’t have put you in that situation if you didn’t need it. He is not going to be content with you staying a vessel of clay, wood, or silver; He’s going to keep spinning you around on that wheel until he brings out all those impurities and you become the vessel of gold that He’s created you to be.

our job is to recognize that every challenge, delay, offense is an opportunity to be refined; you can’t just pray it away. God’s not going to remove every difficult person from your life. you’ve got to learn to overlook the faults, stay on the high road. He’s not going to shield you from every negative, derogatory comment; you’ve got to learn to keep your walls up, not be easily offended. He’s not going to keep us from every delay, inconvenience, setback; we’ve got to learn to believe He’s directing our steps and go with the flow. be aware of what you’re dealing with this week; don’t let the same things continue to hold you back. if you’re going to become this vessel of gold, you’ve got to stay on the potter’s wheel, be willing to change, keep growing, keep letting God refine you. when you pass these tests, make a decision; “I’m not going around this mountain, responding the same way;  I’m going to bite my tongue, even though I feel like telling them off, I’m going to stay peaceful even though I feel like being stressed, I’m going to forgive even though they did me wrong.”

when you do the right thing when it’s difficult, you will feel a new sense of joy down in your spirit; you will know that the Creator of the universe is smiling down on you. I read about how in the Northeast, codfish fishing had become a huge commercial business. but they had a major problem; when the codfish was frozen, it didn’t have any taste. they tried shipping it alive in big containers with fresh seawater, but because the codfish were inactive in the water, they became soft and mushy and lost all their taste. someone came up with an interesting idea; they decided to put a catfish in each container. the catfish is the natural enemy of the codfish, so the whole time the codfish were being shipped, they had to stay alert and active looking out for this catfish. this solved the problem; when the codfish arrived at their destination, they were fresh and tasty. sometimes, what looks like an enemy is really an asset. that person that gets on your nerves, that neighbor that doesn’t treat you right, that traffic that gets you stressed out; what you think is there to defeat you, the truth is, God put it there to make you better.

nothing in your life happens by accident; the people you encounter, the delays, the grouchy clerk, the slow waiter, the child that never stops, they are divinely orchestrated by the Creator of the universe to help make and mold you into that vessel of gold. how you respond is what makes the difference; if you get upset, impatient, offended, feel sorry for yourself, you’ll get stuck. pay attention to what you don’t like in your life, what you’re praying for God to remove, what you’re fighting against; recognize that that catfish is there to make you better, not to defeat you, but to promote you. you may work with a catfish, be married to a catfish; God wouldn’t have put you there if you didn’t need it. like iron sharpens iron, that’s going to sharpen you. stay on the potter’s wheel; God’s using that to strengthen, refine, polish you, and to develop your character. the scripture says:

1 Peter 1:7 (AMP)
7 So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire.

you don’t really know what’s in you until you’re put under pressure; the pressure brings to light what we need to deal with. Peter said:

Matthew 26:33-35 (NLT)
33 Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.”
34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
35 “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!”

but a few days later, when Peter was under pressure:

Matthew 26:69-75 (NLT)
69 Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.”
70 But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.[a]”
72 Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said.
73 A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.”
74 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed.
75 Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.

when you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, where you feel like being impatient, telling somebody off, you’re tempted to be upset, offended, that’s when you have to recognize, this is a test. “I’m here for a reason. I’m not going to go around the same mountain, responding the same way; I’m going to come up higher, keep my cool, forgive even though they did me wrong, stay in peace.” if you’ll stay on that potter’s wheel, and let God keep refining you, you are headed toward that vessel of gold. that’s when God can release some of the amazing things He has in your future. but it all depends on the quality of our character; your can have gifts, talents, but your character is what matters. can God trust you with more responsibility, greater influence, new levels? if you’ll see these catfish in the right way, and recognize that each one is a test, and respond properly, you’ll see God take you places that you’ve never imagined. years ago, the government of Thailand wanted to build a new highway, but right in the middle of their path was a huge religious statue that had been there for centuries; it stood over 40 feet tall and was made out of clay. this statue was greatly revered by the people; they knew they had to move it with extreme caution, but a huge piece of clay fell off. one of the men noticed something shiny; underneath the clay, the whole statue was made out of solid gold. the clay was never supposed to be permanent, it was just a façade to protect the gold, but it had been there for hundreds of years.

in the same way, we all start off as vessels of clay. we have flaws and weaknesses; impatience, selfishness, pride. all we can see is the clay. but underneath that clay is a vessel of gold. God made you to shine; as you grow, you let Him keep refining you, little by little, that clay is going to come off. maybe you used to get offended by that coworker that said hurtful things; it ruined your day. you tried to pay them back, but then you started overlooking it, staying in peace, taking the high road, letting God fight your battles; now, it doesn’t bother you anymore. what’s happening? the clay is coming off, the gold is starting to shine through. maybe you used to be impatient in traffic, stressed when your plans didn’t work out, but now, you’ve learned to go with the flow, knowing that God is in control, it’s no big deal. what’s happening? more and more of that clay is coming off; your gold is getting brighter and brighter. or perhaps you used to rely on compliments, people’s approval to feel good about yourself, that’s how you gained your value, your self-worth, but now you know that God approves you, that He’s made you valuable, that you’re a masterpiece. so you put your shoulders back, you live with confidence, knowing that you’re one-of-a-kind. what’s happening? the low self-esteem, the insecurity is breaking off, and your gold is starting to shine forth. we all have areas where we can come up higher; all of us still have some clay left on us. don’t get discouraged. the scripture says:

Philippians 1:6 (KJV)
6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ

Philippians 1:6 (DARBY)
6 having confidence of this very thing, that he who has begun in you a good work will complete it unto Jesus Christ’s day

the good news is, you’re not a finished product; God is still working on you. don’t beat yourself up because you’re still dealing with some weaknesses; just stay on the potter’s wheel, keep improving. every person fails from time to time; the key is to get back up again. don’t you dare settle for the clay; you have gold in you. you were made in the image of Almighty God; He created you to shine, to live free, happy, secure, peaceful, confident, calm, that’s what’s on the inside. I’m asking you to work with God to bring it out. don’t try to pray away every uncomfortable situation; recognize that that’s an opportunity for more clay to come off. don’t complain about the catfish; God put it there. it’s not there to defeat you, it’s there to make you better. if you’ll make this decision to stay on the potter’s wheel, let God refine you, see these as opportunities to grow, then you will not stay a vessel of clay, wood or silver; you will become a vessel of gold, used for His highest purposes. you’ll not only enjoy your life more, but you will see His favor in amazing ways, and become everything God’s created you to be.

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A good friend of my aunt’s died about a week ago, someone she really loved and considered exceptional. Although my aunt, who is agnostic, believes that the spirit survives death, she still had great concern for her friend, and whether she was ok wherever she was. I told her that the departed can often give us a sign that they are still with us, and are ok; she knows that this is true because my mother gave me just such a sign a few months after her death (see my post “A supernatural goodbye from my mother” from 5-31-11), but as one might expect of a person with no faith, she didn’t feel reassured about her friend even so.  I told my aunt that I would pray that her friend would give a sign so that she and her other loved ones would be comforted. Today she told me that 3 of her friend’s family members went to her apartment, and that RAINBOWS suddenly appeared on the necks of 2 of them, and when the 3rd one, the sister, said “What about me?” she also got a rainbow. They associated rainbows with their loved one because she had a prism in one of her windows, but NOT where they were in the apartment; they could see no source for these rainbows, no explanation for how they each had one… except their departed loved one. When the sister went back to her apartment, she got ANOTHER rainbow on her from no apparent source; the sister has some glass figurines but no prism, and had never had a rainbow in her apartment before.

My aunt, who had been almost too devastated to function a couple of days ago, was a whole different person today, relaxed and LAUGHING, because now she is SURE that her friend is still around, and that things must be good where she is.

I don’t know if there are some kinds of effects on the physical world that spirits can have unassisted, but rainbows out of thin air MUST require Divine assistance.  Imagine how much God loves us, not just to allow signs to be given to comfort those who have lost a loved one, but to help the departed one do it!!  I’m so grateful that He permitted the signs to be given, so that not just my aunt but all of this dear lady’s loved ones can feel sure that she is somewhere good… just as you and I know that she is.

Edit 10-27:  The departed lady’s sister and obnoxious brother went to her apartment to gather some of her possessions.  The sister wanted a painting that the departed had painted;  the brother countered that his wife liked the painting.  The sister said that his wife only liked the painting because it was blue, and the end result was that he said she could have the painting.  She put it in a shopping bag and went to gather some other things. When she came back… a rainbow was centered right on that bag.

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God protected my money

A week or so ago, I noticed that one of the companies that I do work for was not sending me job emails anymore. I tried to log into my account on their site; not only did my login fail, but their site did not recognize my email address… potentially meaning that my account, and the $90 that I had not yet collected, were GONE. This is one of those companies where it’s impossible to reach a human being if you call them, and any extension that looks like it might lead to a human being is broken. The people that handle their emails were polite but clueless. I knew that God would get my account and my money back, though… and here’s how He did it:

I had the thought to see if I could find the full name for someone from that company that had been involved in an email correspondence with me back in the days before they merged with another company; had I found her full name, I might have been able to find her in their phone system’s company directory, and… I’m sure that she never picks up her phone any more than anyone else at that company does, but at least it would’ve been something try. I never did find her last name; what I DID find was a lengthy email, the kind that contains many individual emails back and forth, between me and another person at that company who had mentioned her first name. The messages from the company man all had a pretty standard corporate footer at the bottom of them, containing their phone number, the same phone number I had had no luck using… except that the last couple of footers inexplicably had a totally different #. I dialed it with an eerie sense of certainty, and wasn’t even really surprised when the ring was immediately answered by a human being… and not a receptionist, either, but someone who could actually HELP me.

Once she had located my account, she said that the reason the system no longer recognized my email address was that the account had been HACKED, and the hacker had changed the email address on the account to one of his own. Now here’s the miraculous part: The hacker had attempted to cash out $75 from my account on August 1. I say ATTEMPTED because, for no reason that the company woman could explain or imagine, the redemption, which would normally be processed within a couple of business days, had FAILED, which meant that the $ was still there in the account, thus circumventing the undoubtedly endless, crushingly stressful process I would’ve had to undergo to try to convince them that neither I nor any agent of mine had collected the money, and thus to get it refunded to the account. She was able to change my account back to my email address and refund my $75 immediately and problem-free!!!!!!!!!

What caused the redemption to fail? Why did the hacker not come back when he got the failure notice to try again? Or was no failure notice ever sent? If not, why? Even without one, why would he never had followed up when over a month and a half passed and his $, which would have been instantly delivered electronically as soon as the redemption was processed, never appeared? My best guess is that the hacker caused enough havoc on that website that they were alerted and shut him down… but then, why was I never alerted that my account been compromised, why was my account not transitioned back into my possession, and why had my money not been refunded? And why would the service rep I spoke to have no idea about any of this? I guess I’ll never know… but what I DO know is that God turned what could’ve been a disaster into a minor inconvenience. I am so blessed!!

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Today, as I was struggling with an important issue, I was suddenly hearing…  I didn’t know what.  I followed the sound, and traced it to the bathroom.  My roommate, who usually clutches his cell phone like a baby with his blanket, had left it in there, facedown on the floor, when he went outside to do yard work;  speech of some sort was coming out of it…  which, I soon discovered, related to the exact issue that I was dealing with.  !!!  He subscribes to an audiobook service, so I assumed he had sought out this book because my issues were on his mind.  But…  how had it suddenly started playing like that, after sitting there for ages with no one touching it or anywhere near it?  !!!!

I took the phone out to him so he could turn it off.  He revealed that he had not ordered the book;  he had never seen it before, much less tried to read it.  He assumed that the service had sent it as a freebie, but had no idea how the program had selected it to “play,” how or why it had skipped to the end of chapter THREE, and of course how it had started up without any controls being touched.  !!!!!

Had he had the phone with him, as always, he would have cut it off within the first few words, and I’d have never heard the message.

And the book had to be put in his account to begin with, of course.

So, once again, a series of impossible technical oddities has led to something miraculous;  God sent the right message at the right time.  Amazing!!

 

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It’s a Simple Thing

from JO’s sermon tonight:

we all face situations that look impossible. it’s easy to get discouraged and think about how it’s never going to work out, but we need to keep the right perspective; God already has the solution. nothing you’re facing is a surprise to God. it may look complicated to you, but to Him, it’s a simple thing, it’s no big deal; He spoke worlds into existence, He flung the stars into space, He knows how to get you to your destiny. think about David, when he faced Goliath, a huge giant, nearly twice his size; it looked impossible. Goliath was the Navy Seal of that day; the biggest, strongest, most experienced. David was a teenager, taking care of his father’s sheep; he didn’t have any military training. but it’s interesting; God didn’t need the latest weapon for David, or a full set of armor, years of training, troops backing him up; all God needed was a slingshot, a simple thing. that slingshot not only helped David to defeat Goliath, but it eventually put him on the throne of Israel. when 4 lepers were surrounded by an army:

2 Kings 7:3-7 (NIV)
3 Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”
5 At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there, 6 for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” 7 So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.

those lepers not only saved their lives, they saved the entire city of Samaria, with the sound of their footsteps; a simple thing.

John 6:5-11 (NIV)
5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” … 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

a simple thing, a little boy’s lunch, fed thousands. when Peter needed money for taxes:

Matthew 17:27 (CEV)
27 … So go cast a line into the lake and pull out the first fish you hook. Open its mouth, and you will find a coin. Use it to pay your taxes and mine.

catching a fish; a simple thing. we think, “how am I ever going to get out of debt? how will I send my kids to college, it’s so expensive?” let me tell you how; a simple thing. one good break, idea, phone call, slingshot, little boy’s lunch; God has some simple things in your future. you don’t have to have the most talent, experience, qualifications; one touch of God’s favor, one simple thing, can thrust you to a new level. one simple thing, and you’ll defeat your giants, your health will turn around, the problem will resolve, the legal problem will be solved. quit telling yourself it’s too big, too hard, it’s never going to work out; our attitude should be, “this may look impossible to me, but God, I know that to You, it’s a simple thing. all power is in Your hand, You control the universe, so I’m not going to go around worried, upset, wondering if it’s going to work out; I’m going to stay in faith, knowing that You have some simple things coming my way.” too many people go through life thinking of all the reasons why they can’t be successful, overcome the challenge, why they’ll never get well; “I’ve had this sickness so long, everybody in my family struggles with these same addictions, I don’t have the talent, the personality, it’s not going to work out.” no, get rid of that defeated mindset, let these words sink down into your spirit; it’s a simple thing for God to bring your dreams to pass.

it’s a simple thing for you to live healthy and whole, meet the right person, live debt-free. God isn’t up in the heavens scratching His head and saying, “this is so complicated, they’ve got Me stumped”; God already has the solution. He’s already lined up the right people, breaks, opportunities; they’re already in your future, just waiting for you to walk into them. if you’ll keep moving forward in faith, honoring God, being your best, you’ll come into these simple things that God has lined up for you. God will move the wrong person out and the right person in. God says, “that wrong person doesn’t have to help you; I control the universe. I have the final say. I can either change his mind, and cause him to want to help you, or I can move him out and put somebody in there that will help you.” we all face times where somebody is not for us; at the office, playing politics, trying to push you down, at school, leaving you out, trying to make you look bad. it’s easy to get frustrated, and think, “I’m never going to get ahead, these people don’t like me”; no, don’t worry, God has some simple things. God can cause them to be on vacation when you need a good break. He can cause them to get transferred to a different department. or, if God doesn’t move them out of the way, He can cause you to go over them. scripture says:

Psalm 18:29 (ESV)
29 For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.

2 Samuel 22:30 (ESV)
30 For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.

the bottom line is that God will get you to where you’re supposed to be. sometimes we think, “it’s never going to change, I’m going to have to put up with it for the rest of my life”; no, stay in faith, God has some simple things coming your way. this is what happened to Mordecai. he was a good man, loved God, lived with excellence and integrity, but a man named Haman who worked for the king didn’t like him. he had a prestigious, influential position at the palace, and he was always trying to push Mordecai down and make him look bad. in the natural, it seemed like Haman had an advantage; he had the king’s ear, so what could Mordecai do? one night, the king couldn’t sleep:

Esther 6:1-10 (NIV)
6 That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. 2 It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.
3 “What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?” the king asked.
“Nothing has been done for him,” his attendants answered.
4 The king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the palace to speak to the king about impaling Mordecai on the pole he had set up for him.
5 His attendants answered, “Haman is standing in the court.”
“Bring him in,” the king ordered.
6 When Haman entered, the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”
Now Haman thought to himself, “Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?” 7 So he answered the king, “For the man the king delights to honor, 8 have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. 9 Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’”
10 “Go at once,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.”

a simple thing; the king reading the right thing about Mordecai. one person putting in a good word for you can take you where you could never go on your own. one comment, one phone call, one email, “hey, I really like them, they’re talented, you’re blessed to have them.” a simple thing can cause your boss, clients, coworkers to see you in a whole new light. quit worrying about who’s trying to hold you back, the credit you’re not getting, the person trying to make you look bad; you don’t have to fight those battles, God is your vindicator, He will cause them to see you the way He wants you to be seen, hear what they need to hear. God’s already lined up the right people to put in a good word for you.

2 Kings 3:9-24 (NIV)
9 So the king of Israel set out with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. After a roundabout march of seven days, the army had no more water for themselves or for the animals with them… 11 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?” An officer of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here… 15 … the hand of the Lord came on Elisha 16 and he said, “This is what the Lord says: I will fill this valley with pools of water. 17 For this is what the Lord says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. 18 This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; he will also deliver Moab into your hands… 20 The next morning, about the time for offering the sacrifice, there it was—water flowing from the direction of Edom! And the land was filled with water… 24 But when the Moabites came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and fought them until they fled. And the Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites.

the water in the valley seems like a big deal, a great miracle, yet Elisha said:

2 Kings 3:18 (NLT)
18 But this is only a simple thing for the Lord

I’ve learned that what’s simple to me and what’s simple to God are two different things. what God calls simple, we would call supernatural, extraordinary, far and beyond. your situation may look impossible; you don’t see how you could accomplish your dream, get well, have your marriage restored. there is no water in your valley. but God is saying, “it’s not going to happen a normal way. you’re not going to see clouds, there isn’t going to be any rain, but that valley is going to suddenly fill up with water. in other words, out of nowhere you get a good break, your health improves, the business takes off, you meet the right person, the situation turns around.; that’s God giving you water without rain. you weren’t the most qualified, you didn’t have the most experience, but suddenly you were promoted, found yourself where you could not go on your own. we are thrilled, we are on cloud nine, but God says, “it’s no big deal; it’s a simple thing for Me.” maybe in your health, the medical report says you’ll never get well, the odds were against you, but one day you look up, 30 years later, and you’re healthy, whole, still going strong. that’s what God calls a simple thing.

in your finances, you didn’t see how you could get out of debt; it didn’t look good on paper, but that valley began to fill up with water. not a normal way, not rain, nothing you could take credit for; this was the hand of God promoting you, give you wisdom, putting you at the right place, opening doors that no man can shut. if we’re going to become everything that we were created to be, reach our highest potential, we can’t go around thinking, “this is too big, it’s never going to work out, I never get any good breaks.” no, have a new perspective; it’s a simple thing for our God. He’s saying to you what He said to Jehoshaphat; “don’t worry, don’t panic, don’t turn around and go back home; I’m going to fill those dry places with water. it’s going to happen suddenly, it’s going to be unusual, not what you were expecting, water without rain.” that means that God can heal you without the treatment, promote you even though you weren’t the most qualified. God can increase you beyond your salary, bring you out of debt, put you into overflow without the company, without normal means. God has explosive blessings.

“I feel like I’m in a drought today, I haven’t had any good breaks in a long time”; that’s just where Jehoshaphat was. don’t complain; get ready for a simple thing, something out of the ordinary, that you weren’t expecting, something that you could not make happen on your own. why didn’t you take the limits off of God? you may not see how this can happen, but that’s not our job; our job is to believe, to say, “God, I know You have some simple things in my future;  You can fill my valleys in ways that I never imagined. I want to thank You for the surpassing greatness of Your favor.” your faith is what activates God’s power. when you are in a drought, in a valley, that’s when you’ll be the most tempted to get discouraged, to complain, and if you’re not careful you’ll settle there, and think, “this is my lot in life, it’s never going to change, I don’t see any clouds in the sky.” neither did Jehoshaphat, but God said the valley was going to be filled with water. it would’ve been hard enough to believe if God would’ve said it was going to rain; they were out in the desert, it never rains out there. yet Elisha took it a step further and said, “it’s not going to rain, you’re not going to see any clouds, any normal sign of this happening, but this valley is going to fill up with water.”

Jehoshaphat stood at a crossroads; was he going to believe that God could do something unusual, unprecedented, out of the ordinary, or was he just going to look at in the natural, reason it out, and think, “it’s not going to happen for me, I never get any good breaks, I’ll never get well, I’ll never meet the right person, I’m in a desert”? no, what Jehoshaphat did was say, “even though I don’t see any sign of this happening, it doesn’t make sense in the natural, every voice is telling me it’s impossible, I’m going to choose to believe what God said, that He can bring me water without rain, turn this desert into a stream, make a way where there is no way.” ” when you believe, all things are possible. quit telling yourself, “it’s too big, it’s too hard, it’s not going to work out.” you can talk yourself out of God’s goodness. it may look impossible in the natural, but remember, we serve a supernatural God. all it takes is one touch of His favor. this is what happened with the Israelites; they were in the desert, headed for the promised land:

Numbers 11:4-20 (NLT)
4 … the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed. 5 “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. 6 But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!”
7 The manna looked like small coriander seeds, and it was pale yellow like gum resin. 8 The people would go out and gather it from the ground. They made flour by grinding it with hand mills or pounding it in mortars. Then they boiled it in a pot and made it into flat cakes. These cakes tasted like pastries baked with olive oil. 16 Then the Lord said to Moses… 18 “And say to the people, ‘Purify yourselves, for tomorrow you will have meat to eat. You were whining, and the Lord heard you when you cried, “Oh, for some meat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will have to eat it. 19 And it won’t be for just a day or two, or for five or ten or even twenty. 20 You will eat it for a whole month

Numbers 11:21-23 (GNT)
21 Moses said to the Lord, “Here I am leading 600,000 people, and you say that you will give them enough meat for a month? 22 Could enough cattle and sheep be killed to satisfy them? Are all the fish in the sea enough for them?”
23 “Is there a limit to my power?” the Lord answered. “You will soon see whether what I have said will happen or not!”

Numbers 11:31 (GNT)
31 Suddenly the Lord sent a wind that brought quails from the sea, flying three feet above the ground. They settled on the camp and all around it for miles and miles in every direction

God simply breathed in their direction, a simple thing, and suddenly millions of quails were at their door. they didn’t have to go looking for it, hunting, fishing, the quails came to them. God thought of home delivery way before Domino’s. but sometimes we think, “this situation’s never going to change”; no, God is asking you what he asked Moses, “is there any limit to My power? I make streets out of gold; I can bring your dreams to pass. I breathed life into your body; I can correct what’s wrong. I control the whole universe; I can cause things to suddenly fall into place.” you may not need food in the desert, but you need healing from an illness, freedom from an addiction a child to come back home, a good break to accomplish your dream; why don’t you say, “God, You did it for them, now do it for me. breathe in my direction, show me one of those simple things. let me have water without rain”? this is what happened to a man in the scripture:

Luke 7:2-10 (CEV)
2 … an army officer’s servant was sick and about to die. The officer liked this servant very much. 3 And when he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish leaders to ask him to come and heal the servant… When Jesus wasn’t far from the house, the officer sent some friends to tell him, “Lord, don’t go to any trouble for me! I am not good enough for you to come into my house. 7 And I am certainly not worthy to come to you. Just say the word, and my servant will get well. 8 I have officers who give orders to me, and I have soldiers who take orders from me. I can say to one of them, ‘Go!’ and he goes. I can say to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes. I can say to my servant, ‘Do this!’ and he will do it.”
9 When Jesus heard this, he was so surprised that he turned and said to the crowd following him, “In all of Israel I’ve never found anyone with this much faith!”
10 The officer’s friends returned and found the servant well.

the army officer’s attitude was; “it’s a simple thing for you. it’s a big deal for me, but it’s nothing for you.” when you face a situation that looks impossible, you don’t see how it could work out, but deep down, you know that for our God, it’s a simple thing; God calls that “great faith.” it may seem like you could never get out of debt, pay your house off, build that orphanage that you’re dreaming about, but deep down you know, God takes pleasure in prospering you, you know He’s supplying all of your needs, you will lend and not borrow; that’s great faith. the medical report may say, “nothing more we can do, the odds are against you”; but deep down you know, Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord our healer, is restoring health unto you. God calls that great faith. the child that’s off course, the legal trouble, the problem at work; looks like it may never turn around. you could easily live depressed, discouraged, stressed out, but instead you have the attitude, “God, I know for You, it’s a simple thing, all power is in Your hands. You did it for Moses, Jehoshaphat, the army captain; God, I know that You can do it for me.”

that’s what allows the Creator of the universe to show up and do amazing things. whatever you’re up against, whatever you’re dreaming about, keep the right perspective; it’s a simple thing for our God. He can bring water without rain. you may be in a desert, in a dry place; my encouragement is, get ready, that valley is about to be filled. it’s going to happen suddenly, not a normal way, not something you were expecting, but something out of the ordinary. suddenly, the wind shifts in your direction; like the Israelites, your camp is filled with quail. in other words, you meet the right person, or somebody puts in a good word for you.  like Mordecai, suddenly you’re vindicated, promoted, the problem turns around. God’s done it in the past; He’s going to do it again in the future. simple things are coming your way. supernatural breaks, opportunities, provision, healing, restoration. the winds of God’s favor have shifted in your direction. like Jehoshaphat, you’re going to see water without rain. your valley is going to be filled to overflowing; plenty for yourself, plenty left over to be a blessing to others.

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God brought me a new friend

God has been performing many miracles for the past year and a half to not just rebuild the social life I lost but to give me a better one than I’ve ever had in my life. As part of that, my roommate and I went out and did something fun that we haven’t done for more years than you’d believe; we went to an arcade. A man appeared out of nowhere and started talking to us… and talking, and talking. He showed no sign of leaving, despite the fact that there were many open games available, and I did later verify that he played all of them. He seemed nice enough, highly intelligent and articulate, so I invited him to join us. We were real buddies by the end of the evening, and he gave me his card so I’d be able to email him; we’ve been emailing every day or so since then, and today we got together to play again, and the proverbial good time was had by all.

It’s not just the making of a new friend that points to God’s assistance, although God DOES help us make friends. It’s not just that this was only the second time in my entire life that someone approached ME and initiated a protracted conversation that started a friendship, although that is reasonably major. Even more major is that he lives VERY close to where I live, unlike most of the people I socialize with, making it possible for us to easily do more stuff together; I had asked God for a friend that lives close by, so this was an answer to that prayer. The HUGE thing here, that tells me 100% that God was involved, is what the new friend later told me; he works nights, and so would normally NEVER have been in the arcade on a weekday, whereas I, with my overwhelming desire to avoid crowds and having to wait around to do things, would normally ONLY go on a weekday. The only reason my new friend was there on that day was because he has been out sick, but is such a game addict that he has made the occasional brief trip to the arcade during times when he was feeling better; he made a big issue that his having been there when I was there was a FLUKE. I, of course, call it something different; a blessing.

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