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Archive for December 15th, 2014

from JO’s sermon tonight:

there are times in life when the facts are not our friends. the facts will say, “you can’t get well, you saw the medical report, “ or, “you can’t accomplish your dreams, you don’t have the training, the education, you don’t know the right people,” “you’ll never break that addiction, you’ve had it too long.” if you just focus on the facts, they’ll keep you from your destiny. the facts can talk you out of your dreams. the facts can convince you to settle for mediocrity.  but God is bigger than the facts. you may not see a way in the natural, but He’s a supernatural God; He can do what medicine cannot do. He can promote you without the training, He can make rivers in a desert; He’s not limited by the laws of nature, science, finance.

don’t let the facts fool you; when you believe, all things are possible. when you’re believing for a problem to turn around, believing for a child to get on the right path, believing to get out of debt, in your heart you’ll hear a voice saying, “it’s going to happen; God can make a way.  favor, healing is coming.” you’ll feel faith rising up. but in your mind, you’ll hear another voice saying, “just give me the facts. I don’t want to hear all that faith stuff. I don’t want to know what you’re believing for, what you’re hoping will happen; all I want are the facts.” in other words, what does the medical report say? how much do you have in the account? where is your child right now? the real battle is taking place in our minds.  the scripture says:

Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding

there are times, take this in the right sense, when you have to turn your mind off.  your mind will tell you all the reasons why it’s not going to happen. if you stay focused on the facts, the details, what the experts have said, before long you’ll talk yourself out of it. I’m all for having common sense, being wise, but sometimes there is no logical solution, no way in the natural; this is when faith kicks in. “God, I believe You’re bigger than these facts. I don’t see a way, but I know You can still make a way.” but too often, we only look at things from a natural, logical point of view; “this is my financial statement, these are the numbers, there’s nothing to debate about this. this is what the medical report says, these are the grades my child is making in school right now.” that’s all true in the natural, but we serve a supernatural God. He is not limited by the facts; He controls the whole universe. He spoke worlds into existence, flung stars into space.

the facts may tell you that you’ll never get out of debt, but one touch of God’s favor can put you into overflow. the facts will say, “you can’t accomplish your dreams, it’s been too long, you’re too far behind”; one touch of God’s favor can put you 50 years down the road. the facts may tell you that you’ll never get well, you’ll always have that addiction, always have that depression; one touch of God’s favor can set you instantly free. one touch of God’s favor can override the facts. God can override what the medical report says, what people are telling you you can’t do. He can override what you think you’re lacking. don’t let the facts keep you from your destiny; choose faith, dare to believe. God did not put you here on planet Earth to be average, to be addicted, to be overcome, to barely get by; He put you here to be victorious, free, to leave your mark on this generation.

the facts may say otherwise, but don’t let that fool you; God is not limited by the facts. when you believe, you tap into the most powerful force in the universe. God’s not limited by our income, position, background, circumstances; He has all power. He can get us to where He wants us to be. when you take the limits off of God, He’ll amaze you with His goodness; don’t let the facts talk you out of God’s best. you’ve thought long enough about all the reasons why you can’t live in a nice house, why your children will never honor God, why you won’t break that addiction, no, the facts may be against you, but God is for you.

His power is greater than any force that’s trying to hold you back. His favor can thrust you to a new level. His goodness can turn your children around. His mercy can set you free from every addiction. His love can restore, rebuild, set you on a new path, give you a new beginning. shake off the doubt, negative voices; if God be for you, who dare be against you? He wouldn’t have put that dream in your heart if He wasn’t already planning on bringing it to pass.  you don’t have to figure out how it’s going to happen. it may not work on paper. the odds may be against you. that’s ok; that’s not your job.  your job is to believe: “God, the medical report says I’m not going to get well, but You said with long life You would satisfy me. God, my children aren’t doing right, but You said:

Joshua 24:15 (NKJV)
15 … But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

the facts say that I’ll never get out of debt, but God, You said that I will lend and not borrow. I am the head and not the tail.” if you’re going to see God’s best, you’ve got to choose faith in spite of the facts. when God laid out the plan for your life, He didn’t go check to make sure all the facts would line up so it would happen; the facts don’t limit Him. God is not moved by the facts. He has ways to get you to your destiny that you’ve never thought of. one good break, phone call, idea, divine connection can catapult you into a new level of your destiny. when you believe, it activates God’s power. you have to take the limits off of God; dare to believe. sometimes, the facts will say, “it’s been too long, the dream is never going to come to pass, the problem’s not going to turn around, it’s too late.” this is what happened with Jesus:

Mark 5:22-24 (CEV)
22 The person in charge of the Jewish meeting place was also there. His name was Jairus, and when he saw Jesus, he went over to him. He knelt at Jesus’ feet 23 and started begging him for help. He said, “My daughter is about to die! Please come and touch her, so she will get well and live.” 24 Jesus went with Jairus

but he kept getting delayed along the way, again and again. finally:

Mark 5:35-46 (AMP)
35 While He was still speaking, there came some from the ruler’s house, who said [to Jairus], Your daughter has died. Why bother and distress the Teacher any further?
36 Overhearing but ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only keep on believing.

he heard the facts, got the official report; she’s dead. Jesus could’ve gotten discouraged, and thought, “oh man, I blew it, I should’ve gotten there sooner.” no, he simply ignored the negative report. if you’re going to stay in faith, you can’t go through the day thinking about all the odds that are against you, how you’ll never get well, how big your obstacles are; no, the facts may not look good, but you’ve got to do like Jesus and choose to ignore them. choose to not dwell on them. choose to stay in faith. Jesus went to the house:

Mark 5:40-42 (NIV)
40 … he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around

his attitude was; “the facts don’t stop me; I’m bigger than the facts. when I speak, waves obey me. when I speak, blind eyes open, the dead come back to life.” I wonder how many situations we’d see turn around, how many dreams we’d see come to pass, if we would simply start ignoring the negative reports. the facts may be against you; that’s one report, but God always has another report. the medical situation may say you’ll never get well, but God says, “I’m restoring health back unto you. I will heal you of your wounds.” here’s the big question: whose report are you going to believe, faith or fact? sometimes, fact is easier because you can see it, it makes sense, it’s right before you, but the scripture says:

2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)
7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

the facts may say, “you’re hurt, lonely, you’ve been through a breakup; nothing good is in your future.” you’ve heard that long enough, but there’s another report that says: God has beauty for your ashes, joy for your mourning. what was meant for your harm, He’s going to use to your advantage.  why don’t you choose to believe that report? the facts can tell you, “you’re not going to get out of debt until you’re 167 years old.” you calculated it, you’ve run all the numbers. you’ve got the facts, but faith says: God’s blessings are chasing down, your cup will run over, whatever you touch will prosper and succeed. I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of these negative reports. it may not have been from other people, but your own thinking, saying things like, “you’ve reached your limits. you’re not that talented, you’re not attractive, you’re not smart enough.” start ignoring those lies. don’t give them the time of day. you wouldn’t be alive unless God had something amazing in your future. He has equipped you, empowered you, and anointed you.  you have everything you need to fulfill your destiny. now sometimes the facts say otherwise. but Paul said:

2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)
18 … what is seen is temporary

one translation says, “they are subject to change.” your finances may be low today; the good news is, they are subject to change. you may be lonely, but that’s subject to change; God has a divine connection, the right person is coming your way. or you may have had that addiction for 20 years, but don’t believe that lie that that’s the way it’s always going to be. that may be the way that it’s been, but that’s not the end of your story; it’s subject to change. in a split second, God can set you free. the key is, don’t let it become permanent in your thinking; don’t let the facts convince you that that’s the way it’s always going to be. no, today is a new day. God is saying; “the things you’ve been praying about, the things you’ve been believing for, are about to come to pass. you’re about to see the breakthroughs: healing, favor, promotion, victory is headed your way. in the scripture, the prophet Elijah:

1 Kings 17:10-12 (NIV)
10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

the facts said that she was done: in a great famine, no food, no income, all the odds were against her.

1 Kings 17:13 (NIV)
13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.

I’m sure she thought, “I’m not about to give you my last meal.” it seemed like he was being selfish, but Elijah knew what he was doing; it’s the principle, when you put God first, He’ll take care of you. all of her logic, reasoning, said, “ don’t make him something when you’re starving to death.” but in spite of what her mind told her, she chose to do it. she cooked the last bit of flour, the last little bit of oil, and made him some bread; she and her son ate what was left over. the next day, she went to those containers, expecting them to be empty, but:

1 Kings 17:14-16 (NIV)
14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”
15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

God supernaturally multiplied it. what’s interesting is, God didn’t stop the famine; the conditions around her were just the same. God simply blessed her in the midst of the famine. sometimes we think that the economy has to improve for us to do better, “my job has to increase, and my company, and then I can rise higher”; no, God can bless you right in the middle of the famine. He can bless you in spite of what’s going on around you. you can be in a dysfunctional situation: at work, people that don’t like you, trying to hold you down, the facts say, “too bad, just learn to live it.” no, that doesn’t stop God. when it’s His time to promote you, all the forces of darkness cannot hold you down.  how about at home, a situation; parents that don’t support you, a child that’s not doing right, you’re in a bad neighborhood. the facts say that you’re stuck, good luck, just endure it; no, God can reach down in the middle of that dysfunction, in the middle of the chaos, and say, “I’m going to promote you, increase you, take you where you’ve never dreamed.”

when God blesses you in the midst of the famine, then everyone around you will know that His favor is on your life. the conditions don’t have to be just right; you just have to be right. if you’ll honor God, take the limits off of Him, He’ll prosper you even in a desert. He’ll make you an example of His goodness. the facts may say that you’ll never get out of that environment, you’ll never rise out of that rut, that struggle, that lack is all around you, you’re surrounded by mediocrity; no, the odds may be against you, but the most high God is for you. He doesn’t have to change the whole environment; you need to get ready, God’s going to bless you in spite of your circumstances. He’s going to promote you right in the middle of the famine. God controls the environment. He’s not limited by what somebody has told you, He’s not limited by what the experts have said, with all due respect; God has the final say. the facts don’t have to line up for Him to bless you.  you don’t have to be the smartest, the most talented, the strongest; what’s more important than all of that is God’s blessing on your life.  why don’t you take the limits off of Him? don’t let the facts talk you out of what God put in your heart.

one time in the Old Testament, the Israelites were surrounded by a major army. this army had cut off their food supply; they were waiting for them to starve to death, then they were going to go take the land. the prophet Elijah showed up:

2 Kings 7:1-2 (NLT)
7 Elisha replied, “Listen to this message from the Lord! This is what the Lord says: By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, six quarts of choice flour will cost only one piece of silver,[a] and twelve quarts of barley grain will cost only one piece of silver.[b]”
2 The officer assisting the king said to the man of God, “That couldn’t happen even if the Lord opened the windows of heaven!”

the problem with the king’s assistant is that he was only looking at it in the natural. he started checking all the facts: we’re surrounded, we’re outnumbered, we have no food, we’re starving, we’re weak. in other words, he checked the stock report, looked at his financial statement, watched the nightly news, came to the conclusion, “there’s no way. it’s never going to happen.” when he told Elisha that he thought it was impossible:

2 Kings 7:2 (NLT)
2 … But Elisha replied, “You will see it happen with your own eyes, but you won’t be able to eat any of it!”

later that day:

2 Kings 7:3-7 (NLT)
3 Now there were four men with leprosy sitting at the entrance of the city gates… 5 So at twilight they set out for the camp of the Arameans. But when they came to the edge of the camp, no one was there! 6 For the Lord had caused the Aramean army to hear the clatter of speeding chariots and the galloping of horses and the sounds of a great army approaching. “The king of Israel has hired the Hittites and Egyptians to attack us!” they cried to one another. 7 So they panicked and ran into the night, abandoning their tents, horses, donkeys, and everything else, as they fled for their lives… 10 So they went back to the city and told the gatekeepers what had happened… 17 The king appointed his officer to control the traffic at the gate, but he was knocked down and trampled to death as the people rushed out.

everyone else could buy bread for one penny a loaf, but not him; it happened just like Elisha said.  when God puts a promise in your heart, you may not see how it can happen; all the facts may say it’s impossible. but do yourself a favor; don’t tell God all the reasons why you don’t believe, why you can’t get well, that will keep it from happening for you. you have to turn your mind off. He’s a supernatural God. He’s not limited by your circumstances; He’s limited by what you believe. the odds may be against you today, but don’t ever forget, the most high God is for you. the facts don’t stop Him, the economy doesn’t stop Him, a medical report doesn’t stop Him. He has all power. if you’ll start choosing faith in spite of the facts, new doors are going to open, dreams are going to come to pass, problems are going to turn around.  favor, healing, breakthroughs, abundance, victory is coming your way.

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