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Archive for May 18th, 2015

An expected end

from JO’s sermon tonight:

this is what God has done for each one of us:

Isaiah 46:10 (WEB)
10 I declare the end from the beginning

when God planned out your life, He started with your final scene, He started with where He wants you to end up, then He worked backwards. Jeremiah said:

Jeremiah 29:11 (TLB)
11 For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV)
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

your end has already been established; your final scene has already been shot. the good news is, you don’t end in defeat, failure, disappointment, you end in victory, more than a conqueror, fulfilling your purpose. when you understand that your end has been established, you won’t go through life discouraged because of a disappointment, bitter because of a loss, frustrated because a dream hasn’t come to pass; you’ll stay in peace, knowing that in the end, it’s all going to work out to your advantage. here’s the key; like any good movie, there will be twists and turns. you think, “I know I’m supposed to be going this way, why am I going the opposite direction? my goal is over here, why am I headed the wrong way?” there will be scenes that on their own don’t make sense. if you stopped right there, the divorce, sickness, loss, would look like it didn’t work for your good, looks like it got the best of you.

what you don’t realize is, that is not your final scene; as long as you’re breathing, your movie is still going. you may be in a difficult scene right now, something you don’t understand: a negative medical report, a setback in your finances. you have to remind yourself; that is not how your story ends, you have an expected end. the Creator of the universe, the most high God, has planned your days for good and not harm. if you’ll keep moving forward, at some point you’ll come into another twist, but this time: a good break, a promotion, a healing. God knows how to weave it all together. your end has already been established.

we see this principle in the life of Joseph. God destined him to become a great leader, to rule a nation, to help the Israelites during a time of famine. that was his end; it had already been established. Joseph started off well; as a young man, he was his father’s favorite child, went around wearing that coat of many colors, the coat that represented favor. but at 17 years of age, Joseph’s life had an unusual twist; his brothers were jealous, and:

Genesis 37:28 (VOICE)
28 As the Midianite traders were passing by, they brought Joseph up out of the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites for about eight ounces of silver, the usual price of young male slaves. The traders set off with Joseph in the direction of Egypt.

he could have become discouraged, and thought, “I must not have heard God right. He showed me a dream that I’d rule a nation, but it sure didn’t happen.” no, Joseph understood this principle; he knew that was just one scene. he knew that his end had already been established, so he kept being his best. he was lied about, falsely accused; they put him in prison, another unusual twist. it looked like he was moving away from his destiny.

and this is the real test of life; will you stay in faith when you’re doing the right thing but the wrong thing is happening? will you continue being your best even when you’re not getting the credit? will you stay passionate even though the door closed, you didn’t get the promotion, you think you’re moving the wrong way?

this is where Joseph excelled. in prison, he didn’t fall apart; he kept doing the right thing. 13 years after he was sold into slavery, he interpreted a dream for the Pharaoh; Pharaoh was so impressed that he brought him out of prison and put him in charge of the whole nation. he saw his dream come to pass; he saw the expected end. if Joseph were standing here today, he would tell you, “don’t get discouraged by the detours, the twists of life, the things you don’t understand. they are all necessary scenes in your movie. by themselves, they may not make sense, but when God brings it all together, you too will come out fulfilling your purpose, seeing what God has promised.”

but this is where many people get frustrated, lose their passion, “if God is good, why did I have the bad break? why did I go through the loss? why didn’t my relationship make it?” we may never understand why, but I can tell you this; God wouldn’t have allowed it if it wasn’t going to somehow work for your good. nothing that’s happened to you can keep you from your destiny. the only thing that can stop you is you; if you get negative, bitter, lose your passion, that can keep you from God’s best. you may have had unfair things happen, but I’ve learned; the depth of your pain is an indication of the height of your future. when construction workers are going to build a tall building, they have to dig down many stories first for the foundation; the taller the building, the deeper the foundation.

when you go through things that you don’t understand, difficult situations, you may not like it, it may be uncomfortable, but God is getting you prepared to take you higher than you’ve ever imagined. you may think it’s there to defeat you, but God’s going to use it to promote you. no bad break can stop you. all the forces of darkness cannot hold you back. God has an expected end for you; He’s already established it. but along the way, everything is not going to make sense. this is what faith is all about. you have to trust that even in the twists of life, in the things you don’t understand, God still knows what He’s doing, that even when, like Joseph, you know God promised you one thing, but you’re seeing just the opposite, defeat, betrayal, that’s when you have to dig your heels in, and say, “God, I don’t understand it, but I trust You. I believe Your plans for me are for good, that You’ve already shot my final scene. You’ve already established my end. so Lord, I want to thank You that I will fulfill my purpose, that I will become everything You’ve created me to be.”

I’ve heard it said, God always ends in “all is well,” so if all is not well, that simply means it’s not the end. “it’s not well in my finances, I lost a big client last week, I’m discouraged”; no, stay in peace, it’s not the end, that’s just one scene. favor, promotion, good breaks, are headed your way. if it’s not well in your health, don’t settle there, “this is the way it’s always going to be,” no, another scene is coming; God promises, the number of your days He will fulfill. if it’s not your time to go, you’re not going to go. maybe it’s not well in a relationship; you went through a breakup, you’re lonely, you don’t think you’ll ever meet the right person. that’s not the end. that one disappointment, that one person that left, they can’t change your ending, they can’t re-write your movie. God has already established it; they don’t have that much power. God has already lined up the person of your dreams, somebody better than you can imagine; they’re just a couple of scenes away, it’s just a matter of time before they show up. Isaiah said:

Isaiah 14:27 (AMP)
27 For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who can annul it?

this means that God has a purpose for your life. He’s planned out your days, lined up your scenes, and established your ending. then it asks:

Isaiah 14:27 (CEB)
27 … who can stop it?

God is saying, “I flung stars into space, I spoke worlds into existence, I’m the all-powerful Creator of the universe; now who can stop My plan for your life, who can change your ending?” people can’t, unfair situations can’t, tragedy can’t; God has the final say. when you’re on one of those detours, something that doesn’t make sense, you don’t understand it, don’t get upset, it’s just one scene; when it all comes together, like with Joseph, it’s going to work for your good. if Joseph hadn’t been betrayed by his brothers, if he hadn’t been sold into slavery, if he hadn’t been put into prison, he would’ve never made it to his throne; those were all necessary scenes on the way to his established end. what you may think is a setback is really a setup for God to get you to the fullness of your destiny. we can either go through life fighting everything we don’t like, upset, bitter, offended, or we can stay in peace, knowing that God is directing our steps, and even the twists, the things we don’t understand, in the end, they will work to our advantage.

there are times in life when it looks like our opponents, the depression, sickness, legal situation, is getting the best of us, we’re falling behind. it’s easy to get discouraged; “I can’t accomplish my dreams, the odds are against me, I’ll never get well, the medical report’s too bad.” you have to remind yourself that the end has already been set. when you feel like you’re falling behind, you’re outclassed, outsized, outnumbered, instead of being discouraged, have this new perspective; that means you’re about to see a major comeback. any moment, things are going to shift in your favor; a good break, a promotion, a healing.

2 Corinthians 2:14 (JUB)
14 Now thanks be unto God, who always causes us to triumph

not part of the time, not most of the time; God’s already lined up your victory parade. He’s already established your ending. when God breathed His life into you, He established your end first; He gave you a purpose, set your assignment, then He put in you everything you need to fulfill your destiny. He’s given you the gifts and talents, the confidence; how you start is not important. don’t let what you think is a limitation, a disadvantage, “if I was a different nationality, I come from the wrong side of the neighborhood, there’s dysfunction in my family”; that’s how you started, that’s not how you’re going to finish. the beginning does not determine your destiny; that’s just one scene. what matters is the expected end; the Creator of the universe has already destined you to leave your mark on this generation. He’s already put seeds of greatness in you.

God loves to take people who start off with all the odds against them, and shine down His favor, promote them, give them good breaks, to where they rise up and do extraordinary things. don’t let how you were raised, what you didn’t get, what you think is a disadvantage, cause you to settle where you are. the established end is not dependent on the beginning. it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. if you will keep honoring God, being your best, you are moving toward the destiny He has designed for you. it’s bigger than you can imagine. it’s more rewarding than you’ve ever dreamed. get rid of the excuses. you may have had a rough start, but you’re not going to have a rough finish. somebody may have put you at a disadvantage, but they did not change your expected end. Paul said in Philippians:

Philippians 1:6 (MSG)
3 … the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish

not a defeated finish, a mediocre finish, a lonely finish, a bankrupt finish; you’re coming to a victorious finish, a flourishing finish. when thoughts tell you otherwise, you’ll hear things like, “you have too many disadvantages, you’re too far behind, you’ve made too many mistakes”; let those lies go in one ear and out the other. God is saying, “I’m going to take you further than you can imagine. I have explosive blessings that can catapult you ahead. I have favor that can thrust you into your destiny. I’m going to bring out those seeds of greatness that I put on the inside.” God has established your end; you can be certain He knows how to get you there. now our part, all through the day; “Lord, thank You that Your plans for me are for good. You’re not limited by what I am right now. You’ve already shot my final scene. I may not understand everything along the way, but God, I trust You; I believe I’m coming to a flourishing finish.”

this is what Job had to do. he had some unusual twists and turns in life; some scenes didn’t make sense. everything started off great, life was good, but then the bottom fell out; Job lost his health, lost his business, lost his family. he could’ve gotten discouraged and given up. his wife told him:

Job 2:9 (NIV)
9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”

but in the middle of that discouragement, when everything had come against him, when a lot of people would’ve been bitter, angry, complaining, Job looked up to the heavens and said:

Job 19:25 (VOICE)
25 … I know my Redeemer lives

he was saying, in effect, “I know God’s still on the throne. I know He’s already shot my final scene. if this is my time to go, I’m not going to go bitter, I’m not going to go upset.”

Job 13:15 (NKJV)
15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him

when you can keep a good attitude when the bottom falls out, when you can give God praise in the twists of life, in the things that don’t make sense, that’s when God will take you to a new level of your destiny. we hear a lot about Job’s loss, trials, suffering, and yes, he went through a difficult season, but here’s the key; he didn’t stay there. that was one scene; in the end, he came out with twice what he had before:

Job 42:10 (CEB)
10 …the Lord doubled all Job’s earlier possessions.

he had twice the cattle, twice the sheep, got his health back, his joy back, his peace back. the scripture puts it this way:

Job 42:16 (LEB)
16 And Job lived after this one hundred and forty years, and he saw his sons and his grandsons for four generations.

notice: after the loss, after the disappointment, after the after the bottom fell out, he didn’t end on a sour, defeated note, his life was not over. Job went on to live a full, happy, blessed 140 more years, enjoying his grandchildren, accomplishing his dreams, fulfilling his purpose.

just because you have some twists, turns, things you don’t understand, that doesn’t mean your life is over. God has an after-this coming. when thoughts whisper, “you’ve seen your best days, you’ve been through too much, this is as good as it gets,” God is saying to you what He said to Job; “after the cancer, the divorce, the betrayal, there’s still a full life ahead of you. you haven’t dreamed your best dream, danced your best dance, laughed your best laugh.” shake off the disappointment, get your passion back; God has an after-this coming your way. He’s not only going to bring you out, but He’s going to pay you back for that trouble. you’re going to come out stronger, increased, promoted, better than you were before.

when it was all over, Job said:

Job 42:1-2 (MSG)
1-2 Job answered God:
“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.
    Nothing and no one can upset your plans.

he was saying, “nothing can change the expected end. God already established it.” the enemy cannot keep you from your destiny. Satan had to ask God’s permission to even test Job; that tells me that God is not only in control of your life, He’s in control of your enemies. you have nothing to worry about; there is a hedge of protection around you that cannot be penetrated.

when Jesus was about to be crucified, he told people:

John 2:19 (NKJV)
19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

they thought he was talking about the building; he was talking about himself. Jesus, of course, understood this principle, that his end had already been established. he knew that his final scene had already been shot; it wasn’t him hanging on the cross in great pain, it wasn’t him in a tomb, buried in grave-clothes. he knew his final scene was him seated at the right hand of the Father, with all power, with the keys of death and hell. that’s why it says:

Hebrews 12:2 (VOICE)
2 … He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him

the way you stay encouraged in the tough times is you keep looking ahead, knowing that your end has been set, that you’re coming to a flourishing finish, that God always causes you to triumph.

the scripture talks about how Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb:

Matthew 27:59-60 (CEB)
59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had carved out of the rock. After he rolled a large stone at the door of the tomb, he went away.

he had no place to be buried of his own. I can imagine Jesus, before he was crucified, asking that disciple, “can I borrow your tomb?” he was saying, “I don’t need to buy it, this is not how my story ends. this is only temporary; I’ll just be here a few days. I have an established end set by my Father, and no enemy can change it. they can put me in the grave, but they can’t keep me in the grave.” our attitude, like Jesus, in difficult times; “this is temporary. this addiction is not how my story ends. this defeat, this sickness, this betrayal, is just one scene; I know another scene is coming, a scene of victory, favor, and new beginnings.” your final scene has already been shot; don’t let the twists, turns, things you don’t understand, cause you to get discouraged. keep moving forward; in the end, it’s all going to work to your advantage. we know the final outcome; we don’t have to live worried and upset, God has established our end. if you’ll stay in faith, and keep honoring God, like Job, God’s going to pay you back for the trouble. like Joseph, God’s going to get you to your throne. no matter how you start, you’re going to come out with a flourishing finish, accomplishing your dreams, becoming all God created you to be.

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