Archive for August 3rd, 2015

Stored up blessings

from JO’s sermon tonight:

when God laid out the plan for your life, He put in it everything you need to fulfill your destiny. He’s already lined up the right people, breaks, favor, increase. Psalm 31 says:

Psalm 31:19 (TLB)

19 … you have stored up great blessings for those who trust and reverence you.

promotion is stored up for you. single people, there’s a husband, a wife, stored up for you. that baby you’ve been dreaming about is stored up. a contract, a business, healing; it already has your name on it, it belongs to you. if you’ll keep honoring God, at the right time you’ll come into a stored up blessing. you won’t have to go after it, it will find you. what God has destined for you can’t go to anyone else. that’s why you don’t have to be frustrated when you see other people being blessed. a friend moves into a new house; you’ve been believing for 10 years for a better place to live, you come every Sunday, give, serve, they’re just the opposite. “I don’t understand it, I wish I had that house.” no, if you had it, it wouldn’t be a blessing, it would be a burden; it wasn’t destined for you. what God has stored up for you cannot go to anyone else.  there’s a house with your name on it, a spouse with your name on them, healing with your name on it. 

don’t be jealous because a friend got a promotion. don’t be frustrated because your business partner saw a dream come to pass; they’re not getting your blessings. if you got what they have, it wouldn’t help you, it would hinder you. what God has stored up for you will be a perfect fit for your life. when you understand this, you’ll celebrate the success of others. you’ll be happy for their promotion, new house, beautiful baby, knowing that what God did for them is not going to stop what God’s going to do for you. sometimes, we act like God has a limited supply of favor; “if my coworker gets promoted, that may keep God from promoting me.” that’s the wrong perspective.  God never runs out of favor; He has unlimited resources. somebody else being blessed is not going to stop God from blessing you.  when you celebrate others, you’re passing the test. when you’re happy for their success, God can release what He has stored up for you.

maybe you’re single, you’ve been believing for a long, long time to meet the right person. your best friend just met the man of her dreams; he’s tall, dark, handsome, romantic. they’re madly in love, planning their wedding. she asked you to be the maid of honor. you say, “yes, I’d be thrilled to do it”; deep down, you’re thinking, “I am so depressed. God, why didn’t I meet him first? I’m more attractive than she is.” no, be happy for her; she’s not taking your blessing. what has your name on it cannot go to anyone else. your time is coming. there is a husband stored up for you that will be a perfect fit, better than you can imagine; they’re headed your way, could happen today, this week. you could see a stored up blessing released in your life.

this takes all the pressure off. you don’t have to live frustrated, wondering if a dream’s going to come to pass, worried that a problem won’t work out, jealous because a friend got a promotion; you can stay in peace, knowing that what has your name on it is not going to go to any other person, that God’s going to get you to where your supposed to be.  sometimes, it’s taking a long time, people are passing us up, we’ve missed opportunities, made some mistakes. those voices start whispering, “it’s never going to happen, you’re never going to get well, break the addiction, meet the right person.” it’s easy to get discouraged, give up on what we’re believing for. 

this is the way Peter felt after Jesus had been crucified.  when Jesus needed him the most, Peter denied that he knew him. Peter not only felt guilty about it, he was confused; this man he believed to be the Messiah was no longer with them.  he’d said he would rise from the dead, but they didn’t see any sign of it, so Peter went back to his previous profession; he was an experienced fisherman, he’d done it for many years. he’d been out on his boat all night fishing, and caught nothing. he’d worked hard, used his best efforts, put on the right bait, threw the nets where he thought the fish would be, again and again, hour after hour,g with no success. the next morning:

John 21:4-6 (NIV)

4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”

I’m sure they thought, “who does this guy think he is, telling us how to fish? we’re professionals. we’re tired, hot, aggravated, frustrated. there are no fish out here.”  they threw their nets on the right side of the boat:

John 21:6-7 (NIV)

6 … When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.  7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”

God knows where your fish are. just because you haven’t seen them yet, doesn’t mean that you’ve missed them.  like Peter, you may have worked hard, given it your best effort, used your expertise, your skills, exhausted your resources, your connections, but you came up empty; now, you don’t think it’s ever going to happen. “I’ll never get well, meet the right person, accomplish this dream. I’ve tried everything: I’ve worked 2 jobs, gone through rehab, I put my profile on 47 dating websites.”  you’re tired, frustrated, you could easily give up. here’s the good news;  God knows where your fish are. He knows where your husband is, where your healing is, your victory, that new house. it may not have happened yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. you always face the greatest opposition, adversity, discouragement, right before the breakthrough, healing, meeting the person of your dreams.

God is saying to you, “throw out your nets one more time.” that disappointment, loss, lack, was only a test. your fish are still out there. what has your name on it, if you’ll throw out your nets again, God will cause those stored up blessings to find you. the fish may not have been there last night, it may not have worked last time, that’s ok; God controls the fish. He knows how to get them into your net.  start believing again. get your fire back.  stir your faith up.  what God started in your life, He’s going to finish. what He promised you, He will bring to pass.  you may have been struggling trying to find the fish, working hard, giving it your best efforts, no success; this is a new day. the fish are going to find you. the scripture talks about:

Deuteronomy 28:2 (NKJV)

2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God

when you believe that your best days are still in front of you, that God will take you where you could not go on your own, you will come to a point where the fish will start tracking you down.  God will command His blessings to overtake you. there are some big fish that have your name on them. it’s just a matter of time before they show up in your net.  you need to get ready; I’m not talking about minnows, little goldfish, something you can fit in a small aquarium, I’m talking about some big fish, big breaks, big opportunities. Peter caught so many fish that he could not haul them all in;  notice, God is an overflow God.  what He has stored up for you is going to be bigger than you can imagine. sometimes, the reason your net is empty is because God has something better. like Peter, you fished all night, you didn’t catch anything; don’t get discouraged, God controls the fish. if you’ll keep honoring Him, stay in faith, He’ll bring the right fish to you.

when you face a disappointment, a door closes, have a new perspective; maybe that door closed because God has something better coming your way. maybe you were hoping to catch a normal, average-sized fish, but God has a whale coming, someone better, a bigger house. or maybe He’s going to launch you into a new field, with opportunity that you’ve never dreamed of.  there are some big fish that have your name on them.  nothing may have been biting lately; you’re throwing out your nets, using the right bait, but you keep coming up empty. every voice will tell you, “it’s never going to happen.  you’re wasting your time, forget about it”; no, don’t believe those lies, the fish are coming. the promotion is coming, the spouse, the healing, is headed your way. it may seem unlikely, you tried it before, gave it your best, it didn’t work out; that delay doesn’t mean that you missed your fish.  that disappointment doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen.

at the right time, God’s going to bring the fish into your net. now do your part; keep throwing out your nets.  keep believing. it’s not going to happen by your might, power, talent, strength; it’s going to happen by the hand of God. you may have come to the end of your ability, you’ve done everything you can; don’t worry, you’re not alone, you have the most powerful Force in the universe on your side. the God who controls the fish, spoke worlds into existence, He knows how to get the fish into your net. every morning, “Lord, I want to thank You that You’re causing the right fish to find me. thank You that those stored up blessings are going to be released in my life.”  if you’ll stay in faith, and keep throwing out your nets, like with Peter, God will do more than you could ever ask or think. God knows how to connect you to the right people. you keep throwing out your nets, and God will keep bringing the right fish.  He has blessings stored up for you.  

it’s interesting; when Peter was in his boat that day, he had just made one of the biggest mistakes of his life. he had just denied that he knew Jesus.  you would think God would say, “too bad, Peter, fish all you want, you’re not going to catch anything. you’re not going to have My blessing.  you had your chance, but you blew it.”  just because you make a mistake doesn’t mean that God cancels your destiny. Peter blew it big time, but just a few days later, he had this big-time catch, so much that he couldn’t haul it all in. that’s the mercy of God. when you make mistakes, God doesn’t get rid of your fish, He doesn’t take them away, He holds your fish; they become a stored up blessing. when you get back on the right path, God will release what should’ve been yours.

you may think, “I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’m sure God had some good things stored up for me, but it’s too late now.”   no, you’re just like Peter; God is holding your fish, they belong to you.  why don’t you start believing again? God knew every mistake you’d ever make. He knew the times we’d blow it, the times that we would fail;  if that disqualified us, all of us would come up empty, none of us would catch anything. when you make mistakes, the accuser will whisper in your ear, “no use you throwing out your nets. God’s not going to bring you any fish. you’re not going to catch anything.” God is saying, “I dare you to believe. I dare you to throw your nets on the right side of the boat”; that means, start making good decisions, honoring God, living with excellence and integrity. when you do this, the mistakes of the past won’t keep you from your future.  your fish are still out there. your dreams, healing, spouse, that breakthrough; it has your name on it.  throw your nets on the right side of the boat, and God is still going to bless you, heal you. you’re still going to accomplish your dreams, and become who you were created to be.  

we see this principle throughout the scripture.  as a young man, Moses knew that he was supposed to deliver the people of Israel out of slavery, but he got in a hurry, and tried to do it in his own strength:

Exodus 2:11-15 (NIV)

11 … He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian… Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.”

15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh

he spent years on the backside of the desert in hiding. it looked like he missed his destiny.  but 40 years later:

Exodus 3:2 (NIV)

2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.

that mistake didn’t stop God’s plan for his life:  

Exodus 3:10 (NIV)

10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

I’m sure Moses thought of excuses;  “God, I’m too old, I made too many mistakes, I don’t deserve this.”  he was saying, “I fished all night, I didn’t catch anything.” but God knew where Moses’ fish were; He had them stored up.  at 80, Moses delivered the people of Israel, saw favor again and again. you may have make mistakes, but God still has your fish. you can still become who He created you to be. even with Abraham, God promised him and his wife Sarah that they would have a baby; they were much too old, way past the childbearing years.  year after year went by; no baby. they got worried, and tried to help God out:

Genesis 16:3-6 (NIV)

3 … Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.

When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”

6 “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.

all kinds of dysfunction in this house.  you would think God would say, “too bad Abraham, you blew it. having a baby with another woman, what were you thinking? you’ve got one messed up family.”   but in spite of the dysfunction, in spite of the mistakes, God said:

Genesis 17:15-16 (NIV)

15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her

Genesis 21:2-5 (NIV)

2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son…  5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

you may have blown it, made mistakes, your nets are empty, you don’t think the promise will ever come to pass; God is still holding your fish.  He didn’t get rid of them; they belong to you. if you’ll start throwing your nets on the right side of the boat, you’ll still see God’s favor. He’ll still do what He promised you.

Jesus told a parable:

Matthew 20:1-15 (NIV)

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

(the owner represents God.)  here’s the point; even though you may have started late, you made mistakes, missed some opportunities, God doesn’t say, “I’m cutting your pay; I’m only going to give you half of what should’ve been yours.” if you’ll get back in the field, start making decisions that honor God, all those past wages, what God has stored up, the blessings, favor, increase, He still wants to release in your life.  you can still reach the fullness of your destiny. 

don’t let the accusing voices cause you to live guilty, condemned, thinking you’ve seen your best days. like Peter, you may have made mistakes, but God still has your fish. there’s still a great haul up in front of you. like with Abraham, God still has your Isaac. He’s still planning to bring to pass what He promised you. like this last group of workers, you may have started late, but God’s not docking your pay;  He wants to give you the full amount, if you’ll just get back in the game.  your voices, the thoughts may tell you, “you don’t deserve it,” other people might complain, but here’s the key: favor is not fair. it’s just the goodness, the mercy of God. why don’t you receive it today?  if you’ll do this, stored up blessings are about to be released in your life.  the fish are going to find you; not little minnows, but some big fish. big breaks, promotion, healing, restoration, the fullness of your destiny.

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