Archive for November 16th, 2015

(No new sermon this week.)

I’ve been holding onto this for 2 months, waiting for a week when I’m insanely busy like this one but need a post:

Have you ever wondered just how TINY of a problem God will pay attention to your prayers about and handle for you?  Here’s the answer:

I don’t like bugs;  most of them want to bite you, sting you, spread disease, destroy crops, etc.  Even butterflies, which pretty much everybody loves, start out as destructive caterpillars.  The big exception in my mind is the ladybug; not only is it utterly incapable of harm, but it eats aphids and other little bugs that destroy plants. Best of all, it is very small and very cute; for the benefit of foreign visitors, here is a picture:


Unlike ants and cockroaches, that are always trying to get into human homes to eat our food, and in the case of the latter, to terrorize us and gross us out, ladybugs always stay outside… so imagine my surprise when, a couple of nights ago, I found one sitting on a lighting fixture by my work area. I carefully brushed him off onto my hand, took him outside, and tried to release him onto a bush; he resisted being detached from my fingers, and eventually fell through the leaves. I heard him land on something, but wasn’t concerned because bugs basically don’t weigh anything, and it doesn’t hurt them to fall a couple of feet. I took a giant step away to be sure that I wasn’t stepping on him, came back into the house, went back to work, and then a few minutes later brushed absently at my arm… only to discover that the ladybug was there, apparently just hanging out with me. He must have jumped up and flown after me as I was walking away, and ridden back into the house on my clothing.

Not that I wasn’t flattered that such a minuscule creature wanted to be my friend, but I had nothing to feed him and no way to care for him, so I tried to take him outside again… but this time, just as I got to the door, he flew away and vanished somewhere in my family room. I searched and searched in vain. I realized that if I didn’t find him pretty soon, he would starve to death, dehydrate, or get crushed accidentally; I felt really bad for not having prevented him from escaping before I got him outside, because I was too charmed by how he was walking along my arm.  I did what I always do in times of trouble, from the biggest trouble all the way down to the smallest; I started praying.

I saw no sign of him for over 24 hours. I kept praying. Finally, towards the end of my evening, I saw him standing on a table!!  I wasn’t taking any chances this time;  thanking God under my breath, I took scooped the ladybug up, covered him with my hand, and got him outside the fastest way possible… I opened the screen door with my foot, and went right outside with bare feet into the darkness. I went to the nearest plant, and after several efforts got him on a leaf, or so I thought… I couldn’t see where he had gone, but it looked like he had vanished between a couple of leaves.

Do you think that this was just a lucky accident, because God can’t be bothered with the fate of a tiny bug?  Check this out:  I was still concerned about the ladybug, that maybe he had gotten back into the house with me again, or maybe I had accidentally stepped on him on the way back in the darkness, or that one of the critters that roam my yard at night had eaten him.  Just as I was about to close the curtains a couple of hours later, I glanced out the window, and in the dim early light saw the ladybug crawl across an exposed bit of leaf for just ONE MOMENT!!  What are the chances that the exact moment I glanced out the window as I was closing the curtains also happened to be the exact moment that he came into view for split second?  God made sure that I was not only able to save the ladybug, but that I would feel certain about his well-being before I went to bed.

If you ever think that you have something that matters to you but is too trivial to bother God with, remember this story.


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Pregnant with possibility

from JO’s sermon tonight:

when a woman is pregnant, for the first few months she doesn’t look any different; she’s the same size, wears the same clothes, has the same amount of energy. from the outside, there’s no sign that she’s going to have a baby. if you just looked at it in the natural, you could think, “you’re not pregnant, there’s nothing different about you.” but what you can’t see is, on the inside a seed has taken root, conception has occurred.  in a few months, she’ll start showing, gaining more weight. in a few more months, she’ll feel something kicking on the inside; out of nowhere, a kick here, a kick there. she’s still never seen the baby in person, she’s never held that baby, but she’s not worried; she knows the baby is on the way. 9 months after she conceives, she’ll give birth to that little child.

in the same way, you may not realize it, but you are pregnant. God has placed all kinds of potential in you: there are gifts, talents, ideas, dreams, businesses, books, songs, healing, freedom. you are pregnant with possibility, increase, healing. and just because you don’t see anything happening, doesn’t mean it’s not going to come to pass; that seed God put in you has already taken root, conception has occurred.  like this woman, you may not see any sign of it for some time, but don’t worry, your time is coming; you are pregnant with your miracle, abundance, maybe pregnant with a new business. instead of being discouraged, down, “it’s never going to happen, it’s been so long, I’ve been through too much,” no, our attitude should be, “I can feel something kicking on the inside. I know this baby is still alive. I’m going to give birth to what God put in me.” maybe you’ve struggled with an addiction for a long time; instead of believing the lie that you could never break it, ”no, I’m pregnant with freedom, wholeness. you may not see any changes, but I can feel something kicking. I can feel something stirring down in my spirit.” when you live with this kind of expectancy, you’re going to give birth to what God put in you. Psalm 7 says:

Psalm 7:14 (NLT)

14 The wicked conceive evil… are pregnant with trouble

the good news is, that’s not you; you are the righteous. you’re not pregnant with trouble, bad breaks, sickness, lack, depression, you are pregnant with favor, talent, victory. all through the day, “Lord, I want to thank You that I’m pregnant with Your promises, that I will give birth to everything You put in me.” you may not see any changes, it may not look in the natural like it’s ever going to work out, but deep down in your spirit, you have to believe that conception has occurred.  you are pregnant with that new house you’ve been dreaming about; in God’s perfect timing, when everything is ready, you’re going to give birth.

your family may be struggling, dysfunction in your home; don’t live worried, you are pregnant with restoration, a breakthrough. maybe business is slow, you lost your main client; you could easily be discouraged, but you can feel something kicking on the inside, something saying, “you are the head and not the tail. whatever you touch will prosper and succeed.” perhaps your dream looks impossible; it’s been a long time, you tried and it didn’t work out. but deep down, you can’t help it, something keeps kicking, telling you that it’s on the way. what God started, He will finish. you may be struggling with an illness, fighting a battle in your health; instead of accepting it, thinking that’s the way it’s always going to be, keep reminding yourself that you are pregnant, you already have conceived, the healing is already in you, it’s just a matter of time before you give birth.

nothing can snatch you out of God’s hands.  don’t go around negative, complaining, turn it around; “the medical report doesn’t look good, but I can feel healing kicking down on the inside of me.  no weapon formed against me will prosper. it doesn’t look like I could ever get out of debt, but I can feel abundance kicking on the inside; I will lend and not borrow. all my circumstances say that I’ll be barren my whole life, never meet the right person, never break the addiction, but deep down I can feel something stirring in my spirit.” I am looking at pregnant people today. you are pregnant with possibility. quit telling yourself that you could never get ahead, you don’t have enough of this, enough of that, no, you are pregnant with success, ideas, destiny. you’re going to give birth to what God put in you. it’s not too late, you haven’t missed your chance.

in the scripture, Sarah was 90 years old when she gave birth to Isaac; way too old in the natural, but we serve a supernatural God. He can make a way when you don’t see a way. don’t abort your baby. don’t talk yourself out of your dreams. don’t give up on what God promised you.  you can still give birth: you can still meet the right person, start your business, go to college, break the addiction. that seed is still alive in you.  you can’t judge what’s in you by what’s around you;  all of Sarah’s circumstances said, “you’ll be barren your whole life.  you’re too old. no one your age has babies, that’s impossible.”  if she would’ve believed that lie, let that seed take root, it would’ve never happened.

you can draw in the negative with your doubt, or you can draw in God’s blessings with your faith.  don’t let what you see around you cause you to give up on your dreams. you may be in some kind of limited environment today, nothing inspiring around you; in the natural, there’s no way you could get out, get an education, be successful. but what’s around you does not determine what God put in you; you have seeds of greatness.  you are pregnant with success, ability, talent. God did not create anyone without putting something significant on the inside. don’t let what’s on the outside, how you were raised, lack, dysfunction, convince you to abort your dream.

when you get quiet, alone at night, when it’s just you and God, if you listen carefully, you’ll hear something whispering, “this is not your destiny. you were made for more.” what is that? that’s your baby kicking, because you’re about to give birth. you’re going to see supernatural opportunities, explosive blessings, divine connections. God’s going to help you go where you could not go on your own. statistics don’t determine your destiny, God does. don’t become a victim of your environment; you are a victor. where you are is not who you are.

maybe the odds are against you in some area: the medical report doesn’t look good, or your environment isn’t healthy, no one’s supporting you, you don’t have the connections, the resources. don’t talk yourself out of it; keep reminding yourself that you are pregnant, the seed put in you by your Creator has already taken root. it doesn’t have anything to do with what you have or don’t have, what family you come from, how talented you are; it is a destiny seed. when you give birth, you’re going to go further than you ever imagined.

Sarah was 90 years old, never had a baby. everywhere she looked, it said that she would be barren her whole life;  “too bad, you’re too old, it’s just impossible.” she couldn’t find another 90 year old woman that had ever had a baby. if she could have at least found one, she could have said, “God, You did it for her, You can do it for me.” she couldn’t find anyone. you may look around and think, “I don’t know anyone that’s gotten out of my neighborhood and done something significant. I don’t know anyone that’s overcome the illness I’m dealing with. nobody in my family has been able to break these addictions.” the good news is, you can be the first; you can set the new standard. you can be the barrier-breaker.  God said:

Genesis 17:16 (NASB)

16 I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

here’s a 90 year old woman that’s barren, she’s living in the desert, no medical procedures, infertility treatments, yet God says, “you have kings, nations in you.” He was saying, “Sarah, don’t let the circumstances fool you. don’t let your environment talk you out of it.  don’t let your own thoughts discourage you; you’re pregnant with greatness.” God is saying the same thing to you;  “you have kings, greatness in you. you are pregnant with success, talent, your destiny.” the prophet Joel said:

Joel 3:9 (NKJV)

9 … Wake up the mighty (wo)men

I’m here to wake up your dreams, talents, potential, what God put in you. you may have let some circumstances convince you that it’s never going to happen, but I believe you’re going to start feeling some kicking on the inside; that baby, dream, promise, it’s still alive in you. you better get ready; you’re going to give birth to something that’s going to take you further than you could ever imagine. it’s going to thrust you to a new level of your destiny.  the scripture talks about:

1 Timothy 6:12 (KJV)

12 Fight the good fight of faith

you can’t be passive and just accept whatever comes along, and think that that’s your lot in life. we all have bad breaks, disappointments; those challenges are not there to defeat you, they’re there to promote you. on the other side is a new level of God’s goodness. but you have to do your part, and get your fire back. maybe you’ve let something steal your passion. you don’t think you could ever get well, meet the right person, accomplish a dream; no, everything you need is already in you.  if you’ll stir your faith up and get in agreement with God, you will give birth to your healing, dreams, promises.  Genesis 3:15 says:

Genesis 3:15 (NASB)

15 And I will put enmity

Between you and the woman,

And between your seed and her seed;

He shall bruise you on the head

in the garden of Eden, you remember how the serpent deceived Eve, and brought about all kinds of trouble;  God was saying, in effect, “Eve, it’s payback time. you’re going to give birth to something that’s going to defeat the thing that’s tried to defeat you.  your seed will bruise his head.” too often, we’re looking for something from the outside to help us overcome, but God has put it on the inside.  if you’ll give birth to what God put in you, you won’t have to rely on other people. if you’ll give birth to that dream, that gift, that talent, your gift will make room for you, open some new doors. or maybe, if you’ll give birth to that idea, that book, that talent, then you can deliver yourself from lack and struggling. Jesus said:

 John 7:38 (LEB)

38 the one who believes in me. Just as the scripture said, ‘Out of his belly will flow rivers of living water.’ 

your deliverance is not going to come from other people. your promotion, your healing, your breakthrough is going to come from within you; out of your belly shall flow rivers. this is where Sarah almost missed it;  she thought the promise would come through somebody else. she reasoned it out, thinking she was too old, how could she have kings and nations in her? she was 90, she couldn’t have a baby.  she tried to help God out; she had her husband Abraham sleep with her maid. they had a baby, but it wasn’t the promised child. God said, “Sarah, I didn’t put the promise in somebody else; you don’t need other people to deliver you, Sarah, I put the promise in you.”

God is saying the same thing to us;  “you are pregnant with your miracle, victory. you don’t need other people. you don’t have to hope they help you, like you, give you a good break. like with Sarah, it’s not going to come from the outside, it’s going to come from the inside.  God has already put it in you. if you’ll dare believe that you have what it takes, go out each day with expectancy, knowing that you’re pregnant, then you can deliver yourself; you will give birth to what God put on the inside of you. Paul said it this way in Ephesians:

Ephesians 3:20 (JUB)

20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us

it’s not according to the power that works in your neighbor, your cousin, your pastor, your friend; the power is working in you.  you say, “I believe I’m pregnant, I have big dreams, I’m standing on God’s promises, but everything is coming against me. it seems like the more I pray, the worse it gets. I’m doing the right thing, but the wrong thing is happening.” here’s the beauty; pain is a sign that you’re about to give birth. trouble, difficulties, being uncomfortable; that’s a sign that you’re getting closer. when everything comes against you: your child’s acting up, trouble at work, setback in your finances, don’t get discouraged, you’re about to give birth. you’re about to see a promise come to pass. in these tough times is when many people abort their dreams, thinking, “I knew it wouldn’t work out, the bank turned me down, the medical report wasn’t good, I didn’t get the promotion.”  no, recognize that those are labor pains; you’re getting closer. stay in faith, keep doing the right thing; the birth is on the way.

sometimes, what we think is a setback is really just labor pains. that difficulty you’re facing, it’s not the end, it’s a part of the birthing process. you’re about to step into a new level of your destiny. don’t be discouraged by the disappointment, closed door, bad break; that’s a sign that you’re about to give birth.  some of you are pregnant with a book, a movie, a business, a charity. you’ve had disappointments, you tried, and it didn’t work out, but you can still feel the kicking on the inside; you can’t get away from it.  don’t talk yourself out of it; it’s all a part of the process. keep trying, believing, doing everything you can, and at the right time you will give birth. the right people, opportunities, breaks, will show up. you couldn’t make it happen on your own; it was the hand of God. what He’s put in you is going to be bigger than you can imagine, better than you’ve ever dreamed, more rewarding than you thought possible.

now do your part; get your hopes up. every morning, remind yourself; you are pregnant. not with rejection, failure, disappointments, defeat; you are pregnant with victory, success, the favor of God. you may have had some bad breaks, but like Sarah, you are not going to live your life barren. you’re not going to die with that baby still in you. God has the final say, and He says, “a birth is coming.” what He’s promised is on the way. keep honoring Him, keep being your best, and you will give birth to everything God put in you, and become everything God created you to be.

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