Archive for April 24th, 2017

from JO’s sermon tonight:

there are times in life where we feel like we’re going in circles, doing the right thing but not making much progress, we don’t see anything changing. it’s easy to lose our passion, and get discouraged. but one test that we all have to pass is being faithful when nothing new is happening. it’s easy to be our best when we’re getting good breaks, things are falling into place; that doesn’t take much faith. what about when you’re working hard and not getting the credit? you’re being your best, but your marriage isn’t improving, honoring God, but not seeing increase? will you trust Him when it feels like you’re going in circles, stay passionate when you’re doing the same thing again and again?

when you’re faithful in the routine, something is happening that you can’t see; your character is being developed, your spiritual muscles are getting stronger, you’re being prepared for where God is taking you. the routineness of life is not exciting, but it is necessary; you won’t become all that you were created to be without being your best when it’s mundane, being excellent, having a good attitude, when it’s just another ordinary day, nothing exciting is happening. you could see it as boring, when is this going to change, but you understand this principle; you’re being prepared. when God can trust you to be faithful in the ordinary, then He’ll take you into the extraordinary; when you’re faithful in average days, then you’ll see exceptional days.

but sometimes, we’re frustrated, because we know that we have more in us, but we’re not seeing it happen; we don’t understand why we’re not making progress. God will always put bigger things in your spirit before they come to pass; you may be dealing with something mediocre, but God is preparing you for something great.

David was anointed to be the king as a young man, then God sent him back to the shepherds’ fields; he had a king’s anointing, yet he was taking care of sheep. your anointing will supersede where you are right now. God called David to rule a nation, but he was doing a menial task, day in and day out, boring, routine, nothing exciting. he could’ve gotten discouraged; “God, why isn’t it happening? You said I’d be the king.” if he had not passed this test of being faithful in the routine, he would’ve never taken the throne.

like David, you may know that you have more in you, you can feel those seeds of greatness, but you’re doing something menial, beneath your training, you’re being overlooked at work, nobody takes your advice, at home, nobody says thank you; be faithful where God has you now, in the routine.

this is where David excelled; out in the shepherds’ fields, he didn’t slack off, show up late, have a sour attitude, thinking, “when I get to where I’m going, then I’ll give it my all, when I take the throne, then I’ll show people what I’m made of.” no, he showed what he was made of when nobody was watching; he understood that he wasn’t working unto people, he was working unto God. he was excellent where God had him, even though he didn’t like it; that’s what led to the throne, all those ordinary days of being his best.

are you being excellent where God has you now? “this isn’t where I want to be; I want a better job, and to own my own house.” here’s the key; you’ll never make it there if you’re not faithful where you are. you won’t see promotion if you’re not being your best where God has you right now.

13 years later, after being faithful in the shepherds’ fields, going through all kinds of unfair situations, David suddenly took the throne. passing the test in ordinary days is what leads to exceptional days; that’s when you’ll see moments of favor, where God thrusts you years ahead. it’s not the big things that hold most people back, it’s the small things: being faithful day in and day out, going to work with a good attitude, sitting in traffic and not complaining, showing up to church week after week. being faithful in the routine is what prepares you for promotion. you may feel like you’re going in circles, not making much progress, but the right attitude is, “I may not like where I am, but God, since You have me here, I know that this is where I’m supposed to be, so I’m going to keep being my best, giving, serving, helping others, right where I am.”

we read about the great heroes of faith in the Bible, and their lives seem very exciting, but most of the time, their lives were routine. there will be more ordinary days than there are exciting days; if you live from big event to big event, waiting for something exciting to keep you encouraged, you’ll be disappointed. learn to enjoy where God has you right now; it may feel like you’re no closer to your dreams than you were years ago, but when you do the ordinary with a good attitude, that’s getting you prepared for the new things that God has in store.

sometimes, the reason that God is not changing the circumstances is that He’s using the circumstances to change us. if you’ll start passing these tests, being patient when it’s taking longer than we’d like, staying in faith when we’re not getting our way, having a smile even when we’re uncomfortable, we’re growing, developing, showing God that we trust Him. like with David, that’s when you’ll not just be anointed for the throne, you’ll take your throne.

Jeremiah 18:6 (ERV)
6 You are like the clay in the potter’s hands, and I am the potter.” This message is from the Lord.

the clay could say, “I don’t like going in circles; let me off this wheel so I can make progress.” what the clay doesn’t realize is that it is making progress; while it’s going in circles, the potter is forming it. you may feel like you’re spinning today, doing the same thing over and over, not making much progress, but God is making and molding you. when you’re faithful where you are, keep doing the right thing even though you’re not making progress, have a song of praise when you could be complaining, you are rising higher.

when Joshua was leading the Israelites towards the promised land:

Joshua 6:1 (NIV)
6 Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.

in the natural, there was no way that the Israelites could get past that wall and make it to the promised land.

Joshua 6:2-3 (NIV)
2 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days.

I’m sure Joshua thought, “God, we need to get into the city, and you’re telling us to walk around it, to go in circles?”

for 6 days, they didn’t see anything changing, but on the seventh day:

Joshua 6:15-20 (NIV)
15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and… circled the city seven times. 16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!… the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.

researchers have found that the walls fell in such a way as to create a ramp over the rubble of the walls.

when you’re faithful in the routine, God will make things happen that you couldn’t make happen. you may have been doing the right thing for a long time, you feel like you’re being left out, falling behind, but God is closely watching you; your time is coming. it’s going to happen suddenly, unexpectedly; God has explosive blessings. no obstacle is too big, no wall is too high, no enemy is too powerful; one touch of God’s favor can catapult you years ahead.

Psalm 18:29 (AMPC)
29 For by You I can run through a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.

God will get you to where you’re supposed to be.

why did have God have them march around in circles, when he could’ve brought the wall down when Joshua asked? marching around that city was a test; God wanted to see if they would be faithful in the routine, trust Him when they were going in circles. you’re not always going to understand why something isn’t changing; don’t get caught up in the whys, it is simply a test. keep being faithful where you are, and those walls will come down.

when they were marching around the city:

Joshua 6:10 (NIV)
10 But Joshua had commanded the army, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout.

God knew that if He didn’t keep them quiet, they would’ve talked themselves out of it; “why are we walking around in circles? Joshua has lost his mind.” if they would’ve gone around the walls with a negative attitude, even though they were doing the right thing, it would not have happened.

when you feel like you’re going in circles, not making much progress, don’t start talking about how it’s never going to happen; do yourself a favor, and zip it up. you can do the right thing with the wrong attitude and miss the blessing. when you go around the wall with a good attitude, that’s passing the test. Like with the Israelites, that obstacle that should’ve stopped you will suddenly come down.

Psalm 110:1 (NIV)
1 … “Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”

they will become a steppingstone for you to rise to the next level.

on the surface, it looked like it was the shout that brought the walls down, but the shout without the obedience of walking around the walls would not have had the same effect.

God is a God of justice; He’ll make your wrongs right. you may have gone through some disappointments, situations that you feel like have put you at a disadvantage, but no person can keep you from your destiny, no bad break can stop what God has ordained for you. don’t get discouraged, don’t try to pay people back; the disappointments, bad breaks, betrayals, are all a part of God’s plan. God uses things that we don’t like, that we don’t understand, to push us into our purpose. sometimes, it feels like things are spinning out of control; the truth is, they are spinning in control. God is directing your steps, closing doors, moving the wrong people out. He controls the universe. He won’t allow the spinning unless ultimately it’s going to work to your advantage. the challenge is to trust Him while you’re spinning, when you don’t understand it.

when Moses was born, Pharaoh had put out a decree that all the male babies were to be killed; Moses’ mother hid him for 3 months. like with Moses, sometimes God will hide you; you’ll go through a season where you’re not being noticed, celebrated. you have all these gifts, so much to offer, but you’re being overlooked, ignored. these times when God hides us are times of testing, proving; are you going to keep being your best, even though you’re being overlooked? if you’re not faithful when you’re hidden, how can God trust you to be faithful when you’re out in the open?

Exodus 2:3-10 (CEV)
3 But when she could no longer keep him hidden, she made a basket out of reeds and covered it with tar. She put him in the basket and placed it in the tall grass along the edge of the Nile River… 5 About that time one of the king’s daughters came down to take a bath in the river… 10 And when he was old enough… the king’s daughter, who adopted him.

Moses went from being hidden to being noticed by one of the most influential families of that day.

when you pass the test of being faithful in the routine, there will come a time when God will say, “you can be hidden no longer.” He will cause the right people to see you, celebrate you; you’ll not only be noticed, you’ll be celebrated. you may feel like you’ve been hidden, overlooked, ignored; stay encouraged, God is about to bring you out. His face is going to shine down on you in a new way. you’re not going to have to make it happen; the right people are going to find you, doors are going to open that you couldn’t open, promotion is going to track you down.

John 2:1-7 (NIV)
2 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”… 6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”

6 x 30 = 180 gallons; if the workers took a 3 gallon bucket to the well, that would take as much as 60 trips to get all that water. I can imagine the workers thinking, “why are we doing this? we need wine, why are we carrying water?” they could’ve talked themselves out of it; instead, they kept doing the ordinary, carrying the water, faithful in the routine. it would’ve been easy to have stayed in faith if, when they drew the water out of the well, it immediately turned into wine, but nothing was changing. when God can trust you to be faithful getting water, when everything looks ordinary, then He will take you into the extraordinary. you may be believing for wine, but all you’re seeing is water; be faithful in your water days. don’t be discouraged by what you don’t see; wine is coming. it’s going to happen suddenly; it’s going to be unexpected.

John 2:9-10 (NIV)
9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

when you pass this test of being faithful in the routine, God has saved the best for last; what’s in your future is going to be more rewarding, exciting, then anything you’ve imagined. many of you have passed this test, been faithful day in and day out; the walls that have held you back are about to come tumbling down. God is going to take you into the fullness of your destiny.

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