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Archive for May, 2017

(No new sermon this week.)

More proof, should any be necessary, that God wants you to pray about EVERYTHING that you want: There was a small, inexpensive item that I wanted that was only available on one website, but their shipping cost was ridiculous, and made the purchase not worthwhile. I prayed for a free shipping offer, although this site rarely offers free shipping, and a couple of days later, I checked, and there it was; I got my item with no shipping charge… and it turned out that this free shipping offer was just for that ONE day.

During that same couple of days, I had found some stuff I wanted on another website, likewise with ridiculous shipping, and I prayed the same prayer. Because I had items in my cart, the website bombarded me with various different offers for REDUCED shipping, but that was not what I had prayed for, so I ignored them… And then, just 2 days after the previous one, a free shipping offer arrived in my inbox for the second website, good for just a couple of days, and I made another purchase without a shipping charge.

NOTHING is too big or too small for God to care about, or answer prayers about. Ask Him for everything you want, big or small, with total faith that He can give it to you, and WANTS to give it to you… you’ll be amazed at how many blessings He’ll give you.

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from JO’s sermon tonight:

we all have things come against us that look like they’re permanent; “you’ll always be addicted, you’ll never get well, you’re not going to meet the right person.” that’s not the final say; there is a higher court that has more authority. our God is called “the most high God”; He’s the Supreme Court all by Himself. He can overrule any decision. God says: “health will be restored unto you. My mercy is bigger than any mistake. you will lend and not borrow. freedom from addiction and wholeness is coming.” don’t let what the lower court decided become permanent in your thinking, discourage you to where you quit believing; it’s only temporary. the final judge is your heavenly Father.

Psalm 9:3-4 (NET Bible)
3 When my enemies turn back,
they trip and are defeated before you.
4 For you defended my just cause;
from your throne you pronounced a just decision.

Psalm 9:4 (GNT)
4 You are fair and honest in your judgments,
and you have judged in my favor.

those enemies that have come against you, sickness, addiction, fear, struggle, lack, God is about to judge in your favor. you’re about to get a new verdict; a breakthrough in your health, doors are going to open that are bigger than you’ve imagined, God’s going to bring divine connections, the right people across your path. you may not be in a good place right now, but where you are is not who you are; where you’ve come from doesn’t have to limit where you’re going to. you’re going to set a new standard, break out of the mold; you can be the first one in your family to get a degree, own your own business, break the addiction, raise your children in church.

you may be facing challenges that look permanent, dreams that seem impossible, you don’t see a way; don’t worry, God has a way. He controls the whole universe.

Psalm 18:16-17 (NLT)
16 He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hated me and were too strong for me.

you may not be able to beat the cancer on your own, but you’re not on your own; the most high God is ruling in your favor. He’s going to rescue you from deep waters, deliver you from powerful enemies. God is saying, “I’m about to turn things in your favor,” instead of dwelling on how big your enemies are, dwell on how big your God is. all through the day, “Lord, thank You that You are judging in my favor.”

Exodus 23:26 (NRSV)
26 … I will fulfill the number of your days.

the enemy is not in control of your life; he can’t stop your purpose. an accident, a bad break, a sickness; God has the final say. remember, when Satan wanted to test Job, he had to ask God for permission; he couldn’t just go there and do whatever he wanted. that’s why we don’t have to live worried, upset, afraid; we are in a controlled environment. God has you in the palm of His hand; nothing can snatch you away.

Satan and God are not equal; God is the creator of the universe. Satan is a created being, a fallen angel; he wasn’t made in the image of God, you were. but if you see the enemy as being this powerful force, that can stop you, control you, determine your destiny, you are giving him power over you that he doesn’t have. when Jesus came out of the grave, he took away the keys of death and hell.

Matthew 28:18 (NLV)
18 Jesus came and said to them, “All power has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

the enemy has already been defeated; we’re in a fixed fight. we know the final outcome; God says that He always causes you to triumph. He’s going to judge in your favor.

1 John 4:4 (KJV)
4 … greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

you don’t have to be afraid of the enemy; he’s afraid of you. when he looks at you, he sees who you belong to; you remind him that he is powerless, and of his defeat, of that day 2000 years ago when Christ conquered him. you need to get ready, God is about to overrule some things in your life: addictions, depression, injustice, unfair situations. that’s not your destiny; God has a life of victory for you.

this is what He did for the Israelites. they had been in slavery for 430 years, but one day, God had had enough:

Exodus 3:7-8 (NASB)
7 The Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt… 8 So I have come down to deliver them

their captors were bigger, stronger, had more equipment, but God delivered them from powerful enemies. God not only caused the Pharaoh to let them go:

Exodus 12:35-36 (NIV)
35 The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. 36 The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.

they could’ve left empty-handed, that would’ve been a great victory just to be free, but God said, “no, it’s payback time; I’m going to compensate you for what you’ve been through.”

God knows what you’re owed. He knows every person that’s done you wrong, every injustice, bad break. He’s not just going to bring you out, He’s going to pay you back. You’re going to be fully compensated, blessed, prosperous, vindicated, honored; people will know that God has ruled in your favor. you may have situations that put you at a disadvantage; God sees it, knows what you’ve been through, didn’t get, who left you. where you are is not your final destination. your time is coming: vindication, promotion, abundance is coming. keep being your best, honoring God; there is favor in your future that’s going to amaze you.

many of the things that we struggle with have been passed down in our family line; it’s not a coincidence that we’re tempted in certain areas, having to deal with addiction, depression, a hot temper, those are spirits that keep getting passed down from generation to generation. just like we pass down physical traits, we can pass down attitudes, dysfunction, depression. the enemy didn’t start with you, he started way back in your family line.

in the scripture, Isaac’s wife Rebecca was dishonest; she manipulated her children, deceived her husband. her son Jacob was just like her; he was a deceiver who tricked his brother out of his birthright. Jacob’s uncle Laban had the same problem; he promised Rachel to Jacob if he worked for him for 7 years, and then demanded that he work 14 years instead. there was a spirit of deception in their family line; it looked like it would be passed from generation to generation. but one day, God in His mercy said, “enough is enough”; Jacob humbled himself, admitted he was wrong, and that was the turning point:

Genesis 32:9-10 (NIV)
9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant.

Jacob’s son Joseph was just the opposite. he was a man of great integrity; you won’t read one negative thing in the scripture about him. God broke the curse of manipulation and deception.

some of the things that you’re dealing with, things that’ve been passed down, they didn’t start with you, but they’re going to end with you. God is saying, “I’m about to overrule negative baggage, dysfunction, addictions, lack, struggle, in your family line. this is a new day; freedom, wholeness is coming.

you’re the difference-maker; because you’re honoring God, you’re going to see the God Who overrules put a stop to it. the generational curse is being broken; the generational blessing is beginning. you were created to live free, healthy, whole, secure; don’t get comfortable with dysfunction, don’t settle for things that are less than God’s best. put your faith out there; “Father, thank You that You’re overruling every negative thing that’s holding me back.” God not only overrules what comes against us, sometimes He overrules our wrong choices; without His mercy, we wouldn’t fulfill our destiny.

God told Jonah:

Jonah 1:1-3 (NIV)
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.

what’s interesting is, God didn’t stop him from trying to go the wrong way; He respects our free will. but He eventually stepped in:

Jonah 1:15-17 (NIV)
15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard… 17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

God didn’t stop all of Jonah’s mistakes, but He did stop him from missing his destiny.

how many of us would not be here if God had not overruled our wrong choices? you could have married the wrong person, died from an addiction, lost your temper and told off your boss, but God overruled you. you may be headed down the wrong path today, making decisions that you know are not the best; don’t be surprised if you encounter the God Who overrules. He loves you too much to let you miss your purpose.

the scripture talks about the mercies of God; not singular, plural, mercies. again and again, God shows us mercy. friends that you had growing up, that you used to party with, some of them may not still be here, they didn’t make it; that could’ve been you, but the God Who overrules stepped in, and here you are, free, clean, healthy. you could’ve had a nervous breakdown, buckled under all the pressure, but when you thought that you couldn’t take it anymore, the God Who overrules put a stop to it, now you’re stronger than ever. some of the people that you grew up with, if they could see you now, in church, honoring God, clean, free, blessed, kind, generous, they’d be shocked; it’s all because of the God Who overrules.

Jesus said to Peter:

Luke 22:31-32 (NIV)
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail

Jesus was saying, “Peter, the enemy is coming against you to try to distract you, discourage you, get you off course, but don’t worry, I’m praying for you, I’m going to strengthen you, I’m not going to let you be defeated.”

when life gets tough, things come against you, you’re not on your own; you have an advantage:

Romans 8:34 (NIRV)
34 … Christ Jesus is at the right hand of God and is also praying for us

it’s one thing to have people pray for you, but when you have the risen Savior praying, you cannot be defeated. If God can overrule death, the grave, forces of darkness, don’t you think He can overrule what’s holding you back? those obstacles may look permanent, but in your spirit, you need to hear God saying, “overruled.” that dysfunction may have been in your family line for generations; this is a new day. God is about to put a stop to it. He is delivering you from powerful enemies, judging in your favor; what stopped you in the past will stop you no more. you are coming into freedom, wholeness, abundance, victory, the fullness of your destiny.

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from JO’s sermon tonight:

when you know that somebody loves you, it puts you at ease; you don’t have to try to perform, impress, be good enough. you can relax, be yourself, you’re comfortable, secure. but a lot of people have an “I think He loves me” mentality when it comes to God; “I did good, I think He loves me, I earned His love.” the problem with this approach is, when we make mistakes, get off course, don’t perform perfectly, we think that God stops loving us. but God is not like people. people can love you conditionally; “if you perform perfectly, I’ll love you, but if you disappoint me, I’ll go find somebody else.” but God doesn’t change His mind when we make mistakes; if you run away from God, God will come running towards you. quit trying to earn this love. there’s nothing you can do to make God love you any more or any less; it’s a gift, just receive it by faith. sometimes, we’re trying to become good enough, and then we’ll believe that God really loves us; take the pressure off, God loves you right now, and forever.

Romans 8:39 (NLT)
39 … nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God

Psalm 139:8 (NIV)
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

nothing that you’ve done can change God’s love.

Ephesians 2:4 (DLNT)
4 … His great love with which He loved us

not a little love or a conditional love.

Luke 12:7 (NIV)
7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered

do you really think there’s anything you can do to cause Him to stop loving you? how do you suppose God feels when we go around thinking, “I think He loves me”? get rid of the I-think mentality, and start having an I-know mentality. it’s very freeing when you can say, “I know God loves me.” voices will whisper, “not you, you’ve made mistakes, you’re not religious enough”; God doesn’t love you because you’re religious, or good enough, He loves you because you’re His child. when you receive this love, when you go from I-think to I-know, you’ll live with a confidence; quit trying to earn it, be good enough, you’ll live secure knowing that your heavenly Father loves you.

in the Bible, the book of John was written by the disciple John. what’s interesting is that he never referred to himself as John; he said “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

John 13:23 (NIV)
23 … the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.

he could’ve just said, “John was reclining next to Jesus.” Matthew, Mark and Luke referred to themselves in their own gospels by their own names; if they had read John’s account, they would’ve thought, “who does he think he is, describing himself as the one Jesus loved? Jesus loved us all.” but John had an incredible confidence in how much God loved him.

when Lazarus was very sick:

John 11:1-3 (NIV)
11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha… 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

they didn’t tell Jesus how much Lazarus loved him, or beg Jesus for help; they thought it would be more effective to remind Jesus how much he loved Lazarus. sometimes, we’re trying to convince God that we love Him; why don’t you do like Mary and Martha, and say, “Lord, the one You love needs healing, help”? what moves God is not just your love for Him, but recognizing His love for you. it pleases God when you know that you are dearly loved; that’s why the scripture says:

Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)
16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

it doesn’t give God any pleasure for us to go around insecure, unworthy, beating ourselves up for past mistakes; shake that off, and go boldly to the throne. it makes God smile when we know that He is longing to be good to us. He has the amazing ability to treat us all like we’re His favorite. love isn’t just what He does, it’s who He is. when you start seeing yourself as His favorite, you’ll go to Him with confidence, pray bold prayers, ask Him for your dreams, expect new doors to open, not because of who you are, but because of Who your Father is.

He may not be pleased with all of your behavior, but that doesn’t change His love for you. when you go around guilty, beating yourself up, that doesn’t help you to do better; it pushes you down, causes you to struggle more. but when you receive God’s love, and know that despite your shortcomings He’s still proud of you, says you’re amazing, calls you a masterpiece, that’s what lifts your spirit, gives you the strength to do better, and break those chains that are holding you back.

Luke 19 has the story of Zacchaeus. he was a tax collector; in those days, they were known for being dishonest, cheating people, and were very disliked. Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector; he was especially despised.

Luke 19:1-4 (NIV)
1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

at that point, Zacchaeus realized that he was loved; out of all of the people there, probably including many people of importance, Jesus chose him to spend time with, making the point that you don’t have to have it all together for God to love you.

Luke 19:7 (NIV)
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

we don’t see people the way God sees them; we look at their behavior, how perfectly they perform, but God looks beyond all that. the people saw a notorious sinner; God saw the one that He loved. if you clean up how you live your life, God will be more pleased with your behavior, your life will go better, but it doesn’t affect His love for you. will you receive this love, or will you let condemning voices convince you that you’re all washed up? you have to say by faith, “Lord, I believe that I’m the one You love; despite my failures and mistakes, You still have a great plan for my life.”

1 John 4:10 (NIV)
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

if we try to perform to obtain this love, there will always be something that we can’t do right, to keep us from feeling good about ourselves; take the pressure off, and receive God’s love for you.

that’s with this lady had to do:

John 8:3-11 (NLT)
3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery… 4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”… he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”… 9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

he didn’t say, “go, and sin no more, and then I won’t condemn you,” “change your ways, get your act together, quit giving into the temptation, then I’ll love you, be for you”; it’s just the opposite, he said “I don’t condemn you” first. before he talked about her behavior, addressed her issues, Jesus wanted to make sure that she knew that she was the one he loved.

but sometimes religion tells us, “clean yourself up, do right, perform correctly, then God will love and help you; if you don’t, He won’t have anything to do with you.” that’s not real love, that’s conditional love. your heavenly Father’s face is turned toward you. if you’ll receive this love, you’re going to live confident, secure, overcoming obstacles, rising higher, and becoming everything that He’s created you to be.

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from JO’s sermon tonight:

too often, we base our value on how someone is treating us, how successful we are, or how perfect of a life we’ve lived; the problem is, all of those things can change. if you’re getting your value out of how people treat you, if they hurt or disappoint you you’re going to feel devalued. if you’re basing your value on your achievements, how much you make, what kind of car you drive, the title behind your name, then if something happens and you no longer have that position, your business goes down, then your value will go down. some people don’t feel good about themselves because they’ve made mistakes in life, they’re not where they thought they would be; now they’re living insecure, feeling inferior; they’re basing their value on their performance.

your value should be based solely on the fact that you are a child of the most high God; the Creator of the universe breathed His life into you. how someone treats you doesn’t change your value; what they say or do doesn’t lessen who you are. the mistakes you’ve made don’t decrease your value; that’s what you did, not who you are. you can buy a bigger house, drive a better car, but that doesn’t make you any more valuable; that increases your net worth, not your self-worth. you were already valuable when you had a small apartment and no title behind your name; that new position may give you more influence, but not more value. you can be a stay at home mom raising your children; you may not have the influence of a CEO, but you have the same value.

value is not based on what you do, what you make, who you know; that’s superficial, those things can change. your value comes from your Creator. God breathed His life into you; you have the DNA of Almighty God, royalty in your blood.

but the enemy works overtime trying to devalue us; he’d love for you to go through life letting what people say make you feel inferior, comparing your life to someone else’s, thinking that you’ll feel good about yourself when you catch up to them, live in that neighborhood, perform perfectly, break the addiction. nothing you do, achieve, overcome, will make you any more valuable; you are valuable right now. God calls you a masterpiece. you are one of a kind; you didn’t come off of an assembly line, mass-produced, God made you unique. put your shoulders back, start carrying yourself with confidence; you have been fearfully and wonderfully made.

Luke 4:1-3 (NIV)
4 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted[a] by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

he was trying to make his value be based on his performance, his ability to perform a miracle.

Luke 4:4 (NIV)
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’

he was saying, in effect, “I don’t have to do anything to prove who I am, or perform to feel good about myself; I know who I am.” the enemy couldn’t deceive him into basing his value on performance, so he tried to get him to base his value on possessions:

Luke 4:5-8 (NIV)
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

he was saying, “I don’t need possessions to prove my worth and value. I don’t have to have what you think is important to feel good about who I am”

the enemy tried one final thing, popularity:

Luke 4:9-11 (NIV)
9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

he was trying to get Jesus to show off; everybody would see and be amazed, he’d gain instant popularity, but Jesus didn’t need popularity to know who he was, the son of the living God.

the enemy tried to deceive Jesus into proving who he was. a lot of people live in a proving mode; they can’t feel good about themselves unless they prove to people that they’re important, talented. it’s a constant struggle to out-do, out-perform, out-dress; it’s very freeing when you realize that you don’t have to prove anything, impress people. take the pressure off. it takes a lot of energy to compete, prove, impress. if you live in a proving mode, it’s like you’re on a treadmill; as soon as you prove to one person that you’re OK, you’ll see somebody else that you need to impress, it’s a never-ending cycle. get off the treadmill; you don’t have to prove anything.

these days, there’s so much emphasis on name brands; sometimes, we have so many other names on us, we don’t know our own name. we’re counting on all the name brands, outside labels, to make us feel important. there’s nothing wrong with owning them, but don’t let them be the reason that you feel good about who you are. the latest thing will soon be outdated; if you live possession-based, you have to keep running from thing to thing, and it will wear you out.

relax; you can’t get any more valuable. you can buy more clothes, get more friends, but that doesn’t change your value. are you trying to prove your worth, value, by who you know, what you wear? or, can you say like Jesus, “I don’t have to have popularity, possessions, or performance to feel good about myself; I am secure in who I am, who God made me to be”?

when Jesus was riding into town on Palm Sunday:

Matthew 21:7-9 (NIV)
7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

he received a hero’s welcome, but a few days later, those same people…:

Matthew 27:22 (NIV)
22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!”

when Jesus went to trial, and needed his closest friends to support him, his disciples, the ones that he had poured his life into, weren’t anywhere around.

if you base your value on people’s support, how much they approve and encourage you, if they stop doing that, you’ll feel devalued. if they tell you that you’re great, you’ll feel great, but if they change their mind, you won’t feel great anymore. people will say that you’re beautiful one day, and not care for you the next. if you don’t know who you are without them, if they leave, you’ll be lost; your identity was caught up in who they made you to be, and you’ll try to find somebody else to tell you who you are.

let your heavenly Father tell you who you are; get your value, self-worth, approval, from Him. He says that you’re a masterpiece, one of a kind, a prized possession. it doesn’t matter if somebody criticizes you; they don’t determine your value, and they can’t change it, so what they say doesn’t make you any less a masterpiece. you don’t need their approval, encouragement, or validation; don’t give away your power, and put your value and identity into somebody else’s hands. even good people can’t give you everything you need; somebody that loves you very much cannot keep you approved, validated, feeling secure. sometimes, we’re putting pressure on people to keep us fixed; let them off the hook, they’re not your savior.

people have issues, they don’t know any better; messed-up people can mess you up. if you’re basing your value on what they give you, you could end up dysfunctional. don’t let messed-up people ruin the rest of your life; if somebody hurt you, there’s a tendency to internalize it, and think that there’s something wrong with you; no, they’re treating you out of their hurts. hurting people end up hurting other people; that’s the enemy trying to steal your sense of value. if somebody did you wrong, instead of internalizing it, think that maybe they felt so unlovable that they tried to project it on you. if your parents didn’t approve you, don’t let that keep you from your destiny. base your value on what God said about you; that’s going to lift you up.

Isaiah 49:16 (NLT)
16 See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.

He’s always thinking about you.

don’t spend your life trying to get something that people cannot give; let it go, or you’ll be frustrated.

David didn’t have his father’s approval; when the prophet Samuel came to anoint one of Jesse’s son’s, Jesse didn’t even bring David in from the fields. sometimes, the people closest to you can’t see the greatness in you, they discount and dismiss you; don’t take it personally, just keep being your best and getting your approval from your heavenly Father.

Jesus’ brothers, the people that should’ve supported him the most:

John 7:5 (NIV)
5 his own brothers did not believe in him.

people may leave you out, but God doesn’t. if David had to have his family’s approval, he would never have taken the throne. quit trying to make people be for you who are never going to be for you. if you needed their approval, you would get it; if you’re not getting it, that means that you don’t need it to become who you were meant to be. sometimes, it’s God teaching us to go to Him and not to people; David’s brothers made fun of him, his father discounted him, he was stuck out in the fields, but instead of complaining or feeling inferior, he turned to God. He’s the one that wrote:

Psalm 27:10 (AMPC)
10 Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].

we all have people that are not giving us their approval. don’t live frustrated, trying to convince them to affirm you; let it go, keep your head held high, knowing that you’re approved by your Creator. you may feel average, ordinary, but because of your Maker, you are extremely valuable.

Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful

if you’re going to recognize your value, you have to see yourself as wonderful, not because of who you are, because of Who made you. life will try to make you feel like you’re anything but amazing; disappointments, betrayal, rejection, will try to steal your sense of value. people may try to make you feel average; do you want to believe what they say about you, or what God says about you? the scripture says:

1 John 4:4 (NLT)
4 you belong to God

you may feel average, think you look ordinary, nothing special about you, but because of who you belong to, that makes you extremely valuable. don’t let people discount you, or your own thoughts push you down; put your shoulders back, you belong to God. you don’t have to prove anything, try to impress people, just be who you are; be amazing. if you’ll do this, every chain that’s held you back is being broken; you’re going to live free, confident, secure, valuable, and become the masterpiece that God created you to be.

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The Bible talks about how we have guardian angels:

Psalm 91:11 (CJB)
11 He will order his angels to care for you and guard you wherever you go

Hebrews 1:14 (AMP)
14 Are not all the angels ministering spirits sent out [by God] to serve (accompany, protect) those who will inherit salvation? [Of course they are!]

If you’re a regular reader, you know that every so often I see an angel here in my house. Sometimes, there is a clump of sightings; a few days ago, when I decided to make a separate file just for my experiences with angels (and with the others that I prefer not to name), I took a really close look at those clumps for the first time, and using my journals, verified that each clump corresponded to something VERY significant happening in my life… which of course makes perfect sense, when you think about it, because if the major event is bad the angels are there to help, and if the major event is good the angels are there to fight the forces that are trying to destroy what is good.

I just had another clump, ending a few days ago. What was really extraordinary about it… beyond the pure fact of seeing ANGELS, which I never lose sight of as an extraordinary blessing… is that all 4 of the angels were right outside of my house, presumably guarding it, and me; one of them was even at the window where I saw a particularly disturbing demon once. That means that ALL of the angel sightings since I battled the demonic presence have been OUTSIDE, which I believe means that none of the demons can get into the house right now, so they’re hanging around outside trying to exert whatever influence they can from a distance, and the angels have moved outside in order to fight them. Was the battle that I won with the help of the Holy Spirit really that powerful? Did the fact that I anointed all the ways into the house with oil shortly thereafter play any part, maybe in preventing them from getting back in after they recovered from their defeat? For now, there’s no way to anything but speculate.

I don’t know if something major is about to happen in my life in general, but I certainly had a gigantic and spectacular experience: I was walking down the hall to my room, and just as I got to the doorway, I saw, against the wall a little bit over the head of my bed, a very clear shadow figure. What went through my mind was: “bird it’s a dove angel no not in animal form oh my God it’s the Holy Spirit!!”

Luke 3:21-22 (NIV)
21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.

I saw it for maybe two seconds, long enough to see the wings flap downwards, and then it was gone… But the feeling remained.

Why was I given this precious gift of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit? A couple of other ladies in my church had seen a manifestation of a whirlwind a couple of days before, so what I saw may be related to something that is going to happen in my church, or possibly within the prayer ministry, since all of us are members. Or… was it a sign? I have been asking for God to give me a gigantic blessing; the ability, apparently possessed by pastor JO, to NEVER argue. How is it possible for anyone who isn’t alone on a desert island to never argue? How is it possible for someone with a spouse, children, and ministry, and a gigantic ministry-based business, with all the stress and struggles and difficulties and obstacles that that implies, to NEVER argue? I don’t know, but I don’t have to know; God did it for him, and therefore He could also do it for ME. I have claimed that blessing for myself, and asked God to do it again, to do it for me… and I think progress has been made. There was a recent major event that I was part of where there was a catastrophic screwup by someone close to me who had a pivotal part to play… And I never moved the slightest bit out of perfect peace at any time. It was so extraordinary that he, who is legendary for never noticing things, noticed and thanked me; my immediate response was to say that he should thank the Holy Spirit. HAVE I been fully given the ability to never argue again? Time will tell.

Much more important is: the Holy Spirit is REAL. He can be heard, felt, and SEEN. He is not a thing, he is not a senseless force, he is an individual, a “person” if you will, and he is God. He loves us, he looks out for us, he guides us, and he can choose to manifest himself to us if he wishes. If you want to know him better, and if you’re on this blog you probably do, and if you want greater interactions with him, which you probably also do, I’m going to bet that total devotion to God is the place to start. I spend countless hours every week praying, studying the Bible, doing church stuff, and of course on my online “ministry,” working on this blog. I keep a gratitude journal, I taped up Bible verses all over the house so that I have scripture going into my brain all day long, and every moment of my life is focused on God and what He wants me to do. That sounds like a gargantuan amount of work, and it IS, but look at the reward!! Give God your all; He’ll give you amazing things in return.

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