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Archive for June, 2017

Room Enough

from JO’s sermon tonight:

we all have things in life that come against us; situations that aren’t fair, people who do us wrong. it’s easy to get discouraged, and think that that’s the way it’s always going to be, but just because you have opposition doesn’t mean that you’re not in God’s will.

1 Corinthians 16:9 (AMPC)
9 For a wide door of opportunity for effectual [service] has opened to me [there, a great and promising one], and [there are] many adversaries.

any time you’re going to move forward, take new ground, there will be opposition, people trying to discourage you, things you don’t understand. the people that reach their destinies aren’t moved by what’s not working out; they know that God is in control, directing their steps, that what was meant for harm He’s going to turn to their advantage. they know that the setback is really a setup for God to do something greater. the opposition is a sign that promotion, healing, new levels are coming.

when God was going to promote David, take him from the shepherds fields, a teenager taking care of his father’s sheep, and give him the respect and influence of the whole nation, he didn’t send David a friend, have King Saul say, “I see potential in this young man, let’s give him a chance,” no, God sent David an enemy, a giant. David could’ve thought, “God, I don’t understand it; Samuel said that I’d be the next king, anointed me in front of my family, but he didn’t say anything about this giant.” no, David understood this principle; with the opportunity, there would be opposition. when he defeated Goliath, he became an overnight hero; all of Israel took notice. not because Samuel had anointed him; nobody celebrated him then, and he went back to the shepherds fields afterwards. but when he defeated Goliath, that one victory gave him an instant respect from all of Israel.

the giants you face weren’t sent to defeat you, but to show people the anointing on your life. when you defeat that giant, break the addiction, beat the cancer, pay your house off, your business takes off, there won’t be any doubt; people will see the favor of God on your life. they’re going to have a new respect for you; they may have dismissed you in the past, but get ready, God is about to show out. that giant may be bigger, stronger, more powerful, but it is no match for our God. don’t run away from the giant; run to the giant. the giant is not going to defeat you, it’s going to establish you, give you a new level of influence, cause people to see that you’re favored. they may not like you, they may never be for you, but they won’t be able to deny the fact of the blessing that God put on your life.

Goliath’s entire purpose was to establish David. don’t complain about your giants; without that giant, without that opposition, you wouldn’t see the fullness of your destiny. none of us like difficulties, but keep the right perspective; on the other side is a new level. you have to outlast the opposition, have a made-up mind that you are in it to win it. God didn’t bring you this far to leave you; He knows what’s happening, the medical report, who’s not treating you right. if you’ll stay in faith, you’ll come out better, promoted to a new level of your destiny.

this is what happened to Isaac:

Genesis 26:12-14 (AMPC)
12 Then Isaac sowed seed in that land and received in the same year a hundred times as much as he had planted, and the Lord favored him with blessings.
13 And the man became great and gained more and more until he became very wealthy and distinguished;
14 He owned flocks, herds, and a great supply of servants, and the Philistines envied him.

don’t be surprised, when God blesses you, that everyone doesn’t celebrate you; some people can’t handle your success. they’re fine as long as you stay at their level, they’ll be for you, but when God takes you to the next level, shows out in your life, they may not be happy for you. instead of getting discouraged, remember, that opposition is a sign that promotion is coming. you’re blessed now, but God has something greater, that you haven’t seen.

the Philistines were so jealous:

Genesis 26:15 (NIV)
15 So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.

 

Isaac didn’t have any water for his animals, crops. the king told him:

Genesis 26:16 (NIV)
16 Then Abimelek said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.”

Isaac could’ve fought him, thought, “no, this is where God blessed me, I’m staying here,” but:

Genesis 26:17 (NIV)
17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled.

I’m sure he was disappointed, never dreamed he’d have to start all over, but when you do the right thing when the wrong thing is happening, you’re sowing a seed for God to bless you. it may look like somebody’s getting the best of you, it was unfair, you did what was right, but it put you at a disadvantage; don’t worry, your time is coming. they think they’re pushing you down, but really, they’re pushing you up.

it looked like Isaac was moving in the wrong direction, going away from where he was blessed down into the valley, but the blessing is not on your location, it’s on you; wherever you go, the blessing goes. when you take the high road, and make adjustments to keep the peace, it may look like you’re going backwards, having to start all over, but when you do the right thing, you’ll never end up with less resources, influence, joy. there may be a season of less, but increase, promotion, abundance is coming

Genesis 26:18-22 (NIV)
18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died… 20 But the herders of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. 21 Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. 22 He moved on from there and dug another well

Isaac could’ve made a big deal about it, it was his property, it had belonged to his father, but instead he endured another disappointment and moved on. sometimes you need to stay and fight the good fight, take what belongs to you, but there are times when you need to walk away and let God make it up to you; you could win, but it’s going to do so much damage, ongoing trouble, that it would be better to let it go.

Isaac knew that on the other side of adversity there was a new level, and finally:

Genesis 26:22 (NCV)
22 He moved from there and dug another well. No one argued about this one, so he named it Room Enough. Isaac said, “Now the Lord has made room for us, and we will be successful in this land.”

if you pass the tests of opposition, you’ll come into room enough, abundance. the mistake we make too often is that we get stuck trying to prove our point, convince somebody that we’re right; some battles are not worth fighting. when you’re a peacemaker, and let somebody else be right, even though you know they’re wrong, everything in your mind will say, “you’re weak, you’re letting them get the best of you, you’re going to have to go down into the valley,” but that’s where room enough is. don’t get stuck in a place of argument, “it’s not right, they did me wrong”; why don’t you let God fight your battles? God will vindicate you better than you could vindicate yourself.

we’re not called to straighten everyone out. they may be wrong, you know you’re right, but you have to ask yourself; if you win the argument, what is it going to accomplish? is it going to move you forward, or just make you feel good? you could win, but in the big picture, it took your time, energy, focus, things that you should be using to accomplish your dreams. we fight too many battles that don’t matter; if that battle is not between you and your God-given destiny, it’s a distraction, the enemy trying to lure you off-course, to get you stuck in argument when room-enough is waiting for you. you have to learn to let things go, let somebody else be right for the sake of peace.

Jesus said:

Matthew 5:39 (AMP)
39 … simply ignore insignificant insults or trivial losses and do not bother to retaliate—maintain your dignity, your self-respect, your poise

Luke 6:28 (ISV)
28 Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who insult you.

we would go a lot further, enjoy life a lot more, if we would simply ignore things. if somebody’s talking about you, don’t try to straighten them out; ignore it. if somebody did you wrong, don’t retaliate; let God fight your battles, ignore it and keep moving forward. they can’t stop your destiny. if you find yourself in conflict, upset, trying to prove your point, that’s a sign that you’ve come down too low; don’t waste any emotional energy on that, rise above it. God sees what’s happening; He’ll take care of it. if you go in and try to do God’s work, “God let me oppose them, straighten them out,” God will step back and say, “OK, you do it on your own; you can handle it.” but if you make a better decision, and turn it over to God, He’ll oppose who’s opposing you, and when the Most High God, the Creator of the universe, opposes, nothing can stand against Him.

when you take the high road, some people will mistake that for weakness; the truth is, it’s a sign of strength. it takes a strong person to overlook an insult. it takes maturity to not get in an argument. some people will try to bait you; they feed off of arguing. on purpose, they’ll do things to try to get you riled up. if you take that bait, if you give in, you’re allowing them to control you. they know if they push this button, you’ll get upset, if they push that button, you’ll start arguing. do yourself a favor; turn those buttons off. quit taking the bait. the next time that happens, just smile and keep moving forward; you have a destiny to fulfill. you don’t have time to waste playing those games. your time is too valuable to waste it with people that don’t want to have peace. don’t argue doctrine, politics, things you’re never going to agree on; for the sake of peace, let somebody else be right.

Proverbs 20:3 (NLT)
3 Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor;
only fools insist on quarreling.

it doesn’t say winning a fight is a mark of honor, proving your point, straightening somebody out, no, avoiding a fight, overlooking some things, letting somebody else be right for the sake of peace, that’s a mark of honor.

this is especially important in our homes. it’s easy to argue over petty things that really don’t matter. I’ve seen people get a divorce, not over something big, they’re great people, they loved each other, but they argued over small things. where there’s strife and division, little things turn into big things; that’s when our families can be torn apart. when you live with someone, you’re not going to see eye to eye all the time; they’re going to do things that get on your nerves, but you do things that get on their nerves. you have to make this decision; “I’m not going to allow strife in; I’m going to do what I can to keep the peace.” that means you’re going to have to overlook some things. what normally would upset you, the next time that happens, why don’t you rise above it? “I’m waiting for her to change”; God is waiting for YOU to change. “If he’ll quit aggravating me, I’ll quit arguing”; why don’t you be the peacemaker, and rise above it?

sometimes, even when you think you’re right, you need to swallow your pride and let somebody else be right. I would rather let the other person be right, and have peace, than for me to be right and not have peace.

if you’re going to get to room-enough, you have to go past argument, where you’re tempted to get into strife and conflict, past opposition, where things come against you that you don’t understand. you may be at a difficult place now, something is happening that’s not fair; don’t get discouraged, you’re right where Isaac was, it’s all a part of the process. room-enough and abundance are coming.

we all have opposition, people that come against us; if you’ll keep moving forward, you’ll see God vindicate, promote you, take you where you could not go on your own.

this is what happened with Job. everything was going great, then the bottom fell out: he lost his health, family, business. he didn’t understand it; he was doing the right thing, but the wrong thing was happening. his friends told him that it was his fault, his wife said:

Job 2:9 (NIV)
9 His wife said to him, “… Curse God and die!”

Job looked around:

Job 23:8 (NASB)
8 “Behold, I go forward but He is not there,
And backward, but I cannot perceive Him

sometimes in life, you can’t see what God is doing; you’re praying, but it’s not working out. it’s easy to make a judgment based on one season, to look at one period of your life and think that’s the way it’s always going to be, that determines the rest of your future. no, you can’t see where God is taking you. don’t make a judgment based on a moment. where you are is not your final destination, it’s just a season.

Job understood this. he didn’t get discouraged or give up, he kept moving forward; he stayed on the high road, overlooked some things, came to to that place of abundance. he not only saw his health restored, but he came out with twice what he had before.

you may have had some times where you did the right thing, worked hard, but you had a setback, a disappointment; God is saying, “keep going, this not the end.” in God’s will you will have opposition. you can’t pray away all the opposition, people that do you wrong; that’s all a part of the process. stay in faith; the time when opportunity freely flows, good breaks chase you down, the right people come looking for you, is coming. it will be more than you can ask or think; it’s where God will pay you back, make up for what didn’t work out. you may be at a difficult place, life hasn’t made sense; my challenge is, don’t make a judgment based on that moment. that opposition was never sent to stop you, it was sent to establish you. it’s going to prove the anointing on your life. if you’ll do this, you’re coming into room enough, a place of abundance, health, wholeness, the fullness of your destiny.

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Pray For Others

from JO’s sermon tonight:

it’s good to pray for yourself, for your dreams, for wisdom, ask God to help you overcome difficulties, but don’t stop there; you have the ability to help someone else reach their destiny. there are people that God has put in your life that won’t become who they were created to be without you praying. they don’t have the faith to accomplish their dreams, break the addiction; they won’t overcome the challenge without you stepping up and asking God on their behalf.

James 5:16 (KJV)
16 … pray one for another

take time every day to pray for others. look around at who’s in your life: the neighbor that seems down, the coworker that’s struggling, that person you heard about that has cancer, that didn’t come up by accident, God brought them across your path. He’s counting on you to lift them up.

“but I need somebody to pray for me”; when you pray for others, you are sowing a seed for God to help you. when Job was overcome with difficulties, he prayed for his friends:

Job 42:10 (NIV)
10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.

could it be that if you would take time to pray for others, then what you’re struggling with would turn around, your health, dreams, breakthroughs would show up?

Galatians 6:2 (ESV)
2 Bear one another’s burdens

we weren’t meant to carry the load on our own; we need each other. people are lonely, they’ve been through disappointments, they’re dealing with illnesses, they have stress and pressure that we know nothing about; when you pray for them, it helps lighten the load. your prayers cause the angels to go to work; chains that are holding them back begin to loosen, the forces of darkness begin to lose their grip. it may not happen overnight, but your prayer is making a difference; it might be what’s keeping them going, even if they don’t know you’re praying. you may not get any credit, but:

Matthew 6:6 (NASB)
6 … your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

prayer moves the hands that rule the world, causes the God who created the universe to make things happen that we could never make happen.

Revelation 8:1-3 (NIV)
8 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour… 3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God

here’s how powerful prayer is; all of Heaven stopped to hear the prayers coming up from God’s people. you may think nobody’s listening, voices whisper, “God’s not concerned about you, you’re wasting your time,” no, when you pray, the angels get quiet, powerful things happen, the Creator of the universe comes to attention; that’s when supernatural things take place. use this power to help somebody else reach their highest potential

in Acts 12, King Herod was against the church:

Acts 12:1-4 (NIV)
1 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3 When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also.. 4 After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each… 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

while they were praying:

Acts 12:7 (NIV)
7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up.

Peter wasn’t praying, he was sleeping, but he had friends who were praying.

Acts 12:7-10 (NIV)
7 … “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.
8 … “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. 9 Peter followed him out of the prison… 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it.

Peter’s life was spared. what’s interesting is that the Bible specifies that people were praying for Peter, but it doesn’t say that anybody was praying for James; they were in the same circumstances, but had totally different results. maybe James would’ve been saved if people had been praying.

don’t let there be a James in your life. let all of your family, friends, coworkers be Peters, covered in prayer; ask God to strengthen, help, protect them, that they’ll accomplish their dreams, leave their mark on this generation. your prayer can make the difference, cause the angel to show up. when you go to God on somebody else’s behalf, Heaven comes to attention; God is concerned about what concerns you.

some people don’t have the faith to believe on their own; they may not be living right, they don’t think they deserve it, but because you’re honoring God, took the time to pray, God will bless them for your sake. you have a gift; you can help someone else succeed. the addiction will be broken, the right people will show up. are you using your gift? life is too short to live only thinking about your own dreams, goals, needs; that’s a shallow way to live. you’ll never be truly fulfilled that way, because you need other people to stand in faith with you. when you develop this habit of praying for others, God will make sure that there will always be plenty of people praying for you.

Deuteronomy 32:30 (NIV)
30 How could one man chase a thousand,
or two put ten thousand to flight,
unless their Rock had sold them,
unless the Lord had given them up?

you are 10 times more powerful when you have somebody praying for you. you don’t meet people by accident, God puts people in our lives, causes us to notice certain people; if you even see a stranger in the grocery store who looks lonely or downhearted, take a minute to pray for them. it may look like nothing is changing, but when you pray, God is hard at work behind the scenes. your faith may be what causes somebody to change their life. instead of talking about people, judging them, focusing on what they’ve done wrong, take time to pray for them; maybe nobody else is praying for them.

Ezekiel 22:30 (NLT)
30 … I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land

some people are too far off course to ever get back on their own; they’re too discouraged, have too many obstacles. it’s going to take you and me praying for them. people all around us have broken-down walls; they’ve gotten off course, a relationship didn’t work out, they’re fighting an illness, depression, loneliness. God is asking you; will you stand in the gap, cover them while they’re down, not let the enemy overtake them? when you see somebody in need, fighting a battle, don’t be passive; don’t think, “that’s too bad, I feel sorry for them,” be that warrior that stands in the gap. speak victory over their life; remind the forces of darkness that they cannot have them. the right attitude is, “if you’re messing with them, you’re messing with me, and no weapon formed against me or them is going to prosper.” lift them up in prayer, let them know that they’re not alone, take time to encourage them. you’ve had people stand in the gap for you; what’s been given to us, we have a responsibility to give to others.

one time, the Israelites got off course; after all God had done for them, delivering them from slavery, parting the Red Sea, giving them food in the desert, at one point they started worshiping a golden calf:

Exodus 32:8-14 (NIV)
8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’… 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them…. 12 … Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people… 14 Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

the Israelites were saved because Moses beseeched God on their behalf.

Psalm 106:23 (WYC)
23 …And God said, that he would destroy them; and he would have, if Moses, his chosen man, had not stood in the gap, or the breach, before him; so that he would turn away his anger, lest it destroy the people.

God was ready to destroy these 2 million people, but because ONE man stood in the gap, God changed his mind. will you do like Moses, and stand in the gap for the people around you who are not doing right? it’s easy to criticize, find fault; you can be the one that makes a difference. if you’re not standing in the gap, most likely, you’ll be standing in judgment.

Matthew 8:5-6 (NIV)
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

he’d traveled a great distance, not to ask for something for himself, but for his servant; he was standing in the gap for someone that most people back in those days would’ve written off.

Matthew 8:10 (NIV)
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.

Jesus healed the centurion’s servant, even though the centurion wasn’t even a Jew. this shows that God isn’t looking at what family you come from, how you were raised, how religious you are; what gets God’s attention is when you’re concerned about the least of these. when you stand in the gap for the less fortunate, people that have been dealt an unfair hand, God calls that great faith; that’s when He’ll show up and do amazing things.

in the scripture, Joseph was falsely accused and put in prison for many years, and then:

Genesis 40:9-14 (NIV)
9 So the chief cupbearer told Joseph his dream… 12 “This is what it means,” Joseph said to him… 13 Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. 14 But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison… 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position… 23 The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.

all of us have been where the cupbearer was; someone helped us, gave us a good break, prayed for us when we were down, stood in the gap for us. let’s don’t be like the cupbearer; stand in the gap for somebody else. you’re blessed, now be a blessing. God answered your prayers, now pray for somebody else. none of us got where we are on our own; in the same way that your ancestors prayed for you, pray for your descendants, even the ones who aren’t born yet, so that they will be covered in prayer.

after David died, his son Solomon was making poor choices:

1 Kings 11:11-12 (NIV)
11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime.

that’s how powerful it is when you not only live a life that honors God, but you pray for your seed, your children. look around at the people in your life; make it your mission to stand in the gap, pray for them, ask God to bless them. if you’ll do this, the seed you sow is going to come back to you. like Job, as you pray for others, you’re going to see your prayers answered, your healing come, the fullness of your destiny.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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from JO’s sermon tonight:

when we honor God with our lives, do our best to keep Him first place:

Deuteronomy 28:8 (NASB)
8 The Lord will command the blessing upon you

when God commands, it’s going to happen. when He commands you to be blessed, He doesn’t check what family you come from, where you work, who likes you, how good the economy is; none of that matters to God. all the circumstances may be against you, the experts may tell you that you’ll never get well, meet the right person, be successful. every voice says, “you’re stuck, just accept it, there’s no way in the natural,” the good news is, we serve a supernatural God; when He commands the blessing, all the forces of darkness cannot stop Him. with the commanded blessing, you’ll go places that you couldn’t go on your own, doors will open that you couldn’t open, you’ll be promoted even though you weren’t the most qualified. good breaks will find you: contracts, opportunities, business, favor will track you down.

get in agreement with God. quit saying, “I’ll never get ahead, these people at work don’t like me”; it doesn’t matter who doesn’t like you at work, what matters is that the most high God likes you. He isn’t limited by who’s against you, not giving you credit, not treating you right; one touch of His favor will move them out of the way, and get you to where you’re supposed to be. don’t be discouraged by what’s unfair; God sees what’s happening. keep being your best, honoring Him; you’re not working unto people, you’re working unto God. when it’s your time to be promoted, you can rest assured, you will be; people, bad breaks, injustice, can’t stop you.

the commanded blessing on your life will override every force that’s trying to hold you back, cause people to be good to you that have never been before. He’ll even use your enemies to bless you. people don’t have the final say, determine your destiny, God does. people didn’t call you, breathe life into you. you may be in a situation that feels unfair, it seems like somebody’s stopping you; don’t worry, your time is coming. keep doing the right thing when the wrong thing is happening; there’s a commanded blessing on your life. all the circumstances may be against you, but the most high God is for you.

Numbers 22:1-12 (NIV)
1 Then the Israelites traveled to the plains of Moab… 3 and Moab was terrified because there were so many people… 4 … Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, 5 sent messengers to summon [the prophet] Balaam… Balak said… I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.” 7 The elders of Moab and Midian left, taking with them the fee for divination… 8 … Balaam said to them, “and I will report back to you with the answer the Lord gives me.”… 12 But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.”

when God puts the commanded blessing on you, it doesn’t matter what anybody says or does; all that matters is the blessing. they can curse you, but if you don’t allow it to take root, it’s not going to stop you. it may be unfair, seem like it’s getting the best of you, but if you’ll stay in faith, the blessing will always override the curse. they meant it to stop you; God will use it to promote you.

Numbers 22:14-38 (NIV)
14 So the Moabite officials returned to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.” 15 Then Balak sent other officials, more numerous and more distinguished than the first. 16 They came to Balaam and said: “This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Do not let anything keep you from coming to me, 17 because I will reward you handsomely and do whatever you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.” 18 But Balaam answered them, “Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the Lord my God. 19 Now spend the night here so that I can find out what else the Lord will tell me.” 20 That night God came to Balaam and said, “Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.” … 37 Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not send you an urgent summons? Why didn’t you come to me? … 38 “Well, I have come to you now,” Balaam replied. “But I can’t say whatever I please. I must speak only what God puts in my mouth.”

Numbers 24:2-8 (NIV)
2 When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came on him 3 and he spoke his message:…
8 “God brought them out of Egypt;
they have the strength of a wild ox.
They devour hostile nations
and break their bones in pieces;
with their arrows they pierce them.

Numbers 24:10-13 (NIV)
10 Then Balak’s anger burned against Balaam. He struck his hands together and said to him, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them these three times… 12 Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell the messengers you sent me, 13 ‘Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything of my own accord, good or bad, to go beyond the command of the Lord—and I must say only what the Lord says’?

when you go through disappointments, unfair things happen, it’s easy to feel like that’s clouded your future. have a new perspective; what God has blessed, nothing can curse. when you understand that you have this commanded blessing, you won’t be upset because someone’s talking about you, worried about your finances, discouraged because of a setback; you know that every force that’s trying to stop you is powerless to change the blessing that God put on your life.

when the enemy tells you all the reasons why you’re not going to get well, get out of debt, overcome the challenge, instead of agreeing with him, start speaking victory, health, favor, abundance. the enemy wants you to curse your future with negative words, thoughts. he knows that he can’t stop you, but if he can convince you to go around discouraged, thinking that you’ve reached your limits, that will keep you from your destiny. you have to turn it around; “I’m going to bless my future.” “you’ll never get out of debt, you’ll always struggle”; “I will lend and not borrow; whatever I touch will prosper and succeed.” “you’re never going to get well”; “God is restoring health back unto me; the number of my days He will fulfill.” “the more you pray, the worse your child gets; “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord; the seed of the righteous will be mighty in the land.”

you might have a lot coming against you, every voice says, “it’s not going to work out”; speak the blessing and not the curse. sometimes, it’s other people trying to discourage us; they’ll tell you what you’re not going to be, you’re not going to get well, your dreams are not going to come to pass. they can speak defeat all day long, but they’re powerless to change the blessing on your life; they didn’t give you the blessing, and they can’t take it away. it was put on you by the God Who spoke worlds into existence; He commanded the blessing.

there’s a freedom when you understand this; if somebody’s talking about you, you had a bad break, you know that the commanded blessing will make up for what you didn’t get, cause people to go out of their way to be good to you, put you at the right place at the right time, get you to where you’re supposed to be. people may have tried to push you down, but God is about to lift you up. God is going to command justice, vindication, deliverance from people that are not treating you right. He’s going to command increase, promotion, freedom, breakthroughs, wholeness, healing, restoration, strength, doors to open that take you to the next level. that addiction, those bad habits, are not your destiny, that sickness is coming to an end. it may not have happened yet, but this is a new day; you’re going to see the commanded blessing show out in your life. God is going to make things happen that amaze you, that you didn’t see coming.

Deuteronomy 28:2 (VOICE)
2 All of the following blessings will be yours—in fact, they’ll chase after you—if you’ll listen to what He tells you.

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

you don’t have to go after the blessing; go after God. honor Him with your life, and the blessing will follow.

Luke 5:1-5 (NIV)
1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret… 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.

Peter was a professional fisherman; he knew that morning wasn’t the best time to fish. he didn’t feel like going back out, he thought it would be a waste of his time, but instead of talking himself out of it, he said:

Luke 5:5-7 (NIV)
5 But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

that’s what happens when you walk in obedience; there is a commanded blessing on your life. God will make things happen that you couldn’t make happen. He knows how to bring things to you. the conditions may not be favorable, you don’t know the right people, you’ve had the addiction a long time, no one in your family has really been successful, it looks like that’s the way it’s always going to be; no, God is about to do a new thing. you tried and it didn’t work out last time, but because of your obedience, God is speaking to the fish right now.

God is about to do something big, unusual, to where people take notice, and wonder about you; how could you get that promotion, beat that cancer, marry that beautiful person? that’s God causing the fish to find you. God is not limited by what you don’t have, who you don’t know, the economy, all He has to do is speak, and the fish will not only show up, they’ll come to your boat. you don’t have to make this happen, just keep God first place, and this commanded blessing, like a magnet, will draw in good breaks, healing, favor, the right people.

we see the commanded blessing with Ruth. she had just moved back to her mother-in-law’s hometown after she lost her husband; they were both widows, very poor, barely able to survive on what Ruth could glean in the fields. but one day, God caused the owner of the fields to notice her:

Ruth 2:5-6 (NKJV)
5 Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” 6 So the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered and said, “It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab.

Boaz could’ve said, “tell her to get off of my property,” but God caused Ruth to find favor with him:

Ruth 2:8-16 (NKJV)
8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here… 14 Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, “Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.”… 15 And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.”

it had looked like she was stuck, no future, all the odds were against her, but she came to a point where it was one blessing after another; they ended up falling in love and getting married, so instead of working in the field, she owned the field.

when you have this commanded blessing on your life, God will cause you to find favor with the right people. you don’t have to play up to people, try to manipulate them, convince them to like you; God will cause you to stand out. He’ll bring divine connections, people that want to help you, not because of what you can do for them, your training, expertise, looks, talent, but simply because God has caused them to show you favor.

Ruth couldn’t have made this happen; she didn’t know the man, she was a stranger in a foreign land, a poor widow. nothing in her circumstances said that she’d ever be blessed, successful; if you had told her that when she first arrived, she’d have said that’s impossible.

when you look at your circumstances, dreams, challenges, you may think that it could never work out, but God’s going to bring people that will use their influence to help you go to the next level. if you could see were God is going to take you, it would blow your mind; the people He’s going to bring, the doors He’s going to open, the influence He’s going to give you. you’re going to look back and say, “I didn’t see this coming; I didn’t see the healing, freedom, abundance.” it’s going to be more than you could ask or think.

you may not think that you know the right people, have the right connections; don’t worry, God does. but sometimes we live like we were commanded to struggle, to be lonely, addicted; change has to take place on the inside, in our thinking, before it happens on the outside. why don’t you get rid of all the negative, and start believing that you’re commanded to be blessed, healthy, free. if you’ll do this, God is about to command increase, abundance, healing, freedom.

 

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from JO’s sermon tonight:

we all make mistakes, and do things we know that we shouldn’t. it’s easy to go around with a heaviness, feeling bad about ourselves, but living guilty doesn’t do anything productive; it doesn’t help you to do better, it causes you to struggle more. guilt drains you emotionally, physically. when we’re guilty, we don’t pursue dreams, believe to overcome challenges; we get stuck.

this is why the enemy works overtime in this area; he knows that guilt will keep you from your destiny. there is nothing that he would love any more than for you to go through life against yourself; focused on your failures, feeling unworthy. he’s called the accuser of the brethren; he’ll remind you of everything that you’ve done wrong for the last 30 years. before you get out of bed in the morning, he’ll replay mistakes that you’ve made, how you weren’t there for your children, lost your temper, gave into the temptation. but here’s the key; the moment you asked God to forgive you, He not only forgave you, He doesn’t remember your sins anymore:

Hebrews 8:12 (NKJV)
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.

that means, if someone is bringing up negative things from your past, that’s not God; that’s the accuser trying to deceive you into carrying a heavy load of guilt. do yourself a favor; say, “no thanks; I’m not perfect, but I am forgiven.” you can’t drag yesterday’s failures into today and live in victory. let it go; God’s mercies are fresh every morning. don’t spend another minute down on yourself, living in regrets; God has forgiven you, why don’t you forgive yourself? God is not pushing you down; why don’t you stop pushing yourself down?

the scripture talks about how God has made you righteous:

Corinthians 1:30 (CEB)
30 It is because of God that you are in Christ Jesus. He became wisdom from God for us. This means that he made us righteous

righteous means holy, blameless, honorable. it doesn’t say that you’re going to be righteous one day, when you perform better, get your temper under control; you are righteous right now, not because of what you’ve done, but because of what Christ has done. you can’t do anything to make you more righteous, in fact,

Isaiah 64:6 (MEV)
6 … all our righteousness is as filthy rags

meaning, we can never measure up on our own; no matter how hard we try, how disciplined we are, there will be times that we fail. Paul said:

Romans 5:17 (NIV)
17 … those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

if you see yourself as unworthy, not deserving, you don’t measure up, you’re not receiving the gift. the accuser will tell you that you’ve made too many mistakes, failed too many times, you’ll never get it right; God says, “you are My holy, righteous, blameless, honorable, anointed, amazing child.” who are you going to believe? are you going to let the accuser deceive you into carrying the guilt, going around against yourself? no, start receiving the gift.

when those voices remind you of everything you’re not, one of the best things you can say is, “I am righteous, holy, blameless, honorable.” everything in your mind will say, “no you’re not: you have an addiction, you keep giving in to the temptation, you made those mistakes.” but when you declare, “I am righteous,” you are announcing to every force that’s trying to stop you, the accuser, the guilt, the heaviness, “you don’t control my life, determine my destiny. you can’t stop my purpose, the Creator of the universe made me righteous; He made me holy, blameless.” that’s receiving the gift of righteousness.

Proverbs 28:1 (NIV)
28 … the righteous are as bold as a lion.

when it comes to righteousness, you have to be bold. your own thoughts will tell you, “you’re not blameless. God is not pleased with you; look at what you’ve done, at your mistakes.” guilt and condemnation will come knocking. if you’re unsure, doubtful, intimidated, guilt will take over. this is where you have to be bold; “I may not feel worthy, but I know that God has made me worthy. I don’t feel righteous, but Father, by faith I receive Your gift; I thank You that I am righteous.” you used to be a sinner, but when you gave your life to Christ, you became a new creation; now, you’re a son/daughter of the most high God. if you’ll give up your guilt, regret, unworthiness, God will give you His righteousness.

“I should’ve raised my children better, finished school, I lost my temper yesterday”; we carry all these regrets, they weigh us down, and then we wonder why life is a struggle, we’re tired, can’t accomplish a dream. you weren’t created to live guilty, to have that nagging voice always telling you, “there’s something wrong with you, you don’t deserve to be happy”; those are weights that the accuser uses to try to keep you from your destiny. if he can’t get you off-course, he’ll at least try to weigh you down, so you don’t go as far as you should.

Hebrews 12:1 (KJV)
1 … let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us

are you carrying weights of guilt, regret, shame? it’s time to lay aside those weights. the accuser has held you back long enough; nothing that you’ve done in the past is too much for the mercy of God. you are redeemed, restored, holy, blameless; shake off the guilt, the accusing voices, and receive the gift of righteousness.

children know how to receive a gift; they don’t start debating whether or not they deserve it, have they earned it, have they been good enough. like a child, you have to receive the gift of righteousness; don’t start thinking about all that you did, or didn’t do, trying to figure out if you really deserve it, if you’re good enough. you can’t earn it, it’s a gift; just receive it.

sometimes, we think we have to pay God back for our mistakes by living down and discouraged, show Him that we’re sorry, remorseful. yes, there should be a conviction when we do something wrong, I’m not saying to do whatever you want and not feel bad about it; the point is that once you ask for forgiveness, you don’t have to pay God back, the price has already been paid. when you live guilty, you’re saying in effect, “the sacrifice that Christ made wasn’t enough, let me add something to it, do my part by paying some sort of penalty for this wrong that I’ve done.” living guilty and condemned doesn’t bring any honor to God. after all Christ did to pay the price, if you want to honor God, get rid of the guilt, quit listening to the accusing voices and move forward with your life.

Isaiah 43:25 (NIV)
25 “I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.

God is an all-knowing God. He knows everything that’s ever going to happen, past, present, and future, yet when we ask Him to forgive us, this all-powerful, all-knowing God, in a sense steps out of character, and says, “I’m going to delete that event, I’m not going to keep any record of it.” (His love and mercy are even more powerful than His omniscience.) He chooses not to remember. if God forgets it, why don’t you forget it? if God let it go, why don’t you let it go?

some people keep asking God to forgive them for the same thing over and over for years; they don’t realize that the first time they asked, God not only forgave them, but He doesn’t remember it anymore. when you bring it up, it’s as if God is saying, “what are you talking about? I don’t remember that mistake, failure, the time you gave into temptation.” quit remembering what God has forgotten, telling Him how bad you are, how you messed up, lost your temper. He forgave you way back when you asked the first time; all that’s doing is making you feel guilty, condemned, bad about yourself.

instead of asking for forgiveness for the same thing, start receiving God’s mercy; mercy covers our mistakes, gives you what you didn’t deserve. you were guilty, it was your fault, you deserve judgment, but mercy says, “you’re forgiven, redeemed, restored.” when you’re tempted to ask forgiveness for the same thing, turn it around; “Father, thank You for Your mercy in my life.”

this is what Jonah had to do; he’d just made the biggest mistake of his life:

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.

Jonah ended up almost losing his life:

Jonah 1:17 (NIV)
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.

Jonah 2:10 (NIV)
10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

you would think that God would say, “Jonah, you need to sit on the sidelines and think about your mistake. you need to pay some kind of penalty for that wrong; maybe one day I’ll use you again, give you another chance.” no, as soon as Jonah was on dry ground, safe:

Jonah 3:1-2 (NIV)
3 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

God didn’t say a single word to Jonah about what he had done wrong. He was saying, in effect, “Jonah, you repented, asked for forgiveness, now get back in the game. you don’t have to sit around defeated for a week, month, year; I’ve forgiven you, now do what I asked you to do.”

a lot of times, we categorize our mistakes; if it’s something small, we think we have to pay God back by living down and discouraged for a day or 2, if it’s something medium, maybe a week or two, but if it’s something big, like with Jonah, we really messed up, brought the trouble on ourselves, we think we have to give up our joy, peace, dreams, for at least a year or 2, after all it was our fault. but like with Jonah, God doesn’t say, “go sit on the sidelines, you blew it, caused Me a lot of trouble, I’m not going to have anything to do with you for years”; that’s not the way God is. the accuser will work overtime, telling you, “God’s not going to bless you, you can’t expect His favor, to accomplish dreams, you owe God a whole lot for that mistake.” no, the price has been paid; don’t believe those lies.

God can’t use you in the way He wants to when you live guilty, feeling condemned, down on yourself; we’re not a good witness, we don’t pursue dreams, take steps of faith. God needs you confident, secure, feeling good about yourself; He has an assignment for you.

can you imagine when Jonah stood up in front of the entire city of Nineveh, and told them to repent? every voice in his ear whispered, “Jonah, you’re a hypocrite, you just repented yesterday, you’re no better than these people, you have no right to be up here.” Jonah had to do what we all must do; he ignored the accusing voices, shook off the guilt, and received the gift of righteousness.

God was going to destroy the city of Nineveh, but because Jonah asked them to repent, instead of sitting on the sidelines trying to pay God back for his mistake, the whole city repented, and:

Jonah 3:10 (NIV)
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

are you letting a mistake you made, some way that you failed, convince you that God won’t have anything to do with you right now? maybe one day He’ll use you, help you accomplish a dream. no, God is saying to you what He said to Jonah, “get back in the game; I have something for you to do right now. that mistake didn’t stop your destiny; you don’t have to sit on the sidelines, so start moving forward.”

God corrects us, gets us on the right course, and says to move forward. now here’s where you have to be bold, because those thoughts will tell you, “you knew the right thing, and you did the wrong thing; God’s not going to bless you.” just say, “no thanks, I’ve asked for forgiveness, received God’s mercy. I’m not going to live condemned, down on myself, I’m going to keep moving forward. I know that I have a destiny to fulfill.”

in the scripture, Samson made a lot of mistakes. an angel told his mother:

Judges 13:3-5 (NIV)
3 The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said… 5 You will become pregnant and have a son… He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”

Samson started off good; he had supernatural strength, couldn’t be defeated by his enemies, but he let his guard down, started compromising, one thing led to another, and this powerful, influential man ended up being captured by his enemies:

Judges 16:21 (NIV)
21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison.

you would think that after all of Samson’s poor choices, God would be done with him; after all, Samson knew better, it was his fault. but God never gives up on us; don’t believe those lies that you’ve gone too far off course, made too many mistakes.

Judges 16:23-30 (NIV)
23 Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled… to celebrate… 25 … they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them… 26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. 28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just one more time, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood… he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

you may have made mistakes, and the accuser is telling you that you’re all washed up; no, like with Samson, God has a one more time for you. you have not seen your greatest victories; you wouldn’t be alive unless God has something amazing in front of you. will you get back in the game, get your fire, passion, dreams back? life is too short to go through it against yourself. you may have made mistakes, we all have; God is saying, “you’re forgiven.” since He forgives you, why don’t you forgive yourself? as long as you’re beating yourself up, reliving failures, dwelling on disappointments, that’s going to keep you from your one more time. shake that off, this is a new day; it’s time to say goodbye to guilt, condemnation, heaviness.

Romans 8 (KJV)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

when you make a mistake, if you’re in the flesh, you beat yourself up, feel unworthy, try to pay God back by living down and discouraged; when you do that, you’ll feel guilty, condemned. but when you walk in the spirit, you say, “yes, I made a mistake, it was my fault, but I asked God for forgiveness, and I know that He not only forgave me, but He doesn’t remember it, so I’m not going to sit around beating myself up, I’m saying goodbye to guilt, condemnation, the accusing voices. I’m getting ready for my one more time.” that’s when there’s no condemnation, when you don’t wallow around in defeat, believe the accuser’s lies. you may have made mistakes, gotten off course, but that is not how your story ends; If you’ll shake off the guilt, God has a one more time coming your way, something bigger, more rewarding, than you’ve ever imagined.

just because you feel guilty doesn’t mean that you are guilty. you can’t go by your feelings; feelings don’t always tell us the truth. I may not feel forgiven, holy, but I know that I am forgiven, holy. I don’t perform perfectly all the time, but I know that I am righteous, blameless, honorable, because I have received the gift of righteousness.”

James 4:7 (NIV)
7 Resist the devil

to resist means to not agree with what he’s telling you. when you hear him whisper, “you’re all washed up, you failed too many times, made too many mistakes,” the way you resist him is by saying, “no thanks, I know that my best days are still in front of me, God’s mercy is bigger than any mistake.” don’t assist him; resist him. he’ll tell you, “you don’t deserve to be blessed; look what you’ve done.” instead of assisting him, “yes, you’re right, what was I thinking?” resist him; “I am the righteousness of God, forgiven, redeemed.”

“you failed, you blew it, you should’ve done better”; he always talks to you about your past. talk to him about your future; “God’s plans for me are for good, the path of the righteous keeps getting brighter and brighter. I know one more time is coming my way; until then, I’m going to live guilt-free.” are you carrying something that’s weighing you down today, assisting the accuser by believing his lies? it’s time to start resisting him; believe what God says about you. we’ve all made mistakes, but remember, you don’t have to pay God back; the price has already been paid. I’m asking you to receive His forgiveness, mercy; you have enough against you in life as it is, don’t be against yourself. if you’ll do this, weights of condemnation are lifting off of you right now: you’re going to live guilt-free, confident, secure, holy, blameless, honorable, righteous.

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