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Archive for January 29th, 2018

from JO’s sermon tonight:

we all have things that we’re believing for: dreams to come to pass, problems to turn around. we’d be happy if they worked out our way, but sometimes what we have in mind is not God’s best; we think ordinary, God thinks extraordinary. we think, “let me have enough to get by”; God thinks abundance. we think, “let me manage this addiction”; God thinks freedom. we’re asking for the possible, when God wants to do the impossible. He specializes in exceeding our expectations. what He has in store for you is bigger, more rewarding, fulfilling than you can imagine. Paul said in Ephesians:

Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV)
20 Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think

I believe this is going to be a year where God exceeds your expectations. He’s not going to do what you’re asking for, He’s going to exceed it, open doors you never dreamed would open, take you further you can imagine. you’re going to look back and think, “I never dreamed I’d be this blessed, have this position, marry somebody this great.” get ready; God is about to exceed your expectations, make things happen that you didn’t see coming. you didn’t deserve it, didn’t work for it, it’s just the goodness of God showing favor on your life.

this is what happened to a man in Acts 3:

Acts 3:2-8 (NIV)
2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.

but notice; the man was expecting a few coins, the ordinary, the same thing that had happened for years, but God showed up and exceeded his expectations. he didn’t see it coming, he thought he would have to lay by that gate and beg the rest of his life, but one moment of favor, one exceeded expectation, thrust him to a new level, changed his whole life.

God has some of these “I never dreamed” blessings in store for you. you may not see how it can happen, the medical report doesn’t look good, you’ve gone as far as your education allows, perhaps you’re in a limited environment. the good news is, none of that stops our God. He controls the universe; one touch of His favor will catapult you where you could not go on your own. it’s your time to be free, break bondages, go to new levels. every force that’s holding you back is being broken right now; God is releasing healing, favor, opportunities, restoration, freedom. this is a new day; God’s doing a new thing. He’s about to exceed your expectations.

I love the fact that this crippled man, even though he had low expectations, all he was expecting was a few coins, God didn’t say, “too bad, I had something much better, but you don’t have enough faith. I was going to let you walk, but you’re not expecting enough.” God is so merciful, even when we don’t have the faith, we think we’ve reached our limit, God says, “that’s ok, I’m going to show you favor in spite of that.” the scripture says:

Matthew 17:20 (NIV)
20 … if you have faith as small as a mustard seed… Nothing will be impossible for you.”

a mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds. God could have said, “if you have great faith, never doubt, never get discouraged, then I’ll do something big,” but God knew there would be times that we didn’t have the faith we needed to reach our destiny, so He said, “if you have just a little bit of faith, that’s all you need, then I’ll show up and exceed your expectations.” you have the faith you need for God to show out in your life, catapult you to new levels.

you may feel like you’re stuck doing the same thing, you have some kind of disadvantage, you’re expecting the ordinary; that’s where the crippled man was, yet God showed up and did the extraordinary. you may have a good reason to settle where you are, but God loves you too much to let you miss your destiny. it may seem like another ordinary year, same thing, everything looks routine; no, get ready, God is about to show up and do something unusual, that you haven’t seen. He’s going to exceed your expectations.

Acts 3:9-11 (NIV)
9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him… all the people were astonished

what God is about to do in your life is going to cause people to look at you in astonishment, think, “how could you be so blessed? I know where you came from. how could you be free when so many around you are addicted, be so strong, healthy, energetic, when a medical report said you weren’t going to get well?” God is going to make you an example of His goodness. when He exceeds your expectations, people are going to take notice, see the favor on your life. “I don’t have great faith, all the odds are against me”; same thing with the crippled man. none of that stops our God. when He exceeds your expectations, it’s not going to be a little exceeded, a little more than you thought, a little blessing, a little increase; God is going to exceed it abundantly above what you’re thinking. His idea of abundance is more than we can ask or think.

God doesn’t want you to stay at the same level as your parents; He wants you to set a new standard. He’s going to exceed your expectations in greater ways than how you were raised. what God has in store for you is much greater than you’ve imagined; you’re going to come in to some of these exceeded expectations. why don’t you put your faith out there? instead of thinking, “it’s not going to happen for me”; you can’t have faith if you don’t first have hope. give God something to work with. dare to say, “Lord, I want to thank You that You’re going to exceed my expectations, take me where I could not go on my own.”

God has it all figured out. He knows what, who, you’re going to need, He’s lining up the right breaks, right people, directing your steps. Paul talked about:

Ephesians 1:19 (NABRE)
19 … the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe

you’re going to come into these moments where you see God surpass anything you’ve imagined. you couldn’t have made it happen; it’s just the goodness of God. you may wonder how you’re going to accomplish your dreams, get out of that difficulty; God has the right people lined up, knows how to put you at the right place. He’s going to make things happen that you didn’t see coming. God is saying to you today, “I’m about to exceed your expectations, show you favor in ways that you’ve never seen.” now my challenge is, let this take root in your spirit. it’s easy to dismiss it, “it will never happen, the odds are against me, it’s been too long.” this is what a lady did in the scripture:

2 Kings 4:8-16 (NIV)
8 One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. 9 She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. 10 Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”… 14 “What can be done for her?” Elisha asked. Gehazi said, “She has no son, and her husband is old.” 15 Then Elisha said, “Call her.” So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. 16 “About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.” “No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!”

she was saying, in effect, “don’t get my hopes up; that’s too good to be true.” she just didn’t have the faith. the good news is, there are some things, even if you don’t believe, God is still going to do it. He is so merciful, He will override the doubt and do things you never dreamed, that will bring you more joy, fulfillment, than you can imagine.

2 Kings 4:17 (NIV)
17 But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.

God exceeded her expectations even though she didn’t believe; that’s the kind of God we serve. there are promises God has spoken over you, dreams He’s put in your heart; seems impossible, it’s been so long, you’re not expecting it any more. God is saying to you what He said to her; “I’m still going to bring it to pass.” just because you gave up doesn’t mean God has given up. you may not see a way, but God has a way. if this lady didn’t believe, and saw the promise fulfilled, imagine what God will do when you do believe. put your faith out there.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time, nothing is changing, I don’t see anything happening”; you’re right where a young lady was in 1 Samuel. her name was Hannah; she was married for many years, but she too was barren, not able to have children:

1 Samuel 1:2 (NIV)
2 He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.

1 Samuel 1:7-8 (NIV)
7 … Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”

she knew God put the dream in her heart; she couldn’t understand why it wasn’t happening. one day:

1 Samuel 1:10-20 (NIV)
10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. 11 And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”… 17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”… Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”

this could be the end of the story, another promise fulfilled, but God likes to exceed our expectations:

1 Samuel 2:21 (NIV)
21 And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters.

she asked for one son, but notice how good our God is. He said in effect, “Hannah, you may be satisfied, but I’m not; I’m going to do more than you asked.” one reason God was so good to Hannah was because of all the pain she had to endure, having to wait while the other wife was having babies, being ridiculed. God sees all the heartache, tears, unfair situations, people that did you wrong. what you’re believing for may not have happened yet, it may be taking a long time, but God is a faithful God. He’s not only still going to bring it to pass, that would be good enough, you’d be satisfied, but God is going to do more than you’ve asked. that means once you see the promise fulfilled, God is not finished being good to you; He’s going to visit you again, show out in another way. you asked for one baby; God has 5 more waiting for you. He’s going to pay you back for what you’ve been through.

our attitude should be, “Lord, I want to thank You that You’re going to visit me again, do more than I asked, exceeding my expectations.”

in 2 Chronicles 20:

2 Chronicles 20:1-25 (NIV)
20 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat… 3 Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 4 The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord… 5 Then Jehoshaphat… said:… For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”… 15 …This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them… 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you… 21 … Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord… 22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. 24 … no one had escaped. 25 So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it.

Jehoshaphat asked God to deliver them from those enemies, and God did; they didn’t even have to fight. that was a great miracle, something worth celebrating; he could’ve gone back home thanking God, so grateful, but our God exceeds our expectations. He said in effect, “Jehoshaphat, I’m not going to do just what you asked, just bring you out, I’m going to make the enemy pay, bring you out increased, promoted, stronger.

you may have obstacles in your path, challenges coming against you, in your health, finances, relationship, you’re asking God to turn it around; stay encouraged, God is not only going to bring you out, He’s going to bring you out better than you were before, exceed your expectations.

don’t talk yourself out of it. sometimes, when we’ve struggled in an area so long, we’ve gotten comfortable. like the crippled man, we’re expecting a few coins, something to help us make it through the year; God is about to do a new thing. you’re asking for the possible; He’s about to do the impossible, take you where you’ve never been. no more dysfunction, being barren, stuck in your career; you’re about to come in to some of these exceeded expectations. this is a year where God is going to do more than you’ve asked. you’ve been faithful, honored Him, now God’s about to show out in your life. every morning, “Lord, I want to thank You that You’re going to exceed my expectations.” if you’ll do this, God is about to visit you again. new doors are about to open: increase, promotion that you didn’t see coming, problems are turning around, health is being restored, exceeded expectations are coming your way.

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