Archive for May, 2018

(No new sermon this week.)

May was a very interesting month for me, angel-wise. Here are several noteworthy angel events from the past month:

An angel wing over me as I slept:

I woke up, and behind my closed eyelids I saw a sparkling, diaphanous covering of white light, arching maybe 3-4 feet above me, that started out of my sight behind me, and continued on out of sight below the level of the bed on the far side, which is where I was facing. It covered the entire length of my body, vanishing past the edge of the foot of the bed. I don’t know if it was a lingering dream or a vision, but when I opened my eyes, it was there! I saw it for 2-3 seconds, long enough to see that there was a faint patterning that suggested feathers; what I felt in my spirit was that it was an angel’s wing that was over me. It was so powerful that it had penetrated into my sleeping brain, and woken me up after showing it to me as a dream image or a vision. I definitely got the idea that it was a covering, protection, something like a tent over me keeping me safe while I slept. (If you’re a new reader, and wondering safe from WHAT; I’m periodically plagued by demonic presences in my home)

A vision of an angel next to my bed:

In the vision, it was a darkened room that I believed to be my bedroom, with a darker shadow of my bed and a vague dark shape of me on it. Standing over me, inclining slightly down towards me, was a tall, VERY slender, glowingly-white angel. The shape indicated a simple white robe with no hint of the body under it, there were the shapes of folded-in wings at the shoulders and upper body, and tousled hair close to shoulder-length; I had the strong impression that this was a FEMALE angel. Interestingly, she had a thin, bright-gold halo, which I’ve never seen before, and certainly is not in the Bible anywhere, because it was invented by medieval artists to indicate angels and saints, which otherwise typically looked like regular humans. I had a moment of wondering if I should open my eyes, and if I did would I see this angel over me, or would opening my eyes just end the vision and give me nothing? In the end, I kept my eyes closed, and when the vision ended, I opened my eyes and didn’t see anything… But I have no doubt that she was THERE.

Spark angel against the blanket:

While I was getting into bed, a little white spark angel (some angelic appearances look just like sparks, so that’s what I call them) appeared on the blanket to the right of my right calf, even though I was still getting in and shifting the blankets around, and I actually saw him MOVE with the movement of the blanket, as if he was physically connected to it and so being lifted and shifted along with it. There is no doubt in my mind; not only was he real, but he was PHYSICALLY there in some way, not just a reflected or hallucinated spot of light that would NOT have moved along with the physical world. I had never even imagined such a thing, and if I WAS imagining that spark, I would expect it to remain in the imagined location regardless of what was moving around it, or just to vanish because of the movement.

I had no perception of weight on the blankets, so he had to have a physical connection in proportion to his apparent size, or maybe not really having weight is just part of how this works. It was like a minuscule firefly was there for just a couple of seconds. Of course I thanked him for being there. A minute or so later, I saw him maybe 3 feet above the bed, down more and to the left, and then in the few minutes after that, I saw him 2 other times, one time closer to the door, and the other time was to the left of the bed, towards the foot. It’s not uncommon for me to see these angelic sparks, either white or red, near me when I’m in bed, but this was the first time I saw one so many times at once, and the first time I saw this particular demonstration of physicality.

2 huge angels with wings in my prayer closet:

Two different times recently, when I’ve just gotten into bed, I’ve seen a HUGE white light form filling my prayer closet area, with the distinct impression of WINGS.

What is the meaning of all of this? I have no idea. I have no explanation for any of the individual occurrences, or why I’ve had this marvelous clump of unusual ones. As always, though, I’m EXTREMELY grateful that God keeps sending these angels to me, grateful for their presence, protection, and assistance. They come from God, so they can only be here for my benefit; that’s all I really need to know.

If you have had any recent experiences with angels, feel free to post them below. 🙂

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Just One Good Break

from JO’s sermon tonight:

sometimes, we don’t see how we can accomplish our dreams; we don’t have the connections, resources, experience. it’s easy to get discouraged, and think, “I’ll never get well, look at the medical report. I’ll never break this addiction, I’ve had it for years. I can’t get out of debt, I’ve gone as far as I can.”

it may look like it’s not going to happen, but what you can’t see is, you’re just one good break away. just meeting one right person, just one phone call, contract, healing, and what seemed impossible will suddenly become possible. you don’t need a hundred things to go right; just one touch of God’s favor, and doors will open that you couldn’t open. just one person being for you will catapult you ahead. just one breakthrough, and suddenly you get well, free from the addiction, depression is gone.

you may have situations that don’t look like they’ll ever change, but stay encouraged; God has already arranged good breaks for you, things that you couldn’t make happen. you weren’t next in line, you didn’t have the experience, but out of nowhere, the contract came to you.

He’s already lined up the right people to help you; you didn’t ask them, try to win them over. for no reason, they will go out of their way to be good to you; they’ve been ordained by God to move you into your destiny. you don’t have to worry about how it’s going to work out; God can cause one person to like you, say, “promote them,” and suddenly you’ll go to a new level. instead of thinking, “it’s a long way off, I don’t see how it can ever happen,” turn it around, “Father, thank You that I’m just one good break away; one touch of Your goodness, and things will change in my favor.” when something doesn’t work out your way, it’s because God has something better in store; you may not be able to see it at the time, but that’s when you have to trust Him.

God knows how to have the right people be for you. when somebody is not for you, don’t get bent out of shape; God has the right people already lined up, that will want to help you, are ordained to open doors that you couldn’t open, use their influence to thrust you ahead. you don’t need everyone to be for you; you just need the right people to be for you. God is going to cause people to be for you that are in a position of authority, can override your critics, cause things to fall into place.

you may feel like you’re falling behind, you could never accomplish what God put in your heart, other people discount you, don’t give your credit; don’t worry, God knows how to make up for lost time. just one touch of His favor will catapult you years ahead. just one person opening a door, just one phone call out of the blue, and you look up, and you’re 50 years down the road.

people don’t discount you anymore; now, they look up to you. God is going to cause you to be seen in a new light, give you respect, credibility, influence, that’s going to make up for the time it looks like you’ve lost. but those years where you were not being noticed, not seeing good breaks, having much influence, were proving years, where you were showing God you could be trusted, did the right thing when the wrong thing was happening, being your best when you weren’t seeing growth, going to work with a good attitude even though nobody was giving you credit. those were important years; without you being faithful, and showing God that you could be trusted, you wouldn’t be ready for what God has in store. you have to be prepared for where God is taking you.

you’re not falling behind; you’re in training. if it’s taking longer than you thought, it’s because God has something big in your future. don’t slack off, get tired of doing the right thing; if you’ll keep passing the test, the scripture says your due season is coming. that means, God’s not only going to bring you out, He’s going to thrust you ahead; you’re going to come out promoted, increased, further than you’ve ever imagined.

as a teenager, David was out in the shepherd’s fields taking care of his father’s sheep. it was boring; year after year, all he did was feed the sheep, clean up their waste, make sure that they were protected. it was dirty, smelly, lonely, nobody thanked him, nobody knew that he killed a lion and a bear to protect those animals. he could have slacked off, had a bad attitude, “God, it’s not fair, I’m wasting time out here.” instead, he kept passing the test, doing the right thing when nothing was changing.

one day, the prophet Samuel came to his house to anoint the next king of Israel. he looked at David’s seven brothers, who were older, had more experience, more training, some of them were in the military, big, strong, muscular; they looked like kings. Samuel passed by them, and eventually came to David, the forgotten one, the one that had been overlooked, discounted, seen as less than. Samuel said, “this is the next king of Israel.”

God doesn’t choose the way people choose. people look on the outside; God looks on the heart. God found a man in David that He could trust, that had proven he’d be faithful when things weren’t going his way. God knew, if He could trust him to take care of sheep, He could trust him to take care of His people. when God promoted David, brought him out, He made up for all the years it looked like he was losing out in the shepherd’s fields. he went from being a shepherd to being a king. nobody voted for him, this wasn’t a democracy; if it was, he wouldn’t have received one vote, he wasn’t on the radar, nobody in Israel knew who he was. his father didn’t believe in him, his brothers tried to belittle him.

but when God is ready to promote you, He doesn’t take a vote, check to see who likes you, who’s for you, how popular you are; it’s an appointment. it’s up to God: not your boss, neighbors, critics, relatives. promotion doesn’t come from people, it comes from the Lord. when it’s your time to be promoted, no person can stop you, no bad break, disappointment, enemy. God has the one and only vote, the final say.

quit worrying about who’s not for you; “why won’t these people give me credit? I’d be further along if my co-workers would quit leaving me out.” your co-workers can’t hold you back; other people cannot keep you from your destiny. they didn’t know you before you were formed in your mother’s womb, lay out the plan for your life, crown you with favor, put seeds of greatness on the inside. quit focusing on who’s not for you, and start focusing on Who is for you; the most high God is breathing in your direction, has you in the palm of His hand. His plans for you are for good. Him being for you is more than the world being against you.

David’s life was set on a new course by just one person; when Samuel came to his house and anointed him king, his whole world changed. what’s interesting is, David didn’t have to go after Samuel; Samuel came after David.

you don’t have to go after the blessing; keep honoring God, and the blessing, phone call, right person, healing, promotion, will find you. we spend too much time trying to make things happen, then we get frustrated because it’s taking so long. but you can’t make things happen out of God’s timing, make people like you who are not supposed to like you, open a door that God has closed. stay in peace, knowing that God will cause the right people, breaks, opportunities, to come knocking at your door. when it’s your time, Samuel will show up.

Samuel looked at all of David’s brothers before he saw David, but God did not choose any of them; God was showing us that what has your name on it won’t go to anyone else. quit being upset because that co-worker got the promotion that you really wanted; if it was supposed to be yours, you would have gotten it. or that friend married that man that you really like, that doesn’t seem fair; if you were supposed to marry him, then she wouldn’t have. that means that God has somebody better for you.

you don’t want what’s not supposed to be yours; there’s no grace for it. sometimes, God will close a door that we can’t open, but there are times that we’re so stubborn, that if it’s not going to stop our destiny, God will let us have it our way; this will never end up going well. don’t try to beat the door down. be determined, pursue your dreams, but be smart enough to realize; what God wants to be yours will come to you. it won’t be a constant struggle.

yes, there’ll be opposition, you’ll have to work hard, fight the good fight of faith, but there will be a grace that causes things to fall into place. the Psalmist said, “God will work out His plan for your life.” you don’t have to work it out, struggle, live worried, try to fix every problem, straighten out every enemy, make everything happen in your own strength; you can live from a place of rest, knowing that God is fighting your battles, lining up the breaks you need, has the right people that will help you, solutions to problems that you can’t see right now.

He’s already figured out how to solve it. don’t waste your time worrying; He’s on the throne, can see things you can’t see, promised He will work out His plan for your life. it may not seem like it’s going to happen, but you’re just one good break away. you’ll look back and say, “wow, God, You’ve amazed me with Your goodness!”

David said:

Acts 2:26 (MSG)
26 I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope

where have you pitched your tent? “I’ve had a lot of disappointments, I’ll never get well, I can’t accomplish my dreams, it’s been too long”; the problem is not that God can’t do it, the problem is where you pitched your tent. as long as you’re thinking of all the reasons why it’s not going to happen, how impossible it is, that’s going to limit you.

why don’t you pick up your tent, move out of the land of doubt, negativity, self-pity, it can’t happen, I’m too old, I never get any good breaks; that’s the wrong neighborhood. pitch your tent in the land of, “with God, all things are possible, goodness and mercy are chasing me down, what was meant for my harm, God is turning to my advantage.”

you are just one good break away from God catapulting you to a new level; just one right person showing you favor will change the course of your life. just one touch of God’s goodness, and you’ll beat the cancer, break the addiction, see your family restored.

in Acts chapter 3, there was a man that had been crippled since birth. every day, his family would carry him to the temple and set him beside the gate, so he could beg; he’d been doing this for years. one day, Peter and John came walking by; the man held out his cup, wanting money. Peter said, “I’m sorry, we don’t have any money for you, but in the name of Jesus, rise and walk.” Peter took him by the hand, pulled the man up; instantly, he was healed. he was so excited, he took off running through the temple, thanking God.

when the man woke up that morning, he thought it was just another ordinary day; he’d go to the temple, sit by the gate, and beg, like he’d done for years. he had no idea that when he went to bed that night, he’d be able to walk, he was just one good break away from having his whole life changed. just one person ordained by God to speak healing, and he would do something he was told he could never do.

you may have some big obstacles in your path today, things that have held you back for a long time: sickness, addiction, depression, loneliness. it doesn’t seem like it’ll ever change. you could get comfortable, accept it; no, get ready, God is about to surprise you. He’s already spoken to the right people, lined up the healing, freedom, promotion.

it’s going to happen suddenly; you didn’t see it coming. you woke up one morning, expecting more of the same; you never dreamed when you went to bed that night, you would be healed, free, promoted, vindicated. the good news is, it could happen today, this week, this month; your whole world could change for the better. now do your part; pitch your tent in the land of hope. give God something to work with. that’s not just being positive, that’s your faith being released.

Acts 3:9-10 (TPT)
9 When all the people saw him jumping up and down and heard him glorifying God, 10 they realized it was the crippled beggar they had passed by in front of the Beautiful Gate. Astonishment swept over the crowd, for they were amazed over what had happened to him.

God has some things in your future that are not only going to leave you amazed, but people around you are going to be amazed.

you were not created to live in dysfunction, with addictions, constantly struggling. that may be how it’s been in the past, but that’s not how it’s going to be in the future; God is about to do a new thing, break bondages that have held you back, free you from those addictions, increase you to where you have more than enough. that sickness is not permanent; healing, wholeness, victory is in your future.

what you’re facing may look like it’s never going to change. people have told you no, the odds are against you. you’re just one good break away; just one touch of God’s favor, and suddenly you’ll get well, be free, be promoted. I’m asking you to pitch your tent in the land of hope; get up every morning with expectancy, knowing that the most high God is working out His plan for your life. if you’ll do this, God is about to surprise you, make things happen that you didn’t see coming. suddenly: healing, breakthroughs, the right people, the fullness of your destiny.

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Manasseh is coming

from JO’s sermon tonight:

we all go through things that are not fair, situations that cause heartache and pain. we were doing the right thing, but somebody walked away, we came down with an illness, a child got off course. it’s easy to get discouraged, think that’s our lot in life. everyone has disappointments, but if you’ll stay in faith, not get bitter, God will bless you in such a way that you don’t remember the pain of the past.

yes, you went through difficulties, things you don’t understand, but now you’re so blessed, fulfilled, happy, you don’t dwell on who hurt you, what didn’t work out, how you weren’t raised in a healthy environment. you may not totally forget it, but it’s not on the top of your mind like it used to be; you don’t wake up thinking about it, go through the day bitter, you’re too blessed to be angry, hold a grudge, think about what didn’t work out.

this is what happened with Joseph. he went through a lot of unfair things: he was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a pit, sold into slavery. it’s one thing to have people come against you, but this was his own family, the people that were supposed to love him; it made it much more painful. Joseph was falsely accused by a lady, and put in prison. while he was in prison, he interpreted a dream for the Pharaoh; Pharaoh was so impressed, he put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt. Joseph ended up bringing his whole family to Egypt, including his brothers, the ones that threw him into the pit. he gave them a place to live, provided them with land so they could grow their crops. one day, Joseph and his wife had a baby:

Genesis 41:51 (NIV)
51 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.”

(Manasseh sounds like, and may be derived from, the Hebrew for “forget.”)

Joseph had been through all this heartache, betrayals, lonely nights, injustice, but now God has blessed him in such a way, he was so fulfilled, grateful, he didn’t think about the heartache he’d been through, live bitter because of his brothers, upset because he’d spent years in prison. he was so blessed, favored, he didn’t have time to be angry, try to pay people back; he was too overwhelmed with the goodness of God.

you may have gone through situations that weren’t fair, you did your best, but a dream didn’t work out, your marriage didn’t make it, you lost a loved one. it was painful, thoughts whisper, “it’s never going to change, this is as good as it gets, just learn to live with it.” no, get ready; Manasseh is coming. God is going to cause you to forget, bless you in such a way that you don’t remember the pain; it’s not going to be at the forefront of your mind. you’re going to be so filled with gratitude for God’s goodness, all He’s done for you, you’re not going to think about what you’ve been through.

we talk a lot about letting go of the past, forgiving people that hurt us, not reliving disappointments; that’s important. but sometimes, it’s hard to not think about what went wrong; you wake up, the heartache automatically comes to mind. through the day, you want to be happy, but you feel that heaviness reminding you of what you lost: the sickness you’re dealing with, the addiction. we do our best to tune it out, but it can be an ongoing struggle.

stay encouraged; there will be a day where God causes you to forget. you’re going to give birth to Manasseh; you’re not going to wake up thinking about the hurt, you’re going to wake up thinking about the goodness of God. you’re not going to go through the day discouraged by the loss, weighed down by heaviness; God is going to turn it around, to where all you can think about is how grateful you are. you’re going to have a deep satisfaction, a joy, that you can’t explain. what happened? you gave birth to Manasseh.

“I’ve been through difficulties, and I still remember the loss, sickness, heartache; it didn’t happen for me.” you may not realize it, but you’re pregnant; Manasseh is coming. God hasn’t forgotten about you. He’s seen the heartache, lonely nights, injustice. God has collected every tear that you’ve shed. you may not be able to forget on your own; the good news is, God is going to cause you to forget, turn it around in such a way that you’re overwhelmed, don’t have time to think about the hurt, you’re so grateful for the goodness of God.

God not only brought Joseph out of slavery, that would have been good, but He had his brothers come and be at the mercy of Joseph. he was in charge of the whole nation, blessed with land, resources, opportunity. Joseph had influence, favor, his children were blessed. God didn’t just bring him out, He brought him out in an exceptional way, where he didn’t remember the pain of the past.

we all have things that we need to forget; a bad break, mistake, closed door. it brought heartache, but do your best to not dwell on it; when the thought comes up, try not to think about it. at some point, God is going to do something out of the ordinary, that causes you to forget. you’re not going to have to struggle with it in your thoughts; your mind is going to be so filled with God’s goodness that that negative memory doesn’t have any space to come back up.

Isaiah 61:7 (MSG)
7 Because you got a double dose of trouble
and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled
and your joy go on forever.

God didn’t promise we wouldn’t have difficulties; sometimes we have a double dose, more than our share. the good news is, trouble doesn’t have the final say; the betrayal, sickness, loss, is not how your story ends. God is not only going to bring you out, He’s going to bring you out with double: double the joy, peace, influence, fulfillment. it says, “your joy will go on forever”; that means, the trouble is temporary. the sickness, loneliness, addiction, depression, it’s not going to last; the pain is temporary, but the joy will go on forever.

you may have been through a lot in your past, maybe you have things coming against you now, and you don’t see how it could ever turn around. get ready; Manasseh is coming. God has something ahead of you where you will be so blessed, fulfilled, prosperous, that you will live out of a place of joy, gratitude, where you think, “God, You’ve amazed me with Your goodness, done more than I could ever dream.

you’re not going to wake up thinking about the haters; you’re going to wake up thinking about how blessed you are. you’re not going to go through the day bitter because of bad breaks; you’re going to go through saying, “Lord, thank You for Your favor, for being so good to me.” you won’t go to bed discouraged, dwelling on what didn’t work out; you will lie down in peace, with your mind filled with gratitude, so focused on the greatness of our God.

we’ve all had things that could steal our joy, cause us to lose our passion for life, settle for mediocrity. God is saying to you today, “Manasseh is coming. there is something in your future that’s going to erase the pain of the past.” God is not going to just bring you out, heal, restore, vindicate you; that would be good, but that wouldn’t make you forget the pain. God is going to do something out of the ordinary, unusual, that you didn’t see coming. when Manasseh shows up, you’re going to say, “wow, God, I never dreamed I’d be this blessed, meet somebody this great.”

don’t put a question mark where God has put a period. we’re not going to understand everything that happens; life is not always fair. you can’t make people do what’s right; God’s given us free will, and sometimes people make choices that hurt us. what the brothers did wasn’t fair to Joseph, he hadn’t done them any wrong; the good news is, God is a God of justice. He knows how to not only heal the hurts, that would be good enough, we’d be grateful to be restored, but God is so amazing, He’s going to cause you to forget the pain of your past.

when you go through a bad break, injustice, you become pregnant; Manasseh is conceived in your spirit. maybe you weren’t treated right growing up, a friend betrayed you, you’re taking the treatment, trying to beat the illness, life has thrown you a curve. the good news is, you’re pregnant; there’s a baby coming. something out of the ordinary; an explosive blessing, divine connection, supernatural healing. you couldn’t have made it happen, weren’t next in line. what was that? Manasseh, God blessing you in such a way that you forget the injustice, pain, what you’ve been through.

somebody may have walked out on you, that’s not easy, the hurt is real, but it is not the end; God has the final say. He is going to bring you someone so great, loving, kind, fun, good looking, well off, you’re not even going to miss that person that left you. Manasseh is coming. God is going to pay you back. now get your hopes up; quit believing those lies that you’ve seen your best days, been through too much, you’ll never be happy. God has something amazing in front of you: amazing people, opportunities, resources. He has something that you’ve never seen, more rewarding, fulfilling, than you’ve ever dreamed.

I love that it says, “God will cause us to forget,” because sometimes we can’t forget on our own. if you ever had something happen that really hurt you, you lost a loved one, someone walked out of a relationship, an unexpected illness, we can do our best to let it go and move forward, but those negative thoughts keep coming back; “you’re a victim, it’s not fair, it’s never going to change.” we can’t totally forget on our own; that’s why God is going to bless you in such a way that He causes you to forget.

in the scripture, Ruth lost her husband. she was devastated; she was a young lady, now a widow, her dreams were shattered. I can imagine, every morning when she woke up, that was the first thing on her mind; “Ruth, you’re a victim, life’s not fair.” one day, she was out working in the fields, minding her own business; God caused Boaz, the owner of those fields, to notice her.

you may have gone through a situation, it’s not fair, you don’t see how it could ever work out, but you don’t know who God is going to cause to notice you; God knows how to cause you to stand out, look good. a dozen people can bypass you; God can cause the right one to notice you, and say, “wow, look at her, she’s amazing! look at him, he’s outstanding!” God will cause them to see you the way He wants them to see you. right now, God is causing the right people to be attracted to you, the right opportunities, breaks, to track you down.

Ruth had gone through all this heartache; she thought she’d seen her best days. when God caused Boaz to notice her, he was one of the wealthiest men in that area. they ended up falling in love, getting married, had a child; Ruth never dreamed she’d be that blessed, own those fields with her husband, have children. now, when she woke up, those thoughts telling her she’d never be happy didn’t come anymore; God had blessed her in such a way that He caused her to forget the pain of the past.

God has some blessings coming your way that are going to cause you to forget what you lost, who hurt you, what you’ve been through. you’re going to give birth to Manasseh. you may have had a double dose of trouble; get ready, a double dose of favor is headed your way.

this is what happened with Job. everything was going great, then the bottom fell out; he lost his business, children, health, had big boils all over his body, very painful. Job was a good man, loved God, lived with integrity, but just because we honor God, doesn’t mean we’re not going to have difficulties, things we don’t understand. what Job couldn’t see was that God had allowed the difficulty; Satan had to ask God for permission to test Job. God only let him test him up to a certain point.

when you go through difficulties, things that don’t make sense, you have to remind yourself; God is still in control. the person that hurt you, betrayal, unexpected illness, is not a surprise to God. don’t get bitter, start complaining; it’s a test.

Job didn’t think he could ever be happy; negative thoughts came, and he made the mistake of believing them:

Job 7:7 (CEB)
7 … my eyes won’t see pleasure again.

he was saying, “I’ve been through too much, it’s all downhill from here.” he was so discouraged, he didn’t want to keep living. but even though he’d given up, complaining, cursing his future, God hadn’t given up, still had a plan. Job didn’t realize he was pregnant. when God allowed the difficulty, test, at the same time, God planted a seed in Job; he conceived Manasseh.

in Job 17, Job said, “my eyes are dim from weeping; I am but a shadow of my former self.” maybe, like Job, you feel like a shadow of what you used to be. at one time, you were strong, healthy, full of energy, but now you’re fighting that illness, dealing with the pain, feel tired and weak. or at one time, you were blessed in your business, had more than enough, successful, but now things have gone down, you’re struggling, barely making it. perhaps at one time you had a great marriage, you were happy, excited about life, but things have changed, you’re just going through the motions, trying to keep it together. it may not look good, but what you can’t see is, Manasseh is coming.

being half of who you were is not how your story ends; the scripture says, “the path of the righteous gets brighter and brighter.” not less and less. the good news is, your water is about to break; it’s not long before you’re going to give birth. God is going to do something, not to just restore you, bring you out, He’s going to bless you in such a way that you forget what you’ve been through.

Job thought that his life was over; he was complaining, negative. but some scholars say that that trial only lasted 9 months, the same amount of time that a woman is pregnant. then, God turned it around and brought Job out with double; just like Isaiah said, he had a double dose of trouble, so God gave him double blessings. he came out with twice the cattle, sheep, joy. the scripture says, “after this, Job lived a hundred and forty years, and saw his grandchildren down to 4 generations.” after the loss, trouble, sickness; that means after the divorce, unexpected illness, you’re going to see years of health, happiness, favor. Job was so blessed, fulfilled, he didn’t think about what he had been through.

Joseph was 17 years old when his brothers betrayed him, 30 years old when he took the throne. those 13 years weren’t easy, it was difficult, but if you study the rest of Joseph’s life, after he was 30, took the throne, you don’t read anything about him having problems, armies coming against him, betrayals; the difficulty was for a season. after the betrayal, after he was falsely accused, after spending time in prison, Joseph lived to see three generations in peace, stability, abundance. he was so grateful, happy, he didn’t think about his brothers betraying him.

Isaiah said, “God will restore double, and your joy will go on forever”; the trouble is temporary, the joy is permanent. you may be in a tough time today; get ready, Manasseh is coming. there is something in your future that is going to cause you to forget what you’ve been through. you may not be able to forget on your own; the good news is, God is going to cause you to forget. right now, He’s working behind the scenes.

you may not see any sign of it, but I can assure you, you are pregnant; you are going to give birth to blessings that catapult you ahead. God is about to do something unusual, out of the ordinary, to make up for what you’ve been through. like with Ruth, that loss is not the end; the right people are going to notice you. like with Job, those bad breaks are not your destiny; double is coming. like with Joseph, those years of heartache are not your final chapter; you are coming into years of health, happiness, favor, growth, abundance, the fullness of your destiny.

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It’s a setup

from JO’s sermon tonight:

everything in your life has been carefully orchestrated; God is strategic. before you were born, He laid out a specific plan for you. nothing randomly happens. not just the good breaks, promotions, times you’ve seen favor, but even the closed doors, disappointments, betrayals. that’s all a part of God’s plan. it may not make sense, it wasn’t fair, but God wouldn’t have allowed it if it wasn’t going to work for your good. if you don’t understand that nothing randomly happens, then you’ll be frustrated when things don’t go your way, upset because somebody did you wrong, bitter because a person walked away, when in reality, it was ordained by God to move you into your destiny.

you are not at the mercy of luck, fate, other people. the God who causes the Earth to rotate down to the exact millisecond has ordered your steps. do you think another person, bad break, closed door, jealous co-worker, can change what God has spoken over your life? the people coming against you, negative circumstances, are pawns in the hands of God. the enemy thinks he’s using them to hold you back; the truth is, God is using them to push you forward.

in the scripture, Joseph’s brothers threw him into a pit. they thought they were stopping his destiny, but God used them to push Joseph into his destiny. God ordained them to betray Joseph; it was a part of the plan that God laid out for his life. without that betrayal, Potiphar’s wife falsely accusing him, spending time unfairly in prison, Joseph would have never fulfilled his destiny. it wasn’t random, bad luck, it was strategic.

are you fighting what God has ordained, frustrated because the door closed, bitter because somebody walked away? without that, you couldn’t fulfill your purpose. the enemy didn’t come in and somehow take the steering wheel, and now he’s in control, superseded God’s plan, overpowered the Creator; he doesn’t have that kind of authority. the God Who breathed life into you, numbered your days, is for you and not against you, is in complete control. you may not understand what happened, it may not have been fair, but if you’ll stay in faith, one day you’ll see, like Joseph, it wasn’t random, it was intentional, it was a setup; God used it to push you forward.

but when we isolate a negative experience, and look at it on its own, it may not make sense. if you have a large puzzle, sometimes you’ll find a piece that doesn’t look like it fits; you’re sure the manufacturer has made a mistake. it’s an odd shape, strange color, but when the other pieces come together, there will be a perfect fit; the colors will match, the edges will line up. without that piece, the puzzle wouldn’t be complete.

you may have a piece to your puzzle today that doesn’t make sense. you can think, “God didn’t ordain this: I lost my main client, a relationship didn’t work out, my child got off course, this doesn’t fit.” you may not see it now, but God is not through working. you don’t know what He’s up to; you’re looking at one piece. like Joseph, you’re looking at the betrayal; what you can’t see is, the throne is coming. instead of fighting it, being bitter, turn it around; “God, my life is in Your hands. I know Your plans for me are for good. I may not understand everything, but God, I trust You. I believe You’ll get me to where I’m supposed to be.”

the scripture says, “God has ordered your steps.” it doesn’t say He has suggested them, maybe this will happen, maybe that will happen; your steps have been ordered. when God ordered my steps, He didn’t check with me, ask for my opinion; if He would have, I would have told Him, “I don’t want to go through disappointment.” I would have said no to all the difficulties, because I couldn’t see where they were taking me. you can’t reach your destiny without opposition, betrayal, criticism, things you don’t understand. on the other side of the difficulty is a new level of your destiny. if you’ll keep the right attitude, all things will work for your good. not some things, not just the good breaks, promotion, but even the loss, disappointment, person that walked away. it wasn’t random, it was ordained by God.

in John 11, Lazarus was very sick. his two sisters, Mary and Martha, sent word to their friend Jesus to come to their house and pray for him. Jesus was in another city; he waited 4 days, and Lazarus died. then Jesus showed up; he raised Lazarus from the dead.

John 11:45-53 (NIV)
45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”… 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

Lazarus being raised was a strategic part in the plan of God. it set into motion all these other events that eventually led to Jesus being crucified. that’s why Jesus waited on purpose for Lazarus to die; he could have gone there sooner and healed him, or spoken healing from another city, like he’d done and healed other people. but he waited for Lazarus to die so all these people would be gathered. it would create such a commotion, a man being raised from the dead, that the critics would go back and get the council all stirred up. what may look like a crisis to us can still be the plan of God. Mary and Martha were upset, weeping, they couldn’t see it at the time; that crisis was ordained by God. Jesus being delayed wasn’t an accident; him not coming when they asked was divinely orchestrated.

nothing randomly happens; even the crises, bad breaks, things that don’t make sense, we can’t see it, but God is still on the throne. thoughts will tell you, “it’s never going to work out, there’s no purpose to this, you just have bad luck.” don’t believe those lies. God is up to something; God is strategic. things are in motion right now that you can’t see. behind the scenes, God’s moving the wrong people out of the way, lining up the right people, arranging things in your favor. it’s in the process of coming together. we may not understand it all, but the delay was on purpose, the betrayal was ordained by God, the person that turned on you wasn’t supposed to be for you. it may seem like it’s out of control, but God is still in complete control. the plan He’s laid out for your life is right on track. keep doing the right thing when you don’t understand.

stay in faith when people betray you. do the right thing when the wrong thing is happening. your time is coming; what God ordained will come to pass. no person can stop Him, no bad break, crisis, people. all the forces of darkness cannot stop what God has purposed for your life. you have to be so convinced that God is for you that you don’t fall apart when life is against you, don’t get bitter because things didn’t work out your way, don’t give up on a dream because you had a setback; you know it’s a setup, that God has the final say, didn’t bring you this far to leave you. Him being for you is more than the world being against you.

the high priest wanted to get rid of Jesus. he started coming up with all these plans, schemes; he needed somebody that would betray, falsely accuse him. what’s interesting is, God didn’t stop their plans; He used their plans to fulfilled the purpose of Christ. God is all-knowing. He has an advantage; He knew everything the enemy would try to do in your life, took that into consideration when He laid out your plan. He may not stop every plot of the enemy against you, bad break, betrayal, but He will use that to move you into your destiny.

He didn’t stop Joseph’s brothers from throwing him into the pit, selling him as a slave, but God took that into account when He laid out Joseph’s purpose. I can imagine God thinking, “they want to sell him, make him a slave, I’ll turn it to his advantage, design Joseph’s plan so that Potiphar his boss will like him, give Joseph the ability to interpret dreams, and then I’ll give the Pharaoh a dream that only Joseph can interpret.” God has designed your plan knowing every plot against you, bad break, closed door, disappointment. the good news is, God’s strategic plan will override every plan that was meant to stop you.

that’s why Isaiah said, “no weapon formed against you will prosper.” it doesn’t say they won’t form; people will betray you, injustice will come, but they won’t prosper. why? God has taken into account their jealousy, malice, hatred; what they meant for harm, God has already designed a plan to use it for your good. you don’t have to live discouraged when negative things come against you, trying to pay people back, frustrated because of a disappointment. stay in peace; God has it all figured out. He wouldn’t have allowed it if it was going to stop you.

if Joseph’s brothers throwing him into a pit was going to stop Joseph’s destiny, God wouldn’t have let the brothers do it. God held back the Red Sea; He could have held the brothers back. God allowed it because it was a part of Joseph’s destiny. quit fighting what God has allowed; without that happening, you couldn’t fulfill your purpose. it’s a setup; you may not like it, it may be uncomfortable, but if you’ll stay in faith, one day you’re going to see what God was up to.

Judas went in and told the religious leaders that he would betray Jesus; they were so excited, this was the big break they were looking for. they didn’t realize, Judas was a pawn in the hand of God. it wasn’t his idea; God was using him to move Jesus into his purpose. we give our enemies too much credit; they can only do what God allows them to do. Judas couldn’t stop Jesus; his betrayal, disloyalty, couldn’t keep the plan of God from unfolding. when people come against you, don’t get bent out of shape, they can’t stop you; they think they’re hindering you, but like with Judas, God is going to use them to move you further into your destiny.

but sometimes, we make mistakes, bring the trouble on ourselves, get off course and do things we know that we shouldn’t do, but the beauty of our God is, He not only designed your plan knowing what the enemy would try to do against you, but knowing the mistakes you would make. God has taken into account the times we would fail, compromise, give in to temptation; He’s so merciful, He’s already designed the plan to restore us and get us back on course.

God told Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh and tell the people to repent. Jonah didn’t want to go there; he got on a boat going the other way, exactly the opposite of what God told him to do. you would think, he’s done, too bad, he stepped out of God’s plan, but a huge storm arose; they were all about to die:

Jonah 1:12 (NIV)
12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”

this should have been the end of Jonah’s story; out in the middle of the ocean, in a huge storm, but:

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.

hundreds of years later, Jesus would say, “as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for 3 days, so shall the son of man be in the heart of the Earth for 3 days.” Jonah was a picture of Jesus. God knew that he would get off course; He had already planned how that would foreshadow what Christ would do. nothing randomly happens; your mistakes have been taken into account in God’s plan for your life. and I don’t say that so you can live loose, “good, I’m going to do whatever I want to do, God’s got me covered”; no, mistakes cause heartache, pain. three days in the belly of the fish was dark, dirty, smelly. when the fish spit Jonah out, the first thing God told him was, “go to Nineveh and do what I asked you to do.”

God didn’t change His mind, but He gave him another chance. when we make mistakes, fail, the accuser keeps whispering, “you’re done, God is finished with you; you had your chance, you’ll never accomplish your dreams.” no, get back up. your mistake is not a surprise to God; He’s already designed your comeback, laid out your new beginning. why don’t you get back in the game, get your fire, passion back? start dreaming, believing again. that mistake didn’t cancel your destiny; God still has a purpose for you to fulfill.

when God told Abraham that he and his wife Sarah were going to have a baby in their old age, years went by and nothing happened, so Abraham decided to help God out; he slept with Sarah’s maid. they had a son they named Ishmael; they were so excited, they finally had their baby. God said:

Genesis 17:15-16 (NIV)
15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her.

Ishmael in one sense was considered a mistake; he was the child that Abraham had out of wedlock. Abraham is the father of our faith, you would think he would know better, surely this wouldn’t be in the plan of God. four generations later, when Joseph’s brothers threw him into a pit, they were going to leave him there to die, but they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming; they decided instead to sell Joseph to them. the Ishmaelites were descendants of Ishmael; what once was considered a mistake was actually a part of God’s plan to save Joseph’s life.

only God in His amazing wisdom can take what was a mistake in one generation and use it to be a blessing in another generation; nothing randomly happens. even your mistakes are a setup. why don’t you quit beating yourself up for past failures, quit living in regrets? nothing you’ve done is too much for the mercy of God. let that go; start moving forward into the new things God has in store. sometimes, what we think is a setback is really God setting us up to do something amazing. even mistakes we make, God knows how to turn them and use them for our good.

a few days before Jesus was crucified, he was in the Garden of Gethsemane late one night praying. he was so overwhelmed with the weight of what he was about to do, under so much pressure, that he sweat great drops of blood. he said, “Father, if You’re willing, take this cup from me, but not my will, let Your will be done.” we celebrate what Christ did on the cross, that’s the foundation of our faith, but the real battle took place in the garden; this is where he made the decision, “even though it’s not fair, Judas is about to betray me, these people have mocked and ridiculed me, Father, I trust You. I know it’s all a part of Your plan.”

we all have these times when life isn’t fair: somebody’s coming against you, you’re fighting an illness, business is slowing down. this is where you have to do like him, and say, “God, I don’t understand it, but I trust You. I know You’re in control; You wouldn’t have allowed it if it wasn’t going to work for my good.” don’t get discouraged when life doesn’t make sense; God is up to something. they crucified Jesus, put him in the grave, they thought he was done, but you know the story; on the third day, Jesus came out, said, “I am alive forevermore.” God has the final say. what looks like a setback is really setting you up for the next level of your destiny.

Jesus told his disciples, “take up your cross and follow me.” sometimes, we hear that and think, “that’s going to be a heavy burden.” when you take up your cross, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to have difficulties, people won’t betray you, you’ll never make mistakes; life will happen. but the beauty is, when you should be overwhelmed, the cross will start carrying you; God will give you joy, peace, strength, that will lift you, help you make it through things that should have stopped you.

we can all look back and see times where, if it wasn’t for the goodness of God, we wouldn’t have made it. what is that? the cross carrying you. it looked like it was going to be heavy, but it was a setup; his yoke is easy, his burden is light. why don’t you come back to that place of peace? nothing in your life has randomly happened; God has ordered your steps. you may not understand it, but your life is divinely orchestrated; what God has purposed for you will come to pass. every force that’s trying to stop you is being broken. God is about to turn things in your favor. it looks like a setback, but it’s setting you up for new levels, promotion, healing, breakthroughs, the fullness of your destiny.

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