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Archive for May 7th, 2018

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 the enemy didn’t come in and somehow take the steering wheel, and now he’s in control, superseded God’s plan, overpowered the Creator; he doesn’t have that kind of authority.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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