Archive for July 16th, 2018

Under construction

from JO’s sermon tonight:

you have to see the things that are messy in your life, the things you struggle with, that seem out of place, as simply under construction; it doesn’t it mean it’s not going to work out. the disappointment, betrayal, delay, you may not like it, but it’s all a part of the process. you’re under construction; you can’t become all you were created to be without some messy places.

to the untrained eye, a construction site can look disorganized, random, but to the architect, it’s no big deal; they’re not worried, they drew the plans, they know exactly where it’s going. your architect is the most high God; He’s designed a specific plan for your life. the good news is, the messy places can’t stop your destiny; the delays, things you don’t understand, even the mistakes you’ve made, He’s already taken them into account. you may not see how your dream could ever work out, you feel like you’re stuck; God is saying, “you’re right on schedule. you’re not a finished product; I’m still working on you. what I started, I’m going to bring to completion.”

the accuser will whisper, “not you, you have too many flaws, weaknesses, mistakes.” just remind him, “I’m under construction. I may have some messy places, but God’s not finished with me.” Paul said in Ephesians, “you are a masterpiece.” you may not be there quite yet, but instead of beating yourself up, living with that negative recording, how you don’t measure up, our attitude should be, “I’m a masterpiece in the making.”

“you still struggle with that addiction”; “yes, but I’m under construction; God’s still working on me.” “you still have the temper, say things that you shouldn’t”; “yes, but I’m better than I was last year; I’m growing, coming up higher. what God started, He’s going to finish.” you have to look beyond the mess and see the masterpiece.

God told Abraham that he was going to have a son, and become the father of many nations, but he and his wife Sarah were too old, way past the childbearing years. they prayed, stood in faith for years; still no baby. Sarah said, “Abraham, why don’t you sleep with the maid, and maybe God will give us this son that He promised?”

Genesis 16:4-6 (NIV)
4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.” 6 “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.

they had a son that they named Ishmael. God said, “Abraham, Sarah, that is not the promised child.” this caused all kinds of strife and division:

Genesis 21:8-14 (NIV)
8 The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.” 11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son… 14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.

Abraham is the father of our faith, but you would be hard-pressed to find a more dysfunctional family than them. he was in a messy place; had a baby out of wedlock, strife, trouble, division in his house. God looked at them and said, “under construction.”

the messy places are all a part of the process. it may be uncomfortable, you don’t understand it, you may have brought the trouble on yourself, but it’s not a surprise to God; when He designed your plan, He took that into account.

despite their wrong choices, dysfunction, at 90 years of age, God caused Sarah to conceive and give birth to Isaac, the promised child. if Abraham and Sarah saw their promise come to pass after all that mess, what makes you think God is not going to bring to pass what He’s promised you? God is going to finish what He started.
here’s how amazing God is:

Romans 4:18-20 (NIV)
18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God

having a baby out of wedlock? to me, that’s wavering, being impatient, trying to make things happen in your own strength. having to kick somebody out of your house, that seems like wavering. but God does not see the construction process as wavering; the mistakes Abraham made, the strife, dysfunction, God didn’t hold that against him. in fact, God called Abraham a hero of faith.

why don’t you quit beating yourself up because you’re under construction? when God brings you to completion, delivers you from the addiction, turns your family around, He’s not going to remember your weaknesses, bring up past mistakes and failures. God knows, when we’re under construction, we all have messy places, make mistakes, have things to overcome, but that is not going to keep you from becoming a masterpiece; it’s only temporary.

one of the worst mistakes we could make is to go through life against ourselves, focused on our failures, the times we blew it, failed. you have enough people and circumstances already against you; don’t be against yourself. you have to be at peace with being under construction.

you’re going to have some messy places, things you don’t understand, weaknesses that you haven’t overcome. the accuser will work overtime reminding you of everything you’ve done wrong, how you’re not going to reach your destiny. instead of believing those lies, going around guilty, no passion, turn it around; “Father, thank You that You’re still working on me. I know this mess is a sign that I’m under construction. just like with Abraham, despite my shortcomings, failures, You’re still going to get me to where I’m supposed to be.” when you live like that, God will say, “you did not waver in your faith.”

we see this with Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples; he was hot-tempered, used bad language, one time he got angry and cut off a soldier’s ear. one moment he was defending Jesus, a man of great courage; another moment, he was denying Jesus, swearing that he didn’t know him. people could have looked at him, “Peter, you’re a mess, you have issues”; God looked at him and said, “under construction.” the difference between how people saw him and how God saw him is, God had the plans, could see what he was going to become. people just saw his flaws, hot temper, instability; this is why it’s so important that we don’t judge people, write anybody off; we can’t see their plans, don’t know what God has designed for them.

we see people that make mistakes, have weaknesses, we think, “they’re never going to get it together”; we don’t realize, they’re under construction, God’s still working on them. I have enough weaknesses of my own to deal with; I don’t have time to judge somebody else for their weaknesses.

I love the fact that Jesus chose Peter even though he knew he was hot-tempered, impatient, used bad language. he didn’t choose him because he was perfect, he chose him because he had the blueprint; he knew he wasn’t a finished product. Peter ended up becoming one of the most influential, respected leaders.

where you are now is not necessarily important; it’s where you’re going. that mess did not disqualify you, it means you’re under construction. when you see other people that look like they have it all together, don’t feel bad about yourself; everyone is under construction in some area, we all have some messy places.

let God make and mold you; stay pliable. we should be better this year than we were last year. don’t let the mess become permanent. the addiction, hot temper, negative attitude, that is not who you are. keep growing, resisting the temptation, saying no to carnal desire; every time you do the right thing, the next time it gets a little bit easier.

there’s nothing wrong with being under construction, but there is something wrong with not making any progress. do your part, be willing to change; God will do His part, help you to come up higher.

there are times that we know we’re supposed to be going up, we have big dreams, God’s put promises in our hearts, but it feels the opposite, like we’re going down, not growing, not seeing good breaks. what we may not realize is, God is working on our foundation, character, how we treat people, respond to adversity. we don’t like these times, but they are extremely important; like the building, the higher you’re going to go, the deeper your foundation has to be.

don’t get discouraged when things are not happening on your timetable; God knows what He’s doing. keep passing the test. those things that are not changing, but you’re keeping a good attitude, that’s making you stronger. when you’re good to people that are not good to you, your foundation is going down deeper; that’s a sign you’re getting prepared to go higher.

but God will not release what He has for you until He knows you can handle it; it wouldn’t be a blessing if He gave it to you and you weren’t ready. don’t fight the foundation work, get sour because things aren’t moving as fast as you would like. something is happening that you can’t see; your foundation is going down deeper, you’re being prepared to go to new levels.

God as our Builder will allow things that we don’t understand; it looks like a mistake, but God has a reason, He allowed it for a purpose that we can’t see, then He’s going to remove it. “I’m working at this job where I’m not using my gifts; I have so much more in me, this seems like a mistake”; God knows that’s not your final destination, but He wouldn’t have allowed it if He didn’t have a purpose for it.

do you think the God who is so precise, detailed, that He causes the Earth to rotate down to the exact millisecond is going to somehow falter on your plan, let something happen that wasn’t designed, a bad break to keep you from your destiny? if God made a mistake with you, you would be the first one; trust Him while you’re under construction, in the messy places, when you’re sure it’s a mistake.

sometimes, God has to take us backwards before He can take us forward, dig down deep before we can go up high, prune you before you can bloom. if you’ll stay in faith, you’re going to see how it’s all going to work for your good.

God called Moses to deliver the Israelites, that was the plan laid out for his life, but there were a dozen things that looked like a mistake. when Moses was born, the Pharaoh put out a decree that all the Hebrew male babies 2 years of age and under would be killed; it looked like God chose the wrong time for him to be born. why didn’t God wait till the decree was over? God likes to do things that defy the odds, seem impossible; that way, He gets all the credit.

Moses’ mother hid him in a basket, and sent him down the Nile River. there were snakes, alligators, he could have tipped over, drowned, but what God has ordained for your life, planned before the foundation of time, can’t be stopped by decrees, snakes, people, any kind of opposition. it just so happened that Pharaoh’s daughter was at the river taking a bath; she heard the cries coming from the basket. when she saw baby Moses, it was love at first sight; she took him in and raised him in the palace.

as he grew up, Moses knew he was supposed to deliver the Israelites. one day, he saw an Egyptian supervisor mistreating a Hebrew slave; he didn’t think anyone was watching, so he killed the man. someone saw him; he had to flee for his life. Moses spent 40 years in hiding on the backside of the desert; it looked like he missed his destiny. I’m sure he felt like a failure, but when he was 80 years old, God appeared to him through the burning bush, and said, “Moses, now it’s time to deliver the Israelites.”

you can’t find anyone in the scripture that did something significant that didn’t have messy places, times they didn’t understand, it wasn’t fair, they felt disqualified. but like with Moses, when it all came together, it made sense; they went from construction to completion.

you cannot properly judge the construction process without the plans. you may think, “I’m finished, I made too many mistakes, I missed my destiny,” but you don’t have the plans. God said in Jeremiah, “the plans I have for you are for good and not harm, to give you a future and a hope.” what God has planned for you does not end in defeat, failure, mediocrity, addictions, dysfunction; your story ends in victory. Paul said in Corinthians, “thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph.”

I’ve heard it said, “God always ends in all is well; if all is not well, then it’s not the end.” if there are things holding you back, out of place, messy, that means you’re under construction. don’t get discouraged; God is still working. every person has to go through the construction process; when you see someone blessed, fulfilling their purpose, they didn’t get there without messy places, things they didn’t understand, people that tried to stop them.

you may be in a messy situation; people have come against you, you’ve made mistakes, had bad breaks. God is saying, “it’s not over; it’s all a part of My plan. you’re under construction.” we’re not going to understand everything that happens; God’s ways are not our ways. here’s the promise God gives us; if you’ll stay in faith, and keep honoring Him, then what He started in your life, He’s going to bring to completion. what He has planned for you will come to pass. you didn’t miss it because you had a rough childhood, somebody walked out, broke your heart, people tried to stop you from your dream; God has the final say.

tune out all those voices telling you that you blew it, you had your chance; God wouldn’t have allowed it if it was going to keep you from your destiny. it’s all a part of the process. will you trust Him when you’re under construction, in the messy places, when it doesn’t make sense?

Job in the scripture went through all kinds of bad breaks: he lost his health, business, family, everything fell apart. for a while, he was negative, complaining, but then he came back to a place of peace. nothing had turned around, it was still messy, but he said in Job 42, “God, I know You can do anything, and no one can stop Your plan.” this was after 42 chapters of defeat, negativity. when he said this, 8 verses later, it said, “God restored Job, and brought him out with twice what he had before.” when he changed his attitude, maybe that was the catalyst for God to turn it around.

I wonder, if we would do like Job, instead of complaining about the mess, being discouraged by what didn’t work out, what if we’d start saying, “Father, I want to thank You that nothing can stop Your plan for my life, what You have ordained for me is on the way”?

I believe you’re about to come into divine connections. you’ve been on the verge of it, honoring God; you’re about to see God flip the switch. suddenly, the door opens, healing comes, the right person shows up. you’re about to go from construction to completion. those things that are hindering you, like with Job, God’s going to bring you out better. despite mistakes you’ve made, like Moses, you’re still going to fulfill your destiny, and become everything God created you to be.

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