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Archive for July 23rd, 2018

More than enough

From JO’s sermon tonight:

we’re not supposed to go through life constantly struggling, not able to fulfill our dreams or be a blessing to anyone else. lack is not your destiny; you were created to live an abundant life. but if you’ve struggled for a long time, it’s easy to develop a scarcity mentality, thinking, “I’ll never be able to afford a nice house, bless my family”; as long as you think “not enough,” you’ll never have more than enough.

you have to get rid of that scarcity mentality, and start having an abundant mentality. God has ways to increase you that you’ve never thought of; He’s not limited by your job, education, the family you were raised in. if you’ll take the limits off of Him, God will bless you beyond your normal income, beyond what anyone in your family has seen.

you don’t know what God has in store for you, the promotions, opportunities, favor that He’s already ordained to come across your path. Psalm 35 says, “God takes pleasure in prospering you”; it brings a smile to God’s face to make things happen that amaze you. as a parent, when you do something special for your child, out of the ordinary, that they weren’t expecting, you know how that brings you joy. it’s the same way with our heavenly Father; it gives Him pleasure to see you blessed.

you may not see how this can happen, but the scripture says, “God will supply all of our needs according to His riches.” it doesn’t say according to your job, talent, if the boss likes you, if the economy is up, if you have the right friends; it’s not according to what you have, it’s according to what He has. the good news is, God owns it all. if He doesn’t have what you need, He can create it; He speaks, and worlds come into existence.

in the scripture, a young lady named Ruth was barely making it; her husband had died, and she was living with her mother-in-law in a foreign country. she had no income, nobody to help them; all the circumstances said she was stuck, this was her destiny, a life of struggle and lack.

but just because you don’t see a way, doesn’t mean God doesn’t have a way. your circumstances may look permanent, but you can’t see what God is doing behind the scenes; He’s already spoken to the right people to help you, lined up good breaks, promotion that you don’t see coming. it’s going to happen unexpectedly, out of the ordinary. you’re not going to have to go after it, it’s going to come after you; the scripture says, “when you keep God first place, His blessings will chase you down.” one translation says, “they will catch you by surprise.”

God is going to surprise you, open doors bigger than you’ve imagined, bring people that will use their influence to push you further along. it’s going to be uncommon, unusual; you’re going to know it was the hand of God. God’s dream for your life is much bigger than your own. what God has in your future is going to boggle your mind: the places He’s going to take you, the people you’re going to meet, the levels you’re going to reach. Paul said in Corinthians, “no person has seen, heard or imagined what God has in store for those that love the Lord.”

you may think you’ve reached your limits; God is saying, “you better think again; you haven’t seen anything. yet I’m about to bring you into overflow, abundance, more than enough.” whatever level you’re at, get ready; another level is coming. what you haven’t seen or imagined is on the way.

Ruth would go out into the fields every morning and pick up the leftover wheat that the workers had missed; they were living off of leftovers. she and her mother-in-law were barely surviving. I’m sure they weren’t thinking about abundance; nothing in their circumstances said they would ever have more than enough. but Ruth didn’t know what God was up to.

your circumstances may be against you, but the most high God is for you. He’s called Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord our provider; He said, “you will lend and not borrow. you are above and not beneath.” you may not be there yet, but God is not finished; He’s working behind the scenes. things are happening that you cannot see. keep being faithful, doing the right thing, going to work with a good attitude.

“nobody gives me credit at the office; I’ll never be promoted”; you’re not working unto people, you’re working unto God. your job is not your source; God is your source. God is keeping the records; your time is coming.

Ruth was faithful. she’d been through loss, in a foreign country, no income, yet you never read where Ruth complained; she didn’t get bitter, give up on life, she kept doing the right thing, being her best, taking care of her mother-in-law, going out every day, gathering up the food. Ruth passed the test in the small things.

before God can trust you with much, you have to prove to Him that you’ll be faithful with little. don’t discount where you are. if you don’t take care of that old car, why should God bless you with a new one? if you complain about that apartment, why should God bless you with a house? if you’re not faithful at the job where you are now, why should God bless you with your own business? pass the small tests.

one day, while Ruth was out working in the fields, God spoke to Boaz, the owner of those fields, and told him to be good to Ruth. he had his workers leave wheat on the ground on purpose for Ruth; now, when she went out, she had more than enough, gathered it in a fraction of the time. that was God saying, “surprise! here’s a blessing you’re not going to have to work for, it’s going to come to you. you just show up, and it’ll be waiting for you.”

God has some of these blessings in store for you. you’re not going to have to make it happen; you just keep being faithful, doing the right thing, and suddenly there’s more than enough, ownership in a company, the house falls into your hands. you can’t explain it, didn’t see it coming. what happened? God surprised you; one of His blessings chased you down.

what’s interesting is, God spoke to Boaz to be good to Ruth, but Ruth didn’t know about it; God didn’t tell her. all Ruth knew was, suddenly her life became much easier, there was an abundance of wheat on the ground.

you don’t know who God has already spoken to about you; there are people God has already lined up to leave wheat on the ground for you, cause things to happen that you had nothing to do with, but suddenly you’ll go to a new level, come into more than enough. you can’t explain it, take credit for it, there was nothing in your circumstances that said it was going to happen; that was God simply taking pleasure in prospering you, showing you favor, causing you to stand out.

the story could end here, and it would be a happy ending, Ruth and her mother-in-law had plenty, but God likes to exceed our expectations. Boaz fell in love with Ruth; they ended up getting married. now, instead of working in those fields, Ruth owned the fields. she never had to go out and pick up wheat like that again. she came into a new level; abundance, overflow. those workers she used to follow behind, now they all worked for her. she went from the tail to the head, from borrowing to lending, from being in lack to having more than enough.

it may look impossible, the odds may be against you, but stay in faith; you don’t know who God is whispering to right now about you, who’s going to open a door for you for no reason, who’s about to show you favor that you didn’t see coming.

sometimes, religion tries to make us feel like, “I’m not supposed to be blessed, have resources.” but the scripture says that Job was the wealthiest man in the East, very blessed with resources, livestock, a successful business; God said about Job that there was no better man than him. David left an inheritance to his son Solomon to build the temple that some scholars say would be over a billion dollars today; David’s called a man after God’s own heart. Abraham is the father of our faith, the one God chose to start the New Covenant; he too was very wealthy, in cattle, sheep, gold, silver. God has no problem with you having money, as long as money doesn’t have you.

money should not be our goal; fulfilling our destiny should be our goal. money is simply a tool: it can send your children to college, help you accomplish your dreams, build an orphanage. money is not a problem; it’s the love of money that’s the problem. if you make money your goal, and you only focus on yourself, and live to show off what you have, life it’s not going to be very fulfilling.

there are some things that money can’t buy: peace, good relationships, health. money shouldn’t be our focus, but sometimes it takes money to fulfill dreams. don’t let a religious spirit convince you that you’re not supposed to have anything. constantly struggling, being overwhelmed by debt, not able to pay your bills, is not God’s best.

Jesus did not come and give his life so that we could barely get by and live off of leftovers; he came that we might live an abundant life. abundant means plenty: plenty of joy, health, strength, opportunities, creativity, courage. God wants you to be so blessed that you have to choose which opportunities you take. David said, “my cup runs over”; running over means, you have so much, you can’t contain it all. “I would love to take that contract, but I’m so blessed, I’ll have to pass so I can take this better opportunity.”

“all this sounds good. but I don’t see how it can happen for me, it seems far out”; we serve a far-out God, an exceeding, abundantly, above and beyond God. that’s why He has you hearing this; He wants you to get rid of that scarcity mentality, and start having an abundant mentality.

God has an advantage; He can see what’s happening behind the scenes, knows things that you could never know. the scripture says, “God knows where the hidden riches are.” He has inside information. when you honor Him, He will lead you into blessings that you didn’t see coming: favor, promotion, opportunities that surprise you, take you to a level that you didn’t think you could reach.

are you talking yourself out of what God put in your heart, thinking it’s too big, too much, you don’t have the funds, experience? you may not, but God does; He wouldn’t have given you the dream if He didn’t have a way. why don’t you get in agreement with God; He takes pleasure in prospering you, wants to take you further than you’ve imagined.

in the scripture, there was a king of Judah named Ahaz. he had no regard for God: he closed down the temple, sold the sacred treasures, set up idols for the people to worship. five armies came against him; every time, he lost. the nation was decimated, the people were very poor, struggling to survive. he died at the age of 36, and was so disliked, he wasn’t buried with the other kings.

his son Hezekiah took over. he’d been raised in dysfunction, seen his father compromise and take the easy way out, but Hezekiah didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps; he was just the opposite. the first thing he did was to reopen the temple. he tore down the idols, he brought the people back to worshipping God. the whole nation began to flourish; they saw God’s blessings and favor.

the scripture says, “Hezekiah was very wealthy, and held in high esteem. he had to build buildings to hold his gold, silver, treasures, grain, for the Lord had given him great wealth.” notice where the wealth came from.

why was Hezekiah so blessed, yet his father died in disgrace, poor, defeated? his father didn’t honor God. when you put God first place, there is a blessing on your life that causes you to prosper, a favor that causes you to rise higher, accomplish things beyond your own ability.

Proverbs says, “when you fear the lord”; that doesn’t mean be afraid, that means you reverence Him, ask Him for guidance, trust Him with your dreams, do your best to walk in His ways. when you do this, it says you will have honor, wealth, and a long life. when you reverence the Lord, God promises you honor, wealth, and a long life. one way we reverence God is by bringing the tithe, the first 10% of our income, to the house of the Lord; when we do that, it says in Malachi, “God will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing too great to contain.”

this is what happened with Hezekiah; he had to build buildings to hold all the blessings that God gave him. make sure you’re doing your part, and God has promised He will pour out blessings you cannot contain, that will take you into overflow.

we see this in Luke 5. Jesus was teaching on the shore of Galilee; it was so crowded, he asked Peter if he could borrow his boat. they had never met before, but Peter agreed. when Jesus finished teaching, he told Peter to launch out into the deep, and he would catch a great amount of fish. there were no fish there a little earlier, but Peter went back out, and caught so many fish that his net began to break; overflow, abundance. he had to call another boat to help him get the fish back to the shore.

here’s the principal; a few hours earlier, Peter had fished all night and caught nothing, but when he honored Jesus by letting him use his boat, put God first place, now instead of dealing with no fish, being in lack, struggling, his focus had gone from not having enough to how he’s going to get all the fish back to the shore. that’s God’s dream; to pour out blessings you cannot contain. so instead of living worried, wondering if you’re going to make it, if there’s going to be enough, you spend that same energy trying to figure out how you’re going to invest the increase, be a good steward with what God has blessed you with. it all starts by keeping God first place.

the Israelites had been in slavery 400 years; struggle, lack, mistreated, no resources, no money, just the opposite of abundance. but Psalm 105 says, “God brought the Israelites safely out of Egypt, loaded with silver and gold.” they didn’t come out of that injustice empty-handed, they came out loaded.

that’s what God wants for you; not to be loaded with burdens, debt, depression, sickness, but loaded with blessings, resources, joy. when I look at you today, I see loaded people; loaded with favor, good breaks, creativity.

and yes, we all go through seasons of struggle, not seeing increase; you may be there now, but that is not how your story ends. don’t give up in the middle; something is coming. God is a God of justice; He’s not only going to bring you out, He’s going to make up for what you’ve been through.

now do your part; keep God first place. take the limits off of Him, and have this abundant mentality. if you’ll do this, increase is coming in ways bigger than you’ve ever imagined. God is going to open doors you never dreamed would open. because you reverence Him, you’re going to have honor, wealth, and a long, blessed, abundant, favor-filled life.

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