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from JO’s sermon tonight:

when we honor God with our lives, do our best to keep Him first place:

Deuteronomy 28:8 (NASB)
8 The Lord will command the blessing upon you

when God commands, it’s going to happen. when He commands you to be blessed, He doesn’t check what family you come from, where you work, who likes you, how good the economy is; none of that matters to God. all the circumstances may be against you, the experts may tell you that you’ll never get well, meet the right person, be successful. every voice says, “you’re stuck, just accept it, there’s no way in the natural,” the good news is, we serve a supernatural God; when He commands the blessing, all the forces of darkness cannot stop Him. with the commanded blessing, you’ll go places that you couldn’t go on your own, doors will open that you couldn’t open, you’ll be promoted even though you weren’t the most qualified. good breaks will find you: contracts, opportunities, business, favor will track you down.

get in agreement with God. quit saying, “I’ll never get ahead, these people at work don’t like me”; it doesn’t matter who doesn’t like you at work, what matters is that the most high God likes you. He isn’t limited by who’s against you, not giving you credit, not treating you right; one touch of His favor will move them out of the way, and get you to where you’re supposed to be. don’t be discouraged by what’s unfair; God sees what’s happening. keep being your best, honoring Him; you’re not working unto people, you’re working unto God. when it’s your time to be promoted, you can rest assured, you will be; people, bad breaks, injustice, can’t stop you.

the commanded blessing on your life will override every force that’s trying to hold you back, cause people to be good to you that have never been before. He’ll even use your enemies to bless you. people don’t have the final say, determine your destiny, God does. people didn’t call you, breathe life into you. you may be in a situation that feels unfair, it seems like somebody’s stopping you; don’t worry, your time is coming. keep doing the right thing when the wrong thing is happening; there’s a commanded blessing on your life. all the circumstances may be against you, but the most high God is for you.

Numbers 22:1-12 (NIV)
1 Then the Israelites traveled to the plains of Moab… 3 and Moab was terrified because there were so many people… 4 … Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, 5 sent messengers to summon [the prophet] Balaam… Balak said… I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.” 7 The elders of Moab and Midian left, taking with them the fee for divination… 8 … Balaam said to them, “and I will report back to you with the answer the Lord gives me.”… 12 But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.”

when God puts the commanded blessing on you, it doesn’t matter what anybody says or does; all that matters is the blessing. they can curse you, but if you don’t allow it to take root, it’s not going to stop you. it may be unfair, seem like it’s getting the best of you, but if you’ll stay in faith, the blessing will always override the curse. they meant it to stop you; God will use it to promote you.

Numbers 22:14-38 (NIV)
14 So the Moabite officials returned to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.” 15 Then Balak sent other officials, more numerous and more distinguished than the first. 16 They came to Balaam and said: “This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Do not let anything keep you from coming to me, 17 because I will reward you handsomely and do whatever you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.” 18 But Balaam answered them, “Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the Lord my God. 19 Now spend the night here so that I can find out what else the Lord will tell me.” 20 That night God came to Balaam and said, “Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.” … 37 Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not send you an urgent summons? Why didn’t you come to me? … 38 “Well, I have come to you now,” Balaam replied. “But I can’t say whatever I please. I must speak only what God puts in my mouth.”

Numbers 24:2-8 (NIV)
2 When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came on him 3 and he spoke his message:…
8 “God brought them out of Egypt;
they have the strength of a wild ox.
They devour hostile nations
and break their bones in pieces;
with their arrows they pierce them.

Numbers 24:10-13 (NIV)
10 Then Balak’s anger burned against Balaam. He struck his hands together and said to him, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them these three times… 12 Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell the messengers you sent me, 13 ‘Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything of my own accord, good or bad, to go beyond the command of the Lord—and I must say only what the Lord says’?

when you go through disappointments, unfair things happen, it’s easy to feel like that’s clouded your future. have a new perspective; what God has blessed, nothing can curse. when you understand that you have this commanded blessing, you won’t be upset because someone’s talking about you, worried about your finances, discouraged because of a setback; you know that every force that’s trying to stop you is powerless to change the blessing that God put on your life.

when the enemy tells you all the reasons why you’re not going to get well, get out of debt, overcome the challenge, instead of agreeing with him, start speaking victory, health, favor, abundance. the enemy wants you to curse your future with negative words, thoughts. he knows that he can’t stop you, but if he can convince you to go around discouraged, thinking that you’ve reached your limits, that will keep you from your destiny. you have to turn it around; “I’m going to bless my future.” “you’ll never get out of debt, you’ll always struggle”; “I will lend and not borrow; whatever I touch will prosper and succeed.” “you’re never going to get well”; “God is restoring health back unto me; the number of my days He will fulfill.” “the more you pray, the worse your child gets; “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord; the seed of the righteous will be mighty in the land.”

you might have a lot coming against you, every voice says, “it’s not going to work out”; speak the blessing and not the curse. sometimes, it’s other people trying to discourage us; they’ll tell you what you’re not going to be, you’re not going to get well, your dreams are not going to come to pass. they can speak defeat all day long, but they’re powerless to change the blessing on your life; they didn’t give you the blessing, and they can’t take it away. it was put on you by the God Who spoke worlds into existence; He commanded the blessing.

there’s a freedom when you understand this; if somebody’s talking about you, you had a bad break, you know that the commanded blessing will make up for what you didn’t get, cause people to go out of their way to be good to you, put you at the right place at the right time, get you to where you’re supposed to be. people may have tried to push you down, but God is about to lift you up. God is going to command justice, vindication, deliverance from people that are not treating you right. He’s going to command increase, promotion, freedom, breakthroughs, wholeness, healing, restoration, strength, doors to open that take you to the next level. that addiction, those bad habits, are not your destiny, that sickness is coming to an end. it may not have happened yet, but this is a new day; you’re going to see the commanded blessing show out in your life. God is going to make things happen that amaze you, that you didn’t see coming.

Deuteronomy 28:2 (VOICE)
2 All of the following blessings will be yours—in fact, they’ll chase after you—if you’ll listen to what He tells you.

Deuteronomy 28:2 (NKJV)
2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God

you don’t have to go after the blessing; go after God. honor Him with your life, and the blessing will follow.

Luke 5:1-5 (NIV)
1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret… 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.

Peter was a professional fisherman; he knew that morning wasn’t the best time to fish. he didn’t feel like going back out, he thought it would be a waste of his time, but instead of talking himself out of it, he said:

Luke 5:5-7 (NIV)
5 But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

that’s what happens when you walk in obedience; there is a commanded blessing on your life. God will make things happen that you couldn’t make happen. He knows how to bring things to you. the conditions may not be favorable, you don’t know the right people, you’ve had the addiction a long time, no one in your family has really been successful, it looks like that’s the way it’s always going to be; no, God is about to do a new thing. you tried and it didn’t work out last time, but because of your obedience, God is speaking to the fish right now.

God is about to do something big, unusual, to where people take notice, and wonder about you; how could you get that promotion, beat that cancer, marry that beautiful person? that’s God causing the fish to find you. God is not limited by what you don’t have, who you don’t know, the economy, all He has to do is speak, and the fish will not only show up, they’ll come to your boat. you don’t have to make this happen, just keep God first place, and this commanded blessing, like a magnet, will draw in good breaks, healing, favor, the right people.

we see the commanded blessing with Ruth. she had just moved back to her mother-in-law’s hometown after she lost her husband; they were both widows, very poor, barely able to survive on what Ruth could glean in the fields. but one day, God caused the owner of the fields to notice her:

Ruth 2:5-6 (NKJV)
5 Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” 6 So the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered and said, “It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab.

Boaz could’ve said, “tell her to get off of my property,” but God caused Ruth to find favor with him:

Ruth 2:8-16 (NKJV)
8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here… 14 Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, “Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.”… 15 And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.”

it had looked like she was stuck, no future, all the odds were against her, but she came to a point where it was one blessing after another; they ended up falling in love and getting married, so instead of working in the field, she owned the field.

when you have this commanded blessing on your life, God will cause you to find favor with the right people. you don’t have to play up to people, try to manipulate them, convince them to like you; God will cause you to stand out. He’ll bring divine connections, people that want to help you, not because of what you can do for them, your training, expertise, looks, talent, but simply because God has caused them to show you favor.

Ruth couldn’t have made this happen; she didn’t know the man, she was a stranger in a foreign land, a poor widow. nothing in her circumstances said that she’d ever be blessed, successful; if you had told her that when she first arrived, she’d have said that’s impossible.

when you look at your circumstances, dreams, challenges, you may think that it could never work out, but God’s going to bring people that will use their influence to help you go to the next level. if you could see were God is going to take you, it would blow your mind; the people He’s going to bring, the doors He’s going to open, the influence He’s going to give you. you’re going to look back and say, “I didn’t see this coming; I didn’t see the healing, freedom, abundance.” it’s going to be more than you could ask or think.

you may not think that you know the right people, have the right connections; don’t worry, God does. but sometimes we live like we were commanded to struggle, to be lonely, addicted; change has to take place on the inside, in our thinking, before it happens on the outside. why don’t you get rid of all the negative, and start believing that you’re commanded to be blessed, healthy, free. if you’ll do this, God is about to command increase, abundance, healing, freedom.

 

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from JO’s sermon tonight:

we all make mistakes, and do things we know that we shouldn’t. it’s easy to go around with a heaviness, feeling bad about ourselves, but living guilty doesn’t do anything productive; it doesn’t help you to do better, it causes you to struggle more. guilt drains you emotionally, physically. when we’re guilty, we don’t pursue dreams, believe to overcome challenges; we get stuck.

this is why the enemy works overtime in this area; he knows that guilt will keep you from your destiny. there is nothing that he would love any more than for you to go through life against yourself; focused on your failures, feeling unworthy. he’s called the accuser of the brethren; he’ll remind you of everything that you’ve done wrong for the last 30 years. before you get out of bed in the morning, he’ll replay mistakes that you’ve made, how you weren’t there for your children, lost your temper, gave into the temptation. but here’s the key; the moment you asked God to forgive you, He not only forgave you, He doesn’t remember your sins anymore:

Hebrews 8:12 (NKJV)
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.

that means, if someone is bringing up negative things from your past, that’s not God; that’s the accuser trying to deceive you into carrying a heavy load of guilt. do yourself a favor; say, “no thanks; I’m not perfect, but I am forgiven.” you can’t drag yesterday’s failures into today and live in victory. let it go; God’s mercies are fresh every morning. don’t spend another minute down on yourself, living in regrets; God has forgiven you, why don’t you forgive yourself? God is not pushing you down; why don’t you stop pushing yourself down?

the scripture talks about how God has made you righteous:

Corinthians 1:30 (CEB)
30 It is because of God that you are in Christ Jesus. He became wisdom from God for us. This means that he made us righteous

righteous means holy, blameless, honorable. it doesn’t say that you’re going to be righteous one day, when you perform better, get your temper under control; you are righteous right now, not because of what you’ve done, but because of what Christ has done. you can’t do anything to make you more righteous, in fact,

Isaiah 64:6 (MEV)
6 … all our righteousness is as filthy rags

meaning, we can never measure up on our own; no matter how hard we try, how disciplined we are, there will be times that we fail. Paul said:

Romans 5:17 (NIV)
17 … those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

if you see yourself as unworthy, not deserving, you don’t measure up, you’re not receiving the gift. the accuser will tell you that you’ve made too many mistakes, failed too many times, you’ll never get it right; God says, “you are My holy, righteous, blameless, honorable, anointed, amazing child.” who are you going to believe? are you going to let the accuser deceive you into carrying the guilt, going around against yourself? no, start receiving the gift.

when those voices remind you of everything you’re not, one of the best things you can say is, “I am righteous, holy, blameless, honorable.” everything in your mind will say, “no you’re not: you have an addiction, you keep giving in to the temptation, you made those mistakes.” but when you declare, “I am righteous,” you are announcing to every force that’s trying to stop you, the accuser, the guilt, the heaviness, “you don’t control my life, determine my destiny. you can’t stop my purpose, the Creator of the universe made me righteous; He made me holy, blameless.” that’s receiving the gift of righteousness.

Proverbs 28:1 (NIV)
28 … the righteous are as bold as a lion.

when it comes to righteousness, you have to be bold. your own thoughts will tell you, “you’re not blameless. God is not pleased with you; look at what you’ve done, at your mistakes.” guilt and condemnation will come knocking. if you’re unsure, doubtful, intimidated, guilt will take over. this is where you have to be bold; “I may not feel worthy, but I know that God has made me worthy. I don’t feel righteous, but Father, by faith I receive Your gift; I thank You that I am righteous.” you used to be a sinner, but when you gave your life to Christ, you became a new creation; now, you’re a son/daughter of the most high God. if you’ll give up your guilt, regret, unworthiness, God will give you His righteousness.

“I should’ve raised my children better, finished school, I lost my temper yesterday”; we carry all these regrets, they weigh us down, and then we wonder why life is a struggle, we’re tired, can’t accomplish a dream. you weren’t created to live guilty, to have that nagging voice always telling you, “there’s something wrong with you, you don’t deserve to be happy”; those are weights that the accuser uses to try to keep you from your destiny. if he can’t get you off-course, he’ll at least try to weigh you down, so you don’t go as far as you should.

Hebrews 12:1 (KJV)
1 … let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us

are you carrying weights of guilt, regret, shame? it’s time to lay aside those weights. the accuser has held you back long enough; nothing that you’ve done in the past is too much for the mercy of God. you are redeemed, restored, holy, blameless; shake off the guilt, the accusing voices, and receive the gift of righteousness.

children know how to receive a gift; they don’t start debating whether or not they deserve it, have they earned it, have they been good enough. like a child, you have to receive the gift of righteousness; don’t start thinking about all that you did, or didn’t do, trying to figure out if you really deserve it, if you’re good enough. you can’t earn it, it’s a gift; just receive it.

sometimes, we think we have to pay God back for our mistakes by living down and discouraged, show Him that we’re sorry, remorseful. yes, there should be a conviction when we do something wrong, I’m not saying to do whatever you want and not feel bad about it; the point is that once you ask for forgiveness, you don’t have to pay God back, the price has already been paid. when you live guilty, you’re saying in effect, “the sacrifice that Christ made wasn’t enough, let me add something to it, do my part by paying some sort of penalty for this wrong that I’ve done.” living guilty and condemned doesn’t bring any honor to God. after all Christ did to pay the price, if you want to honor God, get rid of the guilt, quit listening to the accusing voices and move forward with your life.

Isaiah 43:25 (NIV)
25 “I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.

God is an all-knowing God. He knows everything that’s ever going to happen, past, present, and future, yet when we ask Him to forgive us, this all-powerful, all-knowing God, in a sense steps out of character, and says, “I’m going to delete that event, I’m not going to keep any record of it.” (His love and mercy are even more powerful than His omniscience.) He chooses not to remember. if God forgets it, why don’t you forget it? if God let it go, why don’t you let it go?

some people keep asking God to forgive them for the same thing over and over for years; they don’t realize that the first time they asked, God not only forgave them, but He doesn’t remember it anymore. when you bring it up, it’s as if God is saying, “what are you talking about? I don’t remember that mistake, failure, the time you gave into temptation.” quit remembering what God has forgotten, telling Him how bad you are, how you messed up, lost your temper. He forgave you way back when you asked the first time; all that’s doing is making you feel guilty, condemned, bad about yourself.

instead of asking for forgiveness for the same thing, start receiving God’s mercy; mercy covers our mistakes, gives you what you didn’t deserve. you were guilty, it was your fault, you deserve judgment, but mercy says, “you’re forgiven, redeemed, restored.” when you’re tempted to ask forgiveness for the same thing, turn it around; “Father, thank You for Your mercy in my life.”

this is what Jonah had to do; he’d just made the biggest mistake of his life:

Jonah 1:1-3 (NIV)
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.

Jonah ended up almost losing his life:

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.

you would think that God would say, “Jonah, you need to sit on the sidelines and think about your mistake. you need to pay some kind of penalty for that wrong; maybe one day I’ll use you again, give you another chance.” no, as soon as Jonah was on dry ground, safe:

Jonah 3:1-2 (NIV)
3 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

God didn’t say a single word to Jonah about what he had done wrong. He was saying, in effect, “Jonah, you repented, asked for forgiveness, now get back in the game. you don’t have to sit around defeated for a week, month, year; I’ve forgiven you, now do what I asked you to do.”

a lot of times, we categorize our mistakes; if it’s something small, we think we have to pay God back by living down and discouraged for a day or 2, if it’s something medium, maybe a week or two, but if it’s something big, like with Jonah, we really messed up, brought the trouble on ourselves, we think we have to give up our joy, peace, dreams, for at least a year or 2, after all it was our fault. but like with Jonah, God doesn’t say, “go sit on the sidelines, you blew it, caused Me a lot of trouble, I’m not going to have anything to do with you for years”; that’s not the way God is. the accuser will work overtime, telling you, “God’s not going to bless you, you can’t expect His favor, to accomplish dreams, you owe God a whole lot for that mistake.” no, the price has been paid; don’t believe those lies.

God can’t use you in the way He wants to when you live guilty, feeling condemned, down on yourself; we’re not a good witness, we don’t pursue dreams, take steps of faith. God needs you confident, secure, feeling good about yourself; He has an assignment for you.

can you imagine when Jonah stood up in front of the entire city of Nineveh, and told them to repent? every voice in his ear whispered, “Jonah, you’re a hypocrite, you just repented yesterday, you’re no better than these people, you have no right to be up here.” Jonah had to do what we all must do; he ignored the accusing voices, shook off the guilt, and received the gift of righteousness.

God was going to destroy the city of Nineveh, but because Jonah asked them to repent, instead of sitting on the sidelines trying to pay God back for his mistake, the whole city repented, and:

Jonah 3:10 (NIV)
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

are you letting a mistake you made, some way that you failed, convince you that God won’t have anything to do with you right now? maybe one day He’ll use you, help you accomplish a dream. no, God is saying to you what He said to Jonah, “get back in the game; I have something for you to do right now. that mistake didn’t stop your destiny; you don’t have to sit on the sidelines, so start moving forward.”

God corrects us, gets us on the right course, and says to move forward. now here’s where you have to be bold, because those thoughts will tell you, “you knew the right thing, and you did the wrong thing; God’s not going to bless you.” just say, “no thanks, I’ve asked for forgiveness, received God’s mercy. I’m not going to live condemned, down on myself, I’m going to keep moving forward. I know that I have a destiny to fulfill.”

in the scripture, Samson made a lot of mistakes. an angel told his mother:

Judges 13:3-5 (NIV)
3 The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said… 5 You will become pregnant and have a son… He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”

Samson started off good; he had supernatural strength, couldn’t be defeated by his enemies, but he let his guard down, started compromising, one thing led to another, and this powerful, influential man ended up being captured by his enemies:

Judges 16:21 (NIV)
21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison.

you would think that after all of Samson’s poor choices, God would be done with him; after all, Samson knew better, it was his fault. but God never gives up on us; don’t believe those lies that you’ve gone too far off course, made too many mistakes.

Judges 16:23-30 (NIV)
23 Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled… to celebrate… 25 … they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them… 26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. 28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just one more time, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood… he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

you may have made mistakes, and the accuser is telling you that you’re all washed up; no, like with Samson, God has a one more time for you. you have not seen your greatest victories; you wouldn’t be alive unless God has something amazing in front of you. will you get back in the game, get your fire, passion, dreams back? life is too short to go through it against yourself. you may have made mistakes, we all have; God is saying, “you’re forgiven.” since He forgives you, why don’t you forgive yourself? as long as you’re beating yourself up, reliving failures, dwelling on disappointments, that’s going to keep you from your one more time. shake that off, this is a new day; it’s time to say goodbye to guilt, condemnation, heaviness.

Romans 8 (KJV)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

when you make a mistake, if you’re in the flesh, you beat yourself up, feel unworthy, try to pay God back by living down and discouraged; when you do that, you’ll feel guilty, condemned. but when you walk in the spirit, you say, “yes, I made a mistake, it was my fault, but I asked God for forgiveness, and I know that He not only forgave me, but He doesn’t remember it, so I’m not going to sit around beating myself up, I’m saying goodbye to guilt, condemnation, the accusing voices. I’m getting ready for my one more time.” that’s when there’s no condemnation, when you don’t wallow around in defeat, believe the accuser’s lies. you may have made mistakes, gotten off course, but that is not how your story ends; If you’ll shake off the guilt, God has a one more time coming your way, something bigger, more rewarding, than you’ve ever imagined.

just because you feel guilty doesn’t mean that you are guilty. you can’t go by your feelings; feelings don’t always tell us the truth. I may not feel forgiven, holy, but I know that I am forgiven, holy. I don’t perform perfectly all the time, but I know that I am righteous, blameless, honorable, because I have received the gift of righteousness.”

James 4:7 (NIV)
7 Resist the devil

to resist means to not agree with what he’s telling you. when you hear him whisper, “you’re all washed up, you failed too many times, made too many mistakes,” the way you resist him is by saying, “no thanks, I know that my best days are still in front of me, God’s mercy is bigger than any mistake.” don’t assist him; resist him. he’ll tell you, “you don’t deserve to be blessed; look what you’ve done.” instead of assisting him, “yes, you’re right, what was I thinking?” resist him; “I am the righteousness of God, forgiven, redeemed.”

“you failed, you blew it, you should’ve done better”; he always talks to you about your past. talk to him about your future; “God’s plans for me are for good, the path of the righteous keeps getting brighter and brighter. I know one more time is coming my way; until then, I’m going to live guilt-free.” are you carrying something that’s weighing you down today, assisting the accuser by believing his lies? it’s time to start resisting him; believe what God says about you. we’ve all made mistakes, but remember, you don’t have to pay God back; the price has already been paid. I’m asking you to receive His forgiveness, mercy; you have enough against you in life as it is, don’t be against yourself. if you’ll do this, weights of condemnation are lifting off of you right now: you’re going to live guilt-free, confident, secure, holy, blameless, honorable, righteous.

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(No new sermon this week.)

More proof, should any be necessary, that God wants you to pray about EVERYTHING that you want: There was a small, inexpensive item that I wanted that was only available on one website, but their shipping cost was ridiculous, and made the purchase not worthwhile. I prayed for a free shipping offer, although this site rarely offers free shipping, and a couple of days later, I checked, and there it was; I got my item with no shipping charge… and it turned out that this free shipping offer was just for that ONE day.

During that same couple of days, I had found some stuff I wanted on another website, likewise with ridiculous shipping, and I prayed the same prayer. Because I had items in my cart, the website bombarded me with various different offers for REDUCED shipping, but that was not what I had prayed for, so I ignored them… And then, just 2 days after the previous one, a free shipping offer arrived in my inbox for the second website, good for just a couple of days, and I made another purchase without a shipping charge.

NOTHING is too big or too small for God to care about, or answer prayers about. Ask Him for everything you want, big or small, with total faith that He can give it to you, and WANTS to give it to you… you’ll be amazed at how many blessings He’ll give you.

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from JO’s sermon tonight:

we all have things come against us that look like they’re permanent; “you’ll always be addicted, you’ll never get well, you’re not going to meet the right person.” that’s not the final say; there is a higher court that has more authority. our God is called “the most high God”; He’s the Supreme Court all by Himself. He can overrule any decision. God says: “health will be restored unto you. My mercy is bigger than any mistake. you will lend and not borrow. freedom from addiction and wholeness is coming.” don’t let what the lower court decided become permanent in your thinking, discourage you to where you quit believing; it’s only temporary. the final judge is your heavenly Father.

Psalm 9:3-4 (NET Bible)
3 When my enemies turn back,
they trip and are defeated before you.
4 For you defended my just cause;
from your throne you pronounced a just decision.

Psalm 9:4 (GNT)
4 You are fair and honest in your judgments,
and you have judged in my favor.

those enemies that have come against you, sickness, addiction, fear, struggle, lack, God is about to judge in your favor. you’re about to get a new verdict; a breakthrough in your health, doors are going to open that are bigger than you’ve imagined, God’s going to bring divine connections, the right people across your path. you may not be in a good place right now, but where you are is not who you are; where you’ve come from doesn’t have to limit where you’re going to. you’re going to set a new standard, break out of the mold; you can be the first one in your family to get a degree, own your own business, break the addiction, raise your children in church.

you may be facing challenges that look permanent, dreams that seem impossible, you don’t see a way; don’t worry, God has a way. He controls the whole universe.

Psalm 18:16-17 (NLT)
16 He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hated me and were too strong for me.

you may not be able to beat the cancer on your own, but you’re not on your own; the most high God is ruling in your favor. He’s going to rescue you from deep waters, deliver you from powerful enemies. God is saying, “I’m about to turn things in your favor,” instead of dwelling on how big your enemies are, dwell on how big your God is. all through the day, “Lord, thank You that You are judging in my favor.”

Exodus 23:26 (NRSV)
26 … I will fulfill the number of your days.

the enemy is not in control of your life; he can’t stop your purpose. an accident, a bad break, a sickness; God has the final say. remember, when Satan wanted to test Job, he had to ask God for permission; he couldn’t just go there and do whatever he wanted. that’s why we don’t have to live worried, upset, afraid; we are in a controlled environment. God has you in the palm of His hand; nothing can snatch you away.

Satan and God are not equal; God is the creator of the universe. Satan is a created being, a fallen angel; he wasn’t made in the image of God, you were. but if you see the enemy as being this powerful force, that can stop you, control you, determine your destiny, you are giving him power over you that he doesn’t have. when Jesus came out of the grave, he took away the keys of death and hell.

Matthew 28:18 (NLV)
18 Jesus came and said to them, “All power has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

the enemy has already been defeated; we’re in a fixed fight. we know the final outcome; God says that He always causes you to triumph. He’s going to judge in your favor.

1 John 4:4 (KJV)
4 … greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

you don’t have to be afraid of the enemy; he’s afraid of you. when he looks at you, he sees who you belong to; you remind him that he is powerless, and of his defeat, of that day 2000 years ago when Christ conquered him. you need to get ready, God is about to overrule some things in your life: addictions, depression, injustice, unfair situations. that’s not your destiny; God has a life of victory for you.

this is what He did for the Israelites. they had been in slavery for 430 years, but one day, God had had enough:

Exodus 3:7-8 (NASB)
7 The Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt… 8 So I have come down to deliver them

their captors were bigger, stronger, had more equipment, but God delivered them from powerful enemies. God not only caused the Pharaoh to let them go:

Exodus 12:35-36 (NIV)
35 The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. 36 The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.

they could’ve left empty-handed, that would’ve been a great victory just to be free, but God said, “no, it’s payback time; I’m going to compensate you for what you’ve been through.”

God knows what you’re owed. He knows every person that’s done you wrong, every injustice, bad break. He’s not just going to bring you out, He’s going to pay you back. You’re going to be fully compensated, blessed, prosperous, vindicated, honored; people will know that God has ruled in your favor. you may have situations that put you at a disadvantage; God sees it, knows what you’ve been through, didn’t get, who left you. where you are is not your final destination. your time is coming: vindication, promotion, abundance is coming. keep being your best, honoring God; there is favor in your future that’s going to amaze you.

many of the things that we struggle with have been passed down in our family line; it’s not a coincidence that we’re tempted in certain areas, having to deal with addiction, depression, a hot temper, those are spirits that keep getting passed down from generation to generation. just like we pass down physical traits, we can pass down attitudes, dysfunction, depression. the enemy didn’t start with you, he started way back in your family line.

in the scripture, Isaac’s wife Rebecca was dishonest; she manipulated her children, deceived her husband. her son Jacob was just like her; he was a deceiver who tricked his brother out of his birthright. Jacob’s uncle Laban had the same problem; he promised Rachel to Jacob if he worked for him for 7 years, and then demanded that he work 14 years instead. there was a spirit of deception in their family line; it looked like it would be passed from generation to generation. but one day, God in His mercy said, “enough is enough”; Jacob humbled himself, admitted he was wrong, and that was the turning point:

Genesis 32:9-10 (NIV)
9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant.

Jacob’s son Joseph was just the opposite. he was a man of great integrity; you won’t read one negative thing in the scripture about him. God broke the curse of manipulation and deception.

some of the things that you’re dealing with, things that’ve been passed down, they didn’t start with you, but they’re going to end with you. God is saying, “I’m about to overrule negative baggage, dysfunction, addictions, lack, struggle, in your family line. this is a new day; freedom, wholeness is coming.

you’re the difference-maker; because you’re honoring God, you’re going to see the God Who overrules put a stop to it. the generational curse is being broken; the generational blessing is beginning. you were created to live free, healthy, whole, secure; don’t get comfortable with dysfunction, don’t settle for things that are less than God’s best. put your faith out there; “Father, thank You that You’re overruling every negative thing that’s holding me back.” God not only overrules what comes against us, sometimes He overrules our wrong choices; without His mercy, we wouldn’t fulfill our destiny.

God told Jonah:

Jonah 1:1-3 (NIV)
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.

what’s interesting is, God didn’t stop him from trying to go the wrong way; He respects our free will. but He eventually stepped in:

Jonah 1:15-17 (NIV)
15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard… 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.

God didn’t stop all of Jonah’s mistakes, but He did stop him from missing his destiny.

how many of us would not be here if God had not overruled our wrong choices? you could have married the wrong person, died from an addiction, lost your temper and told off your boss, but God overruled you. you may be headed down the wrong path today, making decisions that you know are not the best; don’t be surprised if you encounter the God Who overrules. He loves you too much to let you miss your purpose.

the scripture talks about the mercies of God; not singular, plural, mercies. again and again, God shows us mercy. friends that you had growing up, that you used to party with, some of them may not still be here, they didn’t make it; that could’ve been you, but the God Who overrules stepped in, and here you are, free, clean, healthy. you could’ve had a nervous breakdown, buckled under all the pressure, but when you thought that you couldn’t take it anymore, the God Who overrules put a stop to it, now you’re stronger than ever. some of the people that you grew up with, if they could see you now, in church, honoring God, clean, free, blessed, kind, generous, they’d be shocked; it’s all because of the God Who overrules.

Jesus said to Peter:

Luke 22:31-32 (NIV)
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail

Jesus was saying, “Peter, the enemy is coming against you to try to distract you, discourage you, get you off course, but don’t worry, I’m praying for you, I’m going to strengthen you, I’m not going to let you be defeated.”

when life gets tough, things come against you, you’re not on your own; you have an advantage:

Romans 8:34 (NIRV)
34 … Christ Jesus is at the right hand of God and is also praying for us

it’s one thing to have people pray for you, but when you have the risen Savior praying, you cannot be defeated. If God can overrule death, the grave, forces of darkness, don’t you think He can overrule what’s holding you back? those obstacles may look permanent, but in your spirit, you need to hear God saying, “overruled.” that dysfunction may have been in your family line for generations; this is a new day. God is about to put a stop to it. He is delivering you from powerful enemies, judging in your favor; what stopped you in the past will stop you no more. you are coming into freedom, wholeness, abundance, victory, the fullness of your destiny.

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from JO’s sermon tonight:

when you know that somebody loves you, it puts you at ease; you don’t have to try to perform, impress, be good enough. you can relax, be yourself, you’re comfortable, secure. but a lot of people have an “I think He loves me” mentality when it comes to God; “I did good, I think He loves me, I earned His love.” the problem with this approach is, when we make mistakes, get off course, don’t perform perfectly, we think that God stops loving us. but God is not like people. people can love you conditionally; “if you perform perfectly, I’ll love you, but if you disappoint me, I’ll go find somebody else.” but God doesn’t change His mind when we make mistakes; if you run away from God, God will come running towards you. quit trying to earn this love. there’s nothing you can do to make God love you any more or any less; it’s a gift, just receive it by faith. sometimes, we’re trying to become good enough, and then we’ll believe that God really loves us; take the pressure off, God loves you right now, and forever.

Romans 8:39 (NLT)
39 … nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God

Psalm 139:8 (NIV)
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

nothing that you’ve done can change God’s love.

Ephesians 2:4 (DLNT)
4 … His great love with which He loved us

not a little love or a conditional love.

Luke 12:7 (NIV)
7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered

do you really think there’s anything you can do to cause Him to stop loving you? how do you suppose God feels when we go around thinking, “I think He loves me”? get rid of the I-think mentality, and start having an I-know mentality. it’s very freeing when you can say, “I know God loves me.” voices will whisper, “not you, you’ve made mistakes, you’re not religious enough”; God doesn’t love you because you’re religious, or good enough, He loves you because you’re His child. when you receive this love, when you go from I-think to I-know, you’ll live with a confidence; quit trying to earn it, be good enough, you’ll live secure knowing that your heavenly Father loves you.

in the Bible, the book of John was written by the disciple John. what’s interesting is that he never referred to himself as John; he said “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

John 13:23 (NIV)
23 … the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.

he could’ve just said, “John was reclining next to Jesus.” Matthew, Mark and Luke referred to themselves in their own gospels by their own names; if they had read John’s account, they would’ve thought, “who does he think he is, describing himself as the one Jesus loved? Jesus loved us all.” but John had an incredible confidence in how much God loved him.

when Lazarus was very sick:

John 11:1-3 (NIV)
11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha… 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

they didn’t tell Jesus how much Lazarus loved him, or beg Jesus for help; they thought it would be more effective to remind Jesus how much he loved Lazarus. sometimes, we’re trying to convince God that we love Him; why don’t you do like Mary and Martha, and say, “Lord, the one You love needs healing, help”? what moves God is not just your love for Him, but recognizing His love for you. it pleases God when you know that you are dearly loved; that’s why the scripture says:

Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)
16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

it doesn’t give God any pleasure for us to go around insecure, unworthy, beating ourselves up for past mistakes; shake that off, and go boldly to the throne. it makes God smile when we know that He is longing to be good to us. He has the amazing ability to treat us all like we’re His favorite. love isn’t just what He does, it’s who He is. when you start seeing yourself as His favorite, you’ll go to Him with confidence, pray bold prayers, ask Him for your dreams, expect new doors to open, not because of who you are, but because of Who your Father is.

He may not be pleased with all of your behavior, but that doesn’t change His love for you. when you go around guilty, beating yourself up, that doesn’t help you to do better; it pushes you down, causes you to struggle more. but when you receive God’s love, and know that despite your shortcomings He’s still proud of you, says you’re amazing, calls you a masterpiece, that’s what lifts your spirit, gives you the strength to do better, and break those chains that are holding you back.

Luke 19 has the story of Zacchaeus. he was a tax collector; in those days, they were known for being dishonest, cheating people, and were very disliked. Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector; he was especially despised.

Luke 19:1-4 (NIV)
1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

at that point, Zacchaeus realized that he was loved; out of all of the people there, probably including many people of importance, Jesus chose him to spend time with, making the point that you don’t have to have it all together for God to love you.

Luke 19:7 (NIV)
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

we don’t see people the way God sees them; we look at their behavior, how perfectly they perform, but God looks beyond all that. the people saw a notorious sinner; God saw the one that He loved. if you clean up how you live your life, God will be more pleased with your behavior, your life will go better, but it doesn’t affect His love for you. will you receive this love, or will you let condemning voices convince you that you’re all washed up? you have to say by faith, “Lord, I believe that I’m the one You love; despite my failures and mistakes, You still have a great plan for my life.”

1 John 4:10 (NIV)
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

if we try to perform to obtain this love, there will always be something that we can’t do right, to keep us from feeling good about ourselves; take the pressure off, and receive God’s love for you.

that’s with this lady had to do:

John 8:3-11 (NLT)
3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery… 4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”… he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”… 9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

he didn’t say, “go, and sin no more, and then I won’t condemn you,” “change your ways, get your act together, quit giving into the temptation, then I’ll love you, be for you”; it’s just the opposite, he said “I don’t condemn you” first. before he talked about her behavior, addressed her issues, Jesus wanted to make sure that she knew that she was the one he loved.

but sometimes religion tells us, “clean yourself up, do right, perform correctly, then God will love and help you; if you don’t, He won’t have anything to do with you.” that’s not real love, that’s conditional love. your heavenly Father’s face is turned toward you. if you’ll receive this love, you’re going to live confident, secure, overcoming obstacles, rising higher, and becoming everything that He’s created you to be.

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from JO’s sermon tonight:

too often, we base our value on how someone is treating us, how successful we are, or how perfect of a life we’ve lived; the problem is, all of those things can change. if you’re getting your value out of how people treat you, if they hurt or disappoint you you’re going to feel devalued. if you’re basing your value on your achievements, how much you make, what kind of car you drive, the title behind your name, then if something happens and you no longer have that position, your business goes down, then your value will go down. some people don’t feel good about themselves because they’ve made mistakes in life, they’re not where they thought they would be; now they’re living insecure, feeling inferior; they’re basing their value on their performance.

your value should be based solely on the fact that you are a child of the most high God; the Creator of the universe breathed His life into you. how someone treats you doesn’t change your value; what they say or do doesn’t lessen who you are. the mistakes you’ve made don’t decrease your value; that’s what you did, not who you are. you can buy a bigger house, drive a better car, but that doesn’t make you any more valuable; that increases your net worth, not your self-worth. you were already valuable when you had a small apartment and no title behind your name; that new position may give you more influence, but not more value. you can be a stay at home mom raising your children; you may not have the influence of a CEO, but you have the same value.

value is not based on what you do, what you make, who you know; that’s superficial, those things can change. your value comes from your Creator. God breathed His life into you; you have the DNA of Almighty God, royalty in your blood.

but the enemy works overtime trying to devalue us; he’d love for you to go through life letting what people say make you feel inferior, comparing your life to someone else’s, thinking that you’ll feel good about yourself when you catch up to them, live in that neighborhood, perform perfectly, break the addiction. nothing you do, achieve, overcome, will make you any more valuable; you are valuable right now. God calls you a masterpiece. you are one of a kind; you didn’t come off of an assembly line, mass-produced, God made you unique. put your shoulders back, start carrying yourself with confidence; you have been fearfully and wonderfully made.

Luke 4:1-3 (NIV)
4 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted[a] by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

he was trying to make his value be based on his performance, his ability to perform a miracle.

Luke 4:4 (NIV)
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’

he was saying, in effect, “I don’t have to do anything to prove who I am, or perform to feel good about myself; I know who I am.” the enemy couldn’t deceive him into basing his value on performance, so he tried to get him to base his value on possessions:

Luke 4:5-8 (NIV)
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

he was saying, “I don’t need possessions to prove my worth and value. I don’t have to have what you think is important to feel good about who I am”

the enemy tried one final thing, popularity:

Luke 4:9-11 (NIV)
9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

he was trying to get Jesus to show off; everybody would see and be amazed, he’d gain instant popularity, but Jesus didn’t need popularity to know who he was, the son of the living God.

the enemy tried to deceive Jesus into proving who he was. a lot of people live in a proving mode; they can’t feel good about themselves unless they prove to people that they’re important, talented. it’s a constant struggle to out-do, out-perform, out-dress; it’s very freeing when you realize that you don’t have to prove anything, impress people. take the pressure off. it takes a lot of energy to compete, prove, impress. if you live in a proving mode, it’s like you’re on a treadmill; as soon as you prove to one person that you’re OK, you’ll see somebody else that you need to impress, it’s a never-ending cycle. get off the treadmill; you don’t have to prove anything.

these days, there’s so much emphasis on name brands; sometimes, we have so many other names on us, we don’t know our own name. we’re counting on all the name brands, outside labels, to make us feel important. there’s nothing wrong with owning them, but don’t let them be the reason that you feel good about who you are. the latest thing will soon be outdated; if you live possession-based, you have to keep running from thing to thing, and it will wear you out.

relax; you can’t get any more valuable. you can buy more clothes, get more friends, but that doesn’t change your value. are you trying to prove your worth, value, by who you know, what you wear? or, can you say like Jesus, “I don’t have to have popularity, possessions, or performance to feel good about myself; I am secure in who I am, who God made me to be”?

when Jesus was riding into town on Palm Sunday:

Matthew 21:7-9 (NIV)
7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

he received a hero’s welcome, but a few days later, those same people…:

Matthew 27:22 (NIV)
22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!”

when Jesus went to trial, and needed his closest friends to support him, his disciples, the ones that he had poured his life into, weren’t anywhere around.

if you base your value on people’s support, how much they approve and encourage you, if they stop doing that, you’ll feel devalued. if they tell you that you’re great, you’ll feel great, but if they change their mind, you won’t feel great anymore. people will say that you’re beautiful one day, and not care for you the next. if you don’t know who you are without them, if they leave, you’ll be lost; your identity was caught up in who they made you to be, and you’ll try to find somebody else to tell you who you are.

let your heavenly Father tell you who you are; get your value, self-worth, approval, from Him. He says that you’re a masterpiece, one of a kind, a prized possession. it doesn’t matter if somebody criticizes you; they don’t determine your value, and they can’t change it, so what they say doesn’t make you any less a masterpiece. you don’t need their approval, encouragement, or validation; don’t give away your power, and put your value and identity into somebody else’s hands. even good people can’t give you everything you need; somebody that loves you very much cannot keep you approved, validated, feeling secure. sometimes, we’re putting pressure on people to keep us fixed; let them off the hook, they’re not your savior.

people have issues, they don’t know any better; messed-up people can mess you up. if you’re basing your value on what they give you, you could end up dysfunctional. don’t let messed-up people ruin the rest of your life; if somebody hurt you, there’s a tendency to internalize it, and think that there’s something wrong with you; no, they’re treating you out of their hurts. hurting people end up hurting other people; that’s the enemy trying to steal your sense of value. if somebody did you wrong, instead of internalizing it, think that maybe they felt so unlovable that they tried to project it on you. if your parents didn’t approve you, don’t let that keep you from your destiny. base your value on what God said about you; that’s going to lift you up.

Isaiah 49:16 (NLT)
16 See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.

He’s always thinking about you.

don’t spend your life trying to get something that people cannot give; let it go, or you’ll be frustrated.

David didn’t have his father’s approval; when the prophet Samuel came to anoint one of Jesse’s son’s, Jesse didn’t even bring David in from the fields. sometimes, the people closest to you can’t see the greatness in you, they discount and dismiss you; don’t take it personally, just keep being your best and getting your approval from your heavenly Father.

Jesus’ brothers, the people that should’ve supported him the most:

John 7:5 (NIV)
5 his own brothers did not believe in him.

people may leave you out, but God doesn’t. if David had to have his family’s approval, he would never have taken the throne. quit trying to make people be for you who are never going to be for you. if you needed their approval, you would get it; if you’re not getting it, that means that you don’t need it to become who you were meant to be. sometimes, it’s God teaching us to go to Him and not to people; David’s brothers made fun of him, his father discounted him, he was stuck out in the fields, but instead of complaining or feeling inferior, he turned to God. He’s the one that wrote:

Psalm 27:10 (AMPC)
10 Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].

we all have people that are not giving us their approval. don’t live frustrated, trying to convince them to affirm you; let it go, keep your head held high, knowing that you’re approved by your Creator. you may feel average, ordinary, but because of your Maker, you are extremely valuable.

Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful

if you’re going to recognize your value, you have to see yourself as wonderful, not because of who you are, because of Who made you. life will try to make you feel like you’re anything but amazing; disappointments, betrayal, rejection, will try to steal your sense of value. people may try to make you feel average; do you want to believe what they say about you, or what God says about you? the scripture says:

1 John 4:4 (NLT)
4 you belong to God

you may feel average, think you look ordinary, nothing special about you, but because of who you belong to, that makes you extremely valuable. don’t let people discount you, or your own thoughts push you down; put your shoulders back, you belong to God. you don’t have to prove anything, try to impress people, just be who you are; be amazing. if you’ll do this, every chain that’s held you back is being broken; you’re going to live free, confident, secure, valuable, and become the masterpiece that God created you to be.

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The Bible talks about how we have guardian angels:

Psalm 91:11 (CJB)
11 He will order his angels to care for you and guard you wherever you go

Hebrews 1:14 (AMP)
14 Are not all the angels ministering spirits sent out [by God] to serve (accompany, protect) those who will inherit salvation? [Of course they are!]

If you’re a regular reader, you know that every so often I see an angel here in my house. Sometimes, there is a clump of sightings; a few days ago, when I decided to make a separate file just for my experiences with angels (and with the others that I prefer not to name), I took a really close look at those clumps for the first time, and using my journals, verified that each clump corresponded to something VERY significant happening in my life… which of course makes perfect sense, when you think about it, because if the major event is bad the angels are there to help, and if the major event is good the angels are there to fight the forces that are trying to destroy what is good.

I just had another clump, ending a few days ago. What was really extraordinary about it… beyond the pure fact of seeing ANGELS, which I never lose sight of as an extraordinary blessing… is that all 4 of the angels were right outside of my house, presumably guarding it, and me; one of them was even at the window where I saw a particularly disturbing demon once. That means that ALL of the angel sightings since I battled the demonic presence have been OUTSIDE, which I believe means that none of the demons can get into the house right now, so they’re hanging around outside trying to exert whatever influence they can from a distance, and the angels have moved outside in order to fight them. Was the battle that I won with the help of the Holy Spirit really that powerful? Did the fact that I anointed all the ways into the house with oil shortly thereafter play any part, maybe in preventing them from getting back in after they recovered from their defeat? For now, there’s no way to anything but speculate.

I don’t know if something major is about to happen in my life in general, but I certainly had a gigantic and spectacular experience: I was walking down the hall to my room, and just as I got to the doorway, I saw, against the wall a little bit over the head of my bed, a very clear shadow figure. What went through my mind was: “bird it’s a dove angel no not in animal form oh my God it’s the Holy Spirit!!”

Luke 3:21-22 (NIV)
21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.

I saw it for maybe two seconds, long enough to see the wings flap downwards, and then it was gone… But the feeling remained.

Why was I given this precious gift of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit? A couple of other ladies in my church had seen a manifestation of a whirlwind a couple of days before, so what I saw may be related to something that is going to happen in my church, or possibly within the prayer ministry, since all of us are members. Or… was it a sign? I have been asking for God to give me a gigantic blessing; the ability, apparently possessed by pastor JO, to NEVER argue. How is it possible for anyone who isn’t alone on a desert island to never argue? How is it possible for someone with a spouse, children, and ministry, and a gigantic ministry-based business, with all the stress and struggles and difficulties and obstacles that that implies, to NEVER argue? I don’t know, but I don’t have to know; God did it for him, and therefore He could also do it for ME. I have claimed that blessing for myself, and asked God to do it again, to do it for me… and I think progress has been made. There was a recent major event that I was part of where there was a catastrophic screwup by someone close to me who had a pivotal part to play… And I never moved the slightest bit out of perfect peace at any time. It was so extraordinary that he, who is legendary for never noticing things, noticed and thanked me; my immediate response was to say that he should thank the Holy Spirit. HAVE I been fully given the ability to never argue again? Time will tell.

Much more important is: the Holy Spirit is REAL. He can be heard, felt, and SEEN. He is not a thing, he is not a senseless force, he is an individual, a “person” if you will, and he is God. He loves us, he looks out for us, he guides us, and he can choose to manifest himself to us if he wishes. If you want to know him better, and if you’re on this blog you probably do, and if you want greater interactions with him, which you probably also do, I’m going to bet that total devotion to God is the place to start. I spend countless hours every week praying, studying the Bible, doing church stuff, and of course on my online “ministry,” working on this blog. I keep a gratitude journal, I taped up Bible verses all over the house so that I have scripture going into my brain all day long, and every moment of my life is focused on God and what He wants me to do. That sounds like a gargantuan amount of work, and it IS, but look at the reward!! Give God your all; He’ll give you amazing things in return.

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