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You might remember my post of October 20, where I described how far behind I’d gotten in my life, including weeks behind with Bible study, which I NEVER allow anything in the universe of to happen normally, concurrent with multiple new things that were sucking up time and energy from the life that did not have a moment to spare. At the time, I was hoping that a couple more weeks would be all I would need to catch up, but as you can see, it ended up being 2 MONTHS!

For the first time in YEARS, I’m both caught up with everything, and without the stress and pressure of undone transcriptions hanging over my head. I still don’t have the luxury of a single day off, or even so much as a single evening, but until after the first of the year, I’m going to give myself a break from the stress… and then, I’ll see what I can do about getting some sermons back up here. I don’t know yet what form that will take, but I’m pretty certain that I will never be able to go back to doing word for word transcriptions every week; that’s just too much time to devote to something that doesn’t provide me with growth or progress in my life as a whole. I might be posting excerpts, or summaries, or alternating weeks… I don’t know yet, and I’m not going to wrestle with it now.

I hope that all of you will have a safe and joyful holiday season! Please keep in mind what I said before Thanksgiving, about gathering in people that have nowhere to go and no one to be with; Christmas is Jesus’ birthday, and the best gift that you can give him is to love and lift up the people he died in agony to save! Let’s finish the year strong, and be willing to have 2019 be the year we give God the most glory, and take the most territory for the kingdom, that we ever have!

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If you’re in the United States, you’re probably gearing up to celebrate Thanksgiving, where we symbolically celebrate having plenty by eating until we burst… Yes, I know that’s not the official explanation, but that doesn’t mean it’s not accurate, right, LOL? Seriously, though, this holiday can be wonderful for those who are fortunate enough to be able to afford to eat a good meal, and to have people to share it with… but for those who are less fortunate, the day can be a miserable one.

God wants you to DO something about it! Yes, you should absolutely pray that everyone who is hungry is fed, and everyone who is lonely is brought amongst loved ones, but prayer is not enough:

James 2:14-17 (NIV)
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

In almost every community, joining the fight against hunger is easy; there are many churches and other organizations that collect food or provide meals for the homeless and hungry, and they will welcome whatever donation you are able to make, whether large or small. If you cook or bake, or can afford to purchase pre-made traditional foods, you can take food directly to the homeless yourself. You can also get a really great feeling by working at a soup kitchen or anywhere else that the impoverished are being fed on Thanksgiving. Give someone ELSE something to be thankful for!

But there’s something else that you can provide that’s equally important; a way for someone to be with others rather than alone on our first major holiday of the season. The family member who is kind of a black sheep. The friend that drifted away from, or maybe was pushed out of, your social group. The coworker who you know has no local family and nowhere to go. The neighbor who never has any visitors. Anyone you know who is recently widowed, divorced, or separated, new in town, or for any other reason looking at being alone on Thanksgiving day, is an opportunity for you to serve God’s people and bring Him greater glory; invite these people to join your family for Thanksgiving. It doesn’t matter whether your home and meal will be simple or grand; the difference between invited and not invited is infinite.

God is watching you to see what you will do. Will you make a little extra food, a little extra effort, maybe clean up your house a little bit more, maybe deal with a little bit of awkwardness because of people you don’t know as well… or will you be giving Christian kindness a pass on Thursday? Let’s be a credit to Jesus, and show the non-believers in our lives what it means to be a Christian!

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Update, and an apology

I’m so sorry for my protracted silence!! You know how it happens, you think you’re ALMOST through handling everything, so you hold off on saying anything, but life continues to happen and suddenly MONTHS have gone by.

If you’re a long-time subscriber, you’ve seen periodic posts about how absolutely jam-packed my schedule is. It became the norm for me to always be a week behind in posting transcripts, and then 2 weeks, and then THREE weeks… When there was a holiday, or a week with no new sermon, instead of having some time to rest and have a break, I was just using it to get more caught up. I probably would have gone on like that forever, but God suddenly gave me TWO new skills/activities, both of which require a great deal of time, and then a THIRD activity that was really benefiting me but also a time-suck, and THEN, a big health crisis happened in my immediate circle, and I was the only one who could help out, so suddenly I had effectively acquired a new part-time job doing THAT… and my life just kind of fell apart. It’s gotten so bad that at one point I was 2.5 WEEKS behind in my Bible study, when I NEVER let myself get more than a couple of days behind no matter what catastrophe is underway. I’ve slowly caught up a week, but there is a new chunk being added to the backlog every day, so it kind of feels like shoveling the sidewalk while it’s still snowing.

The end result of all of this is something that I never thought would happen; I am now 2.5 MONTHS behind with sermon transcriptions. Because of all of this, I now have to tell you something I never thought I would say; I will NOT be catching up with the transcripts. Everything that I’ve missed, I’m just going to have to let it go. It really hurts me to say that, and I hate to disappoint people, who I know receive a lot of benefit and enjoyment out of being able to read and study the sermons, but God has me in a season of extraordinary and explosive personal growth, and pretty extreme service, at the same time, and the only thing I can let go of, aside from sleep and my sanity, LOL, is the huge chunk of hours that it takes to do the transcripts.

I DO intend to go back to doing them… I really want to say in a couple of weeks, but I don’t want to make promises I might not be able to keep. I have GOT to get caught up with Bible study before I can go back to doing transcripts, and I’m so pressed for time that I can’t be sure when that will happen. Once it does, I’ll post again and let you know what is happening going forward.  Again, I do sincerely apologize to those who were really hoping for and expecting the transcripts for the past couple of months!!

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Someone just subscribed to this blog with the same unusual last name, and the same first initial, as someone who had a faith and politics blog on Typepad in 2005, back in the days when I was active on Blogger. I wanted to ask, “Hey, is it really you?” in a way that didn’t violate his privacy or anonymity if he wanted to post here. Following what might well have been the leading of the Holy Spirit, I went to archive.org and looked up his old blog, not consciously knowing what I was looking for… and then I saw his picture:

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If this is you, hello, great to know you’re still out there! What have you been up to?

And for everyone else: I apologize for how far behind I’ve gotten in posting sermon transcripts!

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(No new sermon this week.)

Last month, I wrote about how it appears that Paul may have disobeyed the Holy Spirit:

https://formerheathen.wordpress.com/2018/07/09/did-paul-disobey-the-holy-spirit/

And then, this came up in my Bible study:

2 Corinthians 2:12-13 (NIV)
12 Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, 13 I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia.

Did Paul disobey God AGAIN, by declining to stay and preach because his friend wasn’t there, putting his personal preferences and comfort ahead of some clear sign from God that he was supposed to be ministering there?

What do YOU think?

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Keeping your joy

From JO’s sermon tonight:

we all have opportunities to get upset, go around frustrated: somebody was rude to us, traffic was backed up, we can’t find our car keys. life is full of inconveniences, delays, people that don’t do right. we’re never going to stop these things from happening; the key is how we handle them. the scripture says no man can take your joy; that means you control your joy; nothing can take it from you, you have to give it away.

next time someone cuts you off in traffic, ask yourself, “is this worth giving them my joy?” that person that’s rude to you on the phone that you’ve never met; are you going to give them your joy? that delay, plan that didn’t work out, negative comment; are you going to let that sour your day? the reason some people are not happy is, they’re constantly giving away their joy.

you can’t control what people do, say, but you can control how you respond. quit giving away your joy, letting the same people upset you; traffic, delays, things that don’t work out, frustrate you. you can’t pray these things away. that person at the office that gets on your nerves, they may not change; don’t go 20 years giving them your joy. they may not change, but you can change.

life is too short to live frustrated, upset about things we have no control over. people have a right to have their opinion; you have the right to ignore it. people have the right to be rude; you have the right to stay happy. quit letting their negative comments upset you; they wouldn’t be talking about you if you weren’t making a difference. nobody talks about people that aren’t doing anything; they’re talking about you because you’re going places. they can see there’s something special about you; you have the favor of God. you’re blessed, talented, anointed.

sometimes, small-minded people will try to push you down and discredit you. don’t pay any attention to it; that doesn’t carry any weight. what they say cannot keep you from your destiny; that is simply a distraction.

every person has negative chatter. all your family members unfortunately are not going to be for you; George Burns said, “happiness is having a loving, caring, close-knit family, living in another city.” some of your relatives, you have to love them from a distance.

all of your coworkers are not going to celebrate you. all of your friends are not going to be loyal. some people can’t handle your success; they’ll make remarks trying to bait you into conflict, get you upset. don’t get involved in battles that are not between you and your destiny. most of the conflict we engage in is a distraction; the enemy would love to get you off course, offended, trying to straighten people out, convince them that you’re ok. your job is not to change people’s minds about you, make people like you; your job is to run your race, be who God called you to be, not worry about the critics, naysayers.

God will cause the right people to like you. everybody is not supposed to like, approve you; some people are ordained by God to not be for you. you have to accept that everyone is not going to accept you.

we see it in the scripture: Joseph’s brothers weren’t supposed to be for Joseph; they were ordained to betray him. without their betrayal, Joseph would have never made it to the palace to help the Israelites during the famine. quit being sour because somebody betrayed you. how do you know that’s not leading you to your palace, that that disappointment is not a part of God’s plan to take you to the next level of your destiny?

King Saul was ordained to not like David; if he would have celebrated David, been happy for his success, David would have never taken the throne. are you upset because someone is not for you, when the truth is, God has ordained them to not be for you?

when Nehemiah was rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, there were two men, Sanballat and Tobiah; they didn’t like what he was doing. they stood at the bottom of the mountain and constantly shouted insults at Nehemiah, trying to bait him into conflict, get him upset, frustrated. Nehemiah understood this principle; he said, “no thanks, I’m not giving you my joy. you may not like me, but you not liking me has nothing to do with me fulfilling my destiny; I’m going to stay focused on what God called me to do.”

if Nehemiah would have gotten upset, went down there to straighten them out, even if he shut them up, he wouldn’t have finished the wall when he did. all the chatter that comes against you is a distraction, to get you upset so you get involved in battles that don’t matter; then you look up, and you’re not accomplishing what you should. do yourself a favor; don’t pay any attention to it.

quit being upset by people who are not for you, make negative comments, try to marginalize you, push you down. what they say doesn’t determine your destiny; they are simply a distraction, noise, don’t give it the time of day.

some people, no matter what you do, they’re not going to like you. even if you changed, did everything they wanted, they would still find some reason why you don’t measure up. you have to be at peace with people not being at peace with you. you don’t need their approval to fulfill your purpose. you don’t have to have them be for you to become who God created you to be. but if you get distracted trying to win them over, spending your valuable time trying to convince them to be for you, then you will miss the fullness of your destiny. don’t take the bait; don’t let them get you riled up.

Jesus said, “blessed are the meek; they will inherit the earth.” meek doesn’t mean weak, it means strength under control. when you ignore negative comments, don’t pay attention to the Sanballats and Tobiahs of life, you’re not being weak, you’re being meek. you have the power to fight, the strength to straighten them out, tell them what you feel, but your strength is under control; you’re not wasting time engaged in battles that are not between you and your God-given destiny. when you stay on the high road, God will take care of your enemies; God can defend you better that you can defend yourself.

in the scripture, Elisha was traveling from Jericho to Bethel. along the way, a group of young men came out and started making fun of him because he was bald. the scripture says they were mocking him, saying, “go baldy go.” Elisha could have gotten upset; instead, he remained calm, they couldn’t take his joy. they were baiting him, trying to get him distracted; he just stayed focused and continued doing what God called him to do. while those young men were making fun of him, two bears came out of the woods and tore them to pieces.

you don’t have to straighten people out; God will be your vindicator. God knows how to take care of the opposition. He sees what they’re doing, hears the disrespect. if you’ll stay in peace, God will fight your battles. when God does it, it will be better than anything you could have done.

but your feelings will want to pay people back. feelings will tell us, “get even, stand up for yourself”; if you let feelings rule, you’ll get upset, give away your joy. don’t get on board with your feelings. the Psalmist said:

Psalm 94:13 (AMP)
That You may grant him [power to calm himself and find] peace in the days of adversity

it doesn’t say God will keep us from all the adversity, opposition, negative chatter, it says they will come, we’ll have opportunities to get upset, but God has given us power to stay calm. quit telling yourself, “I can’t help it; this person at the office, they just get on my nerves”; you have the power to stay calm. that doesn’t have to keep upsetting you. that is a learned behavior: they say something negative, I get offended. traffic is bad, I get upset. the clerk is rude, I just let them have it. the problem is, you have strength, but it’s not under control. you need to relearn how to respond, develop some new habits. next time something happens that you don’t like, pause for a moment, and say, “Father, thank You that You’re giving me the power to remain calm, a spirit of discipline and self-control.”

you don’t have to let the same things keep upsetting you year after year; change your approach. you may have been trained to respond a certain way, grew up seeing people lose their cool, get upset, offended; why don’t you try a different approach? when you let people upset you, you’re giving away your power, letting them control you; if they push this, button you get offended, that button, you get upset, this other button, they bait you into conflict. why don’t you turn those buttons off? life is so much more freeing when you’re not controlled by what people say, offended when someone’s upset, sour because traffic was bad; you have tapped into the power to remain calm.

many people are like garbage trucks; they go around full of anger, frustration, bitterness. as their garbage piles up, they need somewhere to dump it; sometimes they’ll dump it on you, but you can’t take it personally, it has nothing to do with you. just smile, wish them well, and move on.

successful people don’t let garbage trucks overtake their day. if someone dumps a load on you, don’t get upset; if you make that mistake, you’ll end up carrying around their garbage, and eventually dump it on someone else. you have to keep your lid on. these days, many people are dumping frustration, disrespect, criticism, bitterness; we can’t stop them from dumping it, but we can keep them from affecting us.

we have enough things of our own to deal with; you don’t need somebody else’s bitterness, sour attitude, pressure. keep your lid on tight; let those things bounce off of you. your destiny is too great, your time is too important, to go around weighed down with other people’s garbage. you can’t keep it from coming, but you can keep it from getting in you.

realize how valuable each day is; we’re not always going to be here. it’s easy to live upset, offended, frustrated, but most of the things that are upsetting us, in the big picture, they don’t really matter. traffic was backed up, it took you an hour to get home, it should have taken you 30 minutes; is that worth losing your joy over? you’re alive, healthy, God’s given you a family to love. somebody was rude to you, made you look bad, said something negative; is that worth going around offended, discouraged?

what if we found out we only had a month to live? I wonder how many things we’re allowing to upset us now, if we found out our time was limited, we wouldn’t even pay attention to it. our time IS limited. the scripture says, our life is like a mist; we’re here for a moment, then we’re gone. that little quirk our spouse does that gets on our nerves; if we knew we weren’t going to be here in a month, we wouldn’t let it bother us, we would focus on all the things that are right, not on the few things that are wrong. we wouldn’t complain about driving in traffic; we’d be happy to be in the traffic, we’ve got another day to enjoy life. “I’ve got to go to work”; not me, I GET to go to work. some people don’t have a job, some people are in the hospital, aren’t able to work. I’m grateful to be employed. “it’s Sunday, I’ve got to go to church again”; not me, I get to go to church. God’s been good to me; I’m going to go back and say thank you.

“my boss is not fair, he’s hard to get along with, this is not the position that I want”; somebody would gladly trade places with you. it may not be perfect, but keep the right perspective; God’s blessed you with a job. if you will pass the test of being happy where you are, God can open some new doors. but if you don’t get happy there, you probably won’t get to where you want to be. your boss may not be fair; quit giving him your joy. he doesn’t control your happiness; you control your happiness. but if you let a grouchy boss, neighbor, relative, steal your joy, it’s not their fault, it’s your fault. you are as happy as you want to be.

you have to put your foot down and say, “this is the day that the Lord has made”; I’m not going to live sour, defeated, depressed, let what people do or don’t do, say or don’t say, what I have or not have, keep me from being happy. I’ve made up my mind; I’m going to enjoy this day. it dishonors God to go through the day upset, frustrated, bitter; God gave you breath to be here. He could have chosen anyone, but He chose you. one way we honor God is by being happy, living grateful, having a good attitude, seeing the best in life.

are you letting insignificant things steal your joy: traffic, negative comments, you can’t find something? keep it in perspective; that’s not worth losing your joy over. don’t let the small, insignificant things keep you some from seeing the gift of this day. in the scripture:

Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NIV)
17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

he was saying, “everything’s come against me: I’ve had bad breaks, my business is down, my income is low, surely that’s a reason to be discouraged, go around sour.” his attitude was, “no, I’m not giving away my joy; I’m going to rejoice in the God of my salvation.” salvation means deliverance; when you stay full of joy, despite what comes against you, God is saying, salvation, turn-arounds, healing, increase, victory is coming. I’m asking you to keep your joy.

life is going to throw us some curves: there will be disappointments, things that are not fair. that’s when you have to say, “yet will I rejoice in the Lord.” we should make this decision every morning; “I will be joyful today.” decide ahead of time that you’re going to enjoy the day. when somebody dumps a load on you, when they’re rude, keep your lid on. you’re tempted to get upset; remind yourself, you have the power to remain calm. if you’ll do this, you’re not only going to enjoy your life more, you’re going to be free from unnecessary frustration, bitterness, anger. you’re going to rise higher, live happier, and reach the fullness of your destiny.

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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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