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Faithful in the Routine

from JO’s sermon tonight:

there are times in life where we feel like we’re going in circles, doing the right thing but not making much progress, we don’t see anything changing. it’s easy to lose our passion, and get discouraged. but one test that we all have to pass is being faithful when nothing new is happening. it’s easy to be our best when we’re getting good breaks, things are falling into place; that doesn’t take much faith. what about when you’re working hard and not getting the credit? you’re being your best, but your marriage isn’t improving, honoring God, but not seeing increase? will you trust Him when it feels like you’re going in circles, stay passionate when you’re doing the same thing again and again?

when you’re faithful in the routine, something is happening that you can’t see; your character is being developed, your spiritual muscles are getting stronger, you’re being prepared for where God is taking you. the routineness of life is not exciting, but it is necessary; you won’t become all that you were created to be without being your best when it’s mundane, being excellent, having a good attitude, when it’s just another ordinary day, nothing exciting is happening. you could see it as boring, when is this going to change, but you understand this principle; you’re being prepared. when God can trust you to be faithful in the ordinary, then He’ll take you into the extraordinary; when you’re faithful in average days, then you’ll see exceptional days.

but sometimes, we’re frustrated, because we know that we have more in us, but we’re not seeing it happen; we don’t understand why we’re not making progress. God will always put bigger things in your spirit before they come to pass; you may be dealing with something mediocre, but God is preparing you for something great.

David was anointed to be the king as a young man, then God sent him back to the shepherds’ fields; he had a king’s anointing, yet he was taking care of sheep. your anointing will supersede where you are right now. God called David to rule a nation, but he was doing a menial task, day in and day out, boring, routine, nothing exciting. he could’ve gotten discouraged; “God, why isn’t it happening? You said I’d be the king.” if he had not passed this test of being faithful in the routine, he would’ve never taken the throne.

like David, you may know that you have more in you, you can feel those seeds of greatness, but you’re doing something menial, beneath your training, you’re being overlooked at work, nobody takes your advice, at home, nobody says thank you; be faithful where God has you now, in the routine.

this is where David excelled; out in the shepherds’ fields, he didn’t slack off, show up late, have a sour attitude, thinking, “when I get to where I’m going, then I’ll give it my all, when I take the throne, then I’ll show people what I’m made of.” no, he showed what he was made of when nobody was watching; he understood that he wasn’t working unto people, he was working unto God. he was excellent where God had him, even though he didn’t like it; that’s what led to the throne, all those ordinary days of being his best.

are you being excellent where God has you now? “this isn’t where I want to be; I want a better job, and to own my own house.” here’s the key; you’ll never make it there if you’re not faithful where you are. you won’t see promotion if you’re not being your best where God has you right now.

13 years later, after being faithful in the shepherds’ fields, going through all kinds of unfair situations, David suddenly took the throne. passing the test in ordinary days is what leads to exceptional days; that’s when you’ll see moments of favor, where God thrusts you years ahead. it’s not the big things that hold most people back, it’s the small things: being faithful day in and day out, going to work with a good attitude, sitting in traffic and not complaining, showing up to church week after week. being faithful in the routine is what prepares you for promotion. you may feel like you’re going in circles, not making much progress, but the right attitude is, “I may not like where I am, but God, since You have me here, I know that this is where I’m supposed to be, so I’m going to keep being my best, giving, serving, helping others, right where I am.”

we read about the great heroes of faith in the Bible, and their lives seem very exciting, but most of the time, their lives were routine. there will be more ordinary days than there are exciting days; if you live from big event to big event, waiting for something exciting to keep you encouraged, you’ll be disappointed. learn to enjoy where God has you right now; it may feel like you’re no closer to your dreams than you were years ago, but when you do the ordinary with a good attitude, that’s getting you prepared for the new things that God has in store.

sometimes, the reason that God is not changing the circumstances is that He’s using the circumstances to change us. if you’ll start passing these tests, being patient when it’s taking longer than we’d like, staying in faith when we’re not getting our way, having a smile even when we’re uncomfortable, we’re growing, developing, showing God that we trust Him. like with David, that’s when you’ll not just be anointed for the throne, you’ll take your throne.

Jeremiah 18:6 (ERV)
6 You are like the clay in the potter’s hands, and I am the potter.” This message is from the Lord.

the clay could say, “I don’t like going in circles; let me off this wheel so I can make progress.” what the clay doesn’t realize is that it is making progress; while it’s going in circles, the potter is forming it. you may feel like you’re spinning today, doing the same thing over and over, not making much progress, but God is making and molding you. when you’re faithful where you are, keep doing the right thing even though you’re not making progress, have a song of praise when you could be complaining, you are rising higher.

when Joshua was leading the Israelites towards the promised land:

Joshua 6:1 (NIV)
6 Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.

in the natural, there was no way that the Israelites could get past that wall and make it to the promised land.

Joshua 6:2-3 (NIV)
2 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days.

I’m sure Joshua thought, “God, we need to get into the city, and you’re telling us to walk around it, to go in circles?”

for 6 days, they didn’t see anything changing, but on the seventh day:

Joshua 6:15-20 (NIV)
15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and… circled the city seven times. 16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!… the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.

researchers have found that the walls fell in such a way as to create a ramp over the rubble of the walls.

when you’re faithful in the routine, God will make things happen that you couldn’t make happen. you may have been doing the right thing for a long time, you feel like you’re being left out, falling behind, but God is closely watching you; your time is coming. it’s going to happen suddenly, unexpectedly; God has explosive blessings. no obstacle is too big, no wall is too high, no enemy is too powerful; one touch of God’s favor can catapult you years ahead.

Psalm 18:29 (AMPC)
29 For by You I can run through a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.

God will get you to where you’re supposed to be.

why did have God have them march around in circles, when he could’ve brought the wall down when Joshua asked? marching around that city was a test; God wanted to see if they would be faithful in the routine, trust Him when they were going in circles. you’re not always going to understand why something isn’t changing; don’t get caught up in the whys, it is simply a test. keep being faithful where you are, and those walls will come down.

when they were marching around the city:

Joshua 6:10 (NIV)
10 But Joshua had commanded the army, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout.

God knew that if He didn’t keep them quiet, they would’ve talked themselves out of it; “why are we walking around in circles? Joshua has lost his mind.” if they would’ve gone around the walls with a negative attitude, even though they were doing the right thing, it would not have happened.

when you feel like you’re going in circles, not making much progress, don’t start talking about how it’s never going to happen; do yourself a favor, and zip it up. you can do the right thing with the wrong attitude and miss the blessing. when you go around the wall with a good attitude, that’s passing the test. Like with the Israelites, that obstacle that should’ve stopped you will suddenly come down.

Psalm 110:1 (NIV)
1 … “Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”

they will become a steppingstone for you to rise to the next level.

on the surface, it looked like it was the shout that brought the walls down, but the shout without the obedience of walking around the walls would not have had the same effect.

God is a God of justice; He’ll make your wrongs right. you may have gone through some disappointments, situations that you feel like have put you at a disadvantage, but no person can keep you from your destiny, no bad break can stop what God has ordained for you. don’t get discouraged, don’t try to pay people back; the disappointments, bad breaks, betrayals, are all a part of God’s plan. God uses things that we don’t like, that we don’t understand, to push us into our purpose. sometimes, it feels like things are spinning out of control; the truth is, they are spinning in control. God is directing your steps, closing doors, moving the wrong people out. He controls the universe. He won’t allow the spinning unless ultimately it’s going to work to your advantage. the challenge is to trust Him while you’re spinning, when you don’t understand it.

when Moses was born, Pharaoh had put out a decree that all the male babies were to be killed; Moses’ mother hid him for 3 months. like with Moses, sometimes God will hide you; you’ll go through a season where you’re not being noticed, celebrated. you have all these gifts, so much to offer, but you’re being overlooked, ignored. these times when God hides us are times of testing, proving; are you going to keep being your best, even though you’re being overlooked? if you’re not faithful when you’re hidden, how can God trust you to be faithful when you’re out in the open?

Exodus 2:3-10 (CEV)
3 But when she could no longer keep him hidden, she made a basket out of reeds and covered it with tar. She put him in the basket and placed it in the tall grass along the edge of the Nile River… 5 About that time one of the king’s daughters came down to take a bath in the river… 10 And when he was old enough… the king’s daughter, who adopted him.

Moses went from being hidden to being noticed by one of the most influential families of that day.

when you pass the test of being faithful in the routine, there will come a time when God will say, “you can be hidden no longer.” He will cause the right people to see you, celebrate you; you’ll not only be noticed, you’ll be celebrated. you may feel like you’ve been hidden, overlooked, ignored; stay encouraged, God is about to bring you out. His face is going to shine down on you in a new way. you’re not going to have to make it happen; the right people are going to find you, doors are going to open that you couldn’t open, promotion is going to track you down.

John 2:1-7 (NIV)
2 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”… 6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”

6 x 30 = 180 gallons; if the workers took a 3 gallon bucket to the well, that would take as much as 60 trips to get all that water. I can imagine the workers thinking, “why are we doing this? we need wine, why are we carrying water?” they could’ve talked themselves out of it; instead, they kept doing the ordinary, carrying the water, faithful in the routine. it would’ve been easy to have stayed in faith if, when they drew the water out of the well, it immediately turned into wine, but nothing was changing. when God can trust you to be faithful getting water, when everything looks ordinary, then He will take you into the extraordinary. you may be believing for wine, but all you’re seeing is water; be faithful in your water days. don’t be discouraged by what you don’t see; wine is coming. it’s going to happen suddenly; it’s going to be unexpected.

John 2:9-10 (NIV)
9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

when you pass this test of being faithful in the routine, God has saved the best for last; what’s in your future is going to be more rewarding, exciting, then anything you’ve imagined. many of you have passed this test, been faithful day in and day out; the walls that have held you back are about to come tumbling down. God is going to take you into the fullness of your destiny.

The Power of the Blood

from JO’s sermon tonight:

in the Old Testament, the only way that they could have forgiveness for sins was to sacrifice an animal; without the shedding of blood, there was no remission for sin. every year, the high priest would go into the holy of holies, the most sacred place in the temple, and offer a sacrifice for his sins and the sins of all the people; it was called the day of atonement. If the sacrifice was acceptable, their sins would not be taken away, they would be covered; they would be good for another year. if everything wasn’t perfect, the sacrifice wouldn’t be acceptable; they wouldn’t have God’s blessing.

God wanted to make a new covenant that would permanently take care of sin, but it would take a special kind of sacrifice; the blood of goats and bulls wasn’t good enough. one day, when John the Baptist was ministering:

John 1:29 (ESV)
29 he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

when Jesus shed his blood and died on the cross:

Hebrews 9:12 (CEB)
12 He entered the holy of holies once for all by his own blood, not by the blood of goats or calves, securing our deliverance for all time.

his blood put an end to the old system of sacrificing again and again, hoping that we would be forgiven. now, we can live with the confidence that all of our sins, past, present and future, have been, not just temporarily atoned for, but washed away; this is the power of the blood.

when Jesus hung on the cross, he took all of our mistakes, failures, weaknesses, all the times we’ve blown it or ever will blow it, and forgave it. God has already forgiven you.

but this sacrifice won’t do you any good if you don’t receive it. if you go around guilty, condemned, trying to pay God back for your mistakes, no, the price has already been paid. receive His mercy, love. every day; “Father, thank You that I am forgiven, redeemed.” the accuser will tell you just the opposite; “God’s not going to forgive you, look what you’ve done, the way you’ve lived, you knew better than that.” it’s easy to believe these lies, go around with a heaviness, no passion for life; do you think that your mistake was too much for the blood that Christ shed? you’ve been redeemed by the sinless, spotless, all-powerful son of the living God; no mistake that you’ve made is too much for this blood. shake off the guilt, quit living condemned, and receive the forgiveness. we are under the new covenant. we no longer have to rely on the blood of bulls and goats; because of the blood that Christ shed, our sins have been permanently taken care of.

2 Corinthians 5:19 (NLT)
19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them.

He has blotted them out.

too many people live condemned, always thinking about their past mistakes. they’ve asked God to forgive them every day for years, but they don’t understand; the first time they asked, God forgave them. since God let it go, why don’t you let it go, forgive yourself, and move forward with your life? as long as you’re looking backwards, living in regret, beating yourself up over past mistakes, you will never step into the new things that God has in store. you’ve been redeemed, restored.

Isaiah 44:22 (NASB)
22 “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud
And your sins like a heavy mist.

we all make mistakes, and have times when our lives are clouded by poor choices, but:

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.

quit remembering what God has forgotten; when you dwell on the past, relive your mistakes, all it’s doing is causing a new cloud to form. God is for you; the enemy is against you. you get to cast the deciding vote; are you going to believe the lies, live guilty, think you couldn’t be good enough for God to accept you?

Ephesians 1:6 (WE)
6 We have been accepted by God through Jesus Christ

will you receive it, start acting like a child of the most high God? after all that Christ has done for us, the incredible price that he paid on the cross, it doesn’t bring him any honor for us to go around feeling unworthy. let’s do our part and start believing that we are redeemed, forgiven, with an everlasting release from our sins.

for hundreds of years, the Israelites were in slavery. God sent plague after plague on the Egyptians who were holding them, but Pharaoh wouldn’t change his mind. when God commanded the death of every firstborn, the Israelites were given special instructions to protect them:

Exodus 12:5-13 (NIV)
5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats… slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses… 12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals… 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

when you say, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” what you’re doing, in effect, is putting the blood over your door post. when you’ve accepted the sacrifice of Christ’s salvation, that’s a place of protection; no weapon formed against you will prosper. there is a bloodline that the enemy cannot cross. if the blood of an animal could keep them safe in the old days, how much more so the blood of the son of the living God?

I’m not saying that negative things will never happen, you’ll never have a difficulty, that’s not reality, I’m saying that nothing will happen without God’s permission; because of the blood, there’s a hedge around you and your family. you don’t know how many things came against you, but because of the blood, they had to pass over. the forces of darkness are not moved by what family you come from, what church you go to, how many good deeds you do; what they respond to is the blood over your life. all through the day, “Lord, thank You that my children, my finances, my health, my future are covered by Your blood.”

God gives every person a chance; there will be destiny moments where you can make a decision that will set you on a better course to become who you were created to be. in the scripture:

Joshua 2:1-4 (NIV)
2 Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies… they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there…3 So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.” 4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them.

Joshua 2:14-18 (NIV)
14 “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.”… [tie] this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and [bring] your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house.

Joshua 6:25 (NIV)
25 Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho

the scarlet cord represents the blood; as long as you keep the blood over your life, enemies, sickness, defeat will have to pass you by. you’re protected by the blood.

Genesis 4:8-10 (NIV)
8 … Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.

Cain didn’t realize that the blood still speaks.

when the soldiers crucified Jesus, it looked like his enemies had finally finished him off; they didn’t realize that 2000 years later, his blood would still be speaking. his blood still cries out for mercy, healing, provision, freedom, redemption, salvation, abundance. Jesus not only defeated Satan:

Revelation 1:18 (GW)
18 I was dead, but now I am alive forever. I have the keys of death and hell.

Hebrews 2:14 (NASB)
14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil

you may be facing some obstacles, but the good news is, the blood still speaks for you; “you are more than a conqueror, you can do all things through Christ, the forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you.” when we make mistakes, we can live guilty and condemned, or we can let the blood speak for us; “Father, thank You that I am forgiven. I receive your mercy.” when we face an illness, we can accept it as our lot in life, or we can let the blood speak; “Father, thank You that You were wounded for my transgressions; by Your stripes I am healed.” when people come against us, we can get upset, try and pay them back, or we can let the blood speak; “Father, thank You that You’re my vindicator. You said that the trap that the enemy set for me, they would fall in themselves.”

God told Cain:

Genesis 4:11-12 (NIV)
11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you.

this is symbolic of what Jesus did for us; when he shed his innocent blood, what the enemy used to be able to do, because the blood has been there, it’s not going to work anymore. things that used to grow in you, addictions, bad habits, a temper, the blood has canceled that out. Instead of accepting things that you know are less than God’s best, why don’t you start saying, “Father, I want to thank You that the blood that Jesus shed has canceled out every negative thing in my life; addiction, depression, spirit of lack. Lord, I want to thank You that I’m free.” when you thank God for the blood, the enemies tremble; the blood reminds them of their defeat, that what they used to be able to do, they cannot do anymore.

Revelation 12:11 (MEV)
11 They overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb

keep this blood over your life, children, business, future; if you’ll do this, God promises He will protect you, cause things to pass over you. because the blood is still speaking, every generational curse is being broken, strongholds are coming down, what’s held you back in the past will hold you back no more. victory, breakthroughs, health, restoration, the fullness of your destiny.

High Time

from JO’s sermon tonight:

when we’ve been believing for our dreams to come to pass for a long time, or problems to turn around, and we don’t see anything happening, we’re not making progress, getting good breaks, it’s easy to lose our passion, and not expect things to change. it’s been that way for so long, that we start accepting it; “I’ll never get well, break this addiction, accomplish my goals. I tried, prayed, believed, but it didn’t work out.“ that may have been true in the past, but you are entering into a new season:

Romans 13:11 (NKJV)
11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

when God first put the promises in your heart, you were excited, but now it’s been months, maybe years, it hasn’t turned out the way you planned, you don’t think it’s ever going to happen; God is saying, “you are closer now to seeing it come to pass than you’ve ever been.” you’re coming into a high time; that’s when things suddenly change in your favor, blessings chase you down, healing shows up, you meet the right person, break the addiction, God makes things happen that you couldn’t make it happen. to see this high time, you have to wake up out of your sleep; get your passion back, start believing again, expecting things to change, talking like it’s going to happen. you can’t be complacent and step into the fullness of what God has in store.

Romans 13:11 (AMP)
11 … this is a critical time.

this stresses the importance of the season. if you don’t stir your faith up, you can miss the new things that God wants to do. what you’re believing for is not way off in the distance, it’s close, it could happen today. live with this expectancy; there has to be an anticipation in your spirit that today could be your day. the problem with an “it will happen one day” mentality is that you will miss what God wants to do today. God wants to give you favor right here, right now.

Joel 3:9 (NKJV)
9 Wake up the mighty men

you are closer to seeing new levels and explosive blessings than you’ve ever been.

the opposite of high time is low time. some people live with a low time mentality; “I never get any good breaks, my boss doesn’t like me, I’ll never get back in shape.” as long as you have a low time mentality, it will keep you from rising higher. turn it around, get in agreement with God; “Father, thank You that this is my high time; I believe that I’m close to my victory.” you can talk yourself into defeat; instead, “I know that I’m close to my healing, the turnaround, meeting the right person, favor, promotion, stepping up to a new level of my destiny.”

what you’ve been believing for, dreaming about, may not have happened for a long time, now you’re tempted to settle there, and think that it wasn’t meant to be; God is saying that you’re close to your victory. this is not the time to get discouraged; this is the time to stir your faith up. you may not see any sign of it yet. the enemy would love to convince you to go to sleep, quit believing, praying, it’s never going to work out; don’t believe those lies, you are entering into a new season. in this high time, it’s not going to happen the way you thought; God’s not going to do it a traditional way. He’s going to do something unusual; you won’t see it coming. suddenly, your health turns around, you meet the right person, you get the promotion. God is full of surprises. He loves to do things not on a normal timetable, a normal way, but when we don’t expect it, it seems the least likely.

sometimes, when we’re dysfunctional, we like to be around other dysfunctional people so that we feel normal; don’t make the mistake of surrounding yourself with people who feed your dysfunction. as long as you accept your dysfunction, you’re giving it permission to stay. you may have been fighting depression, illnesses, addictions your whole life, but that is not your destiny; don’t be complacent and learn to live with it. get around happy people that lift your spirit, people that have what you want, where being free and victorious is the norm.

John 5:2-6 (NIV)
2 … a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda… 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

that seems like an odd question, but Jesus could see that he had been there for so long that he wasn’t expecting anything to change.

John 5:8 (NIV)
8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

was the man going to let what he was expecting, the way it happened in the past, talk him out of it, or was he going to say, “if you say that I can get up, I’m going to get up?” he recognized that this was his high time:

John 5:9 (NIV)
9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

Jesus didn’t come at the normal time or do it the normal way; the man didn’t see anything different, but suddenly he came into his high time.

no matter how many years you’ve been waiting, it’s not too late. Sarah had a baby when she was 90 years old:

Genesis 17:17 (NIV)
17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”

Genesis 21:1-5 (NLT)
21 The Lord kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. 2 She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would… 5 Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born.

what God put in your heart, don’t talk yourself out of it; you are coming into your high time. you weren’t the most qualified, but they skipped over others and chose you; God showed up in the “wrong season.” the doctors said you aren’t going to get better, just live with it, but God healed you. God is going to surprise you and make happen what you couldn’t make happen, out of season, out of time, not the traditional way; it’s going to happen sooner than you think.

in the scripture, there was a famine in Samaria:

2 Kings 6:24-25 (NIV)
24 … Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. 25 There was a great famine in the city

the prophet Elisha showed up and said:

2 Kings 7:1 (NIV)
7 Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

there was no reason in the natural for the people to believe what Elisha said; it may be the same for you right now. but just because you don’t see a way, doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have a way. it’s easy to be discouraged, negative, let circumstances talk you out of it; that doesn’t take any faith. but when it seems impossible, that’s when you have to dig your heels in, and say, “all the odds may be against me, but God, I know that You are for me. I believe that things are changing in my favor.”

2 Kings 7:3-16 (NIV)
3 Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other… let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans… the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” 7 So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives. 8 The men who had leprosy… 9 Then they said to each other… Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”… 16 Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of the finest flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the Lord had said.

it happened 24 hours after Elisha said it; it had seemed impossible, no way in the natural, but we serve a supernatural God. He has some “by this time tomorrows” for you. when it looks the most unlikely, get ready for the most high God to show up and surprise you. yes, there are seasons of waiting, being faithful, doing the right thing when it’s hard, but at some point, that season of testing is going to come to an end. like the Israelites, you may feel like you’re in a famine, surrounded by difficulties; if you ever wanted to doubt, be discouraged, talk yourself out of it, it would be now. stay awake; God has some suddenlies in store for you. you are closer to your freedom, abundance, breakthrough, than you realize. keep expectancy in your spirit. those things that have held you back in the past, that is not your destiny, that is not how your story ends. don’t let negative circumstances convince you to settle where you are.

Jesus said:

John 4:35 (NIRV)
35 You say, ‘It’s still four months until harvest time.’ But I tell you, open your eyes! Look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest right now.

notice the principle; now is the time to believe, to release your faith. what you’re hoping for is closer than you think. you’re in your high time.

many times, we know that there’s more in us, we’re supposed to rise higher, we can feel seeds of greatness, but we’re not making progress; as you keep honoring God, being your best, thanking God for the victory, suddenly, you’re going to take off, and go further than you ever imagined. don’t get discouraged because it hasn’t happened yet; keep honoring God, being faithful, hoping, praying, believing.

Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)
31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles

God has some wings for you. when this says to wait, that doesn’t mean to be passive, sit back, “God, why aren’t You doing anything? nothing’s working out.”

Isaiah 40:31 (AMP)
31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]

wait knowing that it’s on the way; “I’m close to my healing, breakthrough, promotion.” don’t drag around disappointed, focusing on how long it’s taking, how it’s never going to work out; that’s a low time mentality. you have to come over into high time. quit believing those lies that it’s way off in the distance; you’re closer than you think. because you’re honoring God, you’re about to see what you’re believing for; it’s going to be better than you thought, and it’s going to happen sooner than you expected.

I really need your prayers

Unfortunately, I have just been dealt a devastating blow, striking right at the heart of the restoration that I have been receiving. I know you don’t know the details, but GOD knows; please pray for me to have wisdom, strength, and peace as I deal with this situation, pray that the other person involved has a rapid and radical change of heart, and that restoration is restored as soon as possible. Thank you, and God bless!!

Unconditional Trust

from JO’s sermon tonight:

it’s easy to trust God if things are going our way: we’re getting good breaks, our business is blessed, our children are healthy. that doesn’t take much faith. but what about when things aren’t going our way; our prayers aren’t being answered, the problem isn’t turning around, we’re not seeing favor? too often, we get discouraged; we think, “God, why aren’t you doing something? You can see that I’m being mistreated, my health isn’t good, I worked hard but I didn’t get the promotion.” we think that when it changes we’ll be happy; “when I meet the right person, my health improves, when we have this baby, then I’ll have a good attitude.” that’s conditional trust; “God, if you meet my demands, answer my prayers the way I want, on my timetable, then I’ll be my best.”

the problem with conditional trust is that there will always be things that we don’t understand, something that’s not happening fast enough, didn’t work out the way we wanted. are you mature enough to accept God’s answers, even though they’re not what you’re hoping for? we’re not going to understand everything that happens; faith is trusting God when life doesn’t make sense. there’ll always be unanswered questions: why didn’t my loved one make it, why am I not getting better, why did this person leave? some things are not going to make sense, but God wouldn’t have allowed it if He wasn’t going to bring good out of it; you may not see it at the time, but God knows what He’s doing. He has your best interests at heart; it’s not random, it’s a part of His plan.

dare to trust Him. God can see things in you that you can’t see in yourself. His plan for your life is bigger than your plan, but it may not happen the way you thought. God doesn’t take us in a straight line; there will be disappointments, loss, bad breaks, which are all a part of His plan. if you have conditional trust, you’ll get discouraged, and think, “why is this happening? I’m going to wrong way.” but God is still directing your steps; trust Him when you don’t understand, when it feels like you’re going in the wrong direction. sometimes, we want things so bad, that we’re not going to be happy unless it happens our way: “I can’t be happy unless I get the house, meet the right person, have the baby.”

anything that you have to have in order to be happy, the enemy can use against you.

it’s good to be honest with God, tell Him your dreams, what you’re believing for, it’s fine to ask, but then be mature enough to say, “but God, if it never happens, if I never get the promotion, if my loved one doesn’t make it, if my health doesn’t improve, I’m still going to trust You.”

we can get so consumed with what we want that it can become like an idol.

it’s all we think about, pray about, always on the forefront of our minds. turn it over to God; pray, believe, then leave it in God’s hands. don’t get so focused on what you want that you miss the beauty of this day; everything may not be perfect, there are things that need to change, but God has given you the grace to be happy today. it’s very freeing when you can say, “God, it’s in Your hands. I trust You, not conditionally, if it works out my way, I trust You unconditionally, even when I don’t understand it.”

the apostle Paul had:

2 Corinthians 12:7 (NLT)
7 to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh

this was something either physical or spiritual that he didn’t like; it was bothering him.

2 Corinthians 12:8 (NLT)
8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.

but God didn’t remove it. Paul was honoring God, being his best, he wrote half of the books in the New Testament; you would think that God would fix what was bothering him. But God said:

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you

He was saying, in effect, “I may not remove it just yet, but I will give you the grace to handle it.”

if God is not removing what you want removed, changing what you want changed, don’t use that as an excuse to live sour, bitter. God has given you the grace to be where you are with a good attitude; you can enjoy your life in spite of what’s not working out. sometimes, the reason that our prayers aren’t answered the way we want is because it’s not the right time, or God has something better that we can’t see, or He’s using the difficulty to do a work in us, help us grow, get stronger. unconditional trust says, “God, I don’t like it, I’m uncomfortable, but I’m smart enough to recognize that You’re God and I’m not. You’re on the throne, in control of my life, and You said that Your plans for me are for good, You would lead me down the best path for my life. even though I don’t understand it right now, I trust You.”

are you living frustrated, unhappy, because something is not going your way? that’s conditional trust. you’ll live a lot freer, happier, if you’ll quit fighting what God is not changing, being upset about what He’s not removing. Paul said:

Philippians 4:11 (NIV)
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

it didn’t happen automatically; he made this decision, “I’m not going to live sour because God hasn’t removed this thorn. when He wants to remove it, He’ll remove it, but until then, I’m going to be happy where I am, thorn and all.” the truth is, we all have some thorns, things that God is not changing. He could if He wanted to, He’s God, but since he’s not doing it yet, will you do like Paul, and be happy where you are, thorn and all, trouble and all, loneliness and all? it takes a mature person to say, “even though God is not removing this, I’m still going to have a smile, be good to people, give God praise.”

this is what happened with the 3 Hebrew teenagers in the scripture:

Daniel 3:12-18 (NIV)
12 … Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”… 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up?… 16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

that’s unconditional trust; “I believe that God’s going to turn this situation around, but even if He doesn’t, I’m still going to be happy. I know God is still on the throne; if He’s not changing it, He has a reason. My life is in His hands.” dare to trust Him, not just when things are going your way, but even when you don’t understand it.

Psalm 138:8 (NLT)
8 The Lord will work out his plans for my life

you don’t have to work it all out, make it happen in your own strength, try to manipulate people, fight all your battles; why don’t you relax, take the pressure off yourself, and let God work out His plan for your life? He can do it better than you can. He knows the best path.

that’s what these teenagers were saying; “we know that we’re not doing life on our own; the most high God is working out His plan for our lives.” all the forces of darkness cannot stop what God has ordained: sickness, trouble at work, disappointments, setbacks can’t stop it. you may have a lot coming against you, but you’re not alone, and you wouldn’t be thrown in that fire unless God allowed it. the enemy is not in control of your life; God is. He’s working out His plan; sometimes, it includes fiery furnaces, people who don’t like you, obstacles that seem insurmountable; you don’t see a way, but since you know that the Lord is directing your steps, you don’t try to figure it all out. it may look like the end, but you have unconditional trust; “I know that God will deliver me, but even if He doesn’t, I’m still going to have a song of praise, an attitude of faith, live my life happy.”

Daniel 3:19-25 (NKJV)
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury… commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20… bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace… the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego… 24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished… “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

what was that? God working out His plan for their lives. I wonder what the outcome would’ve been if they had had conditional trust, or if they had become negative and complained; we probably wouldn’t be talking about them today.

if you want to get God’s attention, if you want Him to take you to where you’ve never been, and turn impossible situations around, do like these teenagers; “I know that God will deliver me from this fire, but even if He doesn’t, I will still honor Him.” when you live like that, you take away all of the enemy’s power; he’s expecting you to get upset, be worried, fall apart, live in self-pity. when you have unconditional trust, you can’t be defeated. you may have challenges that look bigger, stronger, in the natural you don’t have a chance, don’t be intimidated; the forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you.

Job 5:26 (TLB)
26 … like standing grain, you’ll not be harvested until it’s time!

God has the final say. He is working out His plan for your life. are you only going to trust God if He does it your way, or are you going to have unconditional trust, even if He takes you through the fire? God’s plan is always bigger than your plan. His ways are always better, more rewarding and fulfilling than your ways. If God were to answer your prayers on your timetable, it would limit your destiny.

quit being discouraged over something that didn’t work out the way you wanted. don’t be frustrated because somebody left that you wanted to stay. God knows what He’s doing; you may not see it now, but one day, when you see what God was up to, you’ll thank Him for not answering those prayers. As long as you’re honoring Him, being your best, at the right time, God will get you to where you’re supposed to be. it may not be where you thought; God is going to take you further than you ever imagined.

pray and believe for your dreams, but let God do it His way. if you’re only going to be happy if God does it your way, that’s not trusting, and you will be frustrated; why don’t you put your life in His hands? He knows what’s best for you. He can see things that we can’t see. some of the things in your life that are not working out right now, one day you’ll be thanking God; the closed doors, disappointments, delays are all working for you. learn to embrace where you are. He’s given you the grace to be there with a good attitude; if you’re going to pass the test, keep a smile on your face, don’t drag through the day disappointed. living worried, frustrated, disappointed, takes our passion, joy, and can keep us from seeing God’s favor. God wants to see if we’ll trust Him when we don’t understand it, and life doesn’t make sense.

this is what happened with Abraham; he waited 20 years to have his son Isaac. you can imagine how Abraham felt when God told him:

Genesis 22:2 (NKJV)
2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

Abraham didn’t understand it, it didn’t seem fair, but he was obedient, and passed the trust test:

Genesis 22:12 (NCV)
12 The angel said, “Don’t kill your son or hurt him in any way. Now I can see that you trust God and that you have not kept your son, your only son, from me.”

there will be times that God asks us to put our dream on the altar; when we show Him that we can not have the dream but still be happy, we’re doing what Abraham did. when God sees that you don’t have to have it, many times God will give you back what you were willing to give up. will you do the right thing when it’s hard, trust God when it’s not what you thought, you don’t understand it?

Genesis 22:16-17 (NLT)
16 “This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that 17 I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore

when you do like Abraham, pass the trust test, God will not only give you the desires of your heart, He’ll do more than you can ask or think. are you living frustrated because your prayers aren’t being answered the way you want, your plans aren’t working out? take the pressure off; God is in control. you’re not always going to understand it; if you did, it wouldn’t take any faith. I’m asking you to trust Him unconditionally. If you’ll do this, God is going to work out His plan for your life, open the right doors, bring the right people, turn negative situations around, and take you to the fullness of your destiny.

Night Seasons

from JO’s sermon tonight:

we all go through times that we don’t understand. we’re praying and believing, but our health isn’t improving, our finances haven’t turned around, we still haven’t met the right person. we can feel alone, forgotten, like it’s never going to change; it’s a night season. in these nights seasons, you can’t see what God is doing; it doesn’t look like anything is happening, but God is working behind the scenes. He does His greatest work in the dark; He hasn’t forgotten about you. in the dark times, when life feels unfair, you have to remind yourself that God is still in control, and He doesn’t always show you what He’s up to. it’s easy to trust Him when you’re getting good breaks, things are going great, but you have to learn to trust Him in the night seasons, when things aren’t going your way.

the heroes of faith all went through these night seasons. David spent years running from King Saul; I’m sure that he prayed to be delivered, but God didn’t change it. Saul was wrong, it was unfair to David, but the night seasons are a time of testing, proving; are we going to get negative, live discouraged, or are we going to say, “God, I don’t understand it, it’s not fair, but I trust You”?

in the scripture, Ruth lost her husband at an early age; she could’ve given up on life, lived in self-pity, but she understood this principle; the night seasons are not the end. the bad breaks, disappointments, loss, sickness, are simply another step on the way to your destiny.

Psalm 30:5 (AMP)
Weeping may endure for a night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

your story doesn’t end in the night; the sickness, loneliness, addiction is temporary.

Ruth went on to meet Boaz; they got married and had a baby, who was the grandfather of David, and therefore in the ancestral line of Jesus Christ. her story didn’t end in the dark.

when things aren’t working out, you feel like you’re going in the wrong direction, don’t get discouraged; it’s just a night season. keep moving forward in faith, believing; it’s just a matter of time before the morning breaks forth.

Job went through a night season. everything was going great, then life took a sudden turn; suddenly, he lost his business, his family, he was covered in boils, his whole world was turned upside down. Job was a good man, loved God, was a person of excellence and integrity; this would make more sense if he was a compromiser, making wrong choices, not honoring God. but:

Matthew 5:45 (NLT)
45 … he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

just because you’re a good person, doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have any night seasons. you might be in a difficult time right now; it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve done anything wrong, God’s not pleased with you, you don’t have His favor. it’s just life. you’re getting some rain; without the rain, we couldn’t grow. God wouldn’t have allowed it if it was going to keep you from your destiny. He has you in the palm of His hand. He’s closely watching you. you may feel like you’re in the fire, but God controls the thermostat; He won’t let it be more than you can handle. quit telling yourself, “I’ll never make it through this, get well, accomplish my dreams”; no, it’s just a night season. it’s not a surprise to God. He already has the solution; the breakthrough is headed your way.

Job did what many of us do during the difficult times; focused on the problems, magnified what was wrong, let it overwhelm him. he said:

Job 7:7 (CEB)
7 … my eyes won’t see pleasure again

Job 7:3 (NLT)
3 I, too, have been assigned months of futility,
long and weary nights of misery.

he was saying, “this is permanent, this is how my story ends”; that was the mistake he made.

what you’re going through may be difficult, but the good news is, you’re going through it; it’s not your final destination, it’s a night season, not a lifetime.

in Job’s darkest hour, when he was the most discouraged:

Job 8:21 (NLT)
21 He will once again fill your mouth with laughter
and your lips with shouts of joy.

God was saying, “Job, it looks bad, you don’t understand it, but don’t worry, it’s not permanent, it’s just a season, I’m about to fill your mouth with laughter.”

God is saying to you what he said to Job; “life may not have been fair, but you’re not going to live discouraged, overwhelmed by problems, burdened down by illnesses; joy, health, breakthroughs, promotion are coming.” God is about to fill your mouth with laughter; that means that God is going to do something that’s so unusual, extraordinary, that you will be so amazed that all you can do is laugh.

Psalm 30:11 NRSV
11 You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy

this is what happened with Job; he didn’t just make it through the night season:

Job 42:10 (NET Bible)
10 So the Lord restored what Job had lost after he prayed for his friends, and the Lord doubled all that had belonged to Job.

God always makes the enemy pay for bringing the trouble. if you’ll stay in faith, you won’t just come out, you’ll come out better than you were before.

Job 42:16-17(ESV)
16 And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations. 17 And Job died, an old man, and full of days.

when we think about Job, we usually think about all the pain and suffering; the truth is that that was just one season. you may be in a dark time, but like Job, you’re going to come through it, and still live a long, blessed life. don’t let the night seasons convince you that you’ve seen your best days; you wouldn’t be alive unless God had something amazing up in front of you.

but in the dark times, it’s easy to talk about the difficulties, how bad life is treating us, exaggerate our problems like Job; all that’s going to do is make you more discouraged, defeated, take your joy. instead of complaining, one of the best things you can say is, “all is well”; what you’re really saying is, “God is still on the throne. I’m not going to live upset, bitter, guilty. I may be in a night season, but I know, this too shall pass.” the medical report isn’t good? “all is well; God is restoring health back unto me.” your child is still off course? “yes, but all is well; as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” you can say all is well when you went through a breakup, lost a loved one, still haven’t met the right person, because you know the night season is only temporary; joy is coming, what was meant for harm God is turning to your advantage, and after this is a long, blessed, faithful life.

don’t talk yourself into feeling miserable; keep a report of victory coming out of your mouth. if you’re going to magnify something, don’t magnify your problems, magnify your God; talk about His greatness, favor. you may have big challenges, but we serve a big God. the sickness may seem impossible; God can do the impossible. that obstacle may seem permanent; one touch of God’s favor will thrust you to the next level. quit worrying; God is saying, “all is well.” it may be night now, but morning is coming; you’re going to see what God has been doing behind the scenes. every day that you stay in faith, keep a good attitude despite the darkness, you are passing the test; that night season will come to an end.

Psalm 112:4 (TLB)
4 When darkness overtakes him, light will come bursting in

it’s going to happen suddenly, unexpectedly; you didn’t see it coming. suddenly you get the break you need, your health turns around, you meet the right person.

Moses went through a night season. as a young man, he killed someone who was mistreating a Hebrew slave. he knew that he was called to deliver the Israelites, but he got out of God’s timing, and tried to do it on his own. he had to flee for his life, and spent 40 years on the backside of the desert in hiding. but God doesn’t waste anything that we go through; He uses it to get us prepared for our destiny. those years out in the desert, Moses couldn’t see what God was doing behind the scenes; God was making and molding him. he thought he was finished, but God was using that time to develop his character, getting him prepared for his comeback.

like Moses, you may have made mistakes that have put you into a night season. you’re not where you thought you would be; now, you think you have to settle there, and never accomplish what God put in your heart. you may not realize it, but right now God is getting you prepared for your comeback; what He started, He’s going to finish. He’s already taken into account every wrong turn, mistake, bad break. it may look like the end to you; the truth is, it’s just a temporary delay, a time of testing, proving, where your character is being developed. God is working in you, polishing off the rough edges, getting you prepared for where He’s taking you.

40 years later, God was ready for Moses to deliver His people:

Numbers 12:3 (NIV)
3 (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)

in that night season, Moses changed; he learned to wait on God, listen to His voice, walk in humility. he came up higher in his character.

in the difficult times, stay pliable, open. say, “God, make me and mold me, show me where I need to change.” you grow in the tough times. when you’re in a night season, you may not like it, but it’s working for you; you’re getting stronger. you have to be prepared for where God is taking you.

Moses couldn’t handle it the first time; he made a mistake, had to run. but God didn’t write him off, cancel his destiny; He used the night season to refine him.

when Saul was chasing David through the desert, there were several opportunities for David to kill Saul; he could’ve taken his life, gotten rid of his problem. but David wouldn’t do it; he knew that Saul had been anointed by God.

1 Samuel 24:6 (NLT)
6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.”

after David passed these tests, showed God what he was made of, a man of character and integrity, God took care of Saul, and David was made the king.

in the night seasons, if you will pass these tests, change where you need to change, deal with those areas that God is bringing to light, prove to Him that you’ll do the right thing when it’s hard, forgive even though they hurt you, then like David, because your character has been developed, God will bring you out of that night season, and get you to where you’re supposed to be.

but some things we can only develop in the dark; without the night seasons, we wouldn’t become all that God created us to be. none of us like the night seasons; we don’t like being uncomfortable, we don’t see anything happening. but there are times where God incubates us; He takes us through the dark places, not to make us miserable, but in the dark, a transformation is taking place. you’re growing, being refined; you may not like it, but you have to keep reminding yourself that you’re about to step up to a new level. no more living in mediocrity; you were made for higher things. this is no time to be discouraged; you’re going to go places that you’ve never dreamed. don’t complain; keep a good attitude, it’s all a part of the process. God is changing you from glory to glory.

in the scripture, Jacob had not lived the right kind of life; he was dishonest, cheated people, tricked his brother out of his birthright. you would think that God wouldn’t have anything to do with him, but God doesn’t write us off; He keeps working with us, showing us His mercy. Jacob was in a night season, and then:

Genesis 28:12-16 (NLT)
12 As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway.
13 At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. 14 Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. 15 What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”
16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!”

what’s interesting is that he wasn’t in the temple, he was in the desert; God was showing us that He’s the God of hard places, lonely times, night seasons. you may be in a difficulty now: fighting a battle with your health, dealing with depression, raising a special needs child. you feel alone, forgotten, discouraged; God is right there with you, the heavens are about to open up, and God is going to make things happen that you couldn’t make happen. you may be in a hard place, but you’re not staying there: your health is going to improve, you’re going to break that addiction, the right people are going to show up. you’re going to say, “the Lord was in this place; He healed me of cancer, freed me from depression, blessed my business.” He’s not going to stop until He’s given you everything that He promised.

Psalm 121:4 (NLT)
4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel
never slumbers or sleeps.

He doesn’t just work the night shift, He shifts things in the night. you may be in a night season, you don’t see how it could work out; don’t worry, a night shift is coming. the God who works the night shift is going to shift things in your favor: there’s going to be a shift in your health, finances, that addiction.

This is what happened with Paul and Silas:

Acts 16:22-26 (NLT)
22 … Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them… thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. 24 So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. 26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!

what happened? God shifted the earth. when did it happen? around midnight. it was a night shift from the God that works the night shift.

things that look permanent in your life, the addiction, sickness, panic attacks, lack and struggle, thoughts will tell you that you’ll always have to deal with that; don’t believe those lies. you’re in a night season; that means you’re in perfect position for a night shift. God specializes in shifting things in the dark. instead of worrying, all through the day, “Lord, thank You for a night shift, that things are changing in my favor. it’s dark now, but I believe what You said, “light is about to come bursting in.”

In Genesis 2:

Genesis 2:21-22 (NIV)
21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

I’m sure that at the time, he didn’t understand why God was putting him to sleep; he was happy, life was good. but some things we can only develop in the dark; if God didn’t have us go through a night season, we would never see the fullness of what God has in store. you may feel like God has put you to sleep; things have slowed down, you’re in a challenge. be encouraged; when you wake up, and see what God has been up to, you’re going to say, “wow God, I never dreamed that You’d take me here.” God has some wows in your future; don’t complain about the dark places, they are leading you to the amazing things that God has in store. you may not understand it, but God wouldn’t have allowed it if He wasn’t going to use it to your advantage. right now, God is working behind the scenes. He sees what you’re dealing with, He knows how you feel. He’s saying, “the night seasons are not permanent.” He’s making and molding you, to take you to a new level. you’re about to see a night shift; from sickness to health, lack to abundance, addictions to freedom. the light is about to come bursting in. get ready for some wows.

God wants us to bless us in all things, large, small, and in between. Here are some recent examples from my own life:

I have 2 old and dear friends who are awesome ladies, but total failures at answering their phones or returning messages; we have somewhat sporadic contact via various online avenues, but that is not the same as a phone conversation. One of them I had not spoken to by phone for 6 months, and for the other one it had been a year. I started praying that they would call me… and they both did… only 2 days apart!! It wasn’t anybody’s birthday, nor had anything happened in any of our lives to be the reason for these calls; GOD was the reason.

Because I need more of a social life outside of church (I’ve learned the hard way not to put all my social eggs in one basket), I asked God to bring me some new friends not associated with church. Since I never go anywhere where I might meet, much less get to know, people outside of church, in the natural that seemed impossible, but my prayers included complete confidence that God would find a way… And of course He did. One of my neighbors (none of whom I know) received a package that was addressed to me. Instead of just looking around, spotting my address, and leaving it on my front stoop, she looked up the sending company from the return address, called them, and they told her to just keep the package, and they would send me another one. After all that trouble to avoid just finding my address and bringing it over, and with no remaining moral or ethical need to do so, this neighbor, who describes herself as being socially shy and dysfunctional mind you, suddenly decided to bring the package to me anyways, and thus appeared at my door a very nice lady who is my exact same age, and with whom, it turns out, I have a bunch of things in common… And she is home all day like I am, too. We are already arranging to get together and watch Netflix.

God is AMAZING!! 🙂

God is eager to fulfill the desires of YOUR heart, too. Focus your life on Him, church, Bible study, prayer, and living your life the way He wants us to live, and then ask Him for what you want during your prayer time, with total confidence in His ability to do it, and total expectation that He WILL do it. The results will amaze you.