Make a difference! Be different!

Be willing to do more and go further so that God can be glorified! When most people would have walked away or made sure they never got too close, what did Jesus do?

2Then a man suffering from a dreaded skin disease came to him, knelt down before him, and said, “Sir, if you want to, you can make me clean.” 3Jesus reached out and touched him. “I do want to,” he answered. “Be clean!” At once the man was healed of his disease.

– from Matthew 8 (GNT)

Realize that God’s authority is big enough and strong enough that we can just ask and it will be done. The Roman officer realized that when he brought his need to Jesus as we see here.

5When Jesus entered Capernaum, a Roman officer met him and begged for help: 6“Sir, my servant is sick in bed at home, unable to move and suffering terribly.” 7“I will go and make him well,” Jesus said. 8“Oh no, sir,” answered the officer. “I do not deserve to have you come into my house. Just give the order, and my servant will get well. 9 I, too, am a man under the authority of superior officers, and I have soldiers under me. I order this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes; and I order that one, ‘Come!’ and he comes; and I order my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 10When Jesus heard this, he was surprised and said to the people following him, “I tell you, I have never found anyone in Israel with faith like this. 11 I assure you that many will come from the east and the west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of heaven. 12 But those who should be in the Kingdom will be thrown out into the darkness, where they will cry and gnash their teeth.” 13Then Jesus said to the officer, “Go home, and what you believe will be done for you.”

And the officer’s servant was healed that very moment.
– from Matthew 8 (GNT)

How would you describe your faith? How would other describe your faith? Let’s be people who don’t hear “Oh ye of little faith”, but rather here the commendation of Jesus saying “I have never found anyone with faith like this!”

Let’s rejoice in all that God is doing in and around the world! He’s not dead and He is still performing miracles. People’s lives are being touch! Bodies are being healed! Relationships are being healed! Lives are being touched! The widows and the orphans are being reached out to! It’s not something we need to hog or hoard, but it’s something we need to share in love. We hear the greatness of how it’s God’s plan — He desires that everyone come to the point of knowing Jesus and having their life turned around and pointed towards Him!

1The apostles and the other believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2When Peter went to Jerusalem, those who were in favor of circumcising Gentiles criticized him, saying, 3“You were a guest in the home of uncircumcised Gentiles, and you even ate with them!” 4So Peter gave them a complete account of what had happened from the very beginning:

5“While I was praying in the city of Joppa, I had a vision. I saw something coming down that looked like a large sheet being lowered by its four corners from heaven, and it stopped next to me. 6I looked closely inside and saw domesticated and wild animals, reptiles, and wild birds. 7Then I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat!’ 8But I said, ‘Certainly not, Lord! No ritually unclean or defiled food has ever entered my mouth.’ 9The voice spoke again from heaven, ‘Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean.’ 10This happened three times, and finally the whole thing was drawn back up into heaven. 11At that very moment three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where I was staying. 12The Spirit told me to go with them without hesitation. These six fellow believers from Joppa accompanied me to Caesarea, and we all went into the house of Cornelius. 13He told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send someone to Joppa for a man whose full name is Simon Peter. 14He will speak words to you by which you and all your family will be saved.’ 15And when I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came down on them just as on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17It is clear that God gave those Gentiles the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; who was I, then, to try to stop God!”
18When they heard this, they stopped their criticism and praised God, saying, “Then God has given to the Gentiles also the opportunity to repent and live!”
– from Acts 11 (GNT)

God’s ways are different from our ways! Let’s not be putting limits or boundaries around what God is able to do, for He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine, so let’s follow after Him that we may glorify Him every day in Jesus’ name!

Let’s hold onto and celebrate the victory that has come thanks to God! Let’s make sure we are on the right team, the right side because we know that Jesus has already won the victory and the devil is just trying to trick us so that we will miss out. Let’s rejoice in the Lord and again I say rejoice!

25O Lord, you are faithful to those who are faithful to you;

completely good to those who are perfect.
26You are pure to those who are pure,
but hostile to those who are wicked.
27You save those who are humble,
but you humble those who are proud.
28O Lord, you give me light;
you dispel my darkness.
29You give me strength to attack my enemies
and power to overcome their defenses.
30This God—how perfect are his deeds!
How dependable his words!
He is like a shield
for all who seek his protection.
31The Lord alone is God;
God alone is our defense.
32He is the God who makes me strong,
who makes my pathway safe.
33 He makes me sure-footed as a deer;
he keeps me safe on the mountains.
34He trains me for battle,
so that I can use the strongest bow.
35O Lord, you protect me and save me;
your care has made me great,
and your power has kept me safe.
36You have kept me from being captured,
and I have never fallen.
37I pursue my enemies and catch them;
I do not stop until I destroy them.
38I strike them down, and they cannot rise;
they lie defeated before me.
39You give me strength for the battle
and victory over my enemies.
40You make my enemies run from me;
I destroy those who hate me.
41They cry for help, but no one saves them;
they call to the Lord, but he does not answer.
42I crush them, so that they become like dust
which the wind blows away.
I trample on them like mud in the streets.
43You saved me from a rebellious people
and made me ruler over the nations;
people I did not know have now become my subjects.
44Foreigners bow before me;
when they hear me, they obey.
45They lose their courage
and come trembling from their fortresses.
46The Lord lives! Praise my defender!
Proclaim the greatness of the God who saves me.
47He gives me victory over my enemies;
he subdues the nations under me
48and saves me from my foes.
O Lord, you give me victory over my enemies
and protect me from violent people.
49  And so I praise you among the nations;
I sing praises to you.
50God gives great victories to his king;
he shows constant love to the one he has chosen,
to David and his descendants forever.
– from Psalm 18 (GNT)

We are seen as perfect through the blood of Jesus who gave it all, once for all so that we can be and are clean in God’s sight because we have received Him as our Lord and Savior. Today is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s not be trying to figure it all out on our own, but let’s hold onto Jesus’ hand and walk this day out with Him. Let’s walk in the victory that He calls us to today! Let’s walk in the hope that is within us because of the Love and Sacrifice He has already shown us. Before we even knew Jesus, He gave His all, He gave His life for us. Read the end of the Book and you will see and hear how it will end and how being with Jesus guarantees victory!

Do you get it? Is there something that was revealed to you but you don’t get it? Do you need an interpreter? Do you need someone who can reveal to you what is being said? We see how Joseph played this role and how God used him in great and mighty ways to not only save Pharaoh and the people of Egypt, but also to reunite and save his own family!

Joseph Interprets the King’s Dreams

1After two years had passed, the king of Egypt dreamed that he was standing by the Nile River, 2when seven cows, fat and sleek, came up out of the river and began to feed on the grass. 3Then seven other cows came up; they were thin and bony. They came and stood by the other cows on the riverbank, 4and the thin cows ate up the fat cows. Then the king woke up. 5He fell asleep again and had another dream. Seven heads of grain, full and ripe, were growing on one stalk. 6Then seven other heads of grain sprouted, thin and scorched by the desert wind, 7and the thin heads of grain swallowed the full ones. The king woke up and realized that he had been dreaming. 8 In the morning he was worried, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. He told them his dreams, but no one could explain them to him.
9Then the wine steward said to the king, “I must confess today that I have done wrong. 10You were angry with the chief baker and me, and you put us in prison in the house of the captain of the guard. 11One night each of us had a dream, and the dreams had different meanings. 12A young Hebrew was there with us, a slave of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us. 13Things turned out just as he said: you restored me to my position, but you executed the baker.”
14The king sent for Joseph, and he was immediately brought from the prison. After he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came into the king’s presence. 15The king said to him, “I have had a dream, and no one can explain it. I have been told that you can interpret dreams.”
16Joseph answered, “I cannot, Your Majesty, but God will give a favorable interpretation.”
17The king said, “I dreamed that I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18when seven cows, fat and sleek, came up out of the river and began feeding on the grass. 19Then seven other cows came up which were thin and bony. They were the poorest cows I have ever seen anywhere in Egypt. 20The thin cows ate up the fat ones, 21but no one would have known it, because they looked just as bad as before. Then I woke up. 22I also dreamed that I saw seven heads of grain which were full and ripe, growing on one stalk. 23Then seven heads of grain sprouted, thin and scorched by the desert wind, 24and the thin heads of grain swallowed the full ones. I told the dreams to the magicians, but none of them could explain them to me.”
25Joseph said to the king, “The two dreams mean the same thing; God has told you what he is going to do. 26The seven fat cows are seven years, and the seven full heads of grain are also seven years; they have the same meaning. 27The seven thin cows which came up later and the seven thin heads of grain scorched by the desert wind are seven years of famine. 28It is just as I told you—God has shown you what he is going to do. 29There will be seven years of great plenty in all the land of Egypt. 30After that, there will be seven years of famine, and all the good years will be forgotten, because the famine will ruin the country. 31The time of plenty will be entirely forgotten, because the famine which follows will be so terrible. 32The repetition of your dream means that the matter is fixed by God and that he will make it happen in the near future.
33“Now you should choose some man with wisdom and insight and put him in charge of the country. 34You must also appoint other officials and take a fifth of the crops during the seven years of plenty. 35Order them to collect all the food during the good years that are coming, and give them authority to store up grain in the cities and guard it. 36The food will be a reserve supply for the country during the seven years of famine which are going to come on Egypt. In this way the people will not starve.”

Joseph Is Made Governor over Egypt

37The king and his officials approved this plan, 38and he said to them, “We will never find a better man than Joseph, a man who has God’s spirit in him.” 39The king said to Joseph, “God has shown you all this, so it is obvious that you have greater wisdom and insight than anyone else. 40 I will put you in charge of my country, and all my people will obey your orders. Your authority will be second only to mine. 41I now appoint you governor over all Egypt.” 42 The king removed from his finger the ring engraved with the royal seal and put it on Joseph’s finger. He put a fine linen robe on him, and placed a gold chain around his neck. 43He gave him the second royal chariot to ride in, and his guard of honor went ahead of him and cried out, “Make way! Make way!” And so Joseph was appointed governor over all Egypt. 44The king said to him, “I am the king—and no one in all Egypt shall so much as lift a hand or a foot without your permission.” 45-46He gave Joseph the Egyptian name Zaphenath Paneah, and he gave him a wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, a priest in the city of Heliopolis.
Joseph was thirty years old when he began to serve the king of Egypt. He left the king’s court and traveled all over the land. 47During the seven years of plenty the land produced abundant crops, 48all of which Joseph collected and stored in the cities. In each city he stored the food from the fields around it. 49There was so much grain that Joseph stopped measuring it—it was like the sand of the sea.
50Before the years of famine came, Joseph had two sons by Asenath. 51He said, “God has made me forget all my sufferings and all my father’s family”; so he named his first son Manasseh.#

41.51: Manasseh: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “cause to forget.”

52He also said, “God has given me children in the land of my trouble”; so he named his second son Ephraim.#

41.51: Ephraim: This name sounds like the Hebrew for “give children.”
53The seven years of plenty that the land of Egypt had enjoyed came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every other country, but there was food throughout Egypt. 55 When the Egyptians began to be hungry, they cried out to the king for food. So he ordered them to go to Joseph and do what he told them. 56The famine grew worse and spread over the whole country, so Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians. 57People came to Egypt from all over the world to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.
– from Genesis 41

Is God working on your character to setup you up for something bigger? Is God working on your attitude to make sure you are in the right set of mind? Is God taking the chip off your shoulder so that you will be mature enough to be able to handle the responsibilities He is about to give you? Are you ready? Is today your day? What gifts has God given you? Have you been a good steward? Have you pressed forward and not given up? What will today be? A day of preparation? A day of action? A day of celebration? Whatever type of day, let’s make it a day where we celebrate God!

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Leaving the door unlocked leaves you open to being vulnerable!

The devil purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. He doesn’t break in, but rather he jiggles the door to see what area of your life you have left open for him to get in through. He is looking for vulnerabilities in your life.

Today’s Word from Proverbs 4:20-27

These words were so important that Solomon wrote them down for future generations to remember. These words were so important that they even ended up in the Bible. Take a hold of these words and don’t lose track of their importance in your daily life!

20My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words.
21Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
22for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body.
23Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
24Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech.
25Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
26Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path.
27Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.

The 3 keys from today’s Word:

  1. The WHAT comes from v23: Guard your heart! – decides the course of your life. Your heart is the driving factor of your attitude, your actions, your words, it will impact the course of your life. The devil will try to get into your heart so that he will be able to infiltrate the rest of your life. Lock the door to your heart!
  2. The HOW comes from v24: Words have power! – We need to be intentional in speaking life. What is the unlocked door for you? Some may try to use honesty and openness as an excuse for being destructive, however, the reality is we need to be open and honest without trying to destroy the other person! This counts to self talk too. We can be our worst critic so we need to do a word check there too. Speak truth and life to yourself! Don fall for the lies of the devil. Lock the door of your lips!
  3. More of the what to do comes from v25: Don’t compare yourself to others! Don’t covet! (Deuteronomy 5:21 puts it this way: “You must not covet your neighbor’s wife. You must not covet your neighbor’s house or land, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.” Proverbs even speaks to the how to avoid this pitfall by keeping your eyes on the road ahead. Appreciate what we have! Comparison never leads to anything positive – it either leads us to a point where we think we are better and pride gets introduce or we feel defeated by they are better than us. Both cases are BAD! Don’t play the comparison game! Don’t miss out the victories God provides because you are comparing yourself to others. It could have been your best day ever but because you are comparing it to someone else’s you lost whereas you could have been celebrating because it is a new record in your life! If you want to measure yourself, do it against the Word of God and use God’s measuring stick, God’s Standards!
  4. More of the HOW comes from v26-27: Deal with the problems before they become problems. Be intentional! See the path! Deal with the situation or the issue before it becomes a situation or issue! Be open, honest, and vulnerable in areas where you struggle! To be successful -> be open on struggles -> put up safeguards to keep you from failing! Remember the pain of discipline is always better than the pain of regret!

— my notes from @pastorjoshj’s preaching today

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Don’t ask to make it easier, ask to be made stronger!

When it hurts too much try cry, lean on Jesus and He will comfort you.

God’s not somewhere out there, He is a personal God who desires to have an intimate relationship with you. Take time today to hear from God’s heart. He loves you and desires the best for You. God’s got a plan…

In Jeremiah – through the Old Testament we read:

11I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. 12Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will answer you. 13 You will seek me, and you will find me because you will seek me with all your heart. 14Yes, I say, you will find me, and I will restore you to your land. I will gather you from every country and from every place to which I have scattered you, and I will bring you back to the land from which I had sent you away into exile. I, the Lord, have spoken.’

– Jeremiah 29:11-14

So don’t give up and don’t give in! Seek God and build up your relationship with Him!

Some may think that God wants to judge and condemn us, but that is shown to be wrong when He sent Jesus. In the end we will be judged, however, before that we are given freewill to choose who we will follow and how we will live. The New Testament speaks to it this way:

14 As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior.

18Those who believe in the Son are not judged; but those who do not believe have already been judged, because they have not believed in God’s only Son. 19This is how the judgment works: the light has come into the world, but people love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil. 20Those who do evil things hate the light and will not come to the light, because they do not want their evil deeds to be shown up. 21But those who do what is true come to the light in order that the light may show that what they did was in obedience to God.
– John 3:14-21

So today, not matter what you are facing, don’t turn in fear, don’t run away. Put on the full armor of God and stand firm. Ask God to make you stronger. Ask God to fill you up with the Holy Spirit that you may have wisdom and courage to take on the lies and the attacks of the enemy.

10Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power. 11Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks. 12For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. 13So put on God’s armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.

14 So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, 15 and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. 16At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. 17 And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. 18Do all this in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people. 19And pray also for me, that God will give me a message when I am ready to speak, so that I may speak boldly and make known the gospel’s secret. 20For the sake of this gospel I am an ambassador, though now I am in prison. Pray that I may be bold in speaking about the gospel as I should.
– Ephesians 6:10-20 (GNT)

God brought you to it, He can and will get you through it!

Be Ready for the Lord’s Coming

1There is no need to write you, friends, about the times and occasions when these things will happen. 2For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come as a thief comes at night. 3When people say, “Everything is quiet and safe,” then suddenly destruction will hit them! It will come as suddenly as the pains that come upon a woman in labor, and people will not escape. 4But you, friends, are not in the darkness, and the Day should not take you by surprise like a thief. 5All of you are people who belong to the light, who belong to the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, we should not be sleeping like the others; we should be awake and sober. 7It is at night when people sleep; it is at night when they get drunk. 8But we belong to the day, and we should be sober. We must wear faith and love as a breastplate, and our hope of salvation as a helmet. 9God did not choose us to suffer his anger, but to possess salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us in order that we might live together with him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes. 11And so encourage one another and help one another, just as you are now doing.

Final Instructions and Greetings

12We beg you, our friends, to pay proper respect to those who work among you, who guide and instruct you in the Christian life. 13Treat them with the greatest respect and love because of the work they do. Be at peace among yourselves.
14We urge you, our friends, to warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15See that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but at all times make it your aim to do good to one another and to all people.
16Be joyful always, 17pray at all times, 18be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.
19Do not restrain the Holy Spirit; 20do not despise inspired messages. 21Put all things to the test: keep what is good 22and avoid every kind of evil.
23May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being—spirit, soul, and body—free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24He who calls you will do it, because he is faithful.
25Pray also for us, friends.
26Greet all the believers with the kiss of peace.
27I urge you by the authority of the Lord to read this letter to all the believers.
28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
– 1 Thessalonians 5

So this is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s not give up nor turn away, but let’s hold onto the hand of God and press forward for He will get us through it! Let’s complete the work that God is calling us to that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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