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Monday, February 17, 2020

God May Be Trying To Get You To Slow Down Or To Stop Right Now So He Can Show You Some Things That You Are Never Going To See If You're Constantly On The Run From One Project To The Next Or One Battle To The Next.


Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10 (NLT) “  

Many of us are still Driving along not realizing that we're Directionally Challenged and Heading For a Crash because we won’t slow down.

God May Be Trying To Get You To Slow Down Or To Stop Right Now So He Can Show You Some Things That You Are Never Going To See If You're Constantly On The Run From One Project To The Next, One Fight To The Next, One Battle To The Next. But how can God show you anything, when your focus is always on everything else?!

It could be that you've been running ahead of the Lord's timing, or you've been pursuing what you want instead of what He wants.  Many of us are still Driving along not realizing that we're Directionally Challenged and Heading For a Crash!

Maybe you've been neglecting the regular timeout that God calls a "Sabbath"; you're all Accelerator and no Brakes, you're violating God's created order of taking regular rest! You’re daily bypassing all the signs that are God’s messages to you for your safety: ‘Stop, Do Not Enter, Yield, Dead End, One-Way, Wrong Way, U-Turn, Speed Limit, Caution, Bump, Bend, No Passing Zone, Bridge, Slippery Road, Falling Rocks, Road Work Ahead, Detour, Under Construction, Don’t Walk, Slow Down, Hazard, and even Hospital, just in case you decide to ignore all the other signs!”

It's possible that God's been trying to say some very important things to you, things that would bring sense to your swirling world, but you can't hear Him because you're running so fast, in so many directions, with so many people, to so many places, on so many projects, to do far too much! Whatever the reason for your non-stop pace, I know there has to be someone listening right now to whom God is saying, "It's time to take a break…it’s time to hit 'pause.' It’s time for Time Off, Time Out and Time Away!" Don't ignore His call to "be still and know that He is God."
Because truth is, if we don't choose to slow down, He will as the 23rd Psalm say, "…MAKE us lie down in green pastures..." And truth is, many times the only way I took my Time Off, Time Out and Time Away was by God's Force! It wasn’t until I was flat on my back sick that I received the much needed rest I should’ve been getting all along. And I had to learn how to even force myself to take better care of myself! Because I didn’t want God to ‘MAKE me lie down flat’ anymore; so I had to start taking a hard look at all the things I was involved in and see where I needed to make some better arrangements and adjustments for my life.
God asks us to pause, or ultimately makes us pause, not to punish us, but to refit us. He wants you to slow down for work that needs to be done, for refueling that you desperately need, for retooling, or for redirecting you back into the center of His will. And He's actually wired us to do what His Son did at the beginning of His unbelievably busy days here on earth - to spend quiet time with Him. To hit 'pause' each new day so we can hear our Master's voice before we hear any other, appropriate our Master's resources, experience our Master's healing touch, and receive our Master's orders for the day. Why it’s so vital that you take Time Off, Time Out and Time Away!

1. TIME OFF – Is defined as ‘time for rest or recreation away from one’s usual work or studies.’ This is two-fold, you need to take time off to Rest and time to Recreate! I’ve always been amazed at how the body heals itself, especially through rest. Blood pressure regulates your heartbeat calms your breathing, is stable and you’re less stressed. Your bones aren’t aching, popping, snapping and locking, because they are receiving the reprieve they so desperately need, especially from us women who like to wear high heels day in and day out. Now, be prepared because your rest includes, ignoring your phone, text, emails, social media, and the like. It’s reconnecting with peace, serenity, tranquility. It’s also watching your favorite shows, listening to your favorite music, sitting in your favorite chair. It’s avoiding at all cost what’s going on at work, at church, at school, or anywhere else. It’s sitting still, going to bed early, not to mention getting more than 3 hours of sleep! But it’s also about recreation! And this is not a sin! So, go to the movies, go to the mall, start a dancing class, a pottery class, a painting class. Go to the museum, visit a garden and get involved in a sport. Change your hair color, change your wardrobe. Enjoy your life! Recreation allows you to Re-Create! You see, when your mind gets the break it’s over-due for, fresh juices get to flowing and ideas, passions, dreams and visions that you would have never imagined begin to formulate. So, don’t take this time for granted! Rest and Recreate! 

2. TIME OUT – This is often viewed in a negative way as how some children are disciplined. Well, as children of God, this is a great way to help ourselves! Time out is supposed to give children time to reflect on what they did wrong and to understand the need for discipline for it. Like it or not, some stuff in our lives that should not be, will remain if we leave it unchecked. Therefore, do yourself a favor and take some time to give yourself a Time Out! Ask God to show you the areas, activities and addictions that may need addressing. Take this time to acknowledge any wrongs and to atone and make amends where needed. Take this time to self-exam your behavior, attitude, actions, thoughts, imagination, sins. Take this time to ask the Holy Spirit to shine a search-light on your soul and expose to you any areas of darkness that need to be discovered and brought to light. Therefore, put yourself in Time Out before Your Father does.

3. TIME AWAY –When you take Time Away, learn to disconnect altogether! If you’re at the movies, out to dinner, or on vacation, be there and don’t take social media with you! The word ‘away’ is defined as ‘at a distance from a particular, place, person or thing.’ And that’s what you need to do, create distance when you disconnect! One of my bad habits is bringing my cell phone to the dinner table! I’ve since learned how disrespectful, inappropriate and distracting such a bad habit can be. Since then, I’ve learned to plug up my phone away from me and turn off the ringer, and even turn it face down so I won’t even notice the little blue light or the screen displaying a phone call, attempting to catch my attention. I’ve learned to engage in meaningful conversation at the dinner table. It took me a little while, but I’m learning to disconnect and I hope you’ll learn likewise...Jesus did: 

Don’t allow situations, circumstances, or people (including you) to make you think everything is an emergency and you are the only emergency personnel at work! You need a break to! It's not Selfish it is Self-Care!

Today, I admonish every single reader, Pause a Moment, Listen and Consider the Wonderful Things God Does for You and Those Whom You Love! The World will not stop because you do! Truth is, sometimes it's not a Break-Through we need most it is simply a Break! Love You Enough to Take Time Off, Time Out and Time Away! We Have Need of You...But YOU Have Need of You All the More! Be Encouraged because God has need of you on a daily basis. Be Still And Know That He Is God! Be Still So That You Can Hear His Voice. Be Still So That He Can Direct Your Path. Be Still So That He Can Bring Peace Into Your Life.


J.P. Olson

Monday, February 10, 2020

It’s Only When We’re Tested In Battle That We Become Skilled Warriors! You Can Be Confident God Will Allow Trials To Come Your Way Through Afflictions: A Strained Marriage, Straying Children, Or A Difficult Friendship That Requires Unconditional Love.


Judges 3:2, “He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle” (NLT).
The Contemporary English Version says it like this: “And the Lord had another reason for letting these enemies stay. The Israelites needed to learn how to fight in war, just as their ancestors had done. Each New Generation Would Have To Learn By Fighting” (CEV)
God brought the nation of Israel into the Promise Land of Canaan through Joshua. But after Joshua, There came an entire generation who had no experience in fighting battles! How can a generation who knew nothing but to fight for victory, not train the next generation to do the same? However, this is the problem with today’s church, which is why so few know how to deal with spiritual warfare when it arises! They run and hide, and cry, and complain, and beg God to remove what they don’t like or don’t want to deal with. But ‘old church’ knew how to slay a devil, do devotion, wash clothes, pray, cook, clean, fast and help the kids with their homework, all before sundown! Yet, now, if this generation stub a toe they’re out of church for 6 months! If the doctor gives a diagnosis, they go picking out their casket! If someone talks about them, they’ll switch 12 churches in 12 months! If they get into an argument with their spouse they’re downloading divorce papers templates! But what they need to do is “…Learn how to fight in war, just as their ancestors had done. Each New Generation Would Have To Learn By Fighting”
Training And Testing, Is One Of God’s Important Strategies That Enable His Children To Succeed In Spiritual Warfare!
The Bible says: “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried and chosen you in the furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 48:10 AMP) People of God, like it or not, Your Affliction is Trying You, But It Is Also Refining You! The word ‘refine’ is defined as ‘to remove impurities or unwanted elements from; to make changes so as to improve.’ And that’s the purpose of God refining you, so He can get out of you everything that’s unlike Him, so He can improve you and make you a better representative of Him in the earth! Refining is for your good! It’s proof that God loves you far too much to leave you as is, especially when He sees so much more in you! Yes, it hurts, yes it’s painful, yes it feels unfair, yes everybody sees your refining process, yes it makes you cry, yes it wakes you up in the middle of the night to enter prayer, yes it’s uncomfortable, but it’s making you into a Warrior That Knows How to Fight the Battles of Life! Not the worrier who only knows how to weep and whine, scared of getting the slightest of battle bruises!
Now, we’re always quick to say that we’re “Chosen”, but God says I’ve “…Chosen you in the furnace of affliction”! Your Anointing Has Affliction Added To It, Not Subtracted! You Need Them Both! You Need Anointed Affliction if You are to Become the Warrior God Chose You to Be! Which means you have to learn how to handle affliction! Psalm 119:71 says, "It is good for me that I have been AFFLICTED, That I may LEARN Your statutes." (AMP) However, Venting is not handling affliction, posting on social media is not handling affliction, having a self-pity party is not handling affliction, trying to get the whole church to wipe our tears is not handling affliction! The only way to handle affliction is to keep our sword sharp which is the Word of God! We need to learn how to fight using the weapon of the Word that’s freely at our disposal! Hebrews 4:12, " For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart." (AMP) In other words, when in battle, every word out of your mouth needs to be the Word of God! Matthew 4:4, "But Jesus replied, “It is written and forever remains written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’" (AMP) That’s how God’s soldiers fight in His army!  No Word, No Weapon, No Weapon, No Victory! If you are to successfully handle affliction you will need to learn how to go toe-to-toe with the enemy, using the Word of God that stops him in his tracks every time! 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, "The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ," (AMP) Affliction should always send you running for the Word of God, that’s your weapon to wield until you attain victory…
BUT, unfortunately…
This Generation of the Church has become pitiful in Spiritual Warfare, and you know why? Because There’s a Whole Generation “…Who Has No Experience In Battle” That’s why we cry over everything from a disobedient child to a troubled marriage, to an unexpected health issue or pink slip from the job! Because We Do Not Have Experience In Battle! And guess how GOD HIMSELF said this will be rectified? “…Each New Generation Would Have To Learn By Fighting”! So put your cute shoes away and lace up your boots, it’s time to go to battle!                
Trials are for training you to win victoriously! Which is why the life of the believer is not without trials! Ephesians 6:16
Now, Get It Together and Get Your Gear On! It’s Time for You to Learn to Do Battle!
Like it or not:  God allows circumstances to develop around our lives to give our faith opportunity to be proven! “Also through Him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces PROVEN character, and PROVEN character produces hope.” (Romans 5:2-4 HCSB) Did you catch all of that? “…We Also Rejoice In Our Afflictions…” Why? Because Our Afflictions, “Produce Endurance, Proven Character And Hope…” In Other Words: Your Affliction Works to Your Advantage! How Your afflictions are proving that you have what it takes to endure the battle and win the victory. But it’s also working on your character. That’s what God does when He sends afflictions into your life to improve your character. He wants you to grow and develop His characteristics in your life in such a way that people can see His stamp of approval on your life. Your character is your brand. It tells people what you stand for and what you will not tolerate. Your afflictions are teaching and training you to maintain good character, integrity and a reputation that is above reproach and one that resembles God’s! In addition, afflictions groom your hope! ‘Hope’, is ‘a feeling of expectation and desire for something to happen.’ It’s directly attached to your faith and both grow when you learn how to expect God to deliver you, even when you see no evidence that He will (Daniel 3:16-18, " Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to answer you on this point. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up!” AMP). Your afflictions train your hope and faith to believe God no matter how fierce the battle becomes; no matter what the enemy is saying, no matter what the enemy is doing; no matter how badly you’ve become bruised in battle; your hope and faith are teaching and training you to let nothing and no one distract you from victory! Your afflictions are working for your good because they are training you to endure the battle and win the victorious war!
Truth Is: It’s Only When We’re Tested In Battle That We Become Skilled Warriors!
Therefore, you might as well get ready because you can be confident God will allow trials to come your way through afflictions such as: a strained marriage, straying children, critical bosses, false assaults on your character, or a difficult friendship that requires unconditional love. However, regardless to how many afflictions come our way, God has promised us, “many are the afflictions of the righteous: But the Lord delivered him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). So what are you crying and complaining about? there is no affliction that is permanent! they are all temporary! when you pass your training tests of trials, “…the Lord will deliver you out of them all…”
 “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This Is A Spiritual Refining Process, With Glory Just Around The Corner” (1 Peter 4:12-13 MSGDid you catch that? “…Glory Is Just Around The Corner”! And all you have to do is endure your refining process! The word ‘Process’ is defined as ‘a series of actions or steps towards achieving a particular end.’ And your ‘particular end’ is, “…Glory Is Just Around The Corner”! So Don’t You Dare Give Up, Give Out or Give In! Keep Going! Glory Is Waiting Just Around the Corner!  
Don’t be discouraged in battles, God is using them to develop you into a great warrior, skilled in spiritual warfare!  No longer a generation who has no experience in battle! But now a generation that makes the devil cringe every morning when your feet hit the floor to remind Him, you’re dressed in the whole/full armor of God, and you’re ready for another fight! “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but MIGHTY through God to the pulling down of strong holds;” (2 Corinthians 10:4). Cheer up and gear up, because your afflictions are training you to pull down strong holds!
Judges 3:2, “He did this to TEACH warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle” (NLT). Your afflictions, trials, refining, and fights are all for the sole purpose of teaching and training you for battle! They are skills being added to your spiritual resume, removing ‘no experience’ and instead having ‘a wealth of knowledge in warfare’ added. And just like a resume in the natural realm so it is in the spiritual realm, the more experience you have the greater the opportunities for employment. The more you grow in learning how to handle warfare the more opportunities God will give to you His soldier, because He knows, from experience, you will not retreat but you will return with the spoils of the enemy! Learn what God is trying to teach you and train you, so He can trust you in battle!
Well, if that is so, here is your Faith DecreeI decree today that I will no longer stumble over my struggles, cry over my crisis, agonize over my afflictions, retreat from my refining process, or have a tantrum over my trials. There is no test given to me, that my God hasn’t already provided the answers to pass.  This time, when my Faith comes out of the Furnace it will be on Fire instead of in Ashes! In Jesus Name I Decree it to be so. Amen. So It Is and So Shall It Be!                
J.P. Olson

Monday, February 3, 2020

God Is Waiting To Hand You Your Next Assignment. This Is The Year You Overcome And Survive Every Disappointment!

Proverbs 13:12, “Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a…good break can turn life around.”
If you’re still living—then disappointment is inevitable! Webster defines disappointment as, “When expectations fail to be met, producing anger, frustration, sadness and discouragement.
With that said, here are some examples to help you when:
1.. YOUR DISAPPOINTED WITH THOSE YOU LOOK UP TO: Think of Samuel and Eli (1 Samuel 1-4). Samuel’s mother entrusted her child to Eli the High Priest, confident he’d mentor and prepare him for God’s service. But Eli had a serious character flaw! He was a weak, passive parent who stood by while his own sons abused their priestly privilege, bringing shame and disrepute to the family and ministry! There’s a very befitting quote that says, “He who thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following him is only taking a walk.” (Author UnknownI believe it’s fair to say that Eli was “…only taking a walk.” I mean with a “mentor” like Eli, who’d have even blamed young Samuel for taking a nose dive right into the very heart of immorality, when the man he looked up to failed him so badly?! But no, instead he fielded his disappointment and kept his eyes on God: The Bible says, “…Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him.” (1 Samuel 3:19). And as a result, God turned him into one of Israel’s Greatest Prophets! Henry Ward Beecher accurately stated: “Ones best success comes after their greatest disappointment.” Well Done Samuel, Well Done! So, how are we to deal with the disappointment we feel in those we look up to, that let us down? Because it’s bound to happen at some point in life. Whether it’s a parent, clergy, family, friend, business associate, spouse, governmental official, etc, we are bound to be let down by those we look up to. But does that give us license to lower our standards because they didn’t raise theirs? Absolutely Not! Samuel grew and the Lord was with him. You see, even when Eli messed up his Role, Samuel maintained his Character. He never attacked Eli, he didn’t bash him, he didn’t talk about him, he didn’t spread rumors, lies, gossip or even Truth about him. No, Samuel just lived the life of a good leader, which reminds us that we can point fingers and lay blame, but where does that get us, even if we’re in the right?! The better bet is to take the high road. Live right, think right, speak right, behave right, no matter how wrong your surroundings or the people in them. So the next time someone you look up to let’s you down, keep them in prayer and be a mirror to them showing them the reflection of what good (not perfect) looks like. Why? Because Eli died and missed out, but the person you look up to doesn’t have to. So, share your heart with them gently and honestly, then whether they agree or disagree, you move onward showing everyone that you can learn a good lesson even from a bad example! Don’t judge them, just refuse to make their same errors in judgment. You can do it, I know you can!
2.. YOU’RE DISAPPOINTED IN THOSE YOU LIVE WITH: If anyone wouldn’t let you down, surely it would be your family, right? Wrong! Just ask young Joseph. When his father favors him and God promised him a big dream you’d think his own blood brothers would celebrate him, and celebrate with him! But instead they responded with jealousy, anger, spite, bitterness, ridicule and resentment, while dropping him in a pit, then selling him into slavery! Far from friends and home he languished in prison for a crime he didn’t commit! What an invitation to bitterness, and an opportunity to rehearse the wrongs done him while plotting his revenge. But if he’d done that, he’d have died an innocent, unknown convict in a foreign jail! Instead he allowed God to vindicate him, using his circumstances to position, prepare and promote him to being Egypt’s Prime Minister—now that’s how you deal with disappointment! Robert Kiyosaki said: “The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.” Well Done Joseph, Well Done! So, how do you deal with family, your own blood, that stabs you in the back? What happens when the attack is from an assailant under your own roof? What do you do when it’s your sibling that drops you in the pit, or your cousin that sells you out, or your auntie that lands you behind bars?! How do you recover when it was a relative that inflicted the hurt?! You do as Joseph did, you trust God throughout the entire process! Nowhere do we read that Joseph cried out ‘why me God’; he didn’t blame dad for not being there to protect him; he didn’t retaliate against the cup-bearer who forgot him; he didn’t get angry with the whole world and try to issue his own form of the big payback. As he went from disaster to disaster God never left his side. In every bad, God produced something good. Now, is it easy, especially when it’s blood, to just trust the vindication and vengeance to God alone, no! But it’s the best way to handle it, to put what you will mishandle in the hands of God! In the end, those same relatives had to come and bow before Joseph, will that happen with you, probably not, but isn’t it worth it to trust God and let Him work? Maybe, just maybe, you’ll at least get the apology and more importantly, you’ll get the reconciliation. Take the high road my friends, even when it’s family that’s trying to drive you off course!
3.. YOU’RE DISAPPOINTED IN THOSE YOU WORK WITH AND DEPEND ON: To succeed, you need people; you can’t make it without them! And when those people fail you, it’s painful. Imagine Moses’ disappointment. He leaves his brother Aaron in charge while he attends a summit conference with God and receives the Ten Commandments. Returning, he finds Israel in anarchy, idolatry and unspeakable perversion! And where’s Aaron you ask? Leading the Rebellion! When Moses needs him Most, Aaron fails him Miserably! But watch Moses; true leadership shines even in darkest of disappointment! He confronts Aaron, takes the mess to God for resolution, and prays forgiveness for Israel! God listens, then reminds Moses of his assignment! [It’s disappointing, Moses, but…] – “…go, lead the people…my angel will go before you…” (Exodus 32:34 NIV). People of God, disappointment doesn’t cancel your assignment—nor does it close the door on God’s presence! So, go forth, even in the midst of disappointment, and do what He sent you to do! “Man must be disappointed with the lesser things of life before he can comprehend the full value of the greater.” (Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton). Well Done Moses, Well Done! So leaders, dare I even ask if you’ve ever been disappointed by your leaders? Surely you have, many of us have. But that doesn’t mean you disown them; you don’t give up on them; you don’t give them the cold shoulder; you don’t attempt to replace them; you don’t ignore them; and certainly you don’t retaliate tit-for-tat with them! No, you follow Moses’ example. Take the issue before God! Let Him tell you how to handle it, not your ‘inner circle’; not your clique; not your buddies and pals; not people you know don’t like them; and certainly you don’t attempt to get back at them from over the pulpit! Moses took the issue he had with Aaron his leader, to God. And God could’ve told Moses get rid of Aaron, you don’t need him, you’re the key person to this assignment anyhow. No, He simply tells Moses to not focus on the attack but on his assignment, …go, lead the people…my angel will go before you…”  And does of you who are leaders, I do not have to tell you just how difficult it is to lead people, especially those who are stiff-necked, hard headed and rebellious! But do you get to retaliate? Nope! You are still held accountable for your leadership, your life and lifestyle and your responses to offense. Your character and integrity must remain intact. You must still be above reproach, even when those you lead keep falling under it! Yes, the disappointment hurts, but you can’t let the wound infect your assignment. Do what Moses did, take it to God, receive His directives, and continue on. Why? Because God said, …go, lead the people…” which means others will be affected by how you respond when disappointed. Don’t let childish immaturity be the only way your followers can describe your leadership. Handle it, rise above it and keep moving the people forward! Don’t mess up your ministry because you’re mad!
4.. YOU’RE DISAPPOINTED IN THOSE YOU’VE POURED YOUR LIFE INTO: Let’s check in again with Moses, Founding Pastor of the First Church of the Critical and the Ungrateful, a congregation of former slaves, delivered, abundantly blessed, en route to the Promised Land, but without a shred of loyalty or gratitude for the man who put everything on the line to make it all possible! Fresh out of Egypt they turn on Moses, accusing, blaming and berating him (Exodus 14). Was Moses disappointed and hurt by it? Sure, who wouldn’t be?! But each time he wanted to quit he’d discuss it with God, pray for his complaining flock, receive fresh orders from headquarters and return to work! It’s what “God-Called” men and women do when they’re disappointed and feel like giving up! “If you use disappointments as sort of mid-semester exams, for learning, you will learn that every disappointment you overcome makes you stronger—and wiser. The greatest success stories have been lived by those who had to grow strong and wise in that very way.” (Loretta Young). Once Again, Well Done Moses, Well Done! Leaders, once again I want to encourage you, because it’s not easy to take one vision and try to get an entire house to see and follow it. I know it would be absolutely wonderful to have the whole house on the same page, however, realistically, our churches are family trees with a whole lot of mixed nuts! One person wants the school; the other person thinks the school won’t work; the other person doesn’t mind a school, but doesn’t like the blueprint of the school, and all the while you wish you could throw all of them in detention and keep building the vision by yourself. But unfortunately it doesn’t quite work out that way. We’re apart of One body with many members, and every member is vital to the health and well being of the whole. So even when it seems like you can’t get one good solid supporter, remember you always have God and with Him you are in the majority! Moses led a frustrated, frustrating bunch of complainers, but did he throw in the towel? No, and neither will you. Like it or not, but you will pour even more of your life into the people, and some of them have eternal leaks, but that’s not your problem! Their capacity is for God to handle, you simply pour of yourself into them. God will never allow you to dry out and die, He will continue to replenish you, His Chosen Vessel of Honor. Therefore, understand that disappointment will visit, but don’t let it move in! Stay the course, God’s got you!  
Now take a moment and look at 1 Samuel 15:10-12, “…God spoke to Samuel: “I’m sorry I ever made Saul king. He’s turned his back on me. He refuses to do what I tell him.” Samuel was angry when he heard this. He prayed his anger and disappointment all through the night…” (MSG). As already stated, if you’re still living—disappointment is inevitable! But might I add, it’s not ‘Impregnable’, which means ‘Unable To Overcome’You see, when anger and disappointment threatened Samuel, he fought back in Prayer! If you’re smart, you’ll do the same! Disappointment only delivers a death blow to those who don’t fight back! You can literally read those verses and feel Samuel’s anger, after all, do you know how mad you have to be to pray angry and disappointed…All Through the Night?! But sometimes prayer is the best thing, because when you’re hurt, angry and disappointed, your mouth runs faster than your mind. So you have a tendency to say some things that you meant to say and a whole lot more that you didn’t! But when you empty all of that out to God in prayer, He’s a master-sorter, He knows how to pick through that prayer for what’s really needed. Therefore, no matter how great the disappointment, take it to God FIRST in prayer, even if you have to enter your prayer closet hurt, disappointed, bitter, angry, confused, rejected, abandoned, used, betrayed, lied on, suicidal, take it all to God in prayer, even if that prayer will last long into the night! Thank God, He never sleeps or slumbers! Take it to Him, then rest in Him, knowing He’s going to bring something good, out of your something bad!
Now, we’ve talked about disappointment with those we look up to; those we live with; those we work with and depend on and those we’ve poured our life into. But, there’s one last disappointment I want us to dig into, and that’s:
5.. DISAPPOINTMENT IN OURSELVES! It’s potentially the most debilitating kind of disappointment because it can throw you into a downward spiral that’s hard to stop or recover from! Rollo May said: “Depression is the inability to construct a future.” And for most of us, who can tell the whole truth, we’ve had so many little disappointments along the way that we can’t even fathom a pencil-sketch of a big future! Well, there’s an even better quote that I want you to hold on to by Albert Ellishe said: “You largely Construct your depression. It wasn’t given to you. Therefore, You can Deconstruct it.” You see, mounting disappointments are a map with all directions pointing towards the destination of depression! But remember, anything you can CONSTRUCT, you can also DECONSTRUCT, or ‘cause the destruction of”. The other definition I like is, “to dismantle and expose the workings of.” If you’ve built up and constructed disappointments in your life, you can also grab your toolkit and deconstruct those same disappointments. Take them apart, dismantle them and expose the works behind them, so you can ensure that what worked before in building that disappointment, won’t ever work again! And even if “YOU” brought the discouragement, disappointment and depression on yourself, there is still a way to recover! JUST ASK PETER! Peter had sworn undying love and fidelity to Jesus. “Lord, everybody else may abandon you, but not me! I’m yours till death.” (Read—Matthew 26:33-75). And he meant every word of it! But under the pressures surrounding the crucifixion, he yields, and three times denies knowing Jesus. Later, remembering Jesus’ words, “Before the rooster crows, you’ll deny me three times,” Peter, heartbroken BY HIS OWN DISMAL FAILURE, “went outside and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:62 NIV).
Have you ever been there, asking: “God, how can You possibly use someone as messed up as me? I lost the job; I flunked out of school; I had this baby out of wedlock; I have a prison record; I fell off the wagon again; I’ve destroyed my finances; my health is falling apart; my marriage is on life support and we’re both ready to pull the plug; I can’t even remember the last time I prayed or fasted or studied Your word; I can’t remember the last time my hands clapped, my feet danced or praise was on my lips and worship in my spirit. Lord my family is a feuding mess; the loans were denied; the bills are about to drown me; there’s so much to pray for regarding my kids, I don’t even know where to start; my parents are getting sicker; God I can’t get two sentences to make sense in my head, Lord, why are you still trying to use me?!
Listen, Peter failed to meet his own expectations, but Jesus was never shocked! He was well aware of Peter’s flaws when He called him into the ministry. He knew that His blustering, outspoken disciple had a tender heart, so He extended grace to him rather than remove him from office! And as disqualified as you may feel from all of your disappointments in life, God is not going to remove you from office or your assignment either!  
So, Yes, You Can Recover Even From Disappointment In Yourself!
Friends, if last night wasn’t your LAST night, God still has much in store for you! So stop beating yourself up, sometimes God uses our greatest disappointments as reappointments to life and ministry! He hasn’t given up on you, so don’t give up on yourself! It’s a new day, make a renewed you, and fulfill your purpose in life!
 God Is Waiting To Hand You Your Next Assignment.
This Is The Year You Overcome And Survive Every Disappointment!
 “When you believe in your purpose, you can work through obstacles, overcome disappointments, and endure hardships.” (Billy Cox)
 “Disappointments are just God’s way of saying, ‘I’ve got something better.’ So be patient, have faith and live your life.” (Author Unknown)
 “When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to makes mistakes. Disappointments, defeat and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.” (Paulo Coelho)

J.P. Olson

Monday, January 27, 2020

When You’re Down, That’s The Wrong Time To Isolate Yourself!  There Are Times When We All Feel Down. Before You Can Deal With Your Problem, You’ve Got To Dwell In His Presence. He’s Ready And Willing To Catch Anything We Cast On Him!

“Elijah was…just like us…” (James 5:17 NIV)

There are times in life when we ALL feel down. Today, we’ll take notice of how Elijah got Down, but more importantly, HOW HE GOT BACK UP:

1...IT HAPPENED ON THE HEELS OF A GREAT VICTORY: He didn’t start out in Doldrums (which is defined as a state of stagnation or depression), and he didn’t fall into sin (as most saints like to analyze and assume that’s the cause to every downcast spirit). NO, ON THE CONTRARY, he’d just called down fire from heaven and slain 450 false prophets (1 Kings 18:22-39)! So he went from Exhilaration to Exhaustion IN AN INSTANT! Ever been there? I know I have. Elijah was weary, with his defenses down and vulnerability up, so he fell into a natural depression, because fatigue always strips us of focus and fight! And to tell the truth, we could really be a blessing to others if we’d all simply learned to be honest enough to share with folks that “I’ve been there.” When everything was going right, and then out of nowhere in the midst of the battle you had to cry out, “I’ve been hit!” Situations come at us that we are not prepared for, a death of a loved one or child, a job loss, a broken marriage, health problems, that C word we so hate to hear Cancer and many other challenges. Sometimes our body, soul and spirit all shut completely down! But I thank God for a nucleus of honest folks that simply said, ‘the preacher in you may not want to cry, but the daughter in you has too. Be real, be free, and do what you got to do to get through. Will that be an easy task to accomplish? Absolutely not! Your body, soul, spirit, heart and mind, is to pretend like you’re unaffected, especially when you have a title, and therefore, don’t feel entitled to breakdown. 

What I’m saying folks is it’s okay to be hit with unexpected challenges, and to hurt and even to cry and bleed. But don’t stop there. Keep moving towards healing. Even if you were just promoted, got the house, got the car, got the clean bill of health, had the baby, got married, passed the test, graduated school…know that for every high, lows come on their heels. It's not sinful to want to throw in the towel after being so high, only to be hit so low. Which is why you have to learn to guard yourself when you’re walking through your bed of roses…thorns are still ever present! Elijah went from high to low in an instant, and so have many of us. So don’t feel guilty! Leader and laity alike, we all get dealt some very harsh life blows. And yet I encourage you to keep going (even if you have to make some pit stops along the way to catch your second wind), still keep going. Never stop moving towards healing! Just Remember: The Best Way To Get Up…Is To Get Honest…Especially With Yourself, Than Others!

2...FEAR CAUSED HIM TO LOSE PERSPECTIVE: The man of God who’d just faced down an evil MULTITUDE, ended up running from ONE WOMAN (1 Kings 19)! Fear made him forget God’s power; it skewed (distorted) his perspective and left him feeling suicidal! Exhaustion coupled with Fear is Dangerous! It invites feelings of hopelessness, wrongful thinking, and creates the illusion that your options are all gone! I share this with you because sometimes we can feel like we lose a portion of our calling, anointing, gifts and ministry because we’re honest that life dealt us a blow that we weren’t prepared to receive. However, that is not the case at all. Let no one and nothing make you feel as if you are ever doing life alone. Your God is an ever- present God. There’s nowhere you can go and He not already be there. You can cry, pace, and even get on the verge of throwing in the towel, and still God will be right there saying, ‘as soon as you’re done, I’ll be right here for you to talk to.’ Being saved does not in any way exempt us from trials, struggles, pain, hurt, loss, and the like. It doesn’t even exempt us from moments of human feelings of being nervous, panicked, fearful, scared or worried. The great thing for us however, is that we have a loving Father that we can take all of that too. He’s ready and willing to catch anything we cast on Him! Therefore, no matter what’s going on, what’s going wrong or what’s going nowhere…REFOCUS! GOD WILL ALWAYS USE HIS PERFECT LOVE TO SHIFT YOUR FOCUS FROM FEAR BACK TO FAITH!

3...HE BECAME ISOLATED: Elijah left his servant at Beersheba and journeyed into the wilderness ALONE (1 Kings 19:3-4). When you most need support, anxiety, a sense of inadequacy and fear of failure, will push you into isolation every time! At that point you’re in the worst possible company – YOUR OWN! Elijah thought, “I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me” (vs 10, 14). Translated: “It’s bad and I can’t see it getting any better!” Note that WHEN YOU’RE DOWN, THAT’S THE WRONG TIME TO ISOLATE YOURSELF! That’s when you need to reach for God, and the people who love you and can help you back up! 
I thought to myself how can I let anyone see my vessel has cracks? People come to me for wisdom, counsel, advice and direction, what do I look like going to them for the same things? I travel and teach and preach the Power of God, His Word, His Will and His Way, I can’t let anyone see that I’m now struggling to pray, avoiding His Word, not sure if I’m all the way in His Will and feel as lost as if I were never found.’ Please hear my heart when I tell you, do not isolate yourself with only yourself, when you’re down and out! As a matter of fact, today is a good day to re-exam your circle and the company you keep. Do you have people who know how to wipe your tears, who can hear your silence, who are a genuine shoulder to lean on and trusted ears? 

Do you have people that know when to let you cry, and then when to tell you that’s the last tear I better see fall! Do you have people that will call you out of your isolation? Do you have faith infusers when your fears are draining your faith of substance? You need people in your circle that refuse to allow you to ball up in the corner and die! Pay Attention to the Admonishment of Scripture: “How can two walk together accept they agree?” “Jesus sent them out two-by-two.” “One will chase a thousand, and two will put ten thousand to flight.” So never isolate yourself when going through! Galatians 6 says, “…Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens…” If you’ll take a brief moment to lift your bowed down head, you may be surprised at how many are, “Stooped down and reaching out willing to help you bear your burdens…”You my friend are not in this life journey alone! There are people all around you who will be there with you during the u-turns; wrong turns; dead-ends; cliffs ahead; slippery roads; caution paths; steep valley’s and seemingly immovable mountains. You are not alone! We are one church with many members, but most importantly we are ONE CHURCH! Don’t separate yourself in times of struggle! 

SO, after all of that, what was God’s prescription for getting Elijah back on his feet? A lecture on the Prophet’s faltering faith? NO! JUST REST AND NOURISHMENT! I know you thought it would be something really deep right (as church folks, we always do)?! But God recognizes our limitations, even when we don’t. His Word declares, “A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out” (Isaiah 42:3). The Message Bible says it like this, “He won’t brush aside the bruised and the hurt and He won’t disregard the small and insignificant, but He’ll steadily and firmly set things right.”  

Therefore, When You’re Down, Don’t Isolate Yourself! Get Around Those Who Will Help You Rest And Aid You With Nourishment! Spiritual Anointing Should Never Result In Natural Abuse! You Are Never So Anointed That You Ignore The Signs That You’re Body, Soul And Spirit Have Taken On Too Much Burden And Too Much Baggage! Maturity Is A Good Balance Of Spiritual And Physical Well Being!

When we neglect our own LEGITIMATE NEEDS, it shows up in our Attitude!

And God understands that being down is a “Perspective” problem, and getting back up simply requires an Adjustment in four crucial areas:

(a) HE ADJUSTED ELIJAH’S GOD-PERSPECTIVE: “Get in the presence of God and he’ll meet with you“ (1 Kings 19:11). The One who gave Elijah victory on Mount Carmel, could also sustain him in the desert of Jezreel! But first Elijah had to spend time with Him, otherwise he was stalled on an empty tank! People of God, Before You Can Deal With Your Problem, You’ve Got to Dwell In His Presence!

(b) HE ADJUSTED ELIJAH’S WORLD-PERSPECTIVE: Elijah said, “God’s covenant is broken, His altar destroyed, His prophet’s murdered, and I’m the only one left.” (vs. 14) But God showed Elijah that He still had the necessary resources and strategies to accomplish His purposes, even in a hostile environment! So, People of God, stop allowing your limitations to limit God! You Are Not All God Has Left! So when you need to sit out a few games, don’t feel as though you’ve lost your position, you’re just being repositioned to regain new strength in order to win!

(c ) HE ADJUSTED ELIJAH’S SELF-PERSPECTIVE: The Prophet saw himself as helpless and inadequate: “Lord, let me die…I am no better than those who preceded me.” (vs. 4). But God showed him there were still kings to anoint, battles to win, and He “…knew the plans He had…” for Elijah, and the important role he was to play in all of it (vs. 16). You May Want to Throw in the Towel, But There’s Far Too Much More God Has For You To Do! So, People of God, Take That Same Towel, Wipe Your Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Weep From the Pain, Wrap Your Wounds, and Keep On Fighting!

(d) HE ADJUSTED ELIJAH’S FRIENDSHIP-PERSPECTIVE: He sent Elisha to minister to him (vs. 21). You’re not supposed to carry it alone! No matter how big and bad you think you are! Allow yourself to need help and watch who God sends! Check Your Friendship Circle and Make Sure Your Elisha Is Present! If He Is, Lean On Him, If He’s Not Locate Him!

Today, ask God to Adjust Your Perspectives and Help You to Refocus! Truth is, You’ve Been Down Long Enough…It’s Time You Finally Get Back Up!

 “In life, many things don’t go according to plan. If you fall, get back up. If you stumble, regain your balance. Never give up.” (Author Unknown)

 “Never let a stumble be the end of your journey.” (Author Unknown)

“No matter how many steps you take away from God, it still only takes one to get back.” (Author Unknown)

“There is no setback you can face in life that God doesn’t already have a comeback plan for.” (Author Unknown)

J.P. Olson