God bless my enemies

from JO’s sermon tonight:

we all know that God can bless us, show us favor, promote us, heal us, but we don’t always realize, God can use our enemies to bless us. what you may think is a disappointment, a person that walked away, a friend that betrayed you, a coworker that’s trying to make you look bad, you may not like that, but you couldn’t reach your destiny without them.  it’s all a part of God’s plan to get you to where you’re supposed to be. David would only be known as a shepherd boy if it wasn’t for Goliath. Goliath was strategically placed in David’s path, not to defeat him, but to promote him. without Goliath, David would’ve never taken the throne.  don’t complain about your enemies; it may look like a setback. but really it’s a set up for God to get you to your throne. 

after all, God could’ve used King Saul to promote David; Saul had the authority. He could’ve moved on Saul’s heart, told him to promote that young man, but God chose to bless David, not through his friends, but through his enemies.  that’s why we don’t have to play up to people, try to convince them to like us, “hopefully they’ll give me a good break.” no, God doesn’t have to use your friends, He can use your enemies, your critics, the ones that are trying to push you down;  He can use them to push you up. it’s interesting; when David defeated Goliath, you never hear anymore about Goliath. Goliath was created for David’s purpose; part of his destiny was to establish who David was. just as God has divine connections lined up for you, people to encourage you, push you forward, He’s also lined up people that will try to stop you, discourage you, try to make you look bad; there are Goliaths ordained to come across your path.

if you don’t understand this principle, you’ll get discouraged, “God, why is this happening to me?” that opposition wasn’t meant to stop you, it was meant to establish you. when you overcome it, you will not only step into a new level your destiny, but everyone around you will see that the favor of God is on your life.  sometimes, God will put an enemy in your life to keep you stirred up. He’ll allow critics, doubters, discouragers, even some haters, so when you feel tired, and think you want to give up, you’ll keep pressing forward, shaking it off, not because you feel like it, but because you don’t want to give your enemies the joy of seeing you defeated.  not out of spite, not out of pride, it’s a holy determination. God uses the negative to keep us stirred up. many times, God will use your enemies to catapult you to success more than your friends. David said:

Psalm 23:5 (NKJV)

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies

notice, when God brings you through the opposition, He’s not going to do it in private, He’s going to do it where all of those enemies can see it.  maybe today, you’re facing some kind of enemy;  not just a person, an enemy in your health, your finances, in a relationship, doesn’t look like it’s ever going to work out.  have this new perspective; right now, God is preparing the table.  the angels are taking the food out of the oven, Gabriel is putting his finishing touches on that meal.  any moment, you’re going to hear the dinner bell ringing. God’s going to say, “it’s your time. Here’s the table, here is the meal I prepared for you.”  it’s not going to be a little fast food meal, hidden over in the corner, nobody notices; no, God is preparing a table like He did for David, to where not just all of your friends see it, but even those enemies, the doubters, the discouragers, the ones that said you couldn’t do it; they’re going to see you blessed, promoted, vindicated, living your dreams, in a place of honor and influence.  

in one sense, God used Judas more than He used the other disciples; Judas was ordained to betray Jesus, that was his purpose, to try to stop him.  and it wasn’t just his idea, it was the plan of God. at the time, it seemed like a bad break, but if he had not betrayed Jesus, there wouldn’t have been a crucifixion. without the cross, there wouldn’t have been a resurrection. without the resurrection, we wouldn’t have redemption, no salvation. we celebrate Mary, the mother of Jesus, giving birth in the manger. we celebrate John baptizing Jesus, the dove coming down from heaven. but the man who betrayed Jesus, the one who sold him for 30 pieces of silver, was just as critical a part of his destiny, if not more so, than the others. what am I saying? don’t complain about the person that betrayed you; if they walked away, they didn’t set you back, they set you up for the fullness of your destiny. if they lied about you, tried to push you down, overlooked you, it may not have been fair, but if God allowed it, He knows how to use it for your good. 

what if Jesus would’ve gotten upset, said, “God, I’m your son, how could You let this man betray me, he’s one of my disciples?” no, Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray him, but he didn’t try to stop him, he didn’t try to to talk him out of it.  he knew that that betrayal was a part of his divine destiny. too often, we fight against everything that doesn’t go our way, get upset, bitter, “why is this happening?” the longer I live, the more I realize, nothing happens by accident.  even the opposition, if you’ll keep the right attitude, God will use it to your advantage.  some of the things that we don’t like, that we’re asking God to get rid of, if He removed them right now, we wouldn’t reach our highest potential. that opposition is making you stronger. those people trying to stop you, the betrayal, the disappointment, that cannot keep from your destiny. God has the final say. if He hasn’t removed it yet, that means He’s going to use it for your good;  He strategically places the Goliaths, the Judases, the opposition. without Goliath, you can’t take your throne. without Judas, you won’t reach your highest potential. without the naysayers, you wouldn’t become all you were created to be.

Mark 2:3-9 (NIV)

3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all.

I’m sure those naysayers, when they saw him standing there, they nearly passed out. here’s my point; if they had not been murmuring, complaining, criticizing, this man may not have been healed. Jesus could’ve just forgiven his sins and moved on, but because of their murmuring, Jesus healed the man. so, when people are talking about you, trying to make you look bad, push you down, don’t worry, God hears them; they are putting you in position for God to bless you in a greater way. you don’t have to straighten them out, don’t fight battles that don’t matter, stay in peace, and like with this man, God will use your enemies to bless you.  some of the favor that you’re seeing, some of the good breaks you’ve had, it didn’t happen because of you, it happened because of those people that tried to stop you. they put you in position for promotion.  I always thank God for my friends, but I’ve learned to thank God for my enemies as well. 

without the murmuring, that man might not have been healed;  without Goliath, David would’ve never taken his throne.  without Judas, Jesus would never have resurrected from the grave. you need to see every enemy, so to speak, every disappointment, every betrayal, in this new light. it’s not sent to defeat you, it’s sent to increase you. God can use your critics to promote you.  God has all kinds of ways to get you to where you’re supposed to be.  He knows how to take what was meant for your harm and turn it around and use it to your advantage.  God works in mysterious ways; stay in faith, what you think is a setback is really God setting you up to do something new. don’t complain about the coworker that did you wrong, what didn’t work out;  it looks like it was meant to destroy you, but in fact God’s going to use it to take you to the next level. that person at work that’s always trying to push you down, always trying to make you look bad, when you see them this week, have a new attitude; you’re trying to stop me, but I know a secret, God is going to use you to push me forward.  scripture says:

Matthew 22:44 (NKJV)

44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord,

“Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”’

that means anything that comes against you: the persecution, the betrayal, the disappointment, if you’ll stay in faith, instead of being a stumbling block to take you down, God will use it as a steppingstone to take you higher. the enemy will come against you in your thoughts; he’ll tell you things like, “you’ll never get well, break that addiction, accomplish your dreams. you’re too small, you don’t have what it takes.” you can either believe those lies, and let him talk you into mediocrity, or you can say, “no, I don’t think so, you don’t set the limits for my life, you don’t determine my destiny, you didn’t give me breath. I may look small, but I know I’m full of resurrection power.”  the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives on the inside of us. when you rise up in faith like that, those enemies won’t defeat you, those enemies will promote you. you do that a few times, he’ll tell his forces, “back up, back up, they’re more powerful than they look, don’t mess with them, they know they’re highly favored, they know they’re victors, not victims.”  the scripture says:

 Philippians 1:28 (NLT)

28 Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies

don’t be intimidated by what somebody said, by a negative medical report;  you and God are a majority, and when Jesus came out of the grave, he took the keys of death and hell. he said, “all power has been given unto me in heaven and in Earth, now I’m giving you that power.” you are not weak, you are not lacking, you are full of can-do power. the greatest force in the universe is on your side.

in the scripture:

Exodus 1:9-11 (NLT)

9 He said to his people, “Look, the people of Israel now outnumber us and are stronger than we are. 10 We must make a plan to keep them from growing even more. If we don’t, and if war breaks out, they will join our enemies and fight against us. Then they will escape from the country.”

11 So the Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves. They appointed brutal slave drivers over them, hoping to wear them down with crushing labor. They forced them to build the cities of Pithom and Rameses as supply centers for the king. 

then something interesting happened:

Exodus 1:12

12 But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread

Pharaoh thought that he was stopping them, but in fact he was increasing them.  sometimes, when God wants to promote you, He doesn’t send you a good break, He sends you an enemy. He’ll cause someone to turn up to heat, make things more difficult. but don’t worry; the more the opposition, the more you’re going to increase. the truth is, we grow in the difficult times;  that’s when our character is developed. that’s when we discover talent, confidence, courage that we didn’t even know we had.  when Pharaoh enslaved the Israelites, he was trying to restrict the people, squeeze them, put them under pressure.

have you ever been washing your car at home, you have your water hose, turn the valve on, the water comes out maybe 3 to 4 feet?  when you really want to spray your car off, you need it to go further. if you’re like me, and you don’t have a nozzle on the end, you put your thumb on the end of the hose, and you restrict the water. you would think when you restrict it, it would come out less, but it’s just the opposite; when you restrict that water, because it’s under more pressure, it shoots out 15 or 20 feet. it goes many times further than when it had no pressure. in the same way, when the enemy puts you under pressure, he thinks that’s going to stop you;  what he doesn’t realize is all that’s going to do is cause you to shoot out further. when you feel restricted, when you face opposition, don’t be discouraged, get ready to shoot out.  get ready for new levels, promotion. that pressure is not going to stop you, it’s going to increase you. 

when Jesus was about to be crucified, he stopped by the garden of Gethsemane; literally translated, that means, “the place of pressing.” it was an olive garden; the only way you can get the oil out of the olive is to press it. without the pressing, you’ll never get the valuable oil.  if you’re never under pressure, you never have to stretch your faith, endure, persevere;  you’ll never discover the valuable treasures that God put on the inside. on Friday, they nailed Jesus to the cross; incredible pressure.  on Saturday, he went down to the grave and fought the forces of darkness, restricted. but on Sunday morning, he came shooting up out of that grave; death couldn’t hold him down. one message of the resurrection; God will use your enemies to bless you. 

maybe today you feel restricted, under pressure, like you’re being squeezed. it’s Friday; don’t worry, Sunday is coming.  you’re about to shoot out. when you see where God takes you, the favor, promotion, blessing, you’re going to look back and say, like the Psalmist:

Psalm 119:71 (ESV)

71 It is good for me that I was afflicted

if David were here, he would tell you that it was good that Goliath showed up.  Jesus would say, “it was good that Judas betrayed me.” it may have been uncomfortable at the time, but one day you’ll say, “this enemy didn’t defeat me, this enemy promoted me.”  now stay in faith; God has your back. He wouldn’t have allowed the pressure unless it was going to work for your good. it may feel like Friday right now, but Sunday is coming; you’re about to shoot out stronger, healthier, promoted, vindicated, into the fullness of your destiny.

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