Jesus told a parable of a rich man who wore expensive clothes and had a feast – food and drink every day. He was not named, but there was a beggar named Lazarus who was laid at the gate. The Open Bible (KJV) translated that this man was brought to the gate sick, full of sores and hungry. He desired to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table, but no one fed him.
Soon, they both died. Lazarus was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom, but the rich man died and was buried. While the rich man was being tormented in hell, he looked up and saw Abraham from a distance with Lazarus in his bosom.
One of the things I noticed from this parable was how their lives were reversed. Son, remember that in your lifetime you received good things while Lazarus received evil things, but now he is comforted and you are tormented (Luke 16:25).
Even in a pandemic, some things are being reversed. Things are about to change. God knows what He is doing. His plan is to prosper His people, and that plan has not changed. He is turning things around. God is going to undo what the enemy did to you. Wealth is changing hands – from the hands of the sinner to the hands of the just. Those who are beneath will be above and the tail will become the head.
Lazarus’ name means ‘God has helped’ and your help has come. Not only will you be comforted, but you will receive good things.
While the disciples walked with Jesus, they never had a need so they were able to meet the need of others.
A very great multitude had been with Jesus and for three days they had nothing to eat. Some of them had come from far distances. If I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way for divers of them came from afar (Mark 8:3). When Jesus made this statement, he wasn’t looking at the disciples. He was looking at the people. They were weary. They were hungry.
They had a need.
So what did Jesus do? He didn’t go looking for food. He asked the disciples, How many loaves do YOU have? They only had seven, but Jesus took what the disciples had, gave thanks, brake and gave it back to the disciples to give to the people.
As my pastor was teaching this past Wednesday, I thought about how I’m still concerned about my need when there is a very great multitude that is still waiting for their need to be met. I also thought about how in some ways I’m still waiting for God or for someone else to do what He has given me to do.
Then, I read this question on social media this morning: God will carry out His plans and purposes on the earth. The only question is, will YOU be a part of them or will you let ANOTHER fulfill what He has called YOU to do?
When Mordecai pleaded with Esther to go before the king on behalf of the people, he told her that if she kept silent at this time, relief and deliverance would come for the Jews, but from ANOTHER place (Esther 4:14).
God not only has a plan that involves healing, relief, deliverance and salvation for His people, but He made us a part of His plan.
Will YOU be the one He uses or will He have to choose ANOTHER?
(This blog was inspired by my pastor and John Bevere)
I know what I have planned for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Some years ago, I asked God, Why?
Why did YOU allow this? Why didn’t YOU stop it?
Not only did I blame God for the things that people did to me, but I blamed him for the things that I did to myself. I thought that this shouldn’t have happened and that shouldn’t have happened. I was upset and hurting.
And when I was finished speaking, God spoke.
I would never hurt you.
I was reminded of the man who was blind from birth. It would have been one thing if he had been born with sight and then one day he lost it, but he entered the world in that condition. Sounds unfair, huh? The scriptures didn’t mention his age, but he wasn’t a child anymore. He was now a man. Therefore, he had been in this state for a long time. I’m sure he probably thought that because he was born this way that he would always be that way.
He didn’t see Jesus, but Jesus saw him (probably begging). And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth (John 9:1). The disciples immediately thought that either the man did something bad or his parents did. Who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? They were looking for someone to blame because it had to have been someone’s fault.
But Jesus told his disciples that the man nor his parents sinned, but this was allowed so that the works of God and the power of God could be displayed. God wanted to show others what He can do. He wanted to show others what it looked like to be free.
I’m not telling you that I understand everything, or that I have things figured out, but I do know this. Even if it was my parents’ fault or my fault, God is still going to get the glory out of what I’ve been through. It doesn’t matter what that woman did or what that man did because there is a man called Jesus.
In the very near future, God is going to show others (through you and me) that what they thought was impossible is possible. It is possible to be free from habits, addictions, sicknesses, wrong thinking and even people that you thought you could never get free from. God’s plan for you is good and people will know His goodness by what they see Him do in you. It is going to build their faith. It is going to give them hope. Some won’t believe, but some will and they are going to ask, How did it happen? And then they will know that they can be made whole, too.
The neighbors and they who before had seen him that he was blind said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he. Others said, He is like him. But he said, I am he. Therefore, they said to him, How were your eyes opened?
He answered and said, A man called Jesus.
[Scripture reference: John 9:1-11]
This past Sunday, I got the opportunity to repent – not just to my pastors, but to the entire church for not being in my place.
I had some things in common with Hagar, Sarai’s handmaid (but not anymore). She was the one chosen to bear Sarai and Abram’s child. But after Hagar got pregnant, I think she started to smell herself. No, really. I think she either felt herself equal to Sarai (as she had become Abram’s wife to bear his child) or she thought she was better than Sarai because she was able to do something that Sarai wasn’t able to do, which was to carry Abram’s child.
She was blessed with such an honor to carry their child, but she forgot who she was. She forgot she was still Sarai’s handmaid. She became too familiar with her. Hagar’s problem was she no longer respected the anointing on Sarai’s life. She didn’t honor the woman of God.
Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine (1 Timothy 5:17).
Obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you (Hebrews 13:17).
Sarai was not some mere woman. When God spoke concerning Sarai, He said, ‘I will bless her and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her’ (Genesis 17:16). Hagar may have been the new wife, but Sarai was still the ‘first lady’.
Sarai didn’t like Hagar’s attitude and disrespect towards her so she told Abram about it. Abram, being the smart man he was, changed his name to Bennett. My name is Bennett and I ain’t in it. Just joking. But seriously, he told his wife that he was going to stay out of it, that she was her maid and this was between them.
When Sarai took matters into her own hands, Hagar ran away. I can only imagine what Hagar was thinking when she left. Who does she think she is? She can’t have no baby. I’m having his baby. They are going to need me before I need them.
But do you know what I loved most about this passage of scripture?
Abram didn’t run after Hagar to try to convince her to come back. Sarai didn’t run after her, crying and begging her to come back. I don’t know how long Hagar was in the wilderness, but I do know it was good for her to be there because there were some things in her that needed to die and where she was caused her to grow up. No one took her position or her place, but if she really wanted it – if she was really serious this time, she was going to have to return to the place she left and take it back.
One day, the angel of the Lord found Hagar in the wilderness and asked her two questions:
1) Where did you come from?
2) Where are you going?
She didn’t have a problem answering the first question, but she couldn’t answer the second question because she didn’t know what she was going to do. She didn’t have a plan because she ran from the plan that was created for her.
Now I know that Isaac was the plan and he was the promise of God, but when Sarai told her husband to marry her handmaid, Abram came in agreement with it and God honored it. (I didn’t say God liked her idea, but He honored it). At any time, God could have stopped this plan and He could have shut up Hagar’s womb, but He didn’t. He allowed it to be because that was what Sarai wanted.
By asking the above questions, the Lord wanted her to realize that she was going the wrong way – that she needed to change her direction. I don’t think Hagar wanted to remain in the wilderness, but she may have been too proud to go back. But God dealt with her. He spoke to her through an angel. Return to your mistress and submit yourself. What he was really saying was:
You were wrong, Hagar. Go back.
You were wrong, Hagar. Apologize.
You were wrong, Hagar. Make it right.
But maybe she was afraid. What was Sarai going to do to her once she returned? What were the people going to say? Would Abram and Sarai receive her back?
So, the angel gave her a word that gave her the confidence to go back. I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count (Genesis 16:10, AMP). That was God’s way of letting her know:
I see you (Genesis 16:13).
I haven’t forgotten you.
I didn’t leave you. You left Me.
You’re still a part of the plan.
I haven’t taken back what I gave you (Ishmael).
I will still use you.
I will bless you.
So, Hagar got back in her place and in her position and I’ve decided to do the same. Please know that repentance was just the first step. Even after Hagar returned to her mistress, there were things she had to do and there will be things that I will have to do because Hagar didn’t see what the angel said until she did what the angel said.
[Scripture reference: Genesis 16]
plan: a decision to do something; to devise a way to overcome difficulties; a step-by-step method
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11, KJV).
He doesn’t think about you the way you think about yourself nor does He regret the decision He made concerning you.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).
When God devised a plan, He included you in it. He didn’t leave you out of His plan.
And, what is His plan?
His plan is to save you.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
His plan is to deliver you.
Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father (Galatians 1:3-4).
His plan is to heal you.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
His plan is to fill you with His Spirit.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).
Be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)
His plan is to use you to bring others to Him.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
Your adversary is always trying to put what’s behind you, in front of you. He wants you to focus on the past, but God doesn’t care about your past. He cares about your future.
There is so much that God wants to do through you, but there is so much He wants to do in you – first.
Don’t worry about your plans (that didn’t work out), for His plan is better.
His plan is not to harm you, but His plan is to bless you.
Follow His plan.
Trust the plan.
disappointed: sad or discouraged because someone or something failed to fulfill one’s hopes or expectations
Have you ever thought you were getting a job or a promotion only to find out that you didn’t get it?
Have you ever met someone who you thought was ‘the one’ only to find out that he/she wasn’t?
Do you feel like you always get excited about something only to be disappointed – again?
God told Moses what to say to the Israelites, but he was afraid that they would not believe him. They will say, The Lord has not appeared to you (Exodus 4:1). But Moses obeyed. He returned to Egypt like God told him to. Israel accepts Moses as their leader and he was okay with that. Pharaoh rejects him and he was okay with that, too. Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go (Exodus 5:2).
But after Pharaoh told Moses no, he told the taskmasters and their officers to no longer supply Israel with straw to make bricks. Not only did Israel have to find their own straw, but they still had to make the same number of bricks and they were beaten (Exodus 5:16).
Now Israel rejects Moses. They didn’t want to have anything to do with him anymore. May the Lord look upon you and judge you. For you have caused us to be hated by Pharaoh and his servants. You have put a sword in their hand to kill us (Exodus 5:21, NLV).
This was not okay. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. He did exactly what God told him to do and now they were angry with him. Moses went back to God. Not only did he tell God about how the people were being treated after his meeting with Pharaoh, but he also told God that He didn’t do what He said he was going to do. For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people and You have not delivered your people at all (Exodus 5:23). Moses was disappointed and he felt like God had lied to him.
Jacob also experienced disappointment. His uncle, Laban, had two daughters named Leah and Rachel. When I was younger, I was told that Leah was the ugly one and Rachel was the beautiful one, but that’s not what the scriptures tell us. In fact, the scriptures only speak of one part of Leah’s body that was flawed or less beautiful than the other parts.
Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance (Genesis 29:17, AMP).
There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face (NLT).
There was no brightness to Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful shape and was lovely to look at (VOICE).
Jacob loved Rachel (Genesis 29:18). He loved her so much that he served her father for seven years just so that he may have her as his wife, but on the day of the wedding feast, Laban gave Jacob his eldest daughter, Leah, and not Rachel. Jacob didn’t know this until the following morning. Can you imagine how he felt? He asked specifically for Rachel, but instead he was given Leah.
What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me? (Genesis 29:25).
Now, Jacob was tricked by his uncle and I know that some of you think that Jacob deserved it because he deceived his own father. Despite everything he did, God loved Jacob (Malachi 1:2, Romans 9:13) and He loves you and me, too.
I know Jacob didn’t want Leah and he was disappointed that she was now his wife. Maybe he did feel like he deserved what happened to him because of what he did to his father and brother, but what we fail to realize is our mistakes and our plans don’t change God’s plan. Your mess-ups can’t mess up God’s plan. I know Rachel looked better. It appeared that she had everything that he wanted, but what he wanted was barren, empty and unable to produce children (initially). It wasn’t what was on the outside of Rachel, but what was on the inside of Leah that God needed.
This was God’s plan: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). And guess whose lineage Jesus was born through? It wasn’t through Rachel. Abraham begot Isaac, and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brethren (Matthew 1:2). Judah was Leah’s mother.
For some people, it feels like you’re always getting disappointed, but your disappointment didn’t come from God. It came from the people and things you placed your hope in. Despite what Laban did, Jacob kept serving because he knew what he could have and he wanted Rachel that much. And Jacob served seven years for Rachel (Genesis 29:20). Do you know what God has promised? Do you want what God has promised? If Jacob can serve someone who lied to him, we can continue to serve Someone who cannot lie.
God did exactly what He told Moses he was going to do to Pharaoh, BUT Moses had to continue to do the things that God told him to do. Don’t stop doing what God told you to do. Put your hope and trust in what God said. We don’t always understand HIS plan, but He knows what He is doing. So, before you go to God complaining about what He didn’t do, what is it that you haven’t done yet?
Maybe you prefer ‘Rachel’ (not necessarily a person, but a thing or a situation), but God gave you ‘Leah’ because Leah will put your faith to work. Maybe you’ve been comfortable for too long and God gave you Leah to push you out of your comfort zone. It is out of Leah that the promise will come. God will give you favor because of Leah. And one day, you will realize that if it wasn’t for Leah, you wouldn’t have prayed as much as you did. If it wasn’t for Leah, you would have still been serving yourself rather than serving others. Rachel would have only drawn you away from God, but Leah brought you closer to God.
God is not keeping any good thing from you. I know not receiving the thing you were hoping for made you feel like a failure. I know it hurts. I know it made you cry, but what you thought was a disappointment was really a blessing. No one likes the feeling of rejection. No one likes to be told no, but the promises of God are still yes and Amen.
Believe that God is good, believe that His plan is good, believe that He only gives good things, and this time you will not be disappointed.
Those who hope in ME will not be disappointed (Isaiah 49:23, NIV).
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her (Luke 1:38, NJKV).
God sent an angel to Mary. Gabriel told her she was going to become a mother. You shall conceive in your womb (vs 31). He also told her what she would carry and who He would become. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest (vs 32).
All of this sounded good, but Mary had one question. How can this be? (vs 34). How was she going to have a baby? She was a virgin and she wasn’t married yet. The angel explained to her who would do the work – the Holy Ghost (vs 35). It wouldn’t be by her power or by Joseph’s might. It would be by HIS Spirit.
The angel knew that what he told Mary sounded impossible so to build her faith, he told her about her cousin (vs 36). Elizabeth was barren and too old to be a mother. No one ever thought she would have a child, but in three months she was going to have a son.
The impossible is possible – with God.
The angel said what God told him to say. Now, Mary had to make a decision. According to Luke 1:38, she decided to serve the Lord. I am the servant of the Lord. Mary had no idea what she was about to go through. She didn’t know that she would have to leave her home, leave their families and flee to Egypt during the night to protect her son. Even though Simeon prophesied that she would suffer as though she had been stabbed with a sword, she didn’t know that meant watching her son being mocked, beaten, spat on and crucified. My point is this: Even though she didn’t have all of the details, she surrendered. She trusted God. She wanted what God wanted and she was willing to do whatever He commanded. Her response to God was, Use me. Do what You want, not what I want.
Maybe God has told you what you are going to do for Him and who you are going to become and just like Mary, you either looked at your past or your present condition, and wondered how. How is this going to happen? I don’t have a college degree. I don’t have a spouse. I don’t have that much money in the bank. I don’t know anyone who could help me. I don’t speak very well in front of people.
But I will tell you what Gabriel told Mary. The Lord is with you (vs 28). You don’t have to be afraid. You were chosen for this. What you are carrying and will bring forth is great. What you must go through is going to save and deliver many.
Stop running. Stop resisting. Stop fighting God and let it be – according to His word. Let it happen. Stop trying to figure it out. Stop thinking about yourself and think about those who are hurting. Think about those who are bound. Think about those who are not saved. This isn’t about you. Forget about your plans and find out what His plan is. Make a decision.
Mary’s mind was made up.
It didn’t matter that Elizabeth was old or that Mary wasn’t married. God is able to perform what He promised. No word from Him will ever fail. If He said it, then He will do it. All He needs from you is your obedience. All He needs is a ‘yes’. What has been hard for you is not too hard for the Lord.
Maybe you’re thinking about what happened the last time. Like Simon, you tried and nothing happened. We have toiled all night and have taken nothing (Luke 5:5). You were disappointed. You had enough. You were even thinking about giving up.
But, try again. Trust God again. Nevertheless at your word, I will let down the net (Luke 5:5). Sometimes we have this picture of how the ministry, the marriage, the career, or the children should be, but let go of what or how you think it should be. You have to believe that what God wants to give you is better than what you’re holding onto. Let it go and…
Let it be.
After Jesus was finished praying, one of His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). He taught them what we know today as The Lord’s Prayer. Before He asked for anything – before He said ‘Give us’ (Luke 11:3), He prayed, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t hear many believers making that request in their prayers now as I did when I was a child. Maybe the reason why we don’t pray that part of the prayer often or at all is because we are afraid – afraid that God is going to tell us to do something that we really don’t want to do.
And some of you know exactly what I’m talking about.
He might ask you to forgive your cheating spouse. He might ask you to go back to someone you wronged over ten years ago and make it right. He might even tell you to apologize first even though you don’t feel you did anything wrong or that it was your fault. Maybe you are struggling with obeying all of His commands, but if you love Him, you will obey Him.
Another reason why we may not pray that prayer is because we really don’t trust God. Be honest. You don’t believe Him like you used to. You’ve been disappointed so many times that you don’t believe that this time will be different. Your problem is that you want God to do it your way, but your ways are not His ways and His plan is better than your plan.
Jesus told the disciples God’s plan – that He must go to Jerusalem, that He must suffer many things and be rejected (by the elders, chief priests and scribes), betrayed, mocked, scourged, spat on and killed, but the good news is He would be raised again on the third day (Matthew 16:21, Matthew 18:22-23, Mark 8:31, Mark 10:33-34). Even though He knew all of this, Matthew tells us that Jesus prayed the same prayer three times. O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as You will.
It doesn’t matter how many times you pray the same prayer. In the end, you still have to make a decision and I’m so glad that Jesus chose to do what was best for us and not what was easy for Him. At any time, He could have asked the Father to send more than 72,000 angels on His behalf, but He didn’t. But do what You want and not what I want (Luke 22:42, CEV). He loved – with action. He willingly laid down His life for us because He loved us. We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters (1 John 3:16). If you see that your brother or sister has a need, but you don’t do anything, that’s not the love of God.
It didn’t feel good for Joseph to be separated from his father, to be sold into slavery by his brothers, to become a servant or to be falsely accused and put in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. That wasn’t his will. His feet hurt from the fetters and his neck was in an iron collar (Psalm 105:18). What he was in wasn’t comfortable, but it humbled him. When he was stripped of his coat of many colors, he was also stripped of pride. But there was a bigger picture – a bigger plan and it was bigger than just his family being fed in a famine. Something was missing in his brothers’ lives. You couldn’t see their fetters, but they were in chains also. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him (Joseph) more than all his brethren, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him (Genesis 37:4).
The trials and tests Joseph endured revealed what was in his heart. They taught him how to forgive, how to show compassion and how to love and these were the very things that his brothers needed (whether you think they deserved it or not). Yes, it was good for them to have a sack of money to spend and food to eat, but what they really needed was love, forgiveness, and salvation. Everything Joseph went through wasn’t for him. It was for them.
We may not understand what God is doing or why He allows certain things to happen in our lives, but according to Romans 12:2, we do know that the will of God is good, acceptable (well-pleasing), and perfect. His plan, His choice and His will is to prosper you and not to harm you and whatever the Lord has purposed, planned, decided or willed for you, He is going to do it.
Not my will, but Your will be done.
Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (Proverbs 19:21, AMP).