Creflo Dollar - Freedom From Excuses
Galatians 5:13, let's read it in the King James and in the NLT. But we're talking about the grace-given power to change, and the reason why we call it grace-given power to change is because a lot of people who are endeavoring to make changes in their lives... the point we're trying to make is that you've always had the ability to change, okay? Because that ability to change has come from God. It was his unmerited favor and his love for you that has enabled you to change, and the Bible talks about that we should be renewed in our mind so we can be transformed or changed by the renewing of our mind. That's something that you initiate, the renewing of your mind. That's not a one-time event, it's a lifetime process renewing the mind, exchanging your thoughts and ideas for God's thoughts and getting your mind and thinking and opinions to line up with the Word of God so that you can prove what is that good and perfect and acceptable will of God.
Now, one of the reasons we got into this is because we've noticed that Christian people lately have been using grace to cover their sin instead of understanding that grace is to change you. It doesn't cover, it changes. Grace doesn't cover, it changes. Grace doesn't cover, it changes. Say that with me. Grace doesn't cover, it changes. And my concern was, man, we really need to talk about this because people can be or be under the impression that because grace has been made available and that God loves us and that God doesn't judge us by our behavior that that somehow means maintain your situation. But you know, if you maintain the situation, you would frustrate the grace of God. Jesus has already put the necessary things out there, made the necessary things available to us so we can change.
The Bible says in Titus chapter 2 that grace will teach you how to live a sound, sober, righteous life. So certainly it doesn't means that under grace we maintain our bondage. The Bible says don't allow your liberty to be an occasion for the flesh. And so I'm trying to get everybody shook up a little bit to say that grace will change you, grace will change you. So if you got a bad attitude, grace is going to change that. If you have condemnation and pride, grace is going to change that. If you're in some type of addictive behavior and you've allowed something to be, you know, you've reached, you've allowed yourself to become a slave to something, grace is going to change that.
Grace is not going to cover that. Grace is not going to say, "Oh, well, you know, you have a lot of addictive behaviors. Don't worry about it. You're under grace". No, grace is going to change that. You're not going to be the same. Does everybody understand that? So here's what we've been using as our topic Scripture here. Let's look at it in the King James. Let's read verse 13 out loud. He says, "For, brethren, you have been called unto liberty. Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another". And then the NLT, the New Living Translation, forgive me if it seems like I'm rushing, but I really want to get into the night. But I owe you an explanation, but tonight we're going to talk about excuses, and I cannot wait to get to this. But for those of you who hadn't been to Bible study for a minute, I want to make sure that you're kind of going with us. I hope I'm doing a decent job of kind of getting you where we're going, same mindset.
He says, "For you have been called to live in freedom". And that's what happened when we got born again and we understood the grace of God. It's an unveiling of Jesus. We are now living in the freedom of not being judged and cursed because of our inability to carry out what the law says. He says, "My brothers and sisters", he says, "but don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature". Don't use grace to satisfy your sinful nature. "Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love". So the whole point is, you know, you can't sit there and say, "Well, you know, I still have bad behavior, I'm cussing people out, but I'm under grace". No, that's the wrong attitude. It is, "I have a bad behavior, I'm cussing people out, and I thank God that his grace is going to change me".
Does everyone understand that? I think I've nailed that. We did it. So we've been looking at the things you have to do to receive or allow the the grace-given power to change. How do I respond to the grace-given power that's already been given to me? Well, first of all, the thing about power is that it's God's power, but you have the opportunity to use it. It's his power, but you have to use his power. And so the first thing we talked about, I think last week, was, you know, if you want to see change in your life... y'all remember this? If you want to see change in your life, you got to want it, right? So the first thing is you have to desire a change. You got to desire change. And if you don't want to change, you know, I can make grace available to you. I can make power available to you. But you know the problem is? If you don't want to change, you won't. You won't.
And I've met a lot of Christians who, I think I'll use as an illustration the box cake. We desire the picture on the box, but somebody's got to follow the instructions and the directions on the back of the box in order to get that. What a lot of Christians, we want the picture, and that's what social media is all about now. It's the image we want. It's the thing we see. It's the success we desire. But then what are the instructions? What are the directions you have to have in order to enter into being involved in that kind of thing? So I've met people who, you know, I talked to them about grace. They're saying, "Well, I don't want it". What do I do then? Because we're free moral agent. "I don't want it. I'm not interested in changing. I'm fine. God got me covered".
Dude, you're getting ready to create your own hell on earth. You know, God loves you. And even though God loves you and you'll probably end up going to heaven, are you going to leave hell that you created to get to heaven? And so that's not the deal. So if you don't have a desire to change, I realize that one of the things we can never change is you can't change nobody, okay? And sometimes we try to help people that God can't even help. And so our job is really not to change people, our job is to love them and it's God's job to change them. But think about it. God shows up to try to change them and they don't want it, and you will meet people like that who are just, they don't have a desire to change. They don't have a desire to want to know God. They don't have a desire for any of those things. So what do you do then? Tie them up, put a gun on their head, say, "You better accept Jesus or I'm going to blow your brain out". That doesn't work. So you have to have a desire to change.
Now, let's get to what I want to talk about tonight. I want to talk about the second reason that will stop change this grace-given ability to change is excuses. Now, this is pretty big and it's something that we need to talk about. Excuses. You know, excuses in our lives, they give us permission to settle for less than God's best and those excuses justify our shortcomings. Now, let's just meditate on what I just said for a moment. Excuses in our lives give us permission to settle for less than God's best, and those same excuses will cause us to justify our shortcomings just by making an excuse. I used to say it like this: excuses are nothing but nails used to build houses of failure because the result of you always making excuses is going to be failure.
You show me a man that's always failing and I'll show you a man that is always making excuses. And so most failures come from a history of excuses and a lack of perseverance. Most failures come from an abundance of excuses and of lack of being able to persevere. Now, I want to look at something in Genesis chapter 3, verse 13 because the Bible is filled with excuse makers. It's filled with excuse makers. I mean, there are people all over the Scriptures that just make a lot of excuses. I'll look at some of them tonight. I want to start off in Genesis in the garden. And we see here: "And the Lord God said unto the woman, 'What is this that thou has done?' And the woman said, 'The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat'". Did you see that? So her excuse, look at this in NLT, her excuse for doing what she did in the garden, the excuse was, "It was the serpent".
You have to understand that there's no space to grow if you make an excuse 'cause the excuse is designed to just keep you in the same place. It keeps you in the same place. The NLT says, "The Lord asked the woman, 'What have you done?' She said, 'The serpent deceived me,' she replied. 'That's why I ate it'". Excuse. You were told not to eat it, but then there's an excuse for why you did this. Let me show you what excuses really are. I wrote this down. I said to Taffi, I said, "How's this sound"? Most times people define excuses as their reason, and somehow it becomes all right to have excuses as long as you declare it's my reason for doing it. It's play on words, but they're not real reasons. Excuses are not real reasons. They're just ways of avoiding what we really don't want to do. They're not real reasons.
Think about that the next time you say, "Well, let me tell you the reason". It's kind of like when I talk to you about complaining and I found the definition of complaining, which means, you know, to just express your dissatisfaction about something, I said, "Well, God, dog, I'm a complainer". 'Cause if I express my dissatisfaction about what I'm eating, if I express my dissatisfaction about the temperature in the house, if I express my dissatisfaction, I'm a complainer, okay? Well, the same thing here. We're dealing with excuses. We keep in our heads saying, "It's okay 'cause it's the reason". And what I want you to understand that excuses are not reasons, they're just ways of avoiding what we really don't want to do.
Think about that. Think about when you're faced with something you really don't want to do, and what do you pull up? An excuse. What you call a reason, it's an excuse. "I really, really don't want to go on this boat ride". "Why"? And then you have to search for an excuse to use it as, you know, why you don't want to do what you... and that's the real deal. And I think, you see, you have, I'm going to show you in Scripture how all of these wonderful things were happening. And when they made an excuse, it was actually, "I really don't want to do this. I'm giving you an excuse 'cause I really don't want to do this". "Well, why didn't I see you at church"? "Well, la, la, la, dah, dah". No, no, no. You didn't want to come. You remember how do I say this?
A while back I would say you, somebody would say, you know, "You're coming to church tonight"? You say, "I'm going to try". And I call that an honest lie. You see, it's controversial to say it was on, it is a lie at the same time. "I'mma sure try". They're not. Look at the number of people that say it to you, "Well, I'll try", and they didn't do it 'cause, you know, you're indicating, you know, I would just rather say, "You coming to church tonight"? "No". Don't make an excuse and don't tell an honest lie. No. I don't necessarily owe you any reason, but I can deal better with a person who just, "No, I ain't coming". "Do you think you can loan me this money"? "No". "Well, let me see". Let me see just prolongs it for either you to find an excuse because you don't want to do it or to tell a honest lie. Let your yea be yea or your nay be nay. We hadn't learned that yet. "Well, I don't want to be mean". You ain't being mean.
Some of you need to learn the vocabulary of no. You think being a Christian means always saying yes. My sons asked me stuff sometime and before they even finish I say no. They say, "You didn't let me finish". I said, "I know, but I'm not going to do it anyway because whatever you're getting ready to ask me I'm sure it's an opportunity that you're trying to pass on and you can learn from the opportunity". "You get on my nerves". Whatever. It's still no. All right, so let's look at an illustration of this one. Jeremiah chapter 1, verses 4 through 8. You know, I like Ben Franklin quotes, and one of the things he said about excuses, he said, "He that is good at making excuses is seldom good for anything else". He that is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else. Boy, that is the truth, isn't it?
So it's not a real reason, it's just ways of avoiding what we really don't want to do. Look at this illustration in Jeremiah chapter 1, verses 4 through 8. "Then the Word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 'Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou cameth forth out of my womb, I sanctified thee, I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations'". Seems to me like God did all the work here to this guy. "Then said, 'I, Ah, Lord God. Behold'", watch this, "I cannot speak for I am a child". Somebody say, "Excuse". How do you say that after God says, "Look at all things I've done for you? I've prepared you and given you everything you're going to need for this journey".
And the first thing he does is he makes an excuse, which is a way of actually not, you know, doing it. He's not interested in doing it. And so this really spoke to me. He says, "But the Lord said". So he make the excuse and then God said, "Say not, 'I'm a child', for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak". In other words, he's like, "I'm not hearing the excuse". You know, we need people in our lives that will just look past our excuses and say, "Get up and do it". Okay, verse 8 he says, "'Be not afraid of their faces for I am with thee to deliver thee', saith the Lord".
He took away his excuse. He took away his excuse. We need people like that in our lives that are not going to become subject to the excuses that we make, but just people to go ahead and do what they need to do. I remember when Taffi was talking to her mother when she was alive about she was afraid to do speaking and she's afraid to do this and she's afraid, and Ethel looked at her and said, "Listen, just get over it and do what you know you're supposed to do. You know, what am I supposed to do? Sit up there and say, 'Oh, poor baby, you have fear.' Get over yourself". I think that's what she told her. Get over yourself. And most of the time, excuses are based in fear and self and because this is something you're not wanting to do for some reason or another. And it becomes difficult for there to be any kind of changes when this exists.
Now, look at John chapter 5. Let's go there. This is our key Scripture. John chapter 5, and let's pick up here with some of the excuses that we see here. John chapter 5, verses 5 through 7. John 5:5 through 7. Is everybody with me on this journey so far? I mean, I hope you're inspired to at least examine when you say reasons is just really excuses, you know. And please understand wherever there's a lot of excuses, there's going to be a lot of failure and what I just read to you is what happens when your overcome excuses, then we get results. When you can overcome excuse making, you get results.
If you can overcome excuse making, "Well, you know, I would work out if I had time, but I got all these children and I know I'm a little overweight". You know, you're never going to get results sitting back there making excuses about stuff because they're 24 hours in a day. You have the same amount of hours as I do and you got to figure out how you're going to use them or you can fill them up with a bunch of excuses and you can finally create a house that's going to eventually fail because excuses are nails used to build houses of failure. All you're doing with excuses is, you know, preparing to fail. Where there is failure, there will be excuses. And if you want results, you've got to learn how to go past the excuses, grit your teeth and say, "Lord, I trust you, I need you, and", I can't even imagine or begin to imagine the level of success that's in this room that has never been achieved because of the amount of excuses that have paralyzed it, and we have to confront this issue.
So let's look at this verse 5. John 5, verse 5: "And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity 38 years". Thirty-eight years is a long time to have an infirmity. In verse 6 he says, "When Jesus saw him lie and he knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, 'Wilt thou be made whole'"? Dude, listen to this. You got something for 38 years, somebody says, "Will you be made whole? Will you be healed"? What are we thinking about? Whether we will be made whole and be healed? All right, the success of this guy's healing is how he responds, all right? He says, "The impotent man answered him".
Now look at the answer. I don't even know why those words are there. It should be, "Will thou be made whole"? "Yes". Okay? He says, "Sir, I have no man, when the water is trouble, to put me into the pool". What? I asked you, "Do you want to be made whole"? And you say, "Well, I ain't got no man to put me in the pool". What? "I don't have nobody to put me in the pool. But while I'm coming, another steppeth in down before me". Now watch Jesus, and this is so awesome about him. He's just not going to be moved by your excuses, and look what happens in verse 8. "Jesus saith unto him, 'Rise, take up thy bed, and walk'". As if up he didn't say nothing. "Rise, take your bare bed, and walk". And, you know, sometimes you got relatives that are going to have to do that?
You know, I remember years ago, oh, it was while back. This lady, I think I've told this story before, too, she was in the hospital. I went to visit her in the hospital. I heard her screaming way down the hall, "Oh Jesus, I'm going to die". Oh, da, da... I was just so irritated when I just, "I couldn't believe I heard you all the way down the hallway". Man, I walked into that room and I said, "Shut up. Shut your mouth. Shut up". And I got on her face and I said, "Live or die, lady? Live or die"? She looked at me, "Live". 'Cause she was just shouting a bunch of excuses. That was stopping results. Her excuses stopping results. Now, I want you to think about the excuses that you make in your life and then I want you to think about the amount of time you use wondering why you are not getting results. Excuses. Excuses. How many times are you going to make excuses? Nobody has time for excuses.
I'm doing this, like, you know I like experimenting stuff. I'm doing this plant-based thing for seven days. It started off pretty good. You know, which no meat. Just plant -based everything. Lot of advantages to it. I couldn't live like that, would never think about living like that, so, my dinner tonight was vegetable soup with all kinds of gross vegetables in it, and I figured in order for me to eat this, I need conversation, so I went and found Taffi. I said, "Look, do you mind if I sit here while I consume this"? 'Cause I have to eat it or I'm gonna be starving. And she said, "Come on, lift your hands up". I said, "Why do I need to lift my hands up"? "Give the Lord thanks for the soup". I said, "Taffi, I thank God for the soup, but I'm not really excited like you are about, you know, it's kinda like you want me to say, 'Hallelujah', and I'm just like, 'Thank you'".
But my thing is that I don't wanna complain, so I'm just gonna shut up and eat the doggone soup. There's no chicken in the soup. There's nothing that's meat in the soup. Just green stuff and stuff. And I ate the soup and ate all the juice with the soup, and I was hot. Ain't no corn bread with the soup. There ain't no crackers with the soup. Just soup. Who does this? And I am now preaching off the soup, but why practice excuses? I can keep telling you excuses of, "Well, you know, I still got this weight I'm trying to get rid of and the reason why I didn't do it is because I won't eat like I wanna eat". And that's why you're 50 pounds overweight, 'cause you keep wanting to do what you wanna do, and you keep making an excuse for not doing what needs to happen in order to achieve what needs to achieve, and it's being blocked. Your results are being blocked by your excuses.
"If I hadn't worked so hard, I would do something". Well, work out before you leave. "Well, it's too early, I need"... Yah, yah, yah, yah, yah. "Well, I woulda went to Bible study tonight, but I had traffic". Everybody was in traffic. You're the traffic. What are you talking about you had traffic? Well, what are you talking about, "Well, it was traffic"? That blows my mind, when traffic stuff comes up, that's why I cannot be the chief executive officer of this ministry ever, no more, and the reason why is because I freak out when people walk in late and say, "Traffic". I'm in the same traffic, but I left a hour early 'cause I knew there was gonna be traffic. I knew there was gonna be traffic. A lotta people who make it in traffic knew there was gonna be traffic, but you wanna blame it on the traffic for not being able to get there on time.
Like somebody say, "Oh, that's all right, you was in traffic. You was a hour late. And the contract we was negotiating, well, they left a hour ago because you wasn't here, but you was in traffic". Nobody does that. Excuse is blocking your results, so how many times are you gonna allow your results to go without any manifestation in your life? And you keep thinking it's okay to build houses with these nails of excuses. It's going to fail. You will be fired, and I love this. This millennial, he lost two jobs in, like, two months, and every time he called it a reason why he lost the job. And finally, I just lost it. I said, "Listen, boy. Each one of those situations was on you. Did you not know that that was the rule before you did it"? "Yeah". "Did you not know that you weren't allowed to eat that when you was taking it"? "Yeah". "And what were you fired for"? "'Cause I did those things". "So, why are you telling me your doggone excuse? And you're gonna keep losing jobs until you eliminate the excuses".
Somehow that got into him. He's got a job lasting longer than ever before because he's learned how to shut up, accept responsibility for whatever happened, and trust God that, you know, favor will be shown. But pay attention to what you're supposed to do and what you're not supposed to do. "Well, the reason why is they white men don't like black folks". Don't come with that. Don't come with that. Now, some of that stuff sometime might be true, but your job is to show up with excellence so you don't have to make an excuse for your skin color. Your job is even if you don't like black folks, my excellence is gonna overwhelm your prejudice. You ain't gonna be able to do without me 'cause I'm like that. 'Cause you know, a long time ago a black man couldn't teach.
Now, these are coming from my partners. I had several of my white partners to write me when I first started teaching at Believers' Convention years ago, and they wrote me, and they said, "My great-granddaddy told me that a black man can't teach me nothing. Pastor Dollar, I wanna repent, because I learned more tonight than I've ever learned in my life". And I heard it over and over again. My spiritual dad used to tell me about the things that would happen in the neighborhood, how the N-word was just a common word in some households and stuff, and so I've had a lot of wonderful partners and friends to really expose themselves.
And that was the year I taught on reconciliation amongst races in the body of Christ. That year I wrote a book called "The Color of Love", and one of the things I realized is that I'm not going to make an excuse for who I am, and I'm not gonna make an excuse for being a black man, but what I'm gonna do is when I take that pulpit, I'm gonna take it in the spirit of excellence. And it went from those kinda reports to, "We love Creflo. Oh, he's our favorite preacher". But we were making progress, and so right now, the percentage of partners that I have in our ministry, you'd be shocked of some places I go to it's full of white folks, because they're not looking at color no more when you show up in a spirit of excellence. You understand what I'm saying?
Now, some of 'em still do, but it's still in the world. The division in our nation right now is greater than it was in the '60s, but I want people to know, black, white, whatever your nationality or color or race is, excellence, not excuses, will overcome even people who prejudged you. Be excellent. Be epic. Show up looking right, professional. Don't come in them no clown suit on. You go into a business meeting, don't be wearing no orange suit, with yellow gaiters, and a hat with a feather in it. I don't want you in my office.
Learn the correct protocol and know your audience and know who you're going to 'fore you show up with your style. Don't nobody care about your style. You're getting ready to work for somebody, and they are allowed to decide whether or not they wanna hire you 'cause they like you or not. You gotta show up being likable. Feel like I'm fathering tonight. And making an excuse. "Well, he didn't like me". No, you didn't understand what professionalism was about, and you showed up like you were going to a club, instead of showing up like you're going to an interview. "But I don't know why I didn't get the job". Look at you. If you're a woman, you can't go in there with your club clothes on. You gotta find out what's accepted, because regardless of what you think, "Well, I'm gonna be who I am".
You can do that without a job. You can do that. You can be whatever you wanna be. You see how these excuses go back and forth, excuses for not understanding how to operate and do what needs to be done in order to accomplish what needs to be accomplished? And I'm not trying to offend anybody. I'm not trying to start no nothing and stuff like that. This is just stuff I know. I was the first black male to integrate in a all-white school. I got rubbed on. They wanted to see how my hair felt, it was weird. I came behind a teacher one time in the fourth grade, and she said, "You know, there's no way that the black Negro will be able to keep up in this class, so we can expect him to just do nothing but fail". And I heard that, and I went and told my mom about it afterwards, and she said, "Baby, you can do anything you wanna do". She said, "Now you must achieve".
Man, I heard that, and I made straight A's that next quarter. I didn't even know I could make straight A's. Shocked myself. I didn't even know you got rewards for making straight A's. I mean, you got Blow Pop from the teacher. My daddy gave me $5. You know, $5 was big back in them days, you know? I found out that the key to overcoming was not receiving excuses, accepting excuses, but operating in excellence and doing what Jesus did: rise up, take your bed up, and walk. Do what you got to do.
All right, so let's look at this Scripture and examine it just a little bit. How many times have you used the excuse, "I have no one to help me", just like this guy did? "I ain't got nobody to help me in the water". How many times you used the excuse, "I ain't got nobody to help me. I don't have anybody to help me. I don't have anybody to help me"? Or the excuse "no one to love me". "I don't have anybody to love me. Well, if I had somebody to love me, I could do this, and I could achieve this". Or, you know, "no one to give me what I need". "If I had somebody to give me what I need, I'd be able to do this". Dude, that's what's keeping you there. That's what's keeping you.
You know the number of people who have achieved and there was nobody there to help 'em? You know the number of people, you know, talking about college and these people talking about thatá? You know, when Ken and I was in college, we figured it out. We didn't have, our parents were too broke to give us money. We had to figure it out. "I ain't got nobody to love me. Man, I didn't have no daddy". Oh, I had a daddy, but he was just too busy trying to earn money with all them jobs he had, so you can have a father who was absent physically, and then you can have somebody that's there, but he's absent mentally, but I can't use that as an excuse. "So, I'm robbing somebody 'cause I didn't have no daddy, and if I had somebody to love me then I wouldn't rob a bank". "So, why did you shoot that guy"? "'Cause I didn't have no love".
I know I'm kinda being hard on this, but you can kinda tell I've been waiting a long time to get to this. To release the power to change, we must stop making excuses. The one who makes excuses will be the one that fails, so how can he succeed? Well, he can't. Why? Because there is always an excuse why he doesn't do what it takes to change or to succeed, so he can't succeed 'cause he's always making excuses, and so he won't be able to do what's necessary to change or succeed. Change isn't change until it's changed. It's not change 'cause you talk about change. It's not change 'cause, you know, you say you wanna change. "Well, I wanna change". That's not change. Change isn't change until it's changed.
"Oh, Brother Dollar, what are you doing to keep your weight down? You must have good", what do they say? "Genes". That ain't genes. That's sweat. It's a decision to say no to oatmeal cookies. I had the greatest thing happen to me this past Sunday. A friend of mine brought his little daughter back, and I've been hounding her about oatmeal cookies, 'cause I bought some of her Girl Scout cookies, but then something happened with the Girl Scouts, and so I never got my cookies. So, every time I see her I'm like, "Well, where my cookies at"?
So, she came in. That it wasn't nothing, but she had some Whole Food cookies. You know how I feel about Whole Food oatmeal raisin cookies wrapped in the Whole Food bag. She says, "I got something for you". And I'm like, "Lord, have mercy". I said, "Bless your heart, Baby". I took them cookies, and I said, "Lord Jesus, you got to help me". I said, "I'm weak, Jesus, you need to help me". And my godson came in the back, and I threw it at him. He said, "What is this, Pops"? I said, "Just take it and leave". And then, he looked at 'em, "Oh, thank you so much". See, you have to make a decision, or I'm gonna sit there and eat the cookies, and I'm gonna come up with an excuse. "Well, the reasons why I ate the cookie, 'cause I'd just finished preaching, and I was hungry". "And you're still gonna be fat, Creflo".
Are you understanding what I'm saying? It's so easy to make excuses, so easy to do that. So, why doesn't do what it takes to change or succeed? Well, this is the victim mentality, what I've described. It's a victim mentality. Are you making excuses for the way things are? And if you continue making excuses for the way things are, it just gives it the right to stick around and bother you longer. If you continue to make excuses for the way things are, just, you're giving the situation and the circumstance the right to stick around and to bother you longer. You wanna preserve a bad situation? Keep making excuses about it. You wanna preserve a bad marriage? Keep making excuses about it. You wanna stay broke, busted, and disgusted? Keep making excuses about it.
"Well, it's the economy. Well, you know, if that guy wasn't in office then we'd be"... You're looking for something to paralyze you and to cause you to stay where you are. Jesus didn't ask him if he had friends to put him in the water. I mean, having friends are great, but don't misunderstand me. You know that. I hope I don't have to explain it to you; but at the same time, we gotta change our lives, and we've gotta make some decisions to do what needs to be done, and we gotta get to a place where we're not looking at man any further. My focus is not looking at man to see who's gonna help me. I have a God, and I have promises, and he's anointed me, and he's provided grace for me, and I'm gonna look to him. And you know what, if I need to hook up with other people, which, in business, you will, God will help that too. He knows how to bring the right people, the right partners, the right situation, but I will not use them or the lack of them as an excuse for not achieving what needs to be achieved.
My father told me when I told him, I said, "God called me to start a church". He said, "Hmm, where the people gonna come from"? I said, "I don't know". In other words, "where are the people gonna come from" could not become my excuse for doing it or not doing it. All I knew is I'm supposed to start a church, and I'm gonna start the church. The people or the lack thereof can't be the excuse, or nothing happens, so I never made it an issue. I'm here teaching. I think I told you this story before. I stood up in a room before I started this church. I was doing Bible studies on Saturday nights at 7 o'clock, and I went up in this room, and I committed to God that I would do it 7 o'clock. "I will not be late. I will practice being on time", 'cause I knew he was training me. And at 7 o'clock, nobody was there but me, and I remember my commitment, so I stood up behind the book board fighting these thoughts of, "You're a failure. Nobody's here. Look here, you're so-called called, and you're standing up getting ready to talk to a bunch of empty chairs like some fool".
So I stood up, and I said, "Well, there are no people here, but there are some angels here, according to the Word, so if angels are here, stand up. Let's pray", and I started praying. And then, I told 'em to sit down. "If you're in here, I don't know if y'all take seats or not", and opened my Bible up, and I started preaching. And it was an empty room. And about that time, my assistant at the time, she peeked in, 'cause she was trying to figure out, "Who are you talking to"? And then, I said, "Come on, you're already late. You done missed the first half of it", and I started preaching, and then slowly they started coming in. And you gotta understand how hard that was in the natural, all of the things that were coming against my head, the failure, the all the kinda stuff.
And I just kept going, and then I heard the Word of the Lord. He said, "That will never happen again. You will never speak to an empty room again". And I had no idea it would be to the place where it is now, but I coulda made an excuse to be late, but because I wouldn't make an excuse, results came. How many of you are still stranded on the other side of results because you made an excuse that paralyzed you? I used to tell the guys, "If you can sell drugs, you can sell on the stock market". How many times? How many of you today are stuck, and you got an excuse as the chain and the ball that's keeping you there? Excuses is kinda like the nose that everybody has. It seems like everybody has one of 'em. Let me show you something.
Go to Proverbs 26:13. Jesus told his man, "Get up". Jesus didn't say, "I'm sorry". He didn't say, "I feel bad for you, man". He didn't say, "Let's pray about it". He said, "Get up". And I think that's the thing everybody needs to hear who hang around excuses. Get up. Go. Look at this. Proverbs 26:13. He says, "The slothful man", or the lazy man, "saith, 'There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets". Can you imagine a guy so lazy he says, "A lion's in the street"? That's an excuse. Look at this one, Luke chapter 14:16 through 20, and then I may read on to 24. I wanna show you just excuse after excuse after excuse. Luke 14:16, and we'll just keep reading till I say stop. "Then said he unto him, 'A certain man made a great supper'", so, this guy's making a supper, "and he bade many", or he's getting ready to invite people to come and be a part of the supper. Verse 17, "And he sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden", or invited, "Come; for all things are now ready". He didn't ask them to bring food. He didn't ask them to do nothing. He said, "Come", okay
Now, watch this. "And they all with one consent began to make excuse". So, the first excuse, "The first one said unto him, 'I bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go to see it: I pray thee have me excused'". He really didn't wanna do it, because who buys land without seeing it first? His first excuse. All right, look at the next one. "And another said, 'I bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them:' excused him". Check it out, oxen was probably used for their livelihood, for farming and for growing food. Who buys oxen before you realize that they're capable and able to do the job? Excuse. They really didn't wanna go. Look at this one. "And another said, 'I've married a wife'", and we still use this one today. "I married a wife, and therefore I cannot come". Bring your wife with you. "But they're not interested in coming". You would be shocked to see how the Bible is so full of excuse makers.