Joel Osteen - Expecting A Favor-Filled Future
I want to talk to you today about Expecting a Favor-Filled Future. It's easy to lose our passion in life. When we've gone through disappointments, dreams are taking longer than we thought or we're dealing with the challenge, if we're not careful we'll become complacent, when we're not believing for things to turn around, we're not expecting good breaks. But Paul said in Romans 12:12, "Be glad for all God is planning for you". If you could see what God has planned for you, if you knew the doors he's going to open, the people you're going to meet, the giants you're going to defeat, and you go out each day with a spring in your steps, excited about your future, expecting God to show out in your life. That expectancy is what allows God to do great things, that's your faith at work.
You may be in a difficult time, and thoughts whisper, "Is never going to change. You've seen your best days". Don't believe those lies. God has a comeback for every setback, a new beginning for every loss, mercy for every mistake. He's already planned to bring you out better, to promote you in front of those that did you wrong, to heal you despite that diagnosis. There are good breaks in your future that will catapult you ahead. When you realize this, it changes your perspective. You won't live discouraged over problems, thinking that a dream is too big, and these people are too powerful. There'll be a passion and expectancy. You know God is on the throne, you know his plans for you are for good, that he's already lined up the right people, the breaks you need, the favor.
There's not a problem you're you'll face that God hasn't already lined up of solution. There's not a Goliath that will try to stop you that God hasn't already lined up a slingshot and the smooth stone. There's not a dream in your heart, God hasn't already arranged the wisdom, the creativity, the connections. When you know God has good plans, you'll live out of a place of rest. Not uptight, wondering how it's going to work out. You know, it's already been planned. The schedule has already been set. Not by people, not by opposition, not by the enemy - the Most High God has planned out your days.
Psalm 30:5 says that God's favor is not for a season, but it's for a lifetime. It's not for a few years, maybe in your 20s your 30s you'll have a few good breaks. No, as long as you're breathing there's favor on your life. We can all look back and see these moments of favor: God opened a door we couldn't have opened, he had you at the right place and you met that person and fell in love. He promoted you when you weren't next in line. He healed you when the expert said there was no way. You've seen God's favor in the past. The good news is: God never does his greatest feats in your yesterdays, they're always in your tomorrows. God doesn't want you to live off of old victories. Yes, we can celebrate. Yes, we're grateful for what God has done. But God has some new victories. He's taken you from glory to glory. What's in your future is going to supersede anything you've seen in the past. That's why we can live with expectancy, excited when others are down, hopeful when others are discouraged, praising when others are complaining. We know his favor is for a lifetime, that we haven't seen our best days.
I'm sure you can say like me that God's been good to you, you've been blessed, but the scripture says (1 Corinthians 2:9), "You haven't seen, heard or imagined what God has in store for those that love the Lord". You've seen favor, but you haven't seen the favor that's coming. You've seen breakthroughs, God turned things around, but you haven't seen the breakthroughs that are coming. You've seen promotion, but you haven't seen the levels God is about to take you to. Paul said, "Be glad for all God has planned for you". He's inferring: if you're not glad, if you're not hopeful, not expecting, then you're not going to see it. You'll miss the favor, the blessings that belong to you.
"Well, Joel, I've seen God's goodness in the past too, but this problem, my child, my finances, I don't see how it can work out". Don't talk yourself out of it. If you could see what God has planned, if you could see what he's about to do, you'd get your passion back. And God sent me to relight that fire. Yes, he's been good to you in the past, but there are new victories coming. Just because you haven't seen anything in a long time, doesn't mean God is not going to do it. The scripture says "There is a set time for God to favor you". There are marked moments where God has already planned to suddenly promote you, suddenly turn it around, suddenly open a door.
David said, "What would have happened to me if I had not believed that I would see the goodness of God"? He was saying, "I wouldn't be where I am. I wouldn't have defeated Goliath, I wouldn't have outlasted king Saul, I wouldn't have taken this throne, if I had not believed the favor of God was on my life, that he had already lined up the breaks, the protection, the promotion, that would take me into my destiny". When David was a teenager, he was out in the shepherd's fields, taking care of his father's sheep. He had a big dream for his life, but nobody paid attention to him. He was stuck out there, cleaning up after the sheep, protecting them, feeding them. His brothers were in the army, they had a prestigious position.
It seemed like David had been left out. He was at a disadvantage, almost like God had forgotten about him. He could have been discouraged, "This isn't fair. Why did I get stuck out here"? But out there in the lonely shepherds fields, when he could have been complaining, maybe that's where he wrote "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life". He was saying, "The odds may be against me. It doesn't look like I can accomplished my dreams, but surely goodness is coming, surely new doors are going to open, surely the right people will show up". He had such a confidence in God. He believed despite the circumstances, despite how long it been, despite who didn't believe in him, that he would leave his Mark.
One day unexpectedly the prophet Samuel came to his father's house to anoint one of the sons as the next king of Israel. Well, his father, his name was Jesse, he didn't bother to call David in from the shepherds fields. He thought "David's too young. He's too small. He's not that talented. He'll never do anything great". People may overlook you, but God sees you. They may judge you, discount you, leave you out. They can't see the greatness God put in you. He loves to take what some consider weak, and cause them to confound the wise.
Samuel said to Jesse, "It's none of these sons, do you have any others"? Jesse said, "Yes, I have a son named David, but I'm sure it's not him". They brought David in. Samuel took one look at him and said, "That's the one". God had already planned for David to be the king. What God has planned for you, people cannot stop, betrayals can't stop, rejection can't stop. God's plan will override what other people want. His plan supersedes those that try to push you down, leave you out, tell you that you're not qualified.
And it's significant that David didn't go after Samuel, Samuel came to him. David didn't have to campaign, try to convince Samuel to be for him, play up to him. Samuel came knocking on his door. There are blessings in your future, good breaks, the right people, that are going to come looking for you. You don't have to go after them, God's going to cause them to find you. These moments of favor that God has already lined up to thrust you into your destiny. And I know you've seen some in the past, the good news is: his favor is for a lifetime. There are more favor moments coming your way. There are more Samuels, blessings, promotion, healings still on your schedule. Now, do your part and be glad for all God has planned for you. Live with expectancy, excited about your future, thanking God for what's in store.
Pastor, a friend of mine wanted to build a new building, a new sanctuary, and he tried for several years, but he couldn't find any property. And a couple places that he did like, it was way too expensive, he didn't have the funds, nothing was coming together. He could have been discouraged, "Well, it's not meant to be", but his attitude was, "God, I know you already have the right place for us. God, I trust you". One day the mayor of his city unexpectedly called. He'd never met the pastor, but he'd heard that they were looking for a building. He told about this group that built a huge building for a casino, just a few miles from his church, but before they moved in they went bankrupt. Had over 40 acres of parking, the building could fit four football fields inside. The mayor asked the pastor if he was interested in purchasing the building. Pastor thought it would cost 50 million dollars, they couldn't afford that. The mayor said, "No, we can sell it to you for under two million dollars". The pastor never dreamed he would have a facility like that. This was one of those favor moments that God had already planned.
God has some of these explosive blessings in your future, moments that will catapult you further. You couldn't make it happen, you didn't have the resources, the funding, the connection, but the favor of God will open the door, the favor of God will bring the right people, the favor of God will turn that problem around. Instead of living worried, frustrated, do like David: "Surely goodness is coming". He didn't say, "Maybe it'll come. I hope it'll come. Maybe, you know, one day it could show up". No, he said, "Surely it's coming". Our attitude should be, "Surely breakthroughs are coming. Surely promotion is on the way. Surely healing, restoration, new levels are up in front of me".
David said in Psalm 27:13, "I am confident I will see the goodness of God". Look at his attitude: in the midst of trouble, people coming against him, left out in the shepherds fields, you would think he'd be discouraged, given up on his dreams, yet he said, "I am confident, God will turn this around. I am confident good things were ahead of me. I am confident my latter days will be better than my former days". He was convinced that God had good things planned for him, that he wasn't at the mercy of other people, his environment, what he didn't get. He knew that God had the final say. What would happen, if we would live with that attitude, "I am confident, I will see the goodness of God"? How much further would we go if we had this mindset, "Surely good things are in my future"?
"Yes, business may be slow now, I'm struggling in my finances, but I am confident Jehovah Jireh, the Lord my provider is bringing increase, promotion, abundance". "I'm still single, hadn't met anyone yet, but I am confident the right person is on the way, a divine connection, someone better than I've imagined will come looking for me". "Well, I'm still fighting this battle in my health, doesn't look good, but I am confident Jehovah Rapha the Lord my healer is bringing healing. I am confident I will live and not die". Or how about, "This addiction's been in my family, Joel, for years. No, I am confident: freedom is coming. This is not how my story ends. I am confident this generational curse is being broken, and a generational blessing is coming".
See, Proverbs 13:21 puts it this way, "Trouble chases the wicked, but blessings chase the righteous". When you honor God with your life, when you keep in first place, something is chasing you. Not defeat, lack, bad breaks, depression. No, you're the righteous - blessings are chasing you, promotion, healing, the right people. When you look in your rear view mirror you have a tailgater, favor is about to overtake you, Samuel's about to show up. That baby you've been dreaming for is headed your way, healing is tracking you down right now. Freedom has almost caught up with you. It's just a matter of time before you see the goodness of God. Now, do your part and be glad for what God is planning for you. That means every day live with expectancy, "Lord, I believe, something good is going to happen to me. Father, I thank you that my best days are still out in front of me".
See Isaiah 30:18 said, this is the Amplified, "God is longing to be good to those, who look for who expect his goodness, his favor and his blessing". Notice, God wants to be good to you, he wants to show you his favor, but there's a condition: he's looking for people that are expecting his goodness, expecting his favor, people who believe healing is coming, that breakthroughs are on the way, that their future will be brighter than their past. Could it be that God is longing to be good to you, but you're not seeing it because you're not looking for his goodness? You become passive, complacent, totally "It's been this way a long time, I think I'm stuck out here in these shepherds fields, people don't believe in me, I was overlooked, I've seen my best days". No, God has an awesome future planned for you. His favor is for a lifetime, but you have to be looking for it, you have to be expecting things to turn around, believing that good breaks are coming, thanking him that the best is still ahead.
See, a passive attitude will keep you from the fullness of your destiny. It's easy to become complacent, you know, "I've seen God's goodness, Joel, I have no complaints, I've been blessed". Don't put your faith on autopilot. God didn't create you to reach a certain level and get stuck. He said, your path will get brighter and brighter, that your latter days will be better than your former days. And you may have had some great former days, that's awesome, but God has some greater things up ahead. There are moments of favor that you're about to come into that are going to catapult you ahead, something you can't explain, you didn't work for it, you weren't qualified, it's never happened in your family, it's just the goodness of God, it's Samuel showing up, it's the mayor calling, it's the building finding you, it's favor on that slingshot to where God thrusts you in the influence, resources, leadership that you've never imagined.
Now, Paul prayed in Ephesians that the eyes of our heart would be flooded with light, so we would know the awesome future God has in store. See, Paul knew that our mind would try to talk us out of it. We'd get passive, let disappointments, setbacks, delays cause us to quit believing, settle where we are. That's why he prayed that we would be flooded with light. Flooded means overwhelmed. Not overwhelmed with doubt, with trouble, with problems, "Look what I'm up against, I've reached my limits". No, flooded with light, flooded with hope, flooded with faith, flooded with expectancy. Like David, "I am confident, I will see the goodness of God".
When Moses was at the end of his life, it's 120 years old and he was about to pass, the scripture (Deuteronomy 34:7) says "His eye was not dim and his natural force was not abated". This is talking about his physical eyes, but I believe it's symbolic. His eyes of faith, his eyes of his heart were still flooded with light. 120 years old, he was still expecting God's goodness. This was significant, because Moses had seen God's favor as a baby. The king had put out a decree to kill all the male Hebrew boys two years of age and under. Remember how Moses mother put him in that basket and sent him down the Nile River. Just so happened, the Pharaoh's daughter was there taking a bath, she saw him in the basket and took him in. She raised Moses as her own child. Moses knew he was supposed to deliver the Israelites out of slavery, but he got out of God's timing. He saw an Egyptian foreman mistreating a Hebrew slave, he didn't think anyone was watching, and he he killed that foreman. He had to flee for his life. He spent 40 years hiding in the desert.
I'm sure he felt forgotten, alone, like he had missed God's plan, it was his own fault, he blew it. But God's favor is not for a season, it's for a lifetime. God has mercy for every mistake. He's already planned the comeback. 40 years later, 80 years old God showed up in a burning bush and said "Moses, now I want you to go and deliver the Israelites". After his mistake, after he thought he was done, he went on to part the Red Sea, to bring water out of the rock, to see all these supernatural signs. Now at 120 years old his eye was not dim. He was still confident he would see the goodness of God. If Moses were here he would tell you, "God's favor is not for a season, it's for your lifetime. You haven't made too many mistakes. The obstacles are not too big. What God promised you, he's still going to bring to pass". Now get your fire back, start expecting his favor. He's longing to be good to you, but you have to be looking for his goodness.
I talked to a young woman one time after the service. She had lost her arm in an accident. She became very depressed and wouldn't leave the house. Many days she wouldn't get out of bed. Her mother got her turned on listening to our messages, and she heard me talking about how God has good things in store, and how what was meant for harm God can turn to our advantage. Little by little she got her passion back. She told how she said, "God, I'm disappointed. I don't have any plans for my life, but God I know you have good plans for me". You may not see anything good in your future, that's okay, like her you can thank God for what he has planned for you. His plans are bigger, better, more rewarding than you could ever imagine.
Proverbs 13:12 says that "Hope deferred makes the heart sick". One definition of "Hope" is "Happy anticipation of something good". When you're anticipating something good brings you joy, gives you passion. When you believe the best is in front of you, that God's arranging things in your favor, lining up the Samuels, the property, the solutions, that he has explosive blessings on your schedule, and you're going to be excited about life, it'll affect your attitude, your relationships, your productivity. But if you're not anticipating anything good, if you think you're stuck, the problem's permanent, you've reached your limits, that'll drain your energy, stifle your creativity, take your joy. You'll just drag through the day and endure life.
Now, God created you to have something to look forward to. This is what faith is all about, "God, I believe you have good plans for me. That you're taking me where I've never gone. That the best days in my health, my finances, my family are still up in front of me". That's not just being positive, that's getting in agreement with God. That's what allows him to do amazing things. My prayer is that you will be like Moses, that your eyes will not become dim, that you'll not lose sight of the awesome future God has in store, that you'll keep your faith stirred up, to live with expectancy, looking for God's goodness.
Paul said in that verse (Romans 12:12), "Be glad for all that God is planning for you", the next phrase in the same says, "Be patient in trouble". It's not a coincidence that God connected the two, because in trouble, in difficulties, in delays you'll be tempted to get discouraged, "I think it's never going to work out. Joel, the medical report's not good, had this set back in my career". None of that is a surprise to God. He's already planned the solution.
Be patient in trouble. The trouble is not permanent. The trouble is not how your story ends. God wouldn't have allowed the difficulty, if he wasn't going to bring you out better. The scripture says that God makes all things beautiful in its time. Give God time to work it out. Just because you don't see anything happening, doesn't mean God's not working. Behind the scenes right now he's lining up everything you need. He's not going to bring you out the same, he's going to bring you out better.
But while you're waiting, these negative thoughts will come try to talk us out of it. That's when you have to dig down deep and say like David, "I am confident I will see the goodness of God. Surely favor is coming. Surely healing is coming. Surely breakthroughs are headed in my way". Instead of dwelling on all the reasons it's not going to work out, start thanking God that he's turning around. "Lord, you said many are the afflictions of the righteous, but you bring me out of them all. You said though I am surrounded by trouble, you will bring me safely through. You said you will lift me out of this pit, set my feet on a rock and put a new song in my heart. Lord, I think I'm coming out better, promoted, at a new level of my destiny".
In the scripture, Ruth went through a great disappointment. Her husband suddenly passed, and she was a young woman, she never dreamed she would be a widow at this age, her whole life was turned upside down. It didn't seem like God had good plans for her, with all that heartache and pain. But being a believer doesn't exempt us from difficulties. It will be things that are not fair, things we don't understand. This is where you have to trust that God is still in control. If you'll be patient, not get bitter, God will give you beauty for the ashes.
Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi moved back to Naomi's hometown. They were both widows, very poor, heartbroken. Ruth would go out in the fields each morning and pick up the leftover wheat, that's how she and Naomi survived. One day the owner of that field, a man named Boaz, he noticed Ruth. A long story short they ended up falling in love and getting married. They had a little baby boy. I can see Ruth holding that baby, never imagining she would be that happy, that fulfilled. She didn't have to work in the fields anymore, now she owned the fields. They named their son Obed. Obed had a son named Jesse. Jesse had a son named David. Now, Ruth was in the family line of Jesus.
Be patient in trouble, you don't know what God has planned, you don't know where God has taken you. The enemy will love for your eyes to become dim, where you live discouraged, "Look at all these bad breaks". No, there are Boaz is out there for you, there is restoration, healing, abundance. God has things in your future that you cannot conceive right now.
And sometimes you have to go through the disappointment, through the hardship, but on the other side you're going to see favor that you would have never seen. My question today is: are you expecting a favor filled future? Are you anticipating anything good? Are the eyes of your heart flooded with light or have they become dim? You think you've seen your best days? The only thing that's stopping some people is what they're expecting. I'm asking you to be a David. Have that attitude, "I am confident I will see the goodness of God. Surely favor is coming my way". If you'll do this, I believe and declare: you're about to step in to one of those moments of favor. God's about to do something unusual, blessings chasing you down, healing overtaking you, Samuel is about to show up, good breaks that catapult you ahead, a new level of your destiny, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen today? Amen!