Joel Osteen - Surrounded By The Most High - (Stronger Than You Think)
We all have things we're believing for. A promise in our heart, healing in our bodies, the restoration of a relationship, but sometimes it feels like nothing's happening. We prayed, we believed, we're standing in faith, but everything still looks the same. It's easy to get discouraged and think it's never going to work out, but many times God doesn't do things instantly, as fast as we would like. Thoughts will tell us it's too late, if it was going to happen, it would've happened by now. You might as well just give up. You may not be able to see it, but that doesn't mean that God is not working. Luke chapter 17, Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem when he heard ten lepers shouting, "Jesus, have mercy on us and heal us".
Jesus could've gone over and healed them right then and there, he could've spoken a word to them, caused their leprosy to suddenly disappear, but he did something interesting. He said, "Go show yourselves to the priest". Leprosy was contagious. Lepers were forbidden to be around people. They had to live in colonies isolated from society. Jesus asked them to do something that didn't make sense, something out of the ordinary. They could've thought, once we're healed, once we see our skin clear up, then we'll go see the priest. But faith says you have to believe it before you see it. These lepers obeyed, they walked towards the priest.
Can you imagine what other people might've said? "Where do you think you're going? You're not well, you look just the same". But the lepers just kept on walking. There was no sign of things improving, no changes in their skin, but hour after hour they kept walking. That's when the miracle began to happen. The Scripture says, "As they went, they were healed". If they had stayed where they were, waited for things to change, they would've never seen the miracle. The healing was in the obedience. By the time they got to the priest, they were perfectly well. God has put promises in your heart. He's told you that he's restoring health to you, that you're going to lend and not borrow, that as for you and your house, you will serve the Lord.
But maybe you feel like these lepers. Nothing looks any different. The medical report hasn't changed, your child is still of course, your business hasn't improved. Don't get discouraged, just keep walking, keep being obedient, keep praising, keep thanking. God sees your obedience, he sees you believing when you could be discouraged, he hears you praising when you could be complaining, he sees you stretching forth when you could be shrinking back. As you keep walking, you're going to see God show out in your life. Many of the miracles Jesus performed required an act of obedience. During his first miracle when he turned water into wine, he told the staff at the wedding to go fill up the large pots with water. They could have said, "What good is that gonna do? We don't need water, we need wine".
But it's in the obedience, that's what brought the miracle. Without them filling the water pots, there would be no wine. Is God asking you to do something that doesn't make sense? Is he asking you to step out in faith when you don't have the experience, or to forgive that person that did you wrong, to pray for others who need healing when you're still not feeling well? Is he asking you to bring five loaves and two fish when you need to feed thousands? It's not so much what you're doing, it's the obedience. When you prove to God that you're gonna do the right thing even when it's hard, even when it doesn't make sense, you're gonna see God do awesome things in your life.
After Moses died God raised up Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. But first they had to cross the Jordan River. The problem was it was the rainy season, and the Jordan River was in flood stage. It was over 150 feet wide with violent currents rushing down from the melting snow on Mount Hermon. Joshua was familiar with this type of scene. As a young man he was there when Moses held up his staff and the Red Sea parted. He had seen God make a way. I could imagine Joshua did like his mentor Moses had done. He held up his rod and said, "Lord, please let these waters part". Everyone was watching with great anticipation, but nothing happened. Joshua thought, God, this is my first test to show people that you're really with me. Don't just leave me hanging here. God promised Joshua, "As I was with Moses, I will be with you". He didn't say, "I'm going to do for you everything I did for Moses".
God does things in different ways. You have a unique anointing. There's a distinct calling on your life. Walk in your own anointing, walk in your own calling. The Jordan River didn't part. Joshua had to make a decision. Instead of turning back, Joshua put the priest out in front and told all the people, "Let's keep walking". Now, I'm sure a lot of those Israelites thought Joshua was crazy, but Joshua made up his mind, "I'm gonna keep walking, I'm gonna keep doing what God's called me to do, I'm gonna become who I'm created to be".
The priest got right up to the water with the Ark of the Covenant. It was do or die, now or never, but the water still didn't part. They looked back at Joshua one last time, thinking, surely he'll come to his senses. Joshua answered with three simple words, "Keep on walking". The Scripture says, when the priests got in the water, when their feet got wet, suddenly the waters began to push back. All 2 million people went through on dry ground. Miracles happen when there's obedience. God doesn't give us all the details, he doesn't show you how it's going to work out. God's not moved by what's not moving. He's not intimidated by how big the obstacle is or by how impossible it looks.
In fact, many times God will wait until the river is in flood stage. He'll wait until the experts say there's no way, the odds are against you, so that when he turns it around, everyone will know it was his favor, his power, and his goodness in your life. When you don't see how it can work out but you keep believing, you keep walking, you keep being good to people, that means you're going to enter into your Promised Land. God is setting you up to go where you've never been, to see favor that you've never seen. Now, you may be at a Jordan River right now, nothing's changing. God's waiting to see if you're going to turn around and go back.
"Joel, I prayed, I believed, my dream didn't work out. The people at work stopped me, couldn't break the addiction, the water didn't part". You're right where Joshua was. Didn't work the first time. The obstacle looks impassable, the river is swollen, the problem is bigger than it's ever been, that's a test. You have to get your feet wet. If you will keep walking, you're going to see God open things up you never dreamed would open, turn problems around you never dreamed would turn around. That Jordan River is setting you up for your Promised Land. David said, "I was young and now I'm old, but I have never seen the righteous forsaken". He was saying in effect, I've never seen a Jordan River that God won't part, I've never seen a sickness that he won't heal, I've never seen a dream that he won't bring to pass.
Joel Osteen: We had won the vote from the city council to have the Compaq Center, it was a great moment, y'all remember we celebrated. It was a Wednesday, and that night we had a bring celebration at the church, it was all over the news, Lakewood got the Compaq Center. That had already been a two year battle, and, man, we were just so pumped. And God, you're good. But 24 hours later, the company that owns all the property around the Compaq Center has filed a federal lawsuit to try to keep us from moving in. I said, "What does it mean"? He said, "Well, what it boils down to is it could be tied up in the courts for ten years," and I thought, "Oh man, we just celebrated the victory". People had already given to help renovate it, and we weren't about to just give up on it, so, you know, we're in a lawsuit now, and I would go to bed at night and sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, and thoughts would tell me, "You're gonna look like a fool when you have to give all the money back and when you have to go tell your church you didn't get it after all". But, you know, down in my spirit, not my head, but in my spirit, I knew, I believed that it was supposed to be ours, and we'd already seen God open up these incredible doors. And it didn't happen overnight. It took about two years. We were told that they would never settle with us, and one night the attorney called and said, "The CEO from the person, the group that owned all the real estate that filed the lawsuit," he said, "He wants to come down and meet". Well, we walked into the meeting with all of our attorneys and all of their attorneys, and he said, "Joel, I watch you on television every week". He said, "My son-in-law is a youth pastor," and I thought, man, that's a good sign so far. And so, we sat down, and in less than two hours they had agreed to drop the lawsuit, to let us have the facility, and it was just God putting the right person, I don't know why he didn't come sooner, but, you know, at the right time. I mean, the Scripture says, "God can turn the heart of a king". I guess the point is you just gotta keep walking, keep moving forward, keep believing. When all the thoughts are telling you, you're gonna look like a fool, or it's not gonna happen, or you're wasting your time, you just gotta keep believing and keep trusting. And, you know, the fair thing to say, say, "God, if it doesn't work out my way, I'm still gonna be happy. I'm still gonna trust you," so you can't be set on having it your way. That's maturity, to say, "Hey, I'm not gonna be bitter if it didn't work out. God, I believe you have something better," but you keep believing, and that's what we saw God do. Was the hand of God, and when he walked in and wasn't this man that was totally against us, I thought, only God could make that happen, and he's gonna get us to our destinies.
Victoria Osteen: You know, I remember so well, we did everything that we knew to do. That's how we moved forward, we did everything we could possibly do in our power, and then God did what we couldn't do, and I think that's kind of how we have to do it. I mean, we have to take responsibility, make wise choices, and ask God to help show us the way to do what we can do, but you kept trying to do everything in the natural, using your God-given brain and good senses, you know, and then God came in and just did what we couldn't do.
Joel Osteen: I think another thing we did, Victoria, kind of ties along with it, is we used to go up at night to the Compaq Center when nobody was there, and we'd just walk around the outside, and we'd just pray over it and dream over it and just get it down in our spirits, and so, you know, it's just an act of faith. Just, you know, God, we thank you for this building and thank you for making ways where we don't see a way, and as we kept doing our part, you know, God did his part and opened doors that we never dreamed would open, and he changed people's hearts and brought the right people to us. And I think about, mother, even during your fight with cancer, you know, I saw you just walk through it. You didn't stop, you didn't get depressed. You fought the good fight of faith in your mind, in your thoughts, but again, you just kept doing the right thing.
Dodie Osteen: I tried to, Joel. I kept walking through it. Now, that's a little bit harder for me to say, because I had had polio when I was a year and a half old, and I'm not that good at walking. But I kept on doing all that I felt in my heart was good to do, praying for others and phoning people and praying for them, and just doing everything that I knew to do, and I think God just honored that. And by the way, you were talking about the Compaq Center, I think God honored Daddy, because he always wanted a big place like that, and now we've got it. Seats 16,200, doesn't it? Something like that. And now we've got that place, and I think he's looking down from heaven, saying, "Oh, I'm so proud of my children. I am so proud of my children, that y'all have done that". And do you know what? We can just walk through a thing and just trust Jesus to help us, and that's what I did.
Joel Osteen: I really believe that as you keep doing the right thing, God's gonna get you to your destiny, he's gonna bring the promises to pass. We give up too soon, you know, that Scripture I talk about says, "Hold fast the profession of your faith," and I believe you hit that point where God says, "Okay, you passed the test". You come into your time. The Scripture even talks about that set time for God to do certain things, a set time, and you know what, if the set time is three months from now, I don't know that we can change it, so why don't we stay in faith and walk into that set time, and then we'll see the goodness of God and see him do things that we couldn't do. But part of that miracle is just the obedience, it's just the faithfulness. God, I'm gonna keep doing the right thing.
Lisa Osteen Comes: You know, the Bible says it's through faith and patience that we inherit the promises, so sometimes we forget about the patience part, I think, but if we'll just keep our faith set on God and be patient, you know. Even the Scripture, there's a Scripture in Habakkuk that says, "The vision is for an appointed time," and then in Galatians 6:9, "Don't get weary in doing good, because in due season you will reap what you have sown". And so, you know, there is a set time, there is a due season, and God knows when that is. Sometimes we want God to be on our time clock, but we've gotta trust his timing, because if we trust him, then we'll have his best and his highest. And so, I think it's important for us to remember the faith and the patience part.
The king of Aram had sent an army with thousands of horses and chariots to surround the prophet Elisha's house. They snuck up in the middle of the night, had it totally encircled. The next morning when Elisha's assistant stepped outside and saw all the horses and chariots, he nearly passed out. He ran back in total panic, "Elisha, get up, we're surrounded by the enemy. What are we going to do"? Elisha answered, "Don't be afraid! There are more for us than there are against us"! I can hear the young man saying, "What do you mean? It's just you and me". Elisha said, "Lord, open his eyes and let him see". All of a sudden, the young man looked out and saw hundreds of thousands of powerful warring angels all across the mountainside standing with their chariots of fire. He thought he was surrounded by the enemy. The truth is the enemy was surrounded by our God.
Like this young man, you may be surrounded by troubles, but what you can't see is the Most High God is surrounding what's surrounding you. The right attitude is, cancer, you think you have me surrounded, but you better look again. My God has you surrounded. Debt, you think you have me surrounded, I have bad news for you. The Lord, my provider, has you surrounded. When you know God is surrounding what's surrounding you, you won't go around discouraged 'cause of problems, worried about your finances, upset because people are coming against you. You'll be like Elisha, you'll stay in peace knowing that the forces that are for you are greater than forces that are coming against you. Elisha prayed for the young man that God would open his eyes that he could see. There's another world that we can't see with our natural eyes.
If God were to pull back the curtain like he did for this young man, you would see all these forces that are for you, powerful warring angels at work on your behalf, standing guard, protecting you, pushing back forces of darkness. You would see God moving the wrong people out of the way, lining up things in your favor, arranging good breaks, healing, deliverance. Through your eyes of faith, you need to see every obstacle that's holding you back, it's surrounded by the Most High. My prayer is this, "God, open our eyes. Let us see that you're surrounding what's surrounding us."
Remember the three Hebrew teenagers who refused to bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar's golden idol? They stayed in peace even though they were thrown into the fiery furnace. The amazing thing is when the king looked into the furnace, he asked, "Didn't we throw three men in bound? I see four men loose, and one looks like the Son of God". Like with us, you may feel as though you're in the fire. Things have come against you, had a bad break, but the God who controls the fire, that fourth man, he's right there with you. That's the beauty of our God, he doesn't leave you in the tough times, he comes into the fire with you. The king thought throwing them into the furnace, being surrounded by fire would surely be the end. What the king didn't realize was that God has the final say.
What's surrounding you may look powerful, insurmountable. The good news is our God is all powerful. The sickness may look like the end, but when God says live, you will live. The addiction may seem permanent, thoughts tell you you're never gonna break it. God is saying, "You're not gonna stay in that fire". Finally, King Nebuchadnezzar shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out of the fire"! A few minutes earlier he was saying they had to bow down to his idol. Now he was calling them servants of the Most High God.
Sometimes God allows the fire just so other people will see he is God. He will use you as an example. They may not believe before, but when they see God show out in your life, when they see you beat the cancer, when they see you break the addiction, set a new standard, go places you've never dreamed, they won't be able to deny the hand of God is on your life. After these teenagers came out of the fire, King Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. There is no god like their God". When those teenagers were in the fire, the only thing that burned was the thing that was holding them back.
You're not going to come out of the fire the same, you're gonna come out stronger, free from things that were holding you back. Greater influence, greater credibility, people are gonna see you in a new light. The right attitude is, "Father, thank you that your angels are watching over me. Thank you that I'm surrounded by protection, surrounded by favor, surrounded by your goodness". When you go through life in peace, in faith, knowing that God is surrounding what's surrounding you, you're showing God that you trust him. That's what allows him to show himself strong in your life.
"Joel, I got a lot of things coming against me. I was thrown into the fire, I don't see how it's ever going to work out". Psalm 34 says, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord will deliver us out of them all". The promise is not that you won't have difficulties, the promise is God will bring you out. Not out of some of them, not out of most of them, but out of all of them. Now, keep the right perspective. Sickness has come against me, but I know I'm surrounded by healing. I had a bad break, this is not how my story ends, I'm surrounded by favor. Lost a client at work, had this addiction for years, my child's off course, but I know a secret, I'm surrounded by increase, surrounded by freedom, surrounded by destiny.
God didn't bring you this far to leave you. You may not understand it, doesn't seem fair, but God knows what he's doing. He's not going to let that trial defeat you. You're not only going to come out, you're going to come out stronger, promoted to a new level of your destiny. My prayer, God, open our eyes. Let us see that there are more for us than those that are against us. That sickness may have you surrounded, keep the right perspective, God has it surrounded. That trouble may be causing you to lose sleep, come back to a place of peace, God has the trouble surrounded. You're in the palm of his hand. All through the day remind yourself that you are surrounded by the Most High. If you will do this, I believe and declare God is going to protect you, deliver you, promote you. Things that have held you back are being broken right now. You're going to see favor, increase, restoration, the fullness of your destiny. You are stronger than you think, in Jesus's name.
Like the children of Israel, you may be facing your own Jordan River, what seems like an impossible situation. Your feet are wet, the water isn't parting. Remember this, God has not failed in the past, and he's not going to start with you. Keep walking, keep believing, keep doing the right thing. The waters are about the part, the doors are about to open. Though you may feel surrounded by troubles, God is surrounding what's surrounding you. I believe and declare you are stronger than you think.