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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joel Osteen » Joel Osteen - Keep On Walking - (Stronger Than You Think)

Joel Osteen - Keep On Walking - (Stronger Than You Think)

Joel Osteen - Keep On Walking - (Stronger Than You Think)
TOPICS: Joel Osteen: You Are Stronger Than You Think, Persistence, Encouragement, Strength

We've all come through challenges and difficulties that should have stopped us. There have been problems that seem too big or obstacles that looked insurmountable. Somehow we made it through. We've seen doors open that shouldn't have opened, promotion that we didn't deserve, maybe people who for no reason went out of their way to be good to us. That wasn't luck. It wasn't just a good break. That was the hand of God pushing back forces of darkness, protecting us, healing us, promoting us. You and God have a history. That history with God is fuel for your faith.

Psalm 41, David said, "By this I know the Lord is on my side. He has not let my enemies triumph over me". When David looked at where he was, thought about all he had been through to get there; the rejection, his father leaving him out, King Saul trying to kill him, people slandering him, armies coming against him, he recognized that the whole time God was behind the scenes fighting his battles, not letting those enemies defeat him. It gave him a boldness, a confidence. David knew the Lord was on his side. All of us have some of these by-this-I-know times.

In Genesis 24, Abraham was old and close to death. He told his assistant to travel back to his hometown to find his son Isaac a wife. The assistant felt all this pressure. He thought, "How am I going to know if it's the right girl"? He said to Abraham, "I'll go, but what if I don't find a young woman that will come back with me"? Abraham said, "You will, for the Lord in whose presence I have walked will send his angel with you and make your mission successful". See, Abraham was saying, "Don't worry. I have a history with God. I've seen his faithfulness through the years. He gave us a child, whom he promised, even though we were too old. He provided a ram in the bush when I thought I was going to have to sacrifice my son. He showed me mercy when I made a mistake, had a baby out of wedlock. He rescued my nephew Lot when he was in trouble". He had seen God's goodness again and again. He had such a confidence that he could say with boldness, "It will happen. I have walked with God".

Like Abraham, when you think about the faithfulness of God in your life, you will have the confidence to say, "It will happen. My children will be mighty in the land. I will live and not die. I will lend and not borrow. I will break this addiction. I will accomplish my dreams. I will reach my destiny". How can you be so sure? You have a history with God. Think about all the circumstances that could have brought you down but you're still going strong. By this you can know the Lord is on your side. He said no weapon formed against you is going to prosper. He said when your enemies come against you one way, he will defeat them and cause them to flee seven different ways. He said when the opposition tries to stop you, he will raise up a barrier. You have a protector, a defender who's been watching over you. He never sleeps. He's pushing back the darkness. The fact that you're here alive, victorious, by this you know the Lord is on your side.

When I see my mother who was diagnosed with terminal cancer back at 1981 still alive and healthy 41 years later, by this I know the Lord is on my side. When I step up to minister, I never dreamed I could do this. I didn't have the experience, the training, but God brought gifts out of me that I didn't know I had. By this I know the Lord is on my side. When you look at where you are and think about what it took to get you there, that is fuel for your faith to stand strong.

When I'm tempted to get discouraged, I go back over my history. I think about how God protected me on the freeway. I lost control of my car in a rainstorm, hit the guardrail in the center, started spinning crossing five lanes of traffic. One point I was facing the wrong direction and an 18 wheeler was coming right at me. We were so close I felt like I could reach out and touch his front grille. All I could say was Jesus. The Scripture says call on the name of the Lord and you will be saved. Doesn't say you have to pray long 'cause heaven and earth come to attention when you say Jesus. The next thing I knew is I was stopped on the side of the freeway and the 18 wheeler pulled over. The driver came to my window. He said, "Boy, you must be living right. Just when I was about to hit you, a big gust of wind blew my truck into the next lane. Somehow I missed you".

He said somehow; I realize it was someone. He thought it was good luck; I know it was a good God. By this I know the Lord is on my side. What has God done for you? Those victories weren't just to protect you, to promote you, to heal you. They're fuel. Now when you face challenges and obstacles look too big, you can remember what God has done for you. That's what gives you faith. This is where the Israelites missed it. God supernaturally brought them out of slavery in Egypt. He sent plagues on their enemies. They were living next door, but the plagues never affected the Israelites.

When Pharaoh changed his mind and came chasing after them, they were at a dead end at the Red Sea. Looks like they were done, but God parted the sea. They went through on dry ground. But when Pharaoh's army tried to go through, they were all drowned. Then even out in the desert, God brought one miracle after another. But when they arrived at the Promised Land, saw how big the inhabitants were, Psalm 78 says they forgot the amazing miracles God had done. They got discouraged, started complaining. "Moses, we don't have a chance. We'll never defeat these people. Look how big they are. Let's go back to being slaves".

Here they had a great history with God. He'd done amazing things, but their problem was they didn't remember them. Instead of going into the Promised Land, they ended up wandering in the desert for 40 years. Are you living worried, thinking your problem is too big? Perhaps you've done like the Israelites. You've forgotten what God has done. You're out of fuel. Your faith needs to be re-energized. Go back over your history with God. Remember the times he made a way, the times he delivered you, opened that door that you couldn't open, protected you. Your personal history is your fuel.

Don't be surprised when you face giants that are bigger than you've seen. Bigger opposition, it's a sign that you're headed to a new level. You'll be tempted to feel overwhelmed, but you have to go back and get your fuel. Remember what God has done. Thank him for the Red Seas he's parted. Thank him for the giants you've defeated. Thank him for the times he made a way.

There are things that should have stopped you, but you can say like David. "By this I know the Lord is on my side. The cancer didn't defeat me. The bad childhood didn't limit me. The accident didn't take my life. The divorce didn't keep me from my destiny". You have a history with God. He's brought you through in the past, he's going to bring you through in the future. He was fighting your battles then, and he's fighting your battles now. I believe and declare you're going to take new ground. You're going to go where no one in your family has gone. Giants that are much bigger are about to come down. God is going to show out in your life in a greater way. By this you will know the Lord is on your side.

Joel Osteen: Lisa, it's amazing where you are today. When I think about, you know, you were born with that birth injury. Nothing you could do about that, but it's the goodness of God. And you went through some other challenges in your life, but I've seen you be faithful, and be strong, be determined. You've walked through those times and now you're up there ministering with us and, you know, people look at you now and think, well, you've never had a problem in your life. But you know what? You've got a history with God now. By this we know the Lord is on our side, that you're here with us today.

Lisa Osteen Comes: I'm so grateful. I'm so grateful that, you know, our parents believed and didn't give up on me and, you know, I saw that miracle as a baby. And then, you know, I went through a very hurtful relationship, a broken relationship. I went through 8 years of infertility and just, there's things that's just life, you know, but unexpected and, but I just think about how in those times I've always seen the faithfulness of God. I mean, there was a time where I faced anxiety, depression. I thought my life was over because, you know, that's what the enemy will tell us. "Your life is over. You'll never be in the ministry. You're not qualified," you know. But I saw how God healed my broken heart. He brought me up out of that discouragement, that depression. And not only did he give me the victory, but he really used it to catapult me into my destiny because during that time I began to just reach out to other people, help other people. I started teaching the Word of God, and then one day, you know, daddy said to me, "You need to be preaching in the main sanctuary". And I didn't think I could do it, but I did. And so I really learned to preach in the worst season of my life, and I'll never forget what daddy said to me one day. He said, "Lisa, you've been through so many things. It only tells me one thing, that God has big plans for your life". And so I always look at it. Since then I just know that God has helped me in the past. He will continue to help me. And if there's a big obstacle in the way God must have big plans for my life, and it's the same for those who are watching today. You know, it's just a bump in the road. That's the way I look at it now. It's just a bump in the road and God is going to help me overcome. By this I know that God is for me, and the enemy will not overcome me. All those obstacles did not overcome me, but I overcame through Jesus Christ working inside of me.

Joel Osteen: That's so good. I'm reminded there's a Scripture that says God, you know, the enemy came against people, but the enemy could not finish them off. And I think that's the way God is. He doesn't say we're not going to have difficulties, but he doesn't let it finish us off. And I think, too, when you go back and you look at your history with God, you didn't get here by yourself, you got to know that God's got great things in store for you. He's not going to let the enemy finish you off. If he did it back then, he's going to do it again in the future.

Victoria Osteen: Great saying. Every time he come at, "This isn't going to finish me off".

Lisa Osteen Comes: Yeah, I remember when daddy said one time when he was preaching and it just, it amazed me because of how he just said it so nonchalantly. He said, you know, "God and I are old friends". And I thought, "How could you say that"? But, you know, as you go, because you don't feel that intimacy when you're young, you know, and now that I have gone through life and one season after the other and I see the faithfulness of God, I can say now God and I are old friends. We have history. We have history together. He's been faithful to me. And if he's been faithful in the past, he's going to be faithful right now. You know, we're old friends.

Joel Osteen: I love that. Paul, I think about my nephew Matt. You know, Matt went through a struggle in his early years, you know, teens and stuff just like a lot of kids do. But you stood in faith year after year for Matt, just that he would fulfill his destiny and all. You'd pray and believe, and there were times it didn't look good. Man, today Matt's on our staff. He's an attorney. He's a fantastic, great, great guy. But I think about, man, by this we know God's on our side. Just man...

Paul Osteen: As Lisa said, you have a history with God. And then when you face the next thing you think, "You know what, God? You know what? You were faithful there with Matt. You were faithful in that situation. I can trust you in this situation". So it's a miracle. And the beauty of... most people don't know now. Matt not only is an attorney, but he works with us on the side of missions and works with me hand in hand now on a daily basis.

Victoria Osteen: That's why it's so good to hear these testimonies because, you know, it fills your faith. It really does. And when you hear testimonies, you've got to say, "Well, God, if you did it for them, you can do it for me". It may not even be the same situation. "But, God, if you can do that, you can do this for me". And every testimony that we hear, we ought to take hold of it and not say, "Well, he did it for them. You think he'll do it for..." No. He's God, and look at him as that and say, "God, you know what? I believe. I believe in you".

Joel Osteen: I think we can all look back and just see times that God has done great things, and I think the thought this moment is don't forget about him. We wouldn't be alive if it was not for the goodness of God. I think we all have these by-this-I-know moments if we just think about it and reflect on our life, and it just reminds us of the goodness of God. He did it back there, he's going to do it again, and he's not going to let the enemy finish us off.

Jesus told a parable in Luke chapter 8 about a farmer who sowed a seed in his land. Some seed fell on good ground, some seed fell on hard ground. When he explained the meaning, he said the seeds in the rocky soil become like young plants whose roots don't go down very deep. They believe for a while, then they wilt when the hot winds of testing come. You can't become who you were created to be without going through hot winds of testing. How you respond in these difficult times will determine whether you come out bitter or you come out better. These are the times when you feel overwhelmed. You're doing the right thing, but it's not improving. You're praying, but it feels like God went on vacation. You lost a loved one. You don't see how you could make it.

These are not just random challenges, not just bad luck. You're in the hot winds of testing. God is seeing what you're made of, how deep do your roots go. Are you going to live sour, discouraged; or are you going to dig down deep to God? "I may not understand it, but I trust you. I know you're bigger than what I'm facing, that your plans for me are for good. So, Lord, I thank you that you'll still get me to where I'm supposed to be". None of us like the hot winds of testing. Be much easier if things just fell into place and we never had opposition, if people would always be for us. But without these times of testing when you have to resist the urge to quit, when you have to stretch your faith and believe that God's in control, we wouldn't become who we were created to be.

I read about a team of scientists who created a miniature version of our planet. It's called the Biosphere 2 project. It's a big dome structure that cost $150 million. They made it to study how the earth functions to learn more about how we can make improvements. It had 3,800 species of plants and animals, including a rain forest, a savanna, and a desert. They discovered that trees in this biosphere grew much faster than trees outside the dome, but they were surprised that before these trees reached their full height they fell over.

They realized the trees couldn't withstand their own weight because they hadn't replicated the wind within the biosphere. It was always calm and peaceful. There were never any strong winds or storms. Because the trees didn't have to withstand any pressure from the wind, their roots didn't develop. They had a deficiency in what they called stress wood, which helps the tree grow stronger and more solidly. Without it the trees can grow fast, but they can't survive. The wind is essential for a tree to flourish and become what it was created to be.

In the same way, without these hot winds of testing, without the storms, difficulties, life would be easier; but we wouldn't develop properly, we wouldn't be able to carry the weight of what God has in store. Don't complain about the wind. It's strengthening you. Those hot winds of testing can be uncomfortable. We don't like it, but our roots are going down deeper. You're developing courage, strength, and fortitude. Those winds are not there to break you; they're there to make you. They're helping you become who you were created to be. When you have the right perspective, you don't get discouraged when you face challenges. If God would have left you in that biosphere without difficulties, without opposition, you may have grown fast, but you wouldn't have the strength for where you're going. Those hot winds of testing are preparing you.

It's interesting that airplanes don't take off with the wind, they take up against the wind. The airplane needs the resistance of the wind to get lift. Are you complaining about winds being against you when in fact God is going to use those winds to give you a lift? That challenge may look like it's going to stop you, but really it's going to promote you. Don't get discouraged because you're in the hot winds of testing. That tells me you're about to lift off. You're about to see things you've never seen, go places you've never gone, pass the test, keep standing, keep doing the right thing. Even Jesus had to go through these hot winds of testing. You would think he would have had it easy. God would surely favor him, keep him from opposition, bad breaks, but Jesus had to pass these same tests. People whom he loved walked away. Peter denied him. Thomas doubted him. The religious leaders made fun of him.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, he was so overcome with despair that his sweat was like great drops of blood. When he was crucified, the Scripture says darkness fell across the whole land from the sixth hour to the ninth hour. As he hung there, the sun refused to shine. It was a dark moment. Jesus could have called down angels to rescue him. He could have called down fire from heaven, but in the dark moment he didn't take the easy way out. In the dark moment, he didn't come down off the cross. Yes, he's the son of God, but he still felt the pain. He was in so much agony he said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me"? The Scripture says he endured the pain of the cross looking forward to the joy that was coming. He knew on the other side of the dark moment was a resurrection. We would never have salvation without a dark moment. Jesus would have never sat at the right hand of the Father without a dark moment.

Joseph would have never become the prince of Egypt without a dark moment, his brothers betraying him. Paul would have never written nearly half of the books in the New Testament without a dark moment, being in prison for sharing his faith. Sarah would have never given birth to the promised child without a dark moment, being barren for almost 90 years. When you're in a dark moment, you have to remind yourself that difficulty is not the end. It's leading you to a resurrection, to a new beginning, to something that you've never seen. It's significant that the Scripture tells us darkness covered the earth from the sixth to the ninth hour during Jesus's crucifixion. The writer wasn't just giving us a timeframe so we'd know chronologically when it all happened. God was showing us just as he sets a time for you to come into that dark moment, he sets a time for you to come out of it.

Can I tell you, your ninth hour is coming? The dark moments are not permanent. The hot winds of testing don't last forever. You are closer to seeing things turning around than you think. You are close to a breakthrough, close to healing, close to meeting the right person, close to victory like you've never seen. The Scripture says the suffering of this present time doesn't compare to the glory that's coming. If you could only see what God has coming, the promotion, the favor, the influence, you wouldn't complain about the dark time. You would do like Jesus and endure a little longer. Your ninth hour is on the way. Things are about to change in your favor. The light is about to come bursting in. God has already set an end to that difficulty. I believe and declare you're coming into your ninth hour. That darkness is about to lift. The hot winds of testing are about to subside. I speak strength into you, healing, favor, promotion, the fullness of your destiny in Jesus's name.

You may feel as though God has forgotten about you. Even Jesus asked why he was forsaken. But you have to know that in the dark moments God still has you in the palm of his hand. He knows it's difficult, you feel overwhelmed, but you can look back at your history with God and find fuel for your faith. Say to yourself, "By this I know God is on my side". He was faithful in the past, and he'll be faithful in the future. You are stronger than you think.
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