Joel Osteen - Your Place of Blessing
I wanna talk to you today about Your Place of Blessing. There are specific places where God is designed for you to be blessed, places where he has favor, opportunity, provision waiting for you. Your destiny is connected to certain places. You can have faith, you can have a great attitude, but if you're not in the right place, you can miss what God has in store.
In the Book of Acts Jesus told 500 people to go to the upper room and wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit, but only a hundred and people showed up. When the Holy Spirit came like a rushing mighty wind, 380 people missed the blessing simply because they weren't in the right place. You have to be sensitive to what you're feeling on the inside. Listen to what God is saying to you, that still small voice. That's not random, it's not just your idea, that's God leading you into your place of blessing.
Sometimes he'll close a door and move you out. And you don't understand it, it looks like a setback. The truth is: it's setting you up. He's moving you to a place of promotion, a place where you'll meet divine connections, people who are instrumental in your purpose. Other times God will have you stay where it's uncomfortable: you're not seeing any growth, you're being overlooked, you'll be tempted to leave, "I don't have to put up with this". Sometimes the right place is a difficult place, an unfair place, a place where you're doing the right thing, but the wrong thing is happening.
This is happened with Hagar. She was Abraham and Sarah's maid. When they couldn't have a baby, Sarah told Abraham to sleep with Hagar. They had a son named Ishmael. You would think Sarah would be happy, it was her big idea, but she got upset with Hagar. She started treating her so badly, putting her down, making rude comments. Finally Hagar said, "I'm out of here". She took her son and went off into the desert. The problem was she left her place of blessing. God never her to leave, she was just upset. She had no food, no water, no way to survive out there. An angel appeared to her and said, "Go back to Sarah, and continue to serve her". He was saying, "Go back to your place of blessing".
Sometimes you have to stay when it's hard, you have to forgive those that did you wrong, you have to be good to people who are not being good to you. But notice how merciful God is: when she left that place, God didn't say, "Fine, you blew it, you should have known better, I'm done with you". No, God sent an angel to get her back to the right place. And at times we're all going to miss it, leave where we're supposed to stay, or stay where God wants us to leave. The good news is: God's going to send that angel. He's not going to let you miss your place of blessing, he's going to keep whispering to you. You're going to hear that still small voice, that knowing on the inside telling you what to do. Now don't ignore it, be sensitive to what you're feeling.
See, the scripture says that God is ordering your steps. Ordering is not an option, he's not suggesting, he's not saying, "If you perform perfectly, then I'll guide you. If you don't get off course, then I'll bless you". Now, your steps are ordered. He's going to keep leading you into places of blessing, places that he's already lined up favor, opportunity, promotion. Now, stay open for change, don't fight a closed doors, don't get discouraged when you get pushed out. "I don't understand it, Joel, I was doing the right thing, why didn't this work out"? God's leading you to a place of greater blessings. I've learned: being in the right place is better than getting your way. God knows what's best for you. You may not see it now, but later on you're going to see how God was shutting one door to open a better door. You would have never reached your potential if he had not stopped one place of blessing, and moved you to a different place.
But perhaps you feel stuck, you're not making any progress, and you're tempted to try to force a door to open, manipulate things. No, be still and know that he is God. If the door hasn't opened, then shine where you are. That's your place of blessing right now. You may not be seeing any growth, any favor: you're in a time of testing. You have to prove to God who you are, that you're not going to get bitter, you're not going to start slacking off, you're going to do the right when it's hard. That's passing the test. You keep doing that, and you're going to see new levels of your destiny.
Matthew chapter one, Joseph was engaged to his fiance Mary. She became pregnant with Jesus, and of course he didn't understand, he was going to quietly break off the engagement, when an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him to go through with the marriage. They were living in Nazareth, planning on having the baby there, but the Roman Empire a call for a census: everyone had to travel back to their original hometown. Well, Joseph was from Bethlehem, that was a ninety-mile journey. Mary was nine months pregnant. I can imagine telling Victoria at nine months pregnant, "Hey, babe, we're going to get on a donkey and travel for a week, camp out a long way, it's going to be so fun". I'd be your former pastor.
Mary was bouncing up and down, hot outside, her feet hurting, back swelling. She's uncomfortable, she didn't understand it, but God wasn't just making them miserable, having them to suffer, he was taking them to a place of blessing. Micah prophesied 700 years earlier that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. It wasn't a coincidence that the emperor called for the census at this particular time. He could have called for it three months later, they woulda had the baby in Nazareth. It was all a part of God's plan: strategically moving them to where they needed to be.
Joseph and Mary were admiring their new son, when three wise men showed up. They had traveled a great distance, following the Eastern star. When they saw Jesus, they fell on their knees and begin to worship him. Mary and Joseph were standing there in awe. These wise men open their treasure chest, these boxes filled with gold and Jewels and they gave them all these gifts. Think about Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem, at the same time God had these wise men headed that way. They met at the place of blessing, where God designed them to see his favor in a new way. It was difficult for Mary and Joseph to get there, it was an inconvenience time, they didn't understand it, but God was ordering their steps, and he was ordering the steps of the wise men, the people bringing the provision.
God is not only ordering your steps, but he's ordering other people's steps to meet you at your place of blessing. You may not understand it, you're uncomfortable, you had to leave Nazareth so to speak, but your time is coming, you're going to see what God was up to. The door closing wasn't random, the person that forced you out, the unexpected change wasn't happenstance, it was strategic, it was the hand of God moving you to a place of greater blessing, greater favor, greater fulfillment.
King Herod heard about this little baby, possibly being the Messiah. He was afraid, he was going to lose control. He wanted to get rid of Jesus, but he couldn't find him. So, he had all the male Hebrew babies killed. An angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him to flee to Egypt with his family. In the middle of the night they took off. Jesus was just a few weeks old, Mary was still getting over the birth, they wanted to enjoy their new baby, but they were on the run to a foreign country. This wasn't just another bad break, another inconvenience, this was prophecy being fulfilled. It was prophecy side, "I have called my son out of Egypt". Herod died, and they moved back to Nazareth. Another prophecy fulfilled, that Jesus would be a Nazarene.
There was an old man named Simeon, it was prophesied that he would not die until he saw the Messiah. Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple to dedicate him, just so happened Simeon was there. He took the baby in his hands, and said, "Oh, man, now I can die in peace: I have seen the Savior". You look all these different locations: forced to leave Nazareth to Bethlehem, flee to Egypt, back to Nazareth, then to the temple. They weren't random, they were strategically orchestrated. Each step was their place of blessing, place of provision, place of protection. It wasn't the enemy dictating their life, it was the hand of God ordering their steps.
Like with them there are prophecies spoken over your life, things that God has ordained for you, favor he's already lined up, wise men he's already scheduled, doors opening he's already arranged. But it may not all happen at the same place. There will be twists, turns, unexpected moves, people that walked away, things that weren't fair. Instead of fighting change, learn to embrace change. Recognize: that's God ordering your steps. He wouldn't be changing things if he wasn't leading you to a place of greater blessing.
You may not see it right away, there are things that don't make sense, seems like a setback, you have to go to Bethlehem, you are comfortable in Nazareth so to speak, plus you're pregnant, it's the worst time. Then Herod starts making threats, people start coming against you. They cannot stop your destiny: God is using them like a pawn to move you to where he wants you to be. You may not understand everything, but you can trust that God knows what he's doing. He'll have the wise men show up, unexpected favor, promotion you didn't see coming. It won't happen anywhere, it will happen at the place where God has ordained for you to be blessed.
After I finished high school I went to Oral Roberts University to study television production. They had one of the best studios, the best equipment. The first week I was there, I went to the production office and applied for a job. I met this young man about 28 years old, and he was the production manager in charge of all the hiring. I told him my background, that I had run camera and been involved at production at Lakewood, and he and I hit it off like old friends. He showed me around the studios, the cameras, the editing suites. And I was amazed, this was everything I dreamed of. I couldn't wait to be a part. I told him that I didn't have to run camera, I was happy with pulling cable, I just wanted to be in that environment. He said, "We love to have you, Joel, I'll call you and get it all set up".
I left so exited, a week went by and he didn't call, 2 weeks: nothing. I called him, but he is always busy. I went back to the production office, left a message again and again, never heard a thing. I was so disappointed, I couldn't understand why that door didn't open. I finished that first year of school, and I felt so strongly that I was supposed to come back to Lakewood, and start a television ministry. My siblings had all gotten their degrees, but I knew this was what God was leading me to do. I came back, started the television outreach, and we saw the church begin to flourish. Well, looking back now I realized: if God had opened that door at the university, I would have gotten so caught up in what they were doing, so engrossed in the production, I would have never come back home. I know my personality, you couldn't have convinced me to leave.
Sometimes God closes doors that we don't understand at the time. That didn't make sense. I had the experience, they needed help, the man was my friend, but God is your doorkeeper: he knows the right doors to open, and the right doors to close. What looked like a blessing to me would have kept me from the real blessing that God had in store. Not to work for another ministry my whole life, but to use my gifts and talents at the ministry God had given my family. When you don't understand it, you have to trust, "God, you know what's best for me, I'm going to follow where you lead. When you open doors, when you push me out, I'm going to take steps of faith with a good attitude. God, when doors don't open, when it feels like I'm stuck, I'm going to keep being faithful where I am". When you have that kind of attitude, God will keep you in your place of blessing.
Well, I worked 17 years behind the scenes here at Lakewood, and at one point I had all these radio stations lined up to carry my father's weekly message. And I had everything arranged, gotten all the times, the stations cleared. I asked my father if he would come down once a month and make the openings and closings, just take about an hour, no big deal. My father said, "Joel, I'm 75 years old. I'm not looking for anymore work. I just want to relax and pastor the church".
I was so disappointed, I thought, "God, you put big things in me, I'm young, I don't want to do less, I want to do more". I thought: maybe it's time to move on, do something else, and had an opportunity from one of the largest ministry come work for them, a big sports network had offered me something. But when I got quiet, when I searched my heart, I could hear that still small voice saying, "No, Joel, stay where you are. This is your father's ministry. This is his vision. Don't leave because you're not getting your way, honor what he wants to do". I made that decision that I was not only going to stay, but I was going to stay with a good attitude. Wasn't going to get bitter, and slack off, be disgruntled. I kept being my best, doing what I could to make my father shine.
I never dreamed that two years later my father would suddenly pass, and I would become the pastor. That big vision that God put in me, it was still going to happen, it just wasn't the right time. Had I not honored my father, and stayed in my place of blessing, I wouldn't be here today. Your place of blessing doesn't mean that everything is going your way, everyone will celebrate you, all these doors will open. It may mean that you're serving another person's vision. You don't feel like you're using everything you have, you're being overlooked, not getting opportunities to share your gifts.
Many times those are tests. God is seeing: will you be faithful when you're not getting your way? Will you have a good attitude when they don't take your suggestions, they don't give you the credit? It's easy to leave, "Forget, it I'm out of here", but you have to search your heart. If you don't feel that release to leave, you need to stay, because you're not going to be blessed anywhere, your blessing is connected to the place God has called you to be. For Mary and Joseph that blessing was waiting for them Bethlehem, they had to leave. God sent a census to make sure they'd get there. For me my blessing was staying at a place where I knew God wanted me to be, a place where I didn't feel like I was using my gifts to the full. But you don't know what's coming, you're in a time of preparation. God is getting you ready for what he's about to do.
Think about David: he was out in the shepherd's fields, taking care of his father's sheep. He knew he had big things in him, but he didn't try to force doors to open. He didn't get bitter because his father left him out, he didn't slack off because he was doing something less than he knew was in him. His father asked him to take lunch to his brothers who were in another city, to do a menial task. David could have said, "Sorry, dad, I'm not an errand boy, I have more in me, you'll have to find someone else". No, David was faithful in small things, when he wasn't getting his way, when doors weren't opening.
While he was taking lunch to his brothers, something that seemed insignificant, that's where he heard Goliath taunting the Israelites. Had he not been faithful in the small, he would have never defeated Goliath. Don't think your place of blessing has to be something super exciting, super important, where everyone sees you. Many times your place of blessing is being faithful with things that no one pays attention to. David didn't get go to the throne, he went back to the shepherd's field. King Saul suffered with depression, he needed someone to play music for him. They asked David to come to the palace. Not to be the king, not to be a trusted adviser, but to be a part-time musician. Play the harp when we call you, otherwise we don't need you.
What you have to recognize: you're not working on the people, you're working under God. He's keeping all the records. The scripture says: he's taking you from glory to glory. Sometimes you're in between one glory and another glory. You can think, "Joel, this is not my place of blessing, nobody appreciates me, I'm undervalued, I'm overlooked. I know I'm called in to be in leadership, but all I'm doing is playing this harp". Here's how strategic God is: David had been in the shepherd's fields his whole life, all he'd known was taking care of sheep. Now, he's in the palace in the presence of king Saul. God is showing him what it's like to be a king. He's getting him familiar with the palace, and how a king operates, protocol, the staff that serves him. He doesn't realize that this task of playing the harp is divinely orchestrated. God put him there to get him prepared for where he was going.
All those years working behind the scenes here at Lakewood I had to edit my father's sermons. He would speak like 40 minutes, and I'd have to cut them down to 25 for the television program. And I would listen to each message four or five times, try to get his train of thoughts, all those stories, scriptures, all the examples. I didn't realize: God was getting me prepared for what I'm doing now. I couldn't see it at the time, but that was my place of blessing. It was a place strategically orchestrated to get me prepared for the fullness of my destiny. What am I saying? Don't despise where you are right now. You don't know what God is up to. You can't see how he's making you, molding you, getting you prepared for greater responsibility, greater resources and greater favor.
1 Kings 17, the prophet told king Ahab that because the people had turned away from Jehovah, and because they were worshiping idols, there was going to be a drought in the land for 3.5 years. God said to Elijah, "Leave here, and go down to the brook Cherith, for I have commanded the ravens to feed you there". Notice, there's a place where God has commanded you to be blessed. Not maybe, hope so, if the economy gets better. No, he's commanded the ravens to feed you, that means he's commanded provision, commanded resources, commanded the right people to be there. But here's the whole key: the blessing wasn't anywhere, it was at a specific place. The ravens were waiting for him at the brook. Elijah could have stayed in Samaria, thought, "God, is faithful, I'm sure he'll take care of me here", he would have missed the blessing. When God tells you to do something don't reason it out, don't ask four friends, don't pray about it 6 months, don't come up with twelve excuses, just do it. Be obedient to what you're hearing in your spirit, God is leading you to your place of blessing.
Sometimes you have to leave a friend that's pulling you down, leave an environment where you're being poisoned, or leave a bad attitude, leave bitterness, leave what didn't work out, and move forward into the new things God has for you. Elijah went down to the brook, every morning like clockwork the raven showed up. He had supernatural provision. I'm sure he was happy, "God, you've been good to me, I found my place of blessing", but one day the ravens quit coming, the brook went from a stream to a trickle, to barely flowing, to nothing. What do you do when God lead you to a brook that dries up? What used to work, doesn't work anymore. God will showing us that just because it happened one way doesn't mean it's is going to happen that way. Stay open for change, be willing to accept the new thing God is doing. If you get so set and think it's only going to happen one way, then you'll miss out.
God told Elijah, "Go to the city of Zarephath, for I have commanded a widow to feed you there". Notice, another place where God commanded him to be blessed, but a different location. Now, Zarephath is where Ahab and his wife Jezebel were from. She didn't like Elijah, she wanted to get rid of him. Out of all the places God could've told Elijah to go, he sent him to the enemy's territory. The way God does things always requires faith. He could have sent him to his friends, his relatives, supporters. I'm sure Elijah thought, "God, you know that lady is after me. Can't you extend my stay by the brook? Can I get a late checkout? God, I'm comfortable here".
To reach your destiny you have to get out of your comfort zone, and take some steps of faith. Don't get stuck the brook is dried up, our God is a moving God, a progressive God. He's taking you on a journey. That place of blessing is going to move. It may not always be physical, it's in your thinking. You have to leave a limited mindset. Quit telling yourself you're not qualified, and take that new position at work, teach that class, volunteer at the church. Quit thinking about the brook that dried up, what didn't work out, who did you wrong, the relationship that didn't make it. God is still in control. He knew it was going to dry up, that's why he's commanded another place for you to be blessed.
Elijah arrived at Zarephath, and the widow took care of him until the drought was over. But how many of us are stuck by the brook, waiting for what used to be, wondering why it's drying up? You have to leave where God was, and go to where God is: the new place of blessing. That's where your provision is waiting for you. Is there something God is asking you to do, but you keep putting it off, you're afraid of the unknown, not sure how it's going to work out? You can't play it safe your whole life and become who God's created you to be. Maybe God is asking you to stay, you want to leave, like David you have more in you, like Hagar you're not being treated right: you're in a test. If you'll do the right thing when it's hard, you'll see God begin to turn things in your favor.
There are prophecies he has spoken over your life, things he's destined for you to accomplish. You have not missed them. You keep trusting him even when you don't understand it. Don't fight the things that don't make sense, your steps are being ordered. There are things happening behind the scenes right now that you can't see. Now, be sensitive to what he's saying, and be quick to obey. If you do this, I believe and declare: you will live in your place of blessing. Like Mary and Joseph, the wise men are about to show up, blessings you didn't see coming. Like Elijah, the ravens will be waiting for you, supernatural provision, favor, opportunity, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen?