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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joel Osteen » Joel Osteen - I Will Not Fear

Joel Osteen - I Will Not Fear

Joel Osteen - I Will Not Fear
TOPICS: Fear, Courage, Protection

I want to talk to you today аbout: I Will Not Fear. There are so many opportunities to live anxious and afraid. You watch the news and see accidents, threats and violence. There's war in the Middle East, viruses, the pandemic. Even what happened here at Lakewood, these times that shake us to the corn, that can strike panic and uncertainty. There are certain forces that would love for us to shrink back and change who we are: from peaceful to panic, from trusting to troubled, from knowing that God's on the throne to wondering what's going to happen? Are my children safe at school? Or what if I come down with the virus? What if there's another in at work?

David said in Psalm 23:4, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death". God knew there would be some shadowy days, some dark valleys, when we don't understand what's happened, where people have done us wrong, we feel violated. Or a medical report is not good, a child is off course, and it's causing so much heartache. These shadowy times come to us all, but David didn't stop there, he didn't just talk about the problem, "Yes, there's going to be trouble, threats, just do your best". No, he went on to say, "Though I walk through the dark valleys, I will fear no evil". He was making a statement of faith, "Yes, darkness may come, but I'm not give into to fear. There may be trouble all around me, the opposition bigger, the sickness stronger, the adversity greater, but I will not fear".

If you're going to stay in faith and not let life changed who you are, you're going to have to put your foot down and say with David, "I will not fear", because fear is going to keep knocking at the door. "What if it happens again? What if something goes wrong at school? What if you come down with that illness that your father had? What if your company doesn't need you anymore? What are you going to do then"? When fear knocks, you have to answer with faith: I will not fear! I'm not saying that we won't feel fear, because fear is a human emotion. I'm saying: don't let that spirit of fear take over where you shrink back, and you quit living, you quit going after your dreams, you quit enjoying your family. You're too worried, on edge of what might happen? What could go wrong? That's a spirit of fear, trying to keep you from your destiny.

The scripture (2 Timothy 1:7) says, "God hasn't given us that spirit of fear but a power and of love and of a sound mind". The first thing God gave us to combat that fear is a spirit of power. You can't be weak and passive, "I'm going to see if I feel better tomorrow, Joel, I hope this goes away". No, when it comes to fear you have to be bold, "I will not fear". And yes, someone tried to bring harm at church, but we will not fear. We will not let the enemy use an event to change who we are, to limit our destiny, to restrict our vision, to take our passion. You are in the palm of God's hands, nothing can snatch you away. If it's not your time to go, all the forces of darkness cannot take you out. No person, no accident, no sickness, no calamity.

But in life there will be these defining moments where things happen that can shift us from peace into living in fear, from worrying or from enjoying life, that's where we're at at Lakewood, this troubled woman came in and tried to do harm, this is a critical moment. As a church we could shrink back, "Man, it's dangerous. Let's hide our light, let's just go under the radar". No, this is the time to shine brighter, to share more hope, to dig down deeper and say, "We will not fear, for our God is stronger, our God is greater, our God is more powerful. God being for us is more than the world being against us". This is the time to rise up and reclaim what the enemy tried to steal, it's time to renew our commitment to God, renew our love for one another, renew our dedication to serve, to bless, to give. Renew our passion for our dreams, renew that determination to become who God created you to be.

Let this be a time to stir your faith and move forward, and not shrink back. You're not here by accident, God chose you to be here at this time in history. He didn't choose the 90 members that started Lakewood back in 1959 to experience what we've experienced, he didn't choose my father in that generation, he raised up you and me for this time. He knew what we would face, he knew the hurts, the threats, the evil, the pain. Nothing that's happened is too much for you. You are armed with strength for this battle. There is a hedge of protection around you and your family, that the enemy cannot cross. The enemy is not in control of your life. He didn't somehow break through the protection, now he can do whatever he wants. No, nothing happens without God's permission.

When Satan wanted to test Job, he said, "God, I can't do it because you put a hedge around him that I can't penetrate". You're not at the mercy of fate, happen stance, "I hope I don't get harmed, it's dangerous. I hope don't have an accident". God has a hedge around you. And I'm not saying evil will never happen, because God doesn't stop everything, but he will give you the strength to get through it. If it didn't take you out, it wasn't a lucky break, it was the hand of God pushing back darkness, saying it's not your time to go. How many times has God protected you that you didn't even know about? He stopped that car that should have hit you, stopped that person that wanted to harm, stopped the trouble before it got to you. You never knew anything about it, but his hand of favor and protection and mercy was watching after you, keeping you from harm's way. And sure we can all find a reason to live worried, afraid, but when you understand who's watching after you, who's ordering your steps, who's fighting your battles, who's holding back the darkness, then you can say with confidence, "I will not fear!"

Listen to David's attitude, Psalm 27:1-5, "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord protects me from danger, why should I be afraid? When evil people come to destroy me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, I will remain confident. For in my time of trouble God, will hide me." that's what God did for us last Sunday, he hid us. Where would we be without the mercy and protection of our God? How can we thank him enough for what could have happened, for we have seen the goodness of God, sparing us from all kinds of heartache and pain? Now, I have never come out of an attack without going to a new level, seeing new opportunities, having greater faith and greater confidence. Really, this is the biggest challenge in Lakewood 65 year history. This tells me that God is up to something big, he's about to do a new thing. Not just for us as a ministry, but in your life. You're about to step into greater influence, greater favor, greater wisdom, greater confidence, greater resources.

David said, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death". He didn't say, "I stop in the valley, I set up camp in the valley. After all look what I've been through, I've got a good reason to be afraid, bitter, stressed". No, God said he would would give you beauty for the ashes. He said he'll pay you back double for the unfair things, but you have to do your part and keep walking through the valley. The enemy would love for us to get stuck: stuck in fear, stuck in anxiety, stuck letting negative images play, rehearsing the hurts, reliving the pain. Those images may come, but you have to cast down wrong imaginations, don't let them keep playing. Just like the remote control for your television, if you don't like a program, you just click and change the channel.

It's the same thing in your mind: when the wrong picture starts playing, you have the remote, change the channel. When fear comes, switch over into faith. When negative memories come up, wanting to remind you of all the heartache, disappointment, change that channel. I refuse to let this building be a symbol of hurt, terror and panic. I changed the channel. This is a place of faith, this is a place of victory. I see it full of people who are blessed, strong, healthy, generous, victorious. I see us worshiping, celebrating, bringing hope to the world. Keep the right picture playing in your mind.

Jesus told his disciples (Matthew 10:6), "I'm sending you out as sheep among wolves". It's significant that a sheep has no way to protect itself. Sheep are one of the most helpless animals when it comes to defense. They can't run fast, they can't really hide, they can't bite, they don't growl and at least threaten their opponent. I read where if a sheep falls on its back, with its feet up in the air, it can't get back up on its own, it needs assistance. Seems like it' been better if God would have said, "I'm sending you out as a gazelle among wolves", at least we could outrun them. Or a lion, we could claw. An elephant, we'd have size. The reason God used sheep was because sheep rely on their shepherd for protection. Have you noticed, sheep don't live worried? I've never seen a stressed out sheep.

Victoria and I were riding four wheelers one time's in the mountain, and we came around this corner and there were hundreds of sheep on the trail, we couldn't get by. I honk the horn again and again, never phased them, they wouldn't budge. I pulled up real close, and I put the machine in neutral, and I rev the engine as loud as it was go four or five times. I'll never forget, one of those sheep out of hundreds looked at me like, "You're a fool". They never moved, we had to turn around and go down another path. Sheep are peaceful, they don't worry about their enemies. They know they have a shepherd watching after them, protecting them, keeping them from harm.

It's significant that David was a shepherd. He had spent years taking care of his father's sheep, fighting off wild animals, making sure they were okay. Even in the night keeping an eye out for dangers, and things that would try to sneak up and bring harm. It's not a coincidence that David wrote Psalm 23. Before he pinned, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I'll fear no evil", he started off the Psalm 23:1 by saying, "The Lord is my shepherd". The reason David could say, "I will not fear in these dark valleys", wasn't because he was so strong, so courageous, that he never felt fear. It was because he knew he had a shepherd. He knew the Most High was watching after him.

When you're tempted to be anxious, live afraid, worried, "How's it going to work out?" you need to do like David and remind yourself, "The Lord is my shepherd". The God who shut the mouths of lions for Daniel, the God who brought three Hebrew teenagers out of a fiery furnace without the smell of smoke, the God who opened prison doors for Paul and Silas, the God who made Elisha invisible to the enemy, the Lord your shepherd is watching after you. And see, the shepherd knows there will be things that are too much for us, too powerful, too strong. The sickness, the opposition, the threat. On our own we're not able, by ourselves we'll be overcome. That's when the shepherd steps in. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the scripture says, the Spirit of God raises up a barrier. When the enemy attacks, the shepherd is there. When evil comes, the shepherd shows up. When trouble catches you off guard, that's okay, the shepherd is looking out for you. You can live in peace, you can stay at rest, you don't have to do all this on your own.

But the reason sometimes we get worried, afraid and uptight is because we're trying to be the shepherd, when in fact we're sheep. We're trying to do what only God can do. Yes, use wisdom, of course have common sense, but some things are out of our control. You have to know what your job is, and what God's job is. Psalm 91:1-4 says, "If you will dwell in the secret place of the Most High, you will abide under the shadow of the Almighty. He will cover you with his feathers. He will hide you from trouble". Our job is to stay in that secret place, stay close to God, keep him first place in your life. The secret place is a place of peace, a place of trust. A lot may be happening on the outside, things that could have you worried, afraid, but you can't let that get on the inside. In that secret place there's a calmness, a rest. You know the shepherd is watching after you. You know you're covered under his wings. When you're in that secret place, for calamity to get to you it has to first go through him, you're covered. When the enemy comes after you, he has to first deal with the Lord your shepherd.

David had so many things that could have stopped him, he was constantly facing dangers, attack, betrayal, armies were after him. In the natural he had a good reason to live worried and afraid. But he gives us a secret in Psalm 131:2, he said, "I have stilled and quieted my soul". There's a lot of noise these days: news and rumors, threats, worries, our own thoughts. On a regular basis you need to quiet your soul, still your emotions. Come back to a place of peace, that's a powerful place. When the battle's all around you, thoughts are telling you to panic, circumstances could have you worried and afraid, that's when you have to take charge and quiet your soul. The enemy would love for us to live noisy, troubled, "My child has me frustrated. Joel, I'm rattled by this attack. I'm stressed over my finances. I'm worried about my health". The scripture (Psalm 46:10) says, "Be still and know that he is God". This infers: if you're not still, if you don't quiet your soul and release the anxiety, and release the worries, then you're not going to know he's God, you're not going to feel his presence and see his goodness like you should. God works where there's faith, the enemy works where there's fear. The real battle is taking place in our mind. You have to control your thought life. Make this decision with me, "I will not fear. I am quieting my soul. I know the Lord my shepherd is watching after me".

I heard about this young boy, one morning he found a baby owl on the ground in his backyard, and he wanted to go over and pick it up, looked like it was defenseless, this small bird. His father told him not to get close until he found out more about it, called the local veterinarian and asked what they should do. The vet said that sometimes the strong winds can blow the baby owl out of the nest, or they just get overconfident and try to fly before they're able. In any case he said: it's a good thing your son didn't try to pick up the owl. The father asked: why? The veterinarian said, "It looks like that owl is alone, but if you look up in the trees, you're going to see a large mother owl looking down closely, watching her baby. The minute something tries to harm it, they're going to feel the full force of a mother owl like they've never imagined". He went on to say, "That mother owl will do whatever it takes to defend her baby, even if it means giving her own life".

They went out and started looking around, sure enough they spotted the mother owl. She had her eyes glued to her baby, standing guard, ready to defend, to protect. To get to that baby owl, you had to go through the mother owl. And sometimes we can feel alone, like we're at the mercy of what's around us, people with wrong intentions, threats, opposition, trouble at work. But what you may not realize, is like that mother owl, there is a God who has his eyes on you. The all powerful Creator of the universe is closely watching you, standing by to guard and to protect.

Psalm 121:3:8, The Message translation says, "Yahweh is your guardian God. He never sleeps. He's always at your side to protect you, shielding you from every evil. He guards you when you leave, and he guards you when you return. He guards you now, and he'll guard you always". When you understand who's got your back, you won't go through life worried, thinking, "It's so dangerous, and I'm afraid to drive on these freeways. Crime's bad, I'm afraid to go out, I'm afraid for my children". No, you'll say like David, "I will not fear. I will fear no evil. I will fear no attack. I will fear no accident. I will fear no sickness, for the Lord is my shepherd, the Lord is my defender, my protector, my deliverer. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters".

When thoughts of fear, worry and anxiety come, recognize: that's the enemy trying to lead you away from the still waters, get you upset, live on edge. No, go back to where God is leading you. Isaiah 30:15 said, "In quietness and stillness shall be your strength". The opposite is true: worry, fear, anxiety, that's taking your strength, draining your energy, your joy, your passion. You have to quiet your soul, come back to a place of peace. That's when you'll feel strength, confidence, joy, even in the midst of a difficult time.

When I first started ministering, I was very unsure of myself. I'd been behind the scenes for 17 years, and I never had any desire to be in front of people, or a desire to become a minister. But when my father passed, I knew I was supposed to step up and pastor the church, and suddenly I had that desire. We never dreamed that it would grow, and we'd see all the favor and increase. But with that favor came opposition. Those first few years, it seemed like practically every week there was some group coming against us, or some influential person trying to discredit us. And I didn't understand it, I thought, "Man, we're just trying to encourage people, and let them know that God is for them". I was tempted to live so worried and afraid of what might happen.

One night during that time I had a dream. In this dream I was running through a large open field. There were planes flying very low overhead, just 30 or 40 ft off the ground. And they were dropping bombs all around me, just like a war movie. One would hit 20 ft away, and I would brace, and wait for the shrapnel, I knew it would the end. And it would explode, and make this deafening sound, but nothing would harm me. I was amazed at how I wasn't getting hurt, didn't make sense. This happened a half a dozen time, and every time the bomb went off it didn't affect me. Finally I kept running, and I made it to this small house, like an a abandoned cabin in the woods. Had two small bedrooms, I headed to one, and I shut the door.

I could hear the soldiers coming, and their footsteps getting closer and closer, and they were looking so intently for me. I was holding my breath, hoping they would pass by, "God, please don't let them find me". Then my worst fear came true, I heard them on the front porch. They came in the house, looked around the front rooms, then they came into my room. They opened the door, and I was standing right there in front of them. My heart sunk, I thought, "All right, I'm done". They looked right at me for about 10 seconds, just a couple of feet away, then they turned around and walked out. In my dream I realized, they couldn't see me. And I woke up wide awake, and I felt God saying to me, not out loud, but down in here, "Joel, quit worrying about what's coming against you. I have you hidden in a safe place". He said, "You just keep doing what I've called you to do, and the attacks will not harm you".

Isaiah 54:17 said it this way, "No weapon formed against you will prosper". God didn't say we wouldn't have anything come against us, you stay in faith, you'll never have trouble sickness or opposition. No, they may form, but the promise is: they're not going to prosper. God has you hidden. It says in Psalms: his favor surrounds you like a shield. Sometimes it feels like we're surrounded by trouble, surrounded by evil, surrounded by sickness, but what you may not be able to realize is there something else surrounding you: a shield of God's favor. He's holding back the darkness, keeping you from harm, confusing your enemies. Something may have formed, but don't start complaining, "God why did this happen? Where are you"? No, turn it around, "Lord, thank you that it's not going to prosper. Thank you that you've made made me invisible to the enemy, that you're the Lord my shepherd, my protector, my defender, my way maker. I will not fear".

Jesus said, "I'm sending you out as sheep among wolves", and every once in a while a wolf will show up. That's what happened to us last week: something to harm, something unthinkable. That invokes fear and panic and worry, but God didn't give us this beautiful building to shrink back, live intimidated, wondering if we're going to be okay. He gave it to us because he trust us to bring hope to the world, to lift the fallen, to restore the broken, to show mercy to those that have failed, to pray for our enemies. We cannot let one event, one act of evil change who we are. This is the time more than ever to stand together, to stay planted in the house of the Lord, so we can shine brighter and be a greater force for good. We need you, we need your family, we need your smile, we need your love, we need your gifts. Together we are stronger. The scripture talks about how the darker it gets in the world, the brighter it will get for the church. Yes, there's darkness all around us, that means we're going to shine brighter, we're going to see new levels of favor, influence in God's goodness.

Psalm 23, after David talked about the Lord being our shepherd, after he talked about walking through the valley of the shadow of death, he ended by saying (Psalm 23:6), "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life". We all go through some dark valleys, but remember this: after every shadow, a surely is coming. We've been through a shadow, but can I tell you? Some surelyes are on way. Surely goodness is coming, surely healing is coming, surely new levels are coming. The enemy always attacks when he knows something greater is in store. You may be in a dark valley today, dealing with a sickness, a loss, a waver child. God sees what you're going through. He knows the hurt, who did you wrong, what wasn't fair. That's not how your story ends. You've seen the shadow, now get ready for the surely. God never brings you out the same, he makes the enemy pay for bringing the trouble.

Now, do your part, come back to a place of peace. Quit living worried, afraid. Quiet and calm your soul, the Lord your shepherd is watching over you. He didn't bring you this far to leave you. Keep walking through that valley, trusting, believing there are some surelyes right up in front of you: surely you're going to see beauty for these ashes, surely that child's going to get back on course, surely your health is about to turn around. God is saying to us (Isaiah 41:10), "Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and withhold you with my victorious right hand". Come on, let's keep moving forward, our greatest days are still in front of us. Let me tell you: this setback is setting us up to go further, to shine brighter, to see the fullness of our destinies. The enemy did his best, but his best was not enough. We're still standing, victors and never victims, we will not fear, in Jesus' name. And if you receive it, can you say amen?
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