Joel Osteen — Look again
I want to talk to you today about "Look again". We all have dreams that we've given up on and problems we don't think will turn around. It's been too long, we've made too many mistakes. Too often, we accept it as the way it's always going to be. But just because you've given up doesn't mean that God has given up. He hasn't brought you this far to leave you where you are. What he started in your life, he's going to finish, and you may have had some disappointments.
The medical report wasn't good, the business didn't make it, you still haven't met the right person. It may feel like it's over to you, but God is saying, "Look again. That dream you've given up on, I'm still going to bring it to pass". That child you think will never get back on course, look again. He's going to fulfill his destiny. You think you're going to be single the rest of your life? Look again. God's already lined up somebody better than you can imagine.
Now, do your part and start looking again. As long as you think, "It's never going to work out. It's been this way too long," that will keep you from the new things God has in store. Who told you you're not going to love again? Who told you you're not going to be healthy again? Who told you you can't accomplish your dream? That didn't come from God. Don't believe those lies, start looking again.
Maybe the loan for the house didn't go through. People don't have the final say, God does. Look again. You weren't able to have the baby, don't let that convince you that you're never going to have it. Look again, there's a baby with your name on them. You haven't been able to break the addiction, now you're learning to live with it, look again. Freedom belongs to you. Wholeness is in your future. Get your passion back. Stir up your faith. What God promised you, he's still going to bring to pass.
Mark chapter 8, they brought a blind man to Jesus and asked him to heal him, and Jesus made mud and put it on the blind man's eyes, and prayed for him. He asked him if he could see anything. He said, "Yes, I can see, but it's not clear. I see people walking as trees" Jesus prayed for him a second time, this time his vision was perfectly clear.
It's significant that Jesus prayed him the first time and he didn't get completely healed. It's not like Jesus didn't have enough power that day or somehow he made a mistake. Jesus healed people all the time. This was a test. When Jesus asked the man if he could see, he already knew that his vision wasn't clear. He wanted to see how the man would respond. The man could've said, "Yes, I can see. It's not perfect, but I'm satisfied. Thanks for doing this". He could've settled for blurred vision. He could've walked away and thought, "This is not exactly what I was believing for, but it's better than it was, at least I can see something".
If he would've accepted it, he would've missed God's best. He had to be willing to look again. When he wasn't completely healed, he was honest with Jesus. He could've been intimidated, thought, "This is the son of God. This is a respected healer. I can't tell him that it didn't work out. I have to pretend that it's all okay". Instead, he was vulnerable. Took a lot of nerve to say, "I can't see clearly. It's not what it should be".
Jesus didn't get upset, say, "You need to have more faith. What's wrong with you? I heal people all the time". Jesus didn't condemn him, didn't make him feel less than. He touched him and said, in effect, "Look again". He was saying, "It's okay that you're not where you thought you would be. It's okay that you can't see clearly yet. I'm not through with you, I have a second touch".
God already knew what wouldn't work out the first time. He knew the medical report wouldn't be good. He knew you wouldn't get the promotion. He knew the relationship wouldn't work out. Like this man, he's waiting to see what you're going to do. Are you going to settle there and think, "I'm lonely, but it's okay. I'm barely making it, but hey, I've got a roof over my head. My dreams haven't worked out, but I'm doing good enough"? Don't settle for blurred vision. Don't give up on what God has put in your heart, he has a second touch. He's waiting for you to look again. The first touch brought you to where you are. The second touch is going to thrust you into abundance, into great relationships, into divine health, into the fullness of your destiny.
I talked to a young lady that had gone through six miscarriages. She was so discouraged, she had big tears running down her cheeks. She had decided that she wasn't going to try anymore. The doctors told her it would continue to happen. For some reason, her womb couldn't carry the baby. I told her what I'm telling you. You have to look again. There's a baby that belongs to you.
Sometimes the most difficult prayer is the prayer for what hasn't worked out, the prayer for what we failed at, to pray again for the baby, to believe again for the dream. This is when many people get talked out of God's best. But I could tell this young lady, she took to heart what I said. Her attitude changed. I could see faith and hope in her eyes. A couple of years later, I saw her after the service, she was carrying a beautiful baby girl. I'll never forget the look on this young lady's face. She was beaming with joy. She said, "Joel, my doctors are amazed. They don't understand it, but I know it was the goodness of God".
Friends, God controls the universe. He can do what medicine cannot do. You may have had a disappointment, don't settle where you are. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy is coming in the morning. If it didn't work out the first time, look again. Didn't work out the second time, look again. Keep looking, keep dreaming, keep praying. Like this young lady, you're going to see what God promised you.
This is what Elijah had to do. There had been a drought in Samaria for three and a half years. It was so severe, people were barely surviving, barely had enough food, and God spoke to him and told him it was going to rain. He went up on mount Carmel and began to pray and thank God. At one point, he said to his assistant, "Go out and look on the other side of the mountain and see if there is any sign of rain". The young man went out, came back a little later, said, "No, Elijah, there's not a cloud in the sky. It's just as clear as can be".
Elijah could've become discouraged, thought, "God, you said it was going to rain. Maybe I heard you wrong. There's no sign of it". Elijah understood this principle, what God promised he will bring to pass. He told the young man to go back and look again. He came back the second time, same thing, "Nothing, Elijah, perfectly clear". But Elijah didn't let these negative reports talk him out of it. He told him to go back and look again. Third time, "Nothing". "Look again". Fourth time, "Nothing". "Look again". Fifth time, "Still nothing".
Don't you known thoughts came to Elijah, saying, "You are wasting his time. Can't you get the message? Five times. This drought is permanent, just accept it". He let those thoughts go in one ear and out the other. His attitude was, "I know it's on the way. Any moment it's going to happen". This expectancy, looking for it, believing it's going to happen, that's your faith being released. That's what allows God to do amazing things.
The young man came back the sixth time and said, "Elijah, still nothing. How long are we going to do this? I'm getting tired". Elijah said, "Do me a favor, go back and look again". On the seventh time, the young man came back and said, "This time, I saw a little cloud starting to form. It's not much, don't get your hopes up, just about the size of a man's hand". Elijah sent word to the king saying, "You need to get in your chariot and take off, there's about to be a downpour".
It wasn't any time before the heavens opened up. The three and a half-year drought came to an end. I wonder if Elijah would have seen the rain if he'd have given up after the first time, or the third time, or fifth time. What if he'd have come off the mountain, thought, "This drought is just meant to be"? If he would've accepted it, we wouldn't be talking about it.
You have to do like Elijah and have a made-up mind that you are going to keep looking until you see the promise come to pass. The medical report may not be good. Look again, healing is on the way. You don't see how you could get out of debt. Look again, abundance is in your future. You haven't been able to break the addiction. "Joel, I went to rehab". Look again. "I went to counseling". Look again. "I prayed and it hasn't happened". Look again.
What you can't see is, while you're looking, God is behind the scenes lining up the right people, arranging good breaks, healing, promotion, deliverance. That cloud is starting to form, and you may be in a drought today. You've been looking a long time, faithful, doing the right thing, doesn't look like it's doing any good. God is saying you're about to come in to your seventh time. You're about to see a sign of let the little cloud fool you. It may be small, but it's going to turn into a big downpour. Suddenly, an abundance of favor, an abundance of breaks.
Don't get talked out of it, don't let negative circumstances, what you don't see changing convince you to accept what hasn't worked out. Look again and again and again. When you keep looking, you're saying, "God, I know you're bigger than this sickness, greater than this addiction, more powerful than this opposition. I believe you're restoring health back unto me. I believe I will lend and not borrow. I believe as for me and my whole house, we will serve the Lord".
I'm asking you to stir your faith up. What you've given up on, promises you've let go of, dreams you think are too far gone, start believing again. God is still going to bring them to pass. That house you tried to buy and it didn't work out, it look again. You were turned down for that promotion, it wasn't fair. God has something better, look again. Somebody walked out of a relationship, they did you wrong. That is not how your story ends, look again. There's another chapter, there's a new beginning with somebody better than you've ever dreamed. You wouldn't be alive unless God had something amazing up in front of you.
There was a lady in the scripture named Elizabeth. She was married to Zachariah, and she had been barren for many years and not able to have a child. When they were both very old when an angel appeared to her husband and said Elizabeth was going to have a baby, and they were to name him John. She conceived and she was so happy. After years of being barren, this was a dream come true. She was finally pregnant.
The first few months, everything was great. I can imagine she was getting the baby's room prepared and friends were coming over, celebrating with her. She'd never been this excited. But after several months, she started to get worried. She didn't feel any movement in the womb. Four months no movement. Five months no movement. Six months, still no movement. Thoughts started telling her, "Don't be too happy, this is not going to have a good ending. Your baby is not alive".
About that time, there was a knock on her door. It was her cousin, a young lady named Mary. An angel had just appeared to Mary and said she was going to have a baby without knowing a man, and he would be the Son of God. She asked how it could happen. The angel said, "The Holy Spirit will come on you and cause you to conceive, for with God, nothing is impossible".
When Elizabeth answered the door and saw Mary standing there, the scripture says, "At the sound of Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in Elizabeth's womb". For the first time, she knew her baby was alive. Why did that baby leap when Mary greeted her? Mary was carrying in her spirit what the angel had just told her. With God, nothing is impossible. What he promised he will bring to pass. When Mary simply said, "Hello, Elizabeth," the faith in her voice brought to life the promise in Elizabeth's womb, and you may be carrying something today that you feel like is dead, a dream, a relationship, a promise.
You know God gave it to you, you used to be excited, you used to tell people, but you haven't felt any movement. You don't see any sign of it happening. It's been a long time, and you don't see how you'll get well or how your marriage will make it, how you'll start that business. The baby feels like it's not alive anymore. Sometimes all you need is for someone like Mary to show up and speak life into your spirit.
Now, I believe the reason you feel something stirring on the inside, the reason faith is rising, something says, "Yes, this is for me. I know my dream is still alive," is because God is using me as your Mary. That's your baby kicking. I'm telling you what she told Elizabeth, "With God, nothing is impossible. What he started, he's going to finish". It's not too late, you're not too old, you haven't missed too many opportunities.
Can I encourage you? You are right on schedule. Your baby is coming, your healing is coming, your breakthrough is coming, your abundance is coming. I believe somebody's baby just kicked. Somebody's baby just woke up. It's been asleep a long time. You didn't think it could happen, you've had setbacks, delays, people came against you, nobody supported you.
Get ready, you're about to give birth. This is a new day. God is breathing in your direction in a new way. He's going to give you favor that you haven't had. You're coming into an anointing of ease, where things are going to fall into place. God is going to vindicate you for what wasn't fair. Right now, he's preparing a table for you in the presence of your enemies, and you may not see how this could happen, but God has all kinds of ways that we've never thought of.
Like Mary, the favor of God is going to cause you to go where you could not go on your own. You're going to accomplish dreams where you didn't have the talent, the connections, the experience. Doors are going to open that you couldn't open. Opportunity is going to track you down. About to come back to life. That stirring in your spirit, that's your baby kicking. That's a sign that what God promised you is still alive. Now, keep your faith stirred up. Live with this expectancy. It may not have happened yet, that doesn't mean it's still not going to happen. That setback didn't cancel God's plan, it was a setup for God to take you further. That delay is not going to stop you, God is still going to do what he promised.
At 12 years old, my brother Paul had a dream to do medical missions. He was on a trip in Africa with my father, and while waiting for the plane to refuel in a small nation called northern Rhodesia, he felt the desire to come back and help the people. He went on to medical school and started his practice as a surgeon, was very successful. He was the chief of surgery, helping to run the hospital, and he tried several times to take missions trips, but just didn't work out. He had too much responsibility.
In 1999, when my father went to be with the Lord, after nearly 20 years, Paul left his medical practice, came back to Houston to help us pastor the church. He thought his dream of doing medical missions was over. He'd been out of medicine for years when a friend called and asked if he would go overseas with a group of doctors just to see what they were doing. Paul agreed, and when he was there, they took him to the operating room and said, "We need you to operate on these people". He said, "I haven't operated in years. I just came to observe". They said, "We need you right now".
Paul unexpectedly came out of retirement that day and started operating again. I just thank God I wasn't his first patient coming back. Let him get a little warmed up. Paul thought that dream was over. He thought he stepped out of medicine, but just because you gave up doesn't mean God has given up. That baby is still in there.
Now, Paul spends up to 5 months a year in Africa, operating back in the villages where they barely have electricity. A while back, he was in Zambia. He noticed on an old map Zambia used to be called Northern Rhodesia. He was at the exact place where the dream was put in his heart over 40 years earlier as a 12-year-old boy. At 12, that was the first touch when the dream was planted in his heart. At 56, that was the second touch where God took him to a new level of his destiny.
What am I saying? What God started in your life, he's going to finish. Is there something you've given up on? Does it look like it could ever happen now? It's been too long, you've missed too many opportunities. Look again, God wouldn't have given you the dream if he wasn't still planning on bringing it to pass. Don't talk yourself out of it. You've experienced the first touch, but the second touch is coming. Dare to say, like the blind man, "God, I can't see clearly. My dreams haven't come to pass yet. God, you've blessed me, I'm grateful, but I'm asking for the fullness of my destiny. I'm asking for the dreams you put in me as a child. I'm asking to become all you've created me to be". When you're honest with God, when you're bold enough to ask, get ready for the second touch. Get ready for God to make things happen that you couldn't make happen.
There was a young couple that had a baby that had severe autism. For years, she never talked or communicated in any way. All through the day, she would flail her arms and have uncontrollable meltdowns. At 7 years old, the authorities tried to convince the parents to put her in a special home. They told her there was no chance of her improving, and she didn't understand the love that they were showing, that they were basically wasting their time. These parents wouldn't hear of it. They kept speaking faith over their daughter and telling her how much they loved her, how special she was, how she was going to do great things.
At 11 years old, having never communicated, she sat down at the computer and typed these words, "I have autism, but this is not who I am. I am cute, I am funny, and dad, I love that you're always there for me to hold my hand and pick me up when I fall". They realized she understood them the whole time. At 14, she wrote her first novel. She continues to defy the odds, doing things she was told she could never do. God has the final say.
Mark chapter 5, a man named Jairus had a 12-year-old daughter that was very sick. He came to Jesus, fell down, and said, "Would you please come to my house and heal her"? Jesus said he would and started following her. There was a great crowd and Jesus was stopped along the way, one delay after another. I'm sure Jairus was concerned, "Please hurry".
About that time, someone came from his house, said, "I'm sorry, Jairus, your little daughter had died. No use bothering Jesus anymore". Jesus overheard and said to him, "Don't be afraid, just trust me," and sometimes, it feels like what God has promised us has died. It's been too long. All the circumstances say, "There's no way it could happen". God is saying to us what he said to him, "Just trust me, I still have a way".
Jesus showed up at the house, everyone was crying and weeping. He said to them, "The little girl is not dead, she's just asleep". He went in and said to her, "Wake up". The little girl woke up. Instantly, she was well, and you may have dreams that you've given up on, promises you think, "No way they could happen now". The good news, they're not dead, they're just asleep. God is about to wake up what you thought was dead. He's about to bring to life dreams you've given up on, promises he put in you as a child, like my brother, he's about to bring to pass.
Now, do your part and look again. Start believing again, get your hopes back up. If you'll do this, I'll believe and declare dreams are waking up right now. That cloud is starting to form. You're going to see a downpour of God's goodness, an abundance of favor, healing, breakthroughs, the fullness of your destiny in Jesus' name, and if you receive it, can you say amen today?