Joel Osteen — Prepared Blessings
I want to talk to you today about prepared blessings. When God laid out the plan for your life, he lined up the right people, the right breaks, the right opportunities. He has blessings that have your name on them. There is promotion, contracts, a business, a spouse. He's already destined them to be yours, and if you will stay in faith and keep honoring God, one day you will come in to what already belongs to you.
This is what happened way back with Adam and eve. In the book of Genesis, it talks about how the first 5 days, God created the heavens, the earth, the sky, the land, the water, and when he finished the big things, he didn't stop there, he started on the small things, the details, and God planted a garden. He put beautiful flowers in it, luscious fruit. He designed these rivers to flow through it. He put precious treasures in the ground, onyx, gold, silver. He went to great lengths like he wanted it, down to the smallest details, and when he got finished with it, he put the last touches on this magnificent garden.
The scripture says he took Adam, whom he had just breathed life into, notice Adam came into a prepared blessing, something that God had already finished for him. He didn't get there and have to work night and day, and constantly struggle, and think, "How am I going to survive"? There were fruit trees all around, crystal clear streams flowing right before him, provision everywhere he looked. He didn't have to live worried, thinking, "Well, I got food and water, but how am I going to provide for my family? How am I going to make a living"? There were resources at his disposal, onyx, gold, silver. Everything he needed to live a victorious, abundant life was right there in the garden. God had put it there specifically prepared for him.
In the same way, God has some prepared blessings in store for you. He's working behind the scenes, arranging things in your favor, getting it all perfectly in place, and at the right time, he's going to bring you into your garden, into what he's already finished. You couldn't make it happen on your own. You didn't deserve it, you didn't earn it, it's just the goodness of God bringing you into a prepared blessing.
I walked into a jewelry store and met Victoria for the first time. You know what she was? A prepared blessing. I looked up and said, "God, you did good". There are hundreds of jewelry stores in a big city like Houston that I could've gone into, but God controls the universe. He knows how to bring God said, in effect, "Joel, I've got something finished for you. You've been faithful, you've honored me, now I've got a prepared blessing that I'm ready to bring you into". God directed my steps, and I met Victoria that day, and my life and my checkbook have never been the same.
"But Joel, I've been single so long, I don't think I'll ever meet the right person". No, God has a husband, a wife that has your name on it. God's getting it all prepared, and at the right time God will say, "Okay, I'm done, here's what I've been working on". You'll meet the person of your dreams and you'll say, like I did, "God, this was worth waiting for. You outdid yourself". Don't get discouraged, you may not see anything happening, but God is working, getting your garden prepared. When it's finished, he's going to bring you into it.
You know what this building is, the former Compaq Center? A prepared blessing. We couldn't make this happen on our own. God had been working on it for over 30 years. When we needed it, God said, "All right, Lakewood, I'm going to bring you into what I've already finished for you," and we came into this beautiful garden, the premiere facility in the fourth largest city in America, on the main freeway, 9,000 covered parking spaces. We showed up and said, "Wow, God, you've done more than we can ask or think".
What God has in store for you will boggle your mind. Right now, God's getting your garden prepared, putting in the right provision, lining up the right people, and when it's fully in bloom, when God gets it exactly like he wants it, he's going to bring you into it. Suddenly, you'll be promoted. Suddenly, you get the contract. Suddenly, your health improves. Suddenly, the problem turns around. When you come into your garden, it's going to be bigger, better, more rewarding than before.
This is what God said in Deuteronomy chapter 8, "I am bringing you into a good land, a land where you will eat bread without scarceness, a land with no shortage, where you will not lack any good thing". Has prepared for you, there is no shortage, no shortage of resources, no shortage of opportunities, no shortage of creativity, of friendships, of joy and peace. In your garden, you will not lack any good thing.
When you're tempted to get down or look at what you don't have, no, turn it around, "Lord, I want to thank you that you're bringing me into my garden, a land of no shortage, a land where my gifts and talents will come out to the full. A good land where I will fulfill my destiny. A good land where I'll live healthy, happy, and whole.
A friend of mine comes from a large family, and they immigrated here from another country, and they were very poor people and had not made much out of their lives. They had a defeated mind-set. He started coming out to Lakewood and hearing about how we are victors and not victims. One day, a friend told him about a job opportunity at the medical center he went and interviewed and got the position. He was working the graveyard shift, overnight, making minimum wage, barely getting by. But every once in a while, they would have procedures there at the hospital using that equipment that he cleaned. He would watch very closely and study how the technicians did it.
At one point, one of the technicians took another job, and his supervisor had seen how dedicated and committed he was, and even though he didn't have the formal training, they promoted him and gave him that position. He kept being faithful year after year. Couple of years later, the main technician left, they put him in charge of the whole department. Few years after that, he started thinking, "If I could purchase this piece of equipment, I could travel from hospital to hospital one afternoon, playing basketball with some friends, he met this man that was a banker. He shared his story how he wanted to start his own business.
Out of nowhere, the banker said, "Hey, I really like you. Come by my bank tomorrow and we will loan you the money". Things kept falling into place. Today, my friend has an extremely successful, large company. What was that? He came into a prepared blessing. God had been getting his garden ready, working at it, lining up the right people, putting him at the right place, causing him to get good breaks.
After years of being faithful, God said, "All right, your garden is done. I'm going to bring you into what I've already prepared, into a good land, not where you're cleaning the equipment, but where you own the equipment. Not where you're working for the company, but where you run the company". That's God's dream for your life, to bring you into a garden of abundance, a garden filled with favor, with opportunity, with good health, and you may not be there yet, but don't worry, your garden is on the way.
David said in Psalm 31, "God has blessings stores up for those that love the Lord". There are businesses stored up for you that God's about to release. There is promotion stored up that has your name on it, good health stored up, a new house stored up, and because you love the Lord, God is going to bring you into what he's already prepared. Like my friend, you've honored God, you've been faithful. Now, you're not going to have to go find the blessings, the blessings are going to find you.
Something is looking for you right now. Not defeat, not lack, not bad breaks, favor's looking for you. Contracts are looking for you. Good health is looking for you. You're going to come into your garden, a prepared blessing, something like you've never seen.
Pastor I know was about to build a new sanctuary, and they were starting to draw the plans and raise the funds, and one day, out of the blue, the mayor of his city called and told how there was a group that built a large building for a casino, but before they could move in, it went bankrupt. It had 40 acres of parking, the building you could put four football fields inside. It was just a few miles from his church.
The mayor asked if he would be interested in purchasing the facility. The pastor thought it would cost $40, $50 million dollars, it was brand new, state of the art. The mayor said, "No, you can purchase it for under $2 million". A man that owned a production company heard that the pastor was interested, he called and said, "I've got a big video screen, 150 feet wide, used for sports and concerts. I paid $3 million new, but I'll sell it to you for $50,000.
Things kept falling into place. Instead of having to build a new sanctuary, God dropped a much bigger, better property into their hands. That was a blessing stored up God had already prepared, and at the right time God released it, and if you could see what God has stored up for you, the people you're going to meet, the places you're going to go, the good breaks that are going to find you, you'd be amazed, it's going to be the surpassing greatness of God's favor.
But too often, we make excuses and we come up with reasons why this is not going to happen for us. "Well, Joel, it sounds good today but I don't have the training, the talent, the connections". Or "I come from the wrong family. I'm the wrong nationality. I'm too short. I'll never come into my garden".
No, God is not limited by your circumstances, by your family, by who's against you. When God breathed his life into you, he put a blessing on you that overrides anything that comes against you. The blessings God has stored up for you cannot be stopped by people, by bad breaks, by injustice. God has the final say, and the garden he has prepared for you, he has every intention of bringing you into it.
We see David in the scripture as a powerful king, a great leader, one of the heroes of faith. But David wasn't raised in a wealthy family, influential family. He wasn't trained to take the throne, just the opposite. He came from a very poor family. He was the eighth son of a man named Jesse. His brothers were involved in the military. They had somewhat significant positions, David's job was to take care of his father's sheep. He was looked down on, seen as secondary. His family thought, "Oh, that's just David. Let's stick him out in the shepherds fields. He's never going to amount to much".
In the natural, it didn't look like David had much of a future. Came from a low income family, no education. His own father but just because people write you off doesn't mean God writes you off. Circumstances may look like you're stuck, too bad, you'll never rise higher, but that doesn't change what God has prepared for you. The blessing God put on you will override any curse. The blessing will make up for what you didn't get, for who was against you, for any disadvantage. What God has prepared is not affected by people or circumstances. His blessing will cause you to step into the fullness of your destiny.
And one day, the prophet Samuel came to Jesse's house to anoint one of his sons as the next king of Israel, and seven of these sons were lined up in the house. Samuel had his bottle of oil, he went down the row one by one. Got to the first son, Samuel turned the oil over, but the oil would not flow. He knew that was not the right one. He went to the next son, turned the bottle over, but again the oil would not come out. He went down the row again and again and again, seven sons.
Samuel was kind of confused, he thought, "I know God said it's one of Jesse's son, but the oil just will not come out". He said, "Jesse, I don't know, maybe I missed it, but I know it's not any of these sons". Jesse said, "Well, Samuel, I do have one other son, his name is David. He's out in the shepherds fields, but I know it's not him, he's the youngest, he's small. He's never going to amount to much". David stood before him, Samuel turned the bottle over, and the oil began to flow and flow and flow. He knew right then David was the next king.
Here's my point, you don't have to worry about somebody else getting your blessing. The oil that's been prepared for you will not flow to anyone else. When Samuel tried to anoint those other sons, the oil defied gravity. I can see Samuel turning the bottle over, even hitting the end, trying to make it come out. It would not flow until it recognized the person that was supposed to be blessed, and when it's your time to be blessed, don't worry, nobody can take your blessing.
"Well, Joel, my co-worker got the promotion I deserved. I worked harder, but my supervisor overlooked me". No, if you didn't get it, it wasn't supposed to be yours. Your oil will not flow for anyone else. The blessing that belongs to you will be your blessing, nobody can take it. Three years before this facility became available, the Houston rockets basketball team tried to move out. There was a vote for the whole city to approve building a new basketball arena. It seemed like a sure thing. The rockets had won championships, there was a new site for a downtown location. Most people thought it would pass. But when the citizens voted, much to everyone's surprise, they voted NO.
The rockets looking back now, I believe it's because God knew this building was supposed to be for Lakewood, and we weren't ready at that time. If that vote would've passed, the rockets would've moved out, they would've sold it to someone else, and we wouldn't be here today. We needed a few more years, so God made sure the oil what's destined to be yours, nobody else can have. That house that has your name on it, you're supposed to have, the oil's not going to flow to someone else. That promotion, that contract, that husband, they have your name on them exclusively. That's why you don't have to worry, you don't have to get all upset, God's got you covered. Nobody's going to get what belongs to you.
When you see somebody being blessed, they get a big contract, they have a baby, they move into a new house, don't get jealous. "Oh man, I wish that happened for me. I go to church more than they did". No, that doesn't have your name on it. If it was supposed to be yours, the oil would not have flowed. You can be happy for them knowing that what God has for you will be better because it's prepared specifically for you. If God were to give you what shouldn't have been yours, it wouldn't be a blessing, it would be a burden. You're not anointed for it.
"Well, Joel, I wish I was married to Victoria. She's so beautiful". She's a blessing to me, she'd be a burden to you, and you're not anointed for her. "Well, Joel, I wish I was the pastor of that big church". It'd be a burden for you. God has the right people lined up for you. The right promotion, the right husband, the right gifts, the right breaks. Nobody can take what's yours. Your oil is not going to flow to someone else, and sometimes, when we see a person blessed and they get a big promotion, we think for some reason them being blessed is going to stop God from doing something good to us, kind of like they're using up all of God's favor. No, he has an unlimited supply. He did it for them, he can do it for you.
Maybe you're single and you've been believing to meet the right person for a long time, and one of your good friends just got married. It'd be easy to be jealous and envious, and think, "Oh man, that's not fair". No, turn it around. "God, you did it for them, I know you can do it for me. That person that has my name on it, they're coming in". You don't have to covet what somebody else has. Don't covet their spouse, or covet their gifts, or covet their promotion, anything they have. God has blessing specifically prepared for you, and our prayer should be, "God, give me the blessings you have prepared not for my neighbor, not for my cousin, not for my co-worker, but God, bring me what you have for me".
In the scripture, the prophet Elijah was living in a certain city, and God said to him, "Leave this place and go down to the brook Cherith, for I have commanded the ravens to feed you there". When he got to the brook, every morning just like clockwork, the ravens brought him food. He had his provision, a prepared blessing.
Here's the key, Elijah didn't have to try to find the ravens. He just had to get to where God wanted him to be and the ravens found him. In the same way, there is a place where God has commanded you to be blessed. The ravens are already there, your provision, favor, abundance. The real question today is, will you do what's required to get to your place of blessing?
Elijah could've said, "God, I don't want to leave. I'm comfortable, I like it here. My friends are here". But if he would've stayed, he would've missed where he was commanded to be blessed, and sure, he could've survived, he could've endured, but if you want to see God's best, you've got to be willing to do what God's asking you to do. Maybe down deep, you know you're supposed to get away from some friends that are dragging you down, a bad influence causing you to compromise. As long as you stay there, you're going to miss your prepared blessing.
"Well, Joel, if I make these changes, I won't have any friends. I'll be lonely". You may be lonely for a season, but God will always bring you new friends. Plus, he will bring you it may be difficult for a period of time, but before long, you will come in to that commanded blessing where the ravens are, greater opportunities, greater fulfillment, and it may not be leaving a friend or moving physically, it may just be in your mind, you need to leave the negative thoughts.
Leave the worry, leave the fear, leave the doubt, leave the anger, the resentment. God has a place of abundance, but you've got to be willing to leave what he's asking you to leave. Or perhaps it could be for you, you need to leave your comfort zone and take a step of faith. You can't play it safe your whole life and expect to reach your highest potential. Is there something God's asking you to leave?
When my father went to be with the Lord back in 1999 I knew I was supposed to step up and pastor the church, but I was comfortable behind the scenes. I didn't want to get out in front of people. I didn't think I knew how to minister. It was much easier to just stay where I was, and the truth is that was my place of blessing for 17 years, but I've learned God likes to do new things.
At one point the ravens quit coming to the brook, and God told Elijah, "Leave the brook and go to the city of Zarephath. I have a widow that's going to take care of you". His place of blessing changed. He could've thought, "I know God sent me to this brook. These ravens have fed me for years, I am not leaving". He would've missed the new thing God wanted to do.
Your place of blessing can change, and for those 17 years behind the scenes, I was happy, fulfilled, seeing God's favor. But when daddy died, I could hear God whispering in my spirit, saying, "Joel, I'm moving you from behind the scenes to out in front of the people". It was uncomfortable, I didn't like it. But I stepped in to a prepared blessing, abundance, favor, influence, don't hold onto the old when you know God is leading you somewhere new.
Be willing to take a step of faith, get out of that comfort zone. Don't stay stuck in a position where you haven't grown in years and years. God has some greater things in front of you, prepared blessings, but you've got to be willing to step into it.
This is what a lady did in the scripture after her husband and his brother were killed, her mother-in-law Naomi decided to move back to her original hometown. She didn't have any connections now that both of her sons had died, and she told Ruth and the other daughter-in-law, "Don't worry about me. Do your own thing, but I'm going to go back the other daughter-in-law left, but Ruth knew deep down she was supposed to go with Naomi and help take care of her. Naomi was an older woman, so Ruth moved to Naomi's hometown, they lived together.
Every morning, Ruth would go out into the fields and pick up the leftover wheat that the workers had missed. And one day, the owner of the field saw Ruth. He didn't know who she was, but he told his workers to leave wheat on the ground on purpose for Ruth. Now, when she went out, the wheat was already there waiting for her, later, that owner ended up marrying Ruth. Now, Ruth didn't have to work in the field anymore, she owned the field.
Here's what I'm saying, when you do what God asked you to do, you move when he asks you to move, you're willing to get out of your comfort zone, when you get to your place of blessing, God will speak to people to be good to you that have never even met you. He will command his ravens to feed you. In other words, good breaks will find you, provision, divine connections, supply.
When you're in that place where you're commanded to be blessed, you won't be able to outrun the good things of God, and friends, there is a garden God has prepared specifically for you. Just like with Adam, he's put resources in it, provision, opportunity, the right friends, and you need to get ready, God's about to bring you into what he's already finished for you. It has your name on it. It's going to be bigger, better, more rewarding than you ever imagined. Stay in faith, keep doing what God's asking you to do. Be willing to leave when he asks you to leave. If you'll do this, I believe and declare you're coming into your garden, favor that you didn't deserve, good breaks that you didn't earn, provision, abundance, healing, restoration, the fullness of your destiny in Jesus' name.