Joel Osteen — Stored Up Blessing
I want to talk to you today about "Stored Up Blessings". When God laid out the plan for your life, he put in it everything you need to fulfill your destiny. He's already lined up the right people, the right breaks, favor; increase.
Psalm 31 says, "God has great blessings stored up for those that honor him". Promotion is stored up for you. Single people, there's a husband, a wife, stored up for you. That baby you've been dreaming about is stored up. A contract, a business, healing, it already has your name on it. It belongs to you. If you'll keep honoring God, at the right time, you will come in to a stored up blessing. You won't have to go after it; it will find you.
What God has destined for you can't go to anyone else. That's why you don't have to be frustrated when you see other people being blessed. A friend moves into a new house. You've been believing for 10 years for a better place to live. You come every Sunday, give, serve. They're just the opposite. "Joel, I don't understand it. I wish I had that house". No, if you had it, it wouldn't be a blessing. It would be a burden. It wasn't destined for you. What God has stored up for you cannot go to anyone else. There's a house with your name on it, a spouse with your name on it, healing with your name on it.
When the prophet Samuel came to Jesse's house to anoint one of his sons as the next king, he poured oil on each of the 7 sons, but the oil would not flow. Even though he turned it upside down, the oil defied gravity. Why? Because the oil had been stored up for David. God had already destined him to be the next king. No matter how hard Samuel tried to get the oil out, hitting the bottom of the bottle, he couldn't do it. But when he came to David, it was like somebody opened the floodgates. The oil freely flowed.
The oil that God has for you is not going to flow to anyone else. Don't be jealous because a friend got a promotion. Don't be frustrated because your business partner saw a dream come to pass. They're not getting your oil. If you got what they have, it wouldn't help you; it would hinder you. What God has stored up for you will be a perfect fit for your life. When you understand this, you'll celebrate the success of others. You'll be happy for their promotion, happy for their new house, happy for their beautiful baby. Knowing that what God did for them is not going to stop what God's going to do for you.
Sometimes we act like God has a limited supply of favor. "If my co-worker gets promoted, that may keep God from promoting me". It's the wrong perspective. God never runs out of favor. He has unlimited resources. Somebody else being blessed is not going to stop God from blessing you. When you celebrate others, you're passing the test. When you're happy for their success, God can release what he has stored up for you. Maybe you're single and you've been believing for a long, long time to meet the right person.
Your best friend just met the man of her dreams. He's tall, dark, handsome; romantic. They're madly in love, planning their wedding. She asked you to be the maid of honor. You say, "Yes, I'd be thrilled to do it"! Deep down, you're thinking, "I am so depressed. God, why didn't I meet him first? I'm more attractive than she is"!
No. Be happy for her, she's not taking your blessing. What has your name on it cannot go to anyone else. Your time is coming. There is a husband stored up for you that will be a perfect fit, better than you could imagine. They're heading your way. It could happen today. It could happen this week. You could see a stored up blessing released in your life.
This takes all the pressure off. You don't have to live frustrated, wondering if a dream is going to come to pass. Worried that a problem won't work out. Jealous because a friend got a promotion. You can stay in peace knowing that what has your name on it is not going to go to any other person, that God's going to get you to where you're supposed to be.
Sometimes it's taking a long time. People are passing us up; we've missed opportunities, made some mistakes. Those voices start whispering, "It's never going to happen. You're never going to get well, never break the addiction, never meet the right person". It's easy to get discouraged, give up on what we're believing for.
This is the way Peter felt in the scripture. He was out in his boat with some of the other disciples, fishing. His good friend, Jesus, had just been crucified. When Jesus needed him the most, Peter denied that he knew him. And Peter not only felt guilty about it, but he was confused. This man he believed to be the Messiah was no longer with them. He said he would rise from the dead, but they didn't see any sign of it.
So Peter went back to his previous profession. He was an experienced fisherman. He'd done it for many years. He'd been out in his boat all night, fishing and caught nothing. He'd worked hard, used his best efforts, put on the right bait, threw the nets where he thought the fish would be; again and again, hour after hour, no success.
Early the next morning, this man shouted from the shore, "Boys, have you caught any fish"? They didn't recognize it was Jesus. Peter said, "No, we haven't caught anything". Jesus said, "Then throw your nets on the right side of the boat and watch what will happen". I'm sure they thought, "Who does this guy think he is, telling us how to fish? We're professionals. We're tired, we're hot, we're aggravated; we're frustrated. There are no fish out here".
They almost talked themselves out of it, but at the last moment Peter changed his mind. He thought, "What do we have to lose? What's it going to hurt for us to throw out our nets one more time"? They threw the nets on the right side of the boat and they caught so many fish that they could not haul it in. Right then, they recognized that it was Jesus.
Here's my point: God knows where your fish are. Just because you haven't seen them yet doesn't mean that you've missed them. Like Peter, you may have worked hard, given it your best effort, used your expertise, your skills, exhausted your resources, your connections, but you came up empty. Now you don't think it's ever going to happen. "Joel, I'll never get well. I'll never meet the right person. I'll never accomplish this dream. I've tried everything. I've worked 2 jobs. I've gone through rehab. I've put my profile on 47 dating websites. Only 2 people were interested and they were both over 80".
You're tired, you're frustrated; you could easily give up. Here's the good news: God knows where your fish are. He knows where your husband is. He knows where your healing is. Where your victory is; where that new house is. It may not have happened yet, but that doesn't mean it's not going to happen. You always face the greatest opposition, the greatest adversity, the greatest discouragement right before the breakthrough, right before the healing, right before you meet the person of your dreams.
God is saying to you, "Throw out your nets one more time". That disappointment, the loss, the lack, was only a test. Your fish are still out there. What has your name on it, if you'll throw out your nets again, God will cause those stored up blessings to find you. The fish may not have been there last night. It may not have worked last time. That's okay. God controls the fish. He knows how to get them into your net. Start believing again. Get your fire back. Stir your faith up. What God started in your life, he's going to finish. What he promised you, he will bring to pass. You may have been struggling, trying to find the fish, working hard, giving it your best efforts, no success. This is a new day. The fish are going to find you.
The scripture talks about how when you honor God, his blessings will chase you down and overtake you. When you believe that your best days are still in front of you, you believe that God will take you where you could not go on your own, you will come to a point where the fish will start tracking you down. God will command his blessings to overtake you.
I've seen this again and again in my own life. What I couldn't make happen in my own talent, my own ability, suddenly God causes it to happen. The fish found me. At 23 years of age, I walked into a jewelry store to buy a battery for my watch and out walked Victoria to wait on me. The most beautiful girl I'd ever seen. Do you know what she was? A fish! God caused her to come in to my net and I never let her out. That's a whole different message there.
When my dad was the pastor and I worked behind the scenes, we used to do these big productions. I loved to do concerts, television specials. That's what I loved doing. But later in my father's life, he didn't want to do anymore of that and I was kind of disappointed. I was young, I had big dreams, big goals. I didn't want to do less; I wanted to do more. I was working hard, I was being faithful, but it seemed like I had less and less opportunity. My nets were empty.
I told Victoria, "This is my father's vision. I know I'm supposed to stay here and honor him and even though I know I have more in me, I'm going to be faithful and I'm going to keep serving him the best that I can".
About 6 months later, I was walking through the lobby before church service and a man stopped me and said that his cousin had a construction permit for the last full power commercial television station in Houston. It was extremely valuable. They wanted us to be a part. We took that construction permit, put the station on the air, programmed it and later sold it for a significant profit. Those funds were instrumental in us remodeling this place.
Here's my point: when I thought I was done, no more opportunity, God brought me an opportunity of a lifetime. I didn't have to go after it, that fish found me. Friends, there are some fish, big fish, that have your name on them. It's just a matter of time before they show up in your net. You need to get ready! I'm not talking about minnows, little gold fish, something you can fit in a small aquarium. I'm talking about some big fish, some big breaks; some big opportunities. Peter caught so many fish that he could not haul them all in. Notice, God is an overflow God. What he has stored up for you is going to be bigger than you can imagine.
You know what this facility is? A fish that found our net. It's a whale, a big fish. We weren't even looking for it. We were trying to build a sanctuary on the other part of town, but two deals fell through. I was working hard, using my efforts, my connections, my skills, but it seemed like nothing was happening. I was throwing out my nets, but they kept coming back empty again and again.
One day, an old friend called and said this place was becoming available. Things began to fall into place. It was the hand of God. Sometimes the reason your net is empty is because God has something better. Like Peter, you fished all night, you didn't catch anything; don't get discouraged. God controls the fish. If you'll keep honoring him, stay in faith; he'll bring the right fish to you.
When you face a disappointment, a door closes like it did for us twice, we didn't think there were any more options. Have a new perspective. Maybe that door closed because God has something better coming your way. Maybe you were hoping to catch a normal fish, an average sized fish, but God has a whale coming. He's got a Compaq Center; he's got somebody better; a bigger house. Or like with me, he's going to launch you into a new field with opportunity that you've never dreamed of. There are some big fish that have your name on them.
Now nothing may have been biting lately. You're throwing out your nets, using the right bait, but you keep coming up empty. Every voice will tell you, "It's never going to happen. You're wasting your time. Forget about it". No, don't believe those lies. The fish are coming. The promotion is coming. The spouse, the healing, it's headed your way. It may seem unlikely. You tried it before, gave it your best, it didn't work out. That delay doesn't mean that you missed your fish. That disappointment doesn't mean it's not going to happen. At the right time, God's going to bring the fish into your net.
Now do your part. Keep throwing out your nets. Keep believing. It's not going to happen by your might, your power, your talent, your strength. It's going to happen by the hand of God. You may have come to the end of your ability. You've done everything you can. Don't worry. You're not alone. You have the most powerful force in the universe on your side. The God who controls the fish, the God who spoke worlds into existence, he knows how to get the fish into your net. Every morning, "Lord, I want to thank you that you're causing the right fish to find me. Thank you that those stored up blessings are going to be released in my life". If you'll stay in faith and keep throwing out your nets, like Peter, God will do more than you can ask or think.
One of our worship leaders, a friend of mine, Da'Dra, she has an incredible voice, extremely talented. She's been singing since she was a little girl. But a few years back, she started feeling very tired, not having any energy. The doctor thought it was because she just had a baby and didn't think much about it. What he didn't realize was her thyroid gland had begun to severely malfunction. It had grown from 1 inch in diameter to the size of 2 male fists. It looked like she had a big grapefruit on the side of her neck.
The specialist told her she was in danger not only of it blocking her windpipe where she couldn't breathe, but it was very close to her vocal chords. If they operated on it, most likely she would never be able to sing again. And if she could somehow sing, she would never have her full range. She went to a surgeon here in town and when he found out she was a singer, he said, "I can't touch this. It's too risky. You could easily lose your voice". She asked if he knew anyone that could help her. He said, "I don't know anybody that's going to take on this case. It's too big a chance".
She left there weeping, so discouraged. She got home and started searching on the internet for doctors that specialized in this field all across the nation. Hundreds and hundreds of names came up. As she was passing them by, this one name jumped out at her. A surgeon in Nashville. He had invented a procedure to help reverse vocal chord paralysis in some patients. She went to see him. He was very caring, very loving. After examining her, he confirmed what the first surgeon said, that it was extremely risky. She asked if he'd be willing to try. He said, "Of course, I will".
He flew in another top surgeon. Together they performed this very complicated procedure, doing their best not to harm her vocal chords. Two months after the removing of the big goiter, she was able to sing softly. Six months later, she was able to sing at full power. Not only as high as she could before the surgery, but she could sing even lower. It didn't decrease her range, it increased her range. She found out later the reason this doctor had so much experience is because he takes missions trips every year to Africa to operate on less fortunate people. That's where he's seen all these large goiters and gained so much experience to where now he's a leader in his field.
Out of the thousands of names that came up on the internet that day, it just so happened Da'Dra was drawn to his name. That wasn't a coincidence; it was the hand of God bringing the right fish into her net. Friends, God knows how to connect you to the right people. You keep throwing out your nets and God will keep bringing the right fish. He has blessings stored up for you.
It's interesting, when Peter was in his boat that day; he had just made one of the biggest mistakes of his life. He had just denied that he knew Jesus. You would think God would say, "Too bad, Peter. Fish all you want. You're not going to catch anything. You're not going to have my blessing. You had your chance, but you blew it". Just because you make a mistake, it doesn't mean that God cancels your destiny. Peter blew it big time, but just a few days later he had this big time catch; so much that he couldn't haul it all in. That's the mercy of God.
When you make mistakes, God doesn't get rid of your fish. He doesn't take them away. He holds your fish. They become a stored up blessing. When you get back on the right path, God will release what should have been yours. You may think, "Well, Joel, I've made a lot of mistakes. I'm sure God had some good things stored up for me, but it's too late now". No, you're just like Peter. God is holding your fish. They belong to you. Why don't you start believing again? God knew every mistake you'd ever make. He knew the times we'd blow it, the times that we would fail. If that disqualified us, all of us would come up empty. None of us would catch anything.
When you make mistakes, the accuser will whisper in your ear, "No, use you throwing out your nets. God's not going to bring you any fish. You're not going to catch anything". God is saying, "I dare you to believe. I dare you to throw your nets on the right side of the boat". That means start making good decisions. Start honoring God, living with excellence and integrity.
When you do this, mistakes of the past won't keep you from your future. Your fish are still out there. Your dreams, your spouse, your healing, that breakthrough; it has your name on it. Throw your nets on the right side of the boat and God is still going to bless you. Still going to heal you. You're still going to accomplish your dreams and become who you were created to be.
We see this principle throughout the scripture. As a young man, Moses knew he was supposed to deliver the people of Israel out of slavery. But he got in a hurry and tried to do it in his own strength. He saw an Israelite being mistreated; he went over and killed the man that was doing it. Other people saw him. Moses had to flee for his life. He spent years on the backside of the desert in hiding.
It looked like he missed his destiny, but 40 years later God said, "Moses, I haven't forgotten about you. That mistake didn't stop my plan for your life. Go tell Pharaoh, 'let my people go'". I'm sure Moses thought of excuses. "God, I'm too old, I've made too many mistakes, I don't deserve this". He was saying, "I fished all night, didn't catch anything". But God knew where Moses' fish were. He had them stored up and at 80, Moses delivered the people of Israel, saw favor again and again.
You may have made mistakes, but God still has your fish. You can still become who he created you to be. Even with Abraham, God promised him and his wife Sarah that they would have a baby. They were much too old; way past the child bearing years. Year after year went by and no baby; they got worried and tried to help God out. Abraham slept with Sarah's maid, they had a boy but it wasn't the promised child. Sarah got mad at Abraham, the maid got mad at Sarah, all kinds of dysfunction in this house. You would think God would say, "Too bad, Abraham. You blew it. Having a baby with another woman? What were you thinking? You've got one messed up family".
But in spite of the dysfunction, in spite of the mistakes, God said, "Abraham, I still have your promise stored up. I still have that son for you". Against all odds, when he was almost 100, Sarah had a baby, the promised child, Isaac.
What am I saying? You may have blown it, made mistakes, your nets are empty; you don't think the promise will ever come to pass. God is still holding your fish. He didn't get rid of them. They belong to you. If you'll start throwing your nets on the right side of the boat, you'll still see God's favor. He'll still do what he promised you.
Jesus told a parable, Matthew chapter 20, about this landowner that hired laborers to work in his vineyard. He hired the first group of men to start at 9 o'clock in the morning. They agreed to work all day for 1 Denarius. That was about 20 dollars. He hired another group to start at noon, another to start at 3 in the afternoon and the final group to start at 5.
Back in those days, they worked from sun up to sun down. So the last group that started at 5 probably only worked an hour or two. But when it came time to be paid, the owner, he represents God, he paid the group that started at 5 twenty dollars. The group that started at 3, 20 dollars. And the group that started at noon and at 9 in the morning the same amount, 20 dollars. Some of them were upset, saying that it wasn't fair. The owner said, "Listen, it's my money. I paid you what I agreed. Don't fault me for being generous".
Here's the point: even though you may have started late, you made mistakes, missed some opportunities, God doesn't say, "I'm cutting your pay. I'm only going to give you half of what should have been yours". If you'll get back on the field, start making decisions that honor God, all those past wages, what God has stored up, the blessings, the favor, the increase, he still wants to release in your life. You can still reach the fullness of your destiny. Don't let the accusing voices cause you to live guilty, condemned, thinking you've seen your best days.
Like Peter, you may have made mistakes but God still has your fish. There's still a great haul up in front of you. Like Abraham, God still has your Isaac. He's still planning to bring to pass what he promised you. Like this last group of workers, you may have started late but God's not docking your pay. He wants to give you the full amount if you'd just get back in the game. Your voices, the thoughts may tell you, "You don't deserve it". Other people may complain, but here's the key: favor is not fair. It's just the goodness, the mercy of God. Why don't you receive it today? If you'll do this, I believe and declare stored up blessings are about to be released in your life. The fish are going to find you. Not little minnows, but some big fish, big breaks, promotion, healing, restoration, the fullness of your destiny in Jesus' name.