Joel Osteen — You've Been Framed
I want to talk to you today about how you've been framed. When we hear that phrase most of the time we think of it as a bad thing. We've been setup, made to look like we did something that we didn't do. But the scripture talks about a different type of frame. It says, "The worlds were framed by the word of God".
It's not just talking about the physical world. The word in the original language is "Eons," meaning, "Ages" or "Times". It's saying God has a frame around your times. He has put a fence, a boundary, around your life. Nothing can penetrate your frame that God doesn't allow. Trouble, sickness, accidents, they can't just randomly happen. The frame is set. You don't have to worry about your future. There's a frame around your health, a frame around your children, a frame around your finances.
It's a boundary set by the Creator of the universe. Not only can nothing get in without God's permission, but even better news, you can't get out. You can't make a mistake big enough to break out of that frame. You can't get too addicted, too discouraged, too angry. It's a destiny frame. God won't let you get so far off course that you can't still fulfill your purpose. You may come right up to the edge, about to do something to get you in trouble and you'll bump into the frame. God will push you right back.
I had a man tell me how he was so fed up with his boss. He had worked at the company for many years. His boss was always condescending, making sarcastic remarks and this man had had all he could take. He was about to give his boss a piece of his mind. He knew he'd get fired but at this point he didn't care. He had his speech all lined up, laid in bed the night before, steaming, thinking, "I'm going to tell him, 'I don't like you. I don't need you. You're a lousy boss.'" On and on. He was going to let it all hang out.
The next morning, first thing, he marched into his boss's office without knocking, all fired up. The strangest thing happened. He got flustered. He couldn't remember what he was going to say. His mind totally went blank. He looked at the boss and said, "Uh... Uh... Uh... Would you like a cup of coffee"? He said, "Joel, I tried to tell him off. I tried to be mean. I just couldn't do it".
What happened? He bumped into the frame. God knows how to protect you, not only from accidents, not only from the wrong people. God will protect you from yourself. Sometimes we're the most dangerous thing we face. At the family reunion, you're about to tell that relative off. Somehow you feel a peace come over you. Or they walk out of the room at just the right time. That's not a coincidence. You'd better thank God for your frame. Out on the freeway, that person that cut you off, you're about to give them a signal with your hand. And I'm not talking about, "One way Jesus". You pull up next to them so aggravated, throw your hand up, but instead of doing what you thought, you just smile and give them a big friendly wave.
What happened? You bumped into your frame. This frame has kept us out of more trouble than we realize. You'd better thank God for your frame or you might not still have a job. If it had not been for the frame we might not still be married. How many times were we going to tell our spouse exactly what we think and exactly what they should do and we hear the still small voice saying, "Don't do it. Bite your tongue. Walk away". We take the advice. That's the frame.
In the scripture, David experienced this frame. He and his men had been protecting a man by the name of Nabal. They were camped next door. Just to do him a favor, they made sure that no bandits bothered him or his property. One day David sent men to go ask Nabal for some food. Nabal was very rude. He told those men, "I don't owe you anything. I didn't ask you to do this. Just get off my property".
When David heard what Nabal had said he was furious. He told his men, "Pack up. We're going to go wipe out Nabal and anyone that's halfway associated with him". This set David off.
As he headed toward Nabal's house, angry, offended, ready to get even, God sent a young lady named Abigail. Abigail was Nabal's wife. She met David on the road with gifts, with food. She said, "David, you are called to be our next king. You are destined to do great things. My husband, Nabal, he's a fool. Why are you going to waste your time fighting with him? You could miss your destiny". She spoke sense into him. David said, "You're exactly right," turned around and went back home.
You know what Abigail was? She was a part of the frame. God ordained her to be there at the right time, to know exactly the right thing to say. Had David gotten distracted, killed Nabal, caused a big stir, that mistake could have kept him from taking the throne. He went right up to the edge but he bumped into his frame. God is so good. He will always send the right person to say the right thing to keep you from missing your destiny. David said, "Where would I be without the goodness of God"? He could have said, "Where would I be without this frame"?
Jonah experienced the frame. God told him to go to the city of Nineveh. He didn't want to go there. He said, "God, that's what you want me to do. I want to go my own way". He went in the opposite direction. And God will always let you do your own thing. He'll let you go your own way. But he is so merciful, at some point, you're going to bump into your frame.
He let Jonah go the wrong direction. Jonah ended up on a ship in the middle of a huge storm. He finally told the crew that he was the problem. This crew had no mercy. They said, "Jonah, you're the problem. Good riddance. You're out of here". They threw him overboard. You would think this would be the end of Jonah's life. He brought the trouble on himself. He knew the right thing but he did the opposite. He had nobody to blame except himself.
I'm sure Jonah felt like he was finished. He said his goodbyes, made his peace. But what Jonah didn't realize was the frame God had put around his life. Yes, he made a mistake but it wasn't outside the frame. Yes, he was in trouble but that trouble wasn't a surprise to God. God allowed the difficulty into Jonah's frame not to harm him but to push him toward his divine destiny.
When it looked hopeless, out in the sea, treading water, no chance to survive, here comes a big fish and swallows Jonah up. You know what the fish was? Like Abigail, part of the frame. Three days later that fish spit him up onto dry ground. Jonah said, "You know what? I think I'll go to Nineveh after all".
Like Jonah, you can run as much as you want but the good news is you'll never run out of your frame. You'll keep bumping up against it again and again. It will always push you back toward your divine destiny.
In other words, you can go out and party, live it up, not give God the time of day. But while your friends are partying, while they're enjoying life, deep down you'll be miserable, thinking, "Why can't I enjoy this? Why am I so unsatisfied"? It's because of the frame God has put on your life. You are ruined for living a defeated, mediocre, compromising life. God's calling is on you. You can go your own way but God has a way of getting you back on course.
God has put a frame that you can't penetrate. The enemy can't penetrate. Drugs can't penetrate. The wrong people can't penetrate. The most high God has fenced you in. He has put boundaries around your life so strong all the forces of darkness cannot get in and you cannot get out. And yes, we can make mistakes. We can run from the call. We can try to ignore it. But the frame around your life was put in place before the foundation of time. When God breathed his life into you, he framed your world.
That's why, parents, we don't have to worry about our children. They've been framed. They may get off course but sooner or later they'll bump into the frame. They may run with the wrong crowd but the frame is up. They can't go too far to miss their destiny. They're going to bump into it again, again, again, until they finally say, "I'm tired of fighting. God, I'm going to let you have your way. I'm going to honor you with my life".
And some of you, because you had a praying mother, you had a praying grandmother, you had relatives that honored God, you might as well give up. You don't have a chance. Your frame is so set. You're going to keep bumping into it until God gets you to where you're supposed to be.
I know this mother. She was so concerned about her son. He was making very poor choices. She tried to convince him to quit running with the wrong crowd and convince him to come to church. He just wouldn't do it. He ended up in jail.
One Sunday morning he was watching television in the common area. Another inmate came in and wanted to watch something different. They started arguing and ended up in a struggle for the remote control trying to get it out of each other's hands. About that time this huge inmate walked in. Six foot six. Looked like a professional football player. Had these muscles bulging out of his shirt. He grabbed the remote control and said, "Give me that thing. I'll decide what we're going to watch".
He started flipping through the channels and he came across our program. He said, "We're going to watch Joel today". Those two inmates got up to leave. He grabbed the one young man by the shirt and pulled him back down and said, "Sit down. You're going to watch with me". What happened? He bumped into the frame. A really big frame I might add.
Parents, God has the right people not only lined up for you but for your children, for your grandchildren. Quit worrying about them and start thanking God for the frame. Don't ever go around telling your friends how your children are so off course and they're never going to do what's right. No, zip that up and get in agreement with God. "Lord, I want to thank you that my children have been framed. I've committed them into your hands. And Lord, you said the seed of the righteous will be mighty in the land".
As this inmate was watching the program with this six foot six inmate making sure he watched, he began to feel God's presence. He started weeping. Right then and there in the jail that big inmate led him to Christ. Now I see this young man at our services all the time sitting next to his mother.
You may not see how it can happen. That's not your job. Your job is to stay in peace knowing that your children have been framed. Your prayers are activating God's power. When you pray, just imagine the frame is getting smaller, the boundaries are getting tighter, God won't let them go as far as they used to. He will make them uncomfortable in compromising situations. He won't let them enjoy doing wrong like they did before. God knows how to tighten the frame.
When I was nineteen years old, I was driving home from a ballgame very late at night. There was nobody on the freeway. I had a sports car. The fastest I had driven it was about 75 miles an hour. I thought, "This would be a great time to see how fast this car will really go". It was one o'clock in the morning, five lanes of freeway in front of me. I was on the top of a big bridge. I could see about two miles down the road and hardly anybody on the road, just a car or two here and there.
So I put the pedal to the floor and that car took off going so fast. I'm not going to tell you how fast because my mother is sitting on the front row. But as I was flying down the highway, feeling so cool, I looked over and there was a car right next to me. I thought, "I can't believe it. He wants to race". "He can't race me. He's got a piece of junk". And so I put it down even faster, took off.
I looked over and there he was again. But this time when I looked he was holding up his badge. I nearly went to heaven right then and there. My heart stopped. I looked back over and he mouthed the words, "Slow down". I drove 30 miles an hour the rest of the way home.
Parents, God has a frame around your children. Even when they do dumb things they can't get out of the frame. God will always have the right person, whether it's Abigail, a six foot six inmate, or an off duty police officer going down the freeway at one in the morning. We can't get out of the frame. Now quit looking at me like you've never done anything dumb.
In the scripture there was a man named Saul. He was the biggest enemy of the church. He hated believers. He was having them put in prison, doing more harm to God's people than any person of that time. One day he was on the road traveling to Damascus and a bright light shined down on him, so bright that he fell to the ground and became blind. The voice said, "Saul, why do you persecute me? Don't you know it's hard to kick against the pricks"? God was saying, "Saul, I've got you in my frame. You're trying to kick, trying to run, trying to ignore it. But Saul, you have to understand; I set the frame. I have a destiny for you to fulfill and it's not to stop my work. It's to advance my work".
Laying on the ground, not able to see, Saul said, "Who are you"? The voice boomed out, "I am Jesus whom you persecute". Notice, when people persecute you, give you a hard time for honoring God, make fun of you for coming to church, don't let that bother you. They're not really doing it to you. They're doing it unto God. Saul was harming believers yet God said, "You're persecuting me". God took it personally.
The voice told Saul to go to the city and see Ananias. Ananias prayed for Saul. He got his sight back. Long story short, Saul became the apostle Paul who went on to write over half of the New Testament.
Some of you think that you're too far gone, made too many mistakes. People tell me often, "Joel, I'm just not a religious person". Listen, none of that matters. All that that matters is the Creator of the universe has put a frame around your life. You can kick, run, try to ignore it. That's just going to make you more miserable. Like God said to Saul, it's hard to keep kicking against the frame. The frame is not going to move. There is a calling on your life, a destiny for you to fulfill. It has been set there by the most high God.
The scripture even talks about how God's calling is irrevocable. God is not going to remove the frame. The sooner you surrender and say, "God, my life is in your hands. I'm going to live for you. I'm going to get rid of these friends that are pulling me down. I'm going to get help with these bad habits. I'm going to get in church and serve and grow. I'm going to pursue the dreams you have placed in my heart". The sooner you do that, the happier and the more fulfilling your life will be.
You may have family members or friends like Saul. You've been praying for them a long time. It doesn't look like they'll ever get on course. In fact, the more you pray the worse they get. Don't get discouraged. Stay in peace. Just like Saul, they've been framed. A part of this frame is a hedge of protection. God has a boundary around your life that the enemy cannot cross.
A friend of mine was driving home from work the other day. He stopped at a light. When it changed to green he looked to the left, to the right, just being cautious, but just as he was about to go forward something said to him so strongly, "Look again". He looked back to the right for a second time. A car was coming full blast. Never attempted to stop. Ran right through the red light. If he had not looked a second time he would have gotten broadsided. No telling what would have happened.
What was that? The frame. If it's not your time to go the enemy cannot take you out. The frame that's placed around your life was put there by the most powerful force in the universe. That's why the Psalmist said, "A thousand may fall at my side, ten thousand at my right hand. I'm not worried. It can't come near me. I know there's a frame around my life. Nothing can happen without God's permission".
I had somebody complaining to me once about how they were hit on the freeway. It totaled their car. They were really upset and discouraged. They didn't know if the insurance was going to cover it. It was a brand new car. The feeling I got from them was that God had let them down. They said, "Joel, if I've got this frame how come I had an accident"? No, keep the right perspective. You may have lost your car but because of the frame you didn't lose your life. Because of the frame you're not paralyzed. Because of the frame you can still see and talk and hear.
I'm convinced, God protects us from so many things that we don't even realize. We think sometimes, "Well, I didn't have anything good happen to me. Just an average week". No, you can thank God for what didn't happen. Because of the frame you didn't have an accident. Because of the frame you're not in the hospital. Because of the frame you didn't get laid off. Because of the frame your children are still healthy and whole.
A few years ago I was in San Antonio at Brooke Army Medical Hospital praying for some of the soldiers. This hospital specializes in treating people that have burns. I left one room and a couple stopped me and asked me to go in and pray for their son. He had been badly burned. They told how he was a soldier in Iraq. It was the middle of the night. He was on the army base re-fueling these large tanks of gas. He was all alone about a mile from the main area and something caused the tanks to ignite. When he woke up he was 20 yards away, flat on his back, on fire, not able to move. He was wearing all of this ammunition that could explode at any moment.
Out of nowhere these two Iraqi men, civilians, showed up and started rolling him in the dirt to stop the fire. Without those two men he certainly would have burned to death. What's interesting is those men were not allowed on the base. They were in a secure area, three o'clock in the morning. The parents said, "Those men had to have been put there by God to save our son".
What was that? The frame. It wasn't his time to go. The enemy doesn't determine your destiny. God does. God is bigger than an explosion, bigger than an accident, bigger than a car running a red light. God has you in a frame.
When I was ten years old we went to Hawaii with my parents. We arrived about three o'clock in the afternoon. We were so excited. After we checked into the hotel all five of us children ran down to the beach to go swimming. My brother and sister, Paul and Lisa, were in their late teens and they were supposed to watch over us. We rented some floats.
But in the excitement of playing in the big waves and having so much fun we looked up and couldn't find my little sister, April. She was eight years old. We searched and searched so frantically, five minutes, ten minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes. I had never felt such a sick feeling in all my life. We were just sure April had drowned. The waves were so big.
Forty-five minutes everyone was looking, an hour; still nothing. An hour and fifteen minutes later, we see April way, way down the beach walking toward us carrying her float. We had never been so happy and so mad at her at the same time.
What happened is she had fallen asleep on that float. It was six hours later here at home, about 11:00 at night. She drifted nearly two miles down the shore. She could have drifted out to sea. She could have woken up in deep water, not been able to swim in. A thousand things could have happened but God had her in a frame. God had a boundary set around her.
Let me assure you, death can't penetrate your frame. God has to allow it. The number of your days, he will fulfill. That's why I always tell people that have lost a loved one, especially if they went home at an early age, while we may not understand it, know this; the enemy didn't take your loved one. He doesn't have that power. God called them home. God received them into his presence. The angels carried them into the heavenly father's arms. When Jesus arose from the grave, he said, "You don't have to worry anymore. I've got the keys of death". He was saying, "Nobody determines your time except me".
Death can't penetrate your frame. An accident can't penetrate your frame. Sickness can't penetrate your frame. God has to give it permission. He controls the whole universe. When you understand this you can say with the Apostle Paul, "Oh, death. Where is your sting? Oh, grave. Where is your victory"? I'm not afraid of you. You can't defeat me. I know there is a frame around my life. I'm not worried about my health. I've been framed. I'm not afraid to drive on the freeway. A thousand may fall at my side. That's okay. I've got a frame. Ten thousand at my right hand. No problem. I've been framed".
It's a hedge of protection, a bloodline, that the enemy cannot cross. We see this principle in Job's life. He was looking for somebody to test. God said to Satan, "Have you seen my servant, Job? There's none like him in all the land". Satan answered back something interesting. He said, "Yes, God. I've seen Job but you know I can't touch him. You've put a hedge around him. You've got a frame around his life". He went on to say, "If you will remove the frame and let me get to him, then he'll curse you".
But what I want you to see is the enemy can't just do whatever he wants. He has to ask God for permission. God has to allow him to do it. Job went through a time of testing. He fought the good fight. And in the end, he didn't curse God. He came out with double.
When you go through tough times, you have a bad break, you're facing a sickness, don't get discouraged. Remember, the frame is still up. You keep moving forward and you'll not only come out, but like job, God will bring you out better off than you were before. My encouragement to us today; don't worry about your future. You've been framed. There are boundaries around your life put in place by the most powerful force in the universe. Not only can nothing get in without God's permission, you can't get out.
You may run like Jonah but there'll be a fish waiting for you. You may kick, like Saul, but before long you'll be the apostle Paul. You may be about to tell somebody off, like David. Don't worry. Abigail is going to show up. That's the frame.
Now all through the day, instead of worrying, instead of being stressed out, no, under your breath, "Lord, thank you that my life has been framed. Thank you that my children are framed. Lord, thank you that my health, my finances, my dreams, my future, is in your frame". If you'll do that, you not only be happier, you'll not only have more peace, but God promises the number of your days he will fulfill. You will see his protection, his mercy, his favor. And I believe and declare nothing will keep you from your God given destiny. In Jesus' name.