Joel Osteen - Declare Favor
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I want to talk to you today about Declaring Favor. One way our faith is released is through our words, and there is a connection between speaking favor and receiving favor. It's not enough to just believe you have favor, it's not enough to just expect favor, you have to take it one step further and declare a favor. Every day you should declare: "I have the favor of God. Favor is on my family, favor is on my health, favor is on my business, favor is on my finances". When you speak something out, you give it the right to come to pass. When you face difficult situations, instead of being discouraged, thinking: why did this happen? You need to declare: "The favor of God is turning this around. Favor is bringing healing, freedom, vindication, victory into my life". It's one thing to think it, but when you declare it, angels go to work, in the unseen realm things begin to change.
We've prayed, we believed, we hoped - that's good, but it's time to start speaking favor. Speak favor over your finances, "Father, thank you, that your favor is bringing me clients, thank you, that your favor is causing me to stand out, thank you, that what I touch will prosper and succeed". The scripture says, "Jesus increased in favor with God and with people". You can increase in favor. The more you thank God for it, the more you declare it, the more favor you're going to see. "Joel, you say I have favor, but I never get good breaks, I never see anything unusual". Maybe it's because you're not declaring it. Why don't you step it up a notch? All through the day: "Father, thank you, that your favor is endorsing me, thank you, that your favor is bringing me into prominence, thank you, that favor is taking me to new levels". That's not just being positive, that's releasing your faith for the favor of God.
There were five of us children growing up, we never left a house without my mother saying: "Father, thank you, that my children have your favor". Work for all of us, except my brother Paul, four out of five is not bad, but it's good to pray over your children, ask God to protect them, guide them, give them wisdom, but don't stop there - speak favor over them: "Father, thank you, that my children have favored with their teachers, favor with other students, favor that causes them to excel".
David did this, he said, "Surely, goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life". The word "Goodness" in one translation is "Favor". He was saying: surely favor follows me all of my life. In effect he was saying: favor is keeping enemies from defeating me, favor is making me attractive, favor is bringing promotion and opportunity. He didn't just think about it, he didn't just hope it would work out, he spoke favor over his life. No wonder, the prophet Samuel came to him and anointed him the next king, no wonder he defeated a giant twice his size, no wonder king Saul couldn't kill him. When you're constantly talking about the favor of God, bragging on his goodness, you will go places you couldn't go on your own, you will overcome obstacles that seem impossible. Maybe you've been single for a long time, you don't think you'll ever meet the right person - start declaring: "The favor of God is bringing someone awesome into my life, favor is making me attractive, favor is putting me at the right place at the right time".
If you're struggling in your finances, instead of complaining: "The favor of God is bring an increase and promotion, favor is opening doors that I can't open, favor is causing good brakes to come to me". Or the medical report doesn't look good, you could just pray about it, hope you get better - start declaring: "The favor of God is bringing healing, the favor of God is causing me to recover, the favor of God is helping me to defy the odds, with long life God will satisfy me".
Ever since I've started ministering, I've said: "Father, thank you, that your favor causes me to stand out, that when people turn me on, they can't turn me off". Every week somebody tells me: "I was flipping through the channels, I don't like tv ministers, I never watched them, but Joel, I turned you on and I couldn't turn you off". I know, that wasn't a coincidence. It wouldn't have happened, if I had not declared favor. The dreams God has put in your heart, you need to speak favor over them. Problems that look impossible - declare the favor of God is turning them around.
Nehemiah in the scripture had a dream to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. They were torn down and the people were there unprotected. This seemed impossible - Nehemiah was living a thousand miles away, working as a cup bearer to the king. He didn't have the influence, the connections, the resources, the funding, but when God gives you a dream, he lines up everything you need. His favor will cause it to all come together. The question is: are you going to activate this favor? Nehemiah wasn't a cabinet member, he wasn't on the kings executive staff, he was working in the kitchen. But he understood this principle: the favor on his life would help him accomplish dreams, he couldn't accomplish on his own.
He asked the king for permission to return to Jerusalem to work on the project. For some reason the king liked him. Didn't make sense to let him off that long, but the king said yes. Nehemiah said: I'm going to need protection. Will you give me a letter, addressed to all the leaders in the cities I'm travelling through, telling them who I am? The king agreed. Nehemiah didn't stop there, he said: one more thing, king. I don't have any supplies to rebuild the wall, I don't have any money, I need a letter from you, asking the people that own the lumber mills and the stone factories to give me the materials, that I need. When you know you have favor, you'll have a boldness, a confidence to ask big, to expect advantages.
Again the king said yes. In Nehemiah 2 he said: "The king granted me these requests, because the gracious hand of God was upon me". He was saying: I know why all this happened, the favor of God is on my life. When you see God's favor, always take time to thank him, take a moment to say: Lord, I recognize, this was your goodness, thank you for favoring me, thank you for making things happen, that I couldn't make happen. Nehemiah started on the wall and he had all kinds of opposition, but every time the favor of God helped him to overcome. It should have taken him more than a year to rebuild it, but he did it in just 52 days. God's favor will accelerate things. It's not going to take as long as you think to accomplish your dreams, to recover from the illness, to pay your house off. The favor on your life is speeding things up.
Nehemiah said in verse 18: "I told all the people how the gracious hand of God was on my life". He was constantly bragging on God's goodness, constantly talking about his favor. When you face situations that seem impossible, don't talk about how big the problem is, do like Nehemiah and start declaring: "The gracious hand of God is on my life". Well, your child is off course - yes, but the favor of God is bringing him back. You can't start your business, you don't have the connections - yes, but I have an advantage, the favor of God is bringing the right people. Well, the medical report says you're done - yes, but I have another report, it says I will live and not die. Father, thank you that your gracious hand is on me, thank you that your favor is doing, what medicine do.
"Well, Joel, I tried this for two weeks and nothing happened". This needs to be a way of life, where every day, whether it's sunny or rainy, whether you're on the mountaintop or in the valley, you get up in the morning and say: I have the favor of God. That's not just to remind yourself, not just to show God that you're trusting him, but you're showing the enemy who you belong to. The scripture says: if you will acknowledge God in all your ways, he will crown your efforts with success. One way to acknowledge God is all through the day under your breath declare his favor. Before you make that presentation at work: "Father, thank you, that I have favor with these people". Going to the mall: "Lord, thank you, that your favor will help me find what I need". The favor of God will help you get the best deals. Favor will put you at the right place at the right time. You pull into a crowded parking lot, right when you drive in, that car backs out, you get that upfront spot. That wasn't a lucky break, that was the favor in your life.
Years ago I promised our daughter Alexandra, that I would get her a cell phone. The next day she came running: dad, can we go to the store? And I said: yes. Jonathan heard we were going, he wanted to come. I said: that's great, Jonathan, we'd love to have you, but you already have a cell phone. He said: I know, dad, I just want to look. When Victoria heard that we were all going, she decided to come along as well, turned into a family affair. Driving to the store, under my breath, just out of habit, I said: "Lord, thank you for your favor, thank you, that you'll help us find what we need". We walked in the store, man came out to wait on us, showed us some phones. Alexandra found the one that she wanted. We were about to check out, Jonathan came up and said: dad, I really want the newer version of my phone, where his was not even a year old, practically brand new, and I didn't really want to do that. The salesman asked to see my phone, he typed something in the computer and said: you're due for an upgrade at no charge.
I said: well, great, give Jonathan the new phone, and I'll take his. His was like new to me. We were about to leave the salesman said to Victoria: what kind of phone do you have? She showed to him, he said: you need a new phone. He checked the computer, she wasn't due for several years. I thank him for checking and for all their help. As we were walking out, the manager, another man, said: wait a minute, she's not leaving without a new phone. The salesmen looked at the manager like: what do you mean? What do you want me to do? He said: just give her a phone. His eyes got this big, he said: you mean I give her like free, like not charge? Her the manager said: yes, give her any phone she wants. We went in there to get one phone, we walked out with four, but we only paid for one. You may think that was good luck, but I know that's the favor of God.
Driving home I reach my hand back to my children said: come on, get some of this favor off of me, I can't stand at all. When you not only recognize you have favor, but you declare favor, God will show out in your life, you will see things that you don't deserve. If you're in real estate: "Father, thank you, that your favor is causing my properties to sell, thank you, that favor is bringing the right buyers". Before you take the exam at school: "Father, thank you, that favor is causing me to excel". Before you meet with those new clients: "Lord, thank you, that your favor is making me attractive". "Well, Joel, God's got bigger things to deal with than me, getting a cell phone or finding a good parking spot". Can I tell you? You are God's biggest deal, you are the apple of his eye, he wants to show you his goodness - that's what favor is.
Zacharias said: "Ask for rain in the time of rain". Rain in the scripture represents favor. This seems odd, if it's raining, why do you need to ask for rain? God was saying: just because my favor is available, you're not going to experience it, unless you call for it, unless you declare it. You may not be able to see it, but right now it's raining - it's raining healing, raining freedom, raining promotion, raining spouses, raining good brakes, raining abundance. God is showering his favor like never before. My challenge is: don't let it pass you by, don't go around just hoping, believing - the way you get in the rain is by declaring favor. "Father, thank you, that your favor is opening doors no man can shut. Thank you, that your favor is bringing promotion, advantages, preferential treatment. Lord, thank you, that favor is defeating enemies, turning negative situations around, braking forces, that are trying to stop me". Every time you declare favor, you're asking for the rain - that's what allows God to show out in your life.
I have these friends, their son played on a minor league baseball team. His dream of course was to make it to the big leagues. He's extremely talented, led the division in hitting for several years, but it seemed, like every time he was about to get promoted to the big leagues, something would come up, he would get passed over. His parents told me again and again, how he was leading the league in homeruns, how he was having a banner year, but for some reason he would get overload. They could have been discouraged, thought: it's not meant to be, but they did, what I'm asking you to do. They kept declaring the favor of God: "Father, thank you, that your favor is on our son. Thank you, that favor is putting him at the right place. Thank you, that your favor is causing him to stand out".
The team he played for, had a star player in the major leagues, in his same position. It looked, like that player would be there for years, but one day unexpectedly the star player requested a trade, he was sent to another team, this young man was suddenly promoted to the big leagues. He went on to live out his dream of play in major league baseball. When you declare God's favor, he will move people out of the way, to make room for you. Favor will promote you suddenly, unexpectedly, things that you didn't see coming. You may not see how you can accomplish a dream or how you'll get well, it doesn't look like it's ever going to change, I have good news: it's raining. If you'll do your part and keep declaring God's favor, like with my friend, God is going to do something unusual, something that you weren't expecting, where suddenly you're promoted, suddenly you get well or suddenly you meet the right person.
When we acquired this building, we hired architects to draw plans to see, what it would take to renovate it. We had to build our own power plant plus an additional five-story building. The cost came right at a hundred million dollars. We didn't have those kinds of funds, so we met with our bank to see, what they would loan us. We had known these bankers for years, way back with my father, they knew the church's finances and how strong the ministry is and the potential for growth. They were very nice, but they were as negative as can be. They told me all the reasons, why it wasn't going to work out, how they could never take that kind of risk of loaning us that money, how every bank was going to say no, on and on. I left there so discouraged. I was young, I didn't know any better.
I've learned since: people don't have the final say, people don't control your destiny, people can't see the favor on your life, they don't know what God is about to, do don't let them talk you out of your dreams, don't let people convince you that you can't get well, you'll never afford a nice house, you'll never break the addiction. They're looking at the natural, we serve a supernatural God. One touch of his favor will catapult you ahead. They may be negative, discouraging, condescending - let it go in one ear and out the other, none of that can stop your purpose. The favor on your life will defy the odds, favor will take you where you don't have the qualifications. On paper it may not make sense, don't worry, God knows what he's doing.
I woke up the next morning with a fire in my spirit, something on the inside said: Joel, God didn't bring you this far to leave you where you are, he didn't move the rockets out of that building, caused the mayor to be good to you, change city council members mind, bring you through a lawsuit, so you could get stuck where you are. I realize: God had brought us that far and the favor of God was going to keep us going. Instead of being discouraged, thinking: "Look how big these obstacles are", my attitude was: "Look how big my God is. Father, thank you, that your favor is bringing the right people, people that will get behind the vision, thank you, that your favor is making a way, where I don't see a way".
We decided to try another bank, we had never met these people, never had any contact, but when we walked in, it was night and day difference. From the very beginning they were for us, they had a letter on the table, offering us a loan in the month three times, what the other bank said we'd never get. They hadn't even seen our finances, they never looked at our books. When I saw they would loan us that much, I said: "How about loaning us the whole amount, so we could do it all"? They said: "That won't be a problem, we'll make that happen". God has these divine connections lined up for you, people that will be behind your vision, people that will be for you, not people that you have to convince. You may not have seen them yet, but they are in your future, God has already ordained them to help you. The favor on your life is going to close the wrong doors, but open the right doors.
"Well, Joel, I've been declaring favor, but I don't see anything happening, doesn't look like it's ever going to change". 1 Peter says: "Hope to the end for the divine favor, that is coming". You may not have seen it yet, but favor is on the way, healing is on the way, promotion is on the way, the right people, they're on the way.
I met a man a few years ago, that was so discouraged. At one time his company was very successful, he's in the design and graphics industry. But over the last couple of years, his business had gone down. He lost all of his major clients, it looked like bankruptcy was inevitable. He went on and on, telling me about the problem, going into great detail of explaining all the setbacks he had suffered and how unfair it was. I finally had to interrupt him and say: we talked long enough about the problem, let's start talking about the solution, let's start talking about what God can do, let's talk about the fact, that favor is on the way. We prayed together, then I said: there's something you have to do. Every morning you need to declare "I have the favor of God, favor is bringing me new clients, favor is turning my business around". Then all through the day, under your breath, you keep thanking God for that favor.
I saw him several months later, he was like a new person, beaming with joy. He told how at his lowest moment, when he thought he was done, a company contacted him, that he had never worked for and ask him to make a presentation. They chose him over several major firms. He said: with this one new client I will have more income, than all my other clients combined. He's on pace to have a record year. What you're facing may seem impossible, don't talk about the problem, talk about the solution, talk about the fact, that favor is on the way. Yes, my finances may be low, but I know favor is coming. These people at work aren't treating me right, I'm not going to live bitter, I know favor is on the way. Well, my child is off course, but I know, it's only temporary, the favor of God is turning it around.
This is what a man named zerubbAbel did in the scripture. He was in charge of rebuilding the temple, but everything came against him: city leaders hired attorneys to try to stop him, wouldn't give him the permits. Other people were causing strife and trouble. Looked impossible, he could have been discouraged, he said: who are you, o great mountain, that stands before me? You shall become a mere molehill, I will finish the temple by shouting grace to it. He was saying: I have this big mountain in front of me, but I'm not worried, I know it's about to become a molehill. How was this going to happen? What was his secret? By speaking grace to it.
Another word for grace is favor. He was saying: yes, this obstacle is big, but I have the favor of God. Favor is making my crooked places straight, favor is defeating my enemy's, favor is going to help me finish this project. He didn't talk about his mountain, he talked to his mountain. When you face challenges, don't get discouraged, speak favor over them. Look at your bank account and speak favor to it: I will lend and not borrow, what I touch will prosper and succeed. Speak favor over your health: this sickness is not the end, this pain is not permanent, the favor of God is bringing healing. Speak favor over the legal situation: I will be victorious, the favor of God is keeping my enemies from defeating me. It's not enough to just pray about it, it's not enough to just believe, what's going to turn the mountain into a molehill is by speaking grace.
Now I want to make a declaration of favor over you today. If you will let this take root in your spirit, I believe change, that have held you back are going to be broken, and you're going to be released into a new level of your destiny. I declare right now the favor of God is on your life in a new way. I declare favor over your family, favor over your marriage, favor over your finances. I declare favor at work, favor with your boss, favor with your colleagues, favor with your clients. I declare: favor is opening new doors of opportunity, bring in promotion, increase, abundance, causing the right people to be drawn to you. I declare favor over your health, strength, energy, wholeness. You are free from sickness, chronic pain, depression addictions. I speak favor over every force, that's trying to stop you. And I declare right now, that mountain is becoming a molehill. Like with Nehemiah, God's favor is going to accelerate it, things are going to happen sooner, than you think. I declare: the favor of God it's going to catapult you to a new level, you're going to take new ground, set new standards and reach the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name.