Joel Osteen - You Promised
I want to talk to you today about "You Promised". When we face difficulties, one of the best things we can do is find a promise in the scripture and remind God, what he said about us: "God, you promised, I would lend and not borrow. You promised, my children will be mighty in the land. You promised, with long life you would satisfy me". Isaiah 62:6 said, "Put God in remembrance of his promises". It doesn't say "Put God in remembrance of our problems". It's easy to complain: "God, these people at work aren't treating me right, God my back's been hurting, God these kids get on my nerves". It's okay to be honest with God, but don't just pray the problems, pray the promises. If you're only telling God what's wrong, it's limiting what he can do.
Follow-up the problem with the promise: "God my back has been hurting, but you promised you would restore health unto me, so thank you that healing is coming. God these people at work are leaving me out, not giving me credit, but you promised you would be my vindicator, you promised to trap the enemy set from me, they will fall in themselves. So, I'm going to stay in peace and let you fight my battles". Or "God, my dream seems impossible, I don't have the connections, the resources, the experience", if you stop there, you'll get stuck. Follow it up with a promise, "But God, you promised, your favor surrounds me like a shield, you promised whatever I touch would prosper and succeed, you promised you would open doors that no man can shut". See, God is not obligated to bring to pass what we say, but he is obligated to bring to pass what he says. When he hears his promises coming out of your mouth, angels go to work, favor is released, miracles are set into motion.
When it says: "Put God in remembrance of his promises", it's not because God has forgotten what he said, it's not for his sake, it's for our sake. God knows, when you start declaring his promises, when you start speaking what he said about you, not only will faith rise in your heart, but it will change your perspective, you won't have a victim mentality, you will have a victory mentality. You'll know, this sickness is no match for my God, this trouble at work cannot stop my purpose, you'll know God being for you is more than the world being against you. But most of us we have the first part down. We're good at telling God our problems, but you have to follow it up with a "You promised". The more you talk about the promises, the less you'll talk about your problems.
And I start off every day simply thanking God for what he's already promised over my life: "Father, thank you, that you promised no good thing will you withhold, because I walk uprightly. Father, you promised, the path of the righteous, our path, gets brighter and brighter. Lord, you promised, you would do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond all I can imagine". If you're spending more time talking about your problems then you are the promises, then that's out of balance. Maybe you're not seeing things turn around, you're not seeing healing, promotion, vindication, because you're reminding God of the wrong things. You're telling him what didn't work out, how bad the medical report is, who left you. Try different approach, take a break from telling God everything that's wrong. And there's nothing wrong with asking, but God already knows your needs, he knows our thoughts before we think them. At some point you have to switch over to thanking God for what he's already promised.
My sister Lisa and her husband Kevin tried for years to have a baby. Lisa went through all the fertility treatments, had a couple of surgeries, did everything she could. Finally the doctor said, there was nothing more they could do, they wouldn't be able to have children. Lisa could have been depressed and told God how bad it was, instead she made a list of all the promises she could find concerning children. She typed them out, put them on her bathroom mirror. It says in Psalms: "God will make the barren woman a happy mother of children". Isaiah said, "Your children will be like olive shoots around your table". Deuteronomy said, "The fruit of your womb is blessed".
All through the day, instead of complaining, "God, it's not fair, why can't I have children"? Lisa didn't pray the problem, she prayed the promises: "Lord, you promised, you would make me the happy mother of children". It's very powerful, when you take it off of what you want and put it back on what God said. "God, you promised, the fruit of my womb is blessed. You promised, children are a heritage from the Lord". The scripture says: God watches over his word to perform it. It doesn't say God watches over our complaints, he watches over our begging, "Please, God, you got to turn this around". Yes, God is concerned, he sees the wrongs, but what moves him to act is when he hears his promises.
Seven years later Lisa received a phone call from a friend, that runs a home for girls. She said: "Lisa, I don't really know why I'm calling you, but we have this teenage girl, that's about to give birth to twin girls. We were wondering if you would be interested in adopting them". Well, Lisa's husband Kevin is a twin. It's always been his dream that he would have twins. They adopted those girls at birth, then adopted another son. Today, just like God promised, Lisa is the happy mother of children. Lisa says: "God is so good, I have three children and I never had to get pregnant". When you declare the promises, children will find you, good brakes will track you down.
Whatever you're believing for, do like Lisa and make a list of the promises, put it on your phone, your computer, your bathroom mirror. All through the day remind God what he promised. If you're fighting an illness, it's easy to talk about the sickness, what the doctor said, how it doesn't look good. Sometimes we know more about the problem, than we do the promises. We spend hours researching it on the internet, learning everything that could possibly go wrong. Why don't you take 15 minutes and Google scriptures concerning about what you're facing? "God, you promised, I would live and not die and declare the works of the Lord. You promised, you are Jehovah Rapha, the Lord my healer. You promised, by the stripes of your son Jesus I am healed".
If you're struggling with an addiction, you've had it a long time, you don't think it'll ever change. "God, you promised, that you have destroyed every yoke, you have broken every bondage. You promise the enemy I see today I will see no more. You promised whom the son sets free is free indeed. So, Lord, I thank you that I am free". That's not just being positive, that's reminding God what he said.
I talked to a lady, she was at odds with her teenage daughter and this lady would come down to the prompt for prayer very often, she was always upset, discouraged. I did my best to cheer up and try to convince her to keep believing, but more than coming for prayer it seemed like she just won't admit to tell me how bad it was, how her daughter was being disrespectful. I told her what I'm telling you: constantly talking about the problem is not doing anything productive. You need to find a promise and remind God what he said about you. I gave her the promise from proverbs 31, it says: "Children will rise up and call their mother blessed".
Well, at that time her daughter was calling her every name except blessed, but this mother started going through the day: "Father, you promised, that my children will rise up and call me blessed". She found other promise: "Children are a gift from the Lord to be enjoyed". "Father, thank you, you promised that I would enjoy my children, that I would have fun with my daughter". She did this month after month, didn't see any sign of things changing — that's what faith is all аbout: if you can see it, it doesn't take faith. Two years later this daughter had a complete turnaround, she was a different person: kind, loving, respectful. Today she and her mother are the best of friends, they do everything together.
Now, when this mother says: "God, you promised, my children will rise up and call me blessed". She's not saying it by faith anymore, it's become a reality, God brought the promise to pass. The scripture says: "God is not a man that he should lie. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through"? God has never failed in the past, the good news is: he's not going to start with you. Stay in faith and stay open. It may not happen your way or on your timetable, but God knows what he's doing, he is faithful to his word.
I talked to a well-known actor, he's an elderly gentleman and he was very down on himself. He said, "Joel, I'm a has-been, I never get any good roles anymore, I've peaked and it's all downhill from here". When you speak defeat over your life like that, you are inviting bad breaks, disappointments, lack. Zip it up and find a "You promised". "God, you promised, my latter days will be better than my former days. You promised, your favor is not for a season, but for a lifetime. You promised, you would bring me to a flourishing finish". We need you not just alive, but passionate, doing great things your whole life.
You may have had some bad breaks, maybe you went through a loss or somebody walked out of a relationship. You could go around with the chip on your shoulder, in self-pity, "God, why did this happen"? That's going to keep you defeated, turn it around, "Father, you promised, you would give me beauty for these ashes,. You promised, weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning. You promised in Isaiah, that because I've got a double dose of trouble, I would get a double dose of favor. So Lord, thank you, that I'm not just coming out, but I'm coming out better".
When you pray the promises, God will make up for what was unfair. Like Joseph, he'll take you from the pit to the palace. Like Ruth, he'll take you from working in a field, to own in the field. Like David, he'll take you from the background to the foreground, from being overlooked to be an in charge. Now, pay attention to what's coming out of your mouth. Are you talking more about the problems or about the promises? What you're bringing to God's remembrance will determine whether or not you reach your destiny.
In 2 kings chapter 7 the Israelites were surrounded by the Syrian army. They had cut off their food supply, clogged up the streams that flowed into the city, they were waiting for them to starve and then they would go in and take the city. The prophet Elijah showed up and said to the Israelites: "By this time tomorrow there will be so much food, you'll be able to buy a loaf of bread for one penny". The officer assisting the king said, "Elisha, that's impossible. We're surrounded by a huge army, we're outnumbered, we have no food, we're starving, there's no way". Elisha said, "It will happen, God has promised it, but because you doubted, you won't see it".
There were four lepers sitting outside the city gates. They thought to themselves, "We have nothing to lose, we're gonna die anyway, let's go down to the enemy's camp and see what they're doing". As they were walking, God multiplied the sound of their footsteps. It sounded like a huge army was approaching. The Syrians panicked and took off running for their lives. They left their food, their supplies, their equipment. The lepers went back and told the Israelites. The officer that didn't believe was in charge of the city gates. When he opened them to let the people out, they were so excited, he got knocked down and was trampled to death. He never saw the promise come to pass.
Now don't make the mistake like that man and talk yourself out of what God has promised. His attitude should have been, "God, you said by tomorrow we'll have bread for only a penny a loaf. I don't see how it can happen, it seems impossible, no way in the natural, but God, I know, you're a supernatural God. I know, you can make a way where I don't see away". God doesn't ask us to figure things out. All he asks is to believe. When he puts a promise in your heart, don't think of all the reasons why it's not going to work out. Sometimes you have to turn your mind off. Faith is not always going to make sense. What God says is not always going to be logical. If you reason it out, check with the experts, read all the reports, you will miss God's best. We think natural, God thinks supernatural. He's not limited by what limits us.
God calls fire to not harm the three Hebrew teenagers in the furnace: that doesn't make sense, but he's God. He calls Sarah to have a baby at 80 years old. He parted the sea for the Israelites, they went through on dry ground. God healed my mother of terminal cancer. God gave us the Compaq Center, when all the odds were against us. Now, don't let your natural logic talk you out of what a supernatural God can do. The scripture tells us, we need to have childlike faith. Children don't try to figure things out. When you tell your child you're gonna buy them something or take them someplace, they don't worry, they don't wonder if you have the means, they don't lose sleep over whether it's gonna happen, they trust you.
When our daughter Alexandra was about 10 years old, she loved to go to Disneyland, and we hadn't been in several years. And one night I was putting her in bed, she said: "Daddy, can we go to Disneyland again"? Almost in passing I said, "Sure, we can". She said, "You promise"? I said, "Yes, I promise". She smiled real big, I kissed her and put her to bed. The next morning early, before I woke up, she came running in our room, didn't say good morning dad, didn't say how are you, didn't say I love you, she said: "Daddy, when are we going to Disneyland"? It was never "If", it was always "When". She had so much confidence in me, she knew, I wouldn't break my promise, she knew it was only a matter of time.
Never once did she say: "Dad, can I check the finances to see, if we can afford it? Dad, can I check your schedule to see, if you had time? Or what if we can't get the flights? What if the hotels are booked? What if it doesn't work out"? She didn't worry about any of the details. She didn't concern herself about how it was going to happen. Why? She knew, her father would take care of that. She knew, I wouldn't have promised it, if I couldn't do it. Now, the truth is: I'm human. I could let her down, I could break the promise, not keep my word, yet, she has this incredible trust in me. What if we had that same kind of trust in our Heavenly Father, knowing that he cannot go back on his word, knowing that he can failed.
"God you promised, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. You promised, I will lend and not borrow. You promised, I will recover. Now, I'm not going to worry about how it's going to happen, I'm not gonna live stressed because I don't see anything changing, wondering if it's going to work out. God, I trust you, I believe you are true to your word, and in your perfect timing, in your own way you will bring this promise to pass". That's childlike faith. You're not trying to figure it out, not wondering if God has the means? Does he know the right people? What if the obstacles too big? He's God, he created the universe, he wouldn't have promised it, if he wasn't going to bring it to pass.
We see how faithful God is to his promises with David. God promised David, that one of his relatives would always be on the throne of Israel. 23 years after David died, his son Solomon was on the throne, but not making good choices. He had married foreign wives, he wasn't supposed to. Now, he started worshiping their idols. God said, "Solomon, I would normally take this kingdom away from you, for you have done wrong in my sight, but I will not do it for your father David sake". God was saying, "Solomon, you don't deserve this mercy, you've gotten off course, but I made a promise to your father, and I am a God that keeps my promises, even to a dead man".
Three hundred and five years later, another one of David's relatives was on the throne: king Hezekiah. He was in great danger, an army had surrounded Jerusalem, there was no way out, looked like the people were doomed. At the last moment God sent an angel, that wiped out a hundred and eighty-five thousand of the enemy troops. Hezekiah and all the people were spared. I can imagine Hezekiah thinking, "God, what did we do to deserve this kind of favor"? God says, "Hezekiah, there was a man that lived 305 years ago. He's dead, he's gone, but I made a promise to him, that one of his descendants would always be on the throne, and I am the God that keeps my promises, even 305 years later".
Now maybe you're standing on a promise, that hasn't come to pass yet. If God would go to such great lengths to keep his promise to a men that was dead, how much more is God going to keep his promises to you? Stay in faith and keep reminding God what he promised, keep bringing it to his remembrance, like David, you're going to see the faithfulness of God, you're going to see those promises come to pass.
In Genesis 32, Jacob was about to meet his brother Esau after many years of being estranged. Jacob cheated Esau, he stole his birthright, tricked their father into giving him the blessing, that belonged to Esau. Esau was so angry, that Jacob had to flee to another country for his life. He lived with his uncle laban, working for him for nearly twenty years. In spite of the mistakes, God bless Jacob in a great way: he'd become very wealthy, now he had his own family, his own flocks and herds. He wanted to return and move back home. He sent word, Esau said that he would meet him. You can imagine, how nervous Jacob was: he's about to see this brother, whom he's wronged and taken advantage of. He didn't know, if Esau was still angry, trying to get revenge, was a huge chance.
And Jacob said in verse 11, "God, please rescue me from my brother Esau. I'm afraid he's trying to kill me and all of my wives and children". He could have stopped there and just prayed the problem, but Jacob understood this principle, he went on to say, "But, God, you promised to treat me kindly and to multiply my descendants". After all the bad choices, all the greed, manipulation, what did he do? He went back to a promise God made to him as a young man and said, "God, you promised, you would be good to me". He met Esau, Esau not only forgave him, but was very kind to him and welcomed him back home.
What if we had this same boldness like Jacob? In spite of our mistakes, in spite of the times we failed, instead of living down on ourselves, giving up on our dreams, we would say, "God, you promised to be good to me, you promised to restore what was stolen, you promised to forgive me and not remember my mistakes". Put God in remembrance of what he promised, not what you feel, not what you deserve, not what a relative said, but what God said. Psalm 86 says, "God is full of kindness, great in mercy, the Lord is good to all". God made the same promise to you, that he made to Jacob. "God, you promised to be kind to me, you promised me a future filled with purpose and fulfillment". God is not holding your mistakes against you, don't go through life holding them against yourself.
When Moses was leading the Israelites through the desert, some two million people, God told him to go up on mount sinai. That's where he received the Ten Commandments. He was up there for forty days, he left his brother Aaron in charge. The people got restless, said "Aaron, we don't know if Moses is ever going to come back. Let's make some Gods out of gold, that we can worship". Aaron had them melt down their Jewelry, their earrings, they made a calf out of gold. They started partying, drinking, all kinds of debauchery.
God was so angry he was about to wipe them all out and only spare Moses. The scripture says, "Moses pleaded with the Lord and said God, remember what you promised, that our descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the heavens and that they would possess this land forever". The next verse says, "God withdrew his threat and did not bring the disaster that he planned". That's how powerful it is, when you remind God what he promised. If Moses had not said, "God, you promised", God would have wiped them all out.
I wonder, if there are blessings we're not seeing: healing, promotion, increase, because we're not reminding God of his promises. We're praying for God to do it, we're asking him to turn it around, and that's good, but when you say, "God, you promised", something powerful happens, the Creator of the universe goes to work, chains are broken, forces of darkness are pushed back, nothing can stand against our God.
He said in Genesis 28:15 "I will be with you constantly until I have finished giving you everything that I promised". God is saying to you today, "Everything I promised you is on the way". Healing is on the way, promotion, vindication, freedom, the spouse. Get ready for God to show out in your life, get ready for new levels, for breakthroughs, for favor. I believe and declare new doors are about to open, problems are turning around, what's hindered you in the past will hinder you no more. You're going to rise higher, accomplish dreams and see every promise come to fulfillment in Jesus name.