Joel Osteen - Blessed Indeed
I want to talk to you today about Blessed Indeed. Most of us believe that God has a good plan for our lives, and we ask him to take care of us, to protect us, to give us the food that we need. And that's good, but God doesn't just want to do the ordinary, just do what's common. He has some uncommon blessings, some unprecedented favor. But here's the key: if you're going to see the uncommon, you can't just pray common prayers, you can't just ask for the ordinary - you have to ask for dreams, that look impossible, for increase that seems out of reach, for favor to overcome obstacles, that look too big. If you only pray small prayers, you're going to see small results. If you only ask God to supply your needs, it's going to limit what he will do.
The scripture (James 4:3) says, "You have not because you ask not". How many of your prayers are going unanswered, because you've never asked? You've never had the boldness to say, "God, show out in my life, take me where I can't go on my own. God, open this door, that looks impossible, heal me from this sickness that seems permanent, turn my child around". If God answered what you're praying about, would it be big enough? One reason we don't see God do big things, is we only ask for small things. If you're not asking for something, that you can't accomplish on your own, then you're not asking big enough. If it's not something that's over your head, you don't have the resources, it's never happened in your family, then you're not asking for the far and beyond favor, that God wants to give you.
Don't be intimidated by the size of your dream - God is the one that put that in your heart. Those things he whispered to you in the middle of the night, you haven't told anyone about, seems so unlikely, you don't see how it could happen - God wouldn't have spoken that to you, if he didn't have a way to bring it to pass. All he needs is for you to come into agreement, dare to ask him. But sometimes we think it's selfish to ask for big things, it wouldn't be right to ask to pay my house off, to own my own business, to meet someone that's really special.
The enemy would love to convince us to only play small prayers and believe for little things. Don't fall into that trap, our God is an all-powerful, awesome God, he is not offended, when you ask for big things. He doesn't say, "Who do you think you are. Don't you know there are a lot of people that need my help more than you"? It's just the opposite: that bold prayer gets his attention, that's your faith being released, that's when he'll pour out blessings you can't contain, open doors you never imagined would open. And yes, it's good to ask for our needs, but are you asking for your dreams? Are you praying any bold, audacious, out-of-the-box prayers?
"Well, Joel, my needs are supplied, God's been good to me, I'm content". That's great, but how about asking God to bless you, so you can be a bigger blessing? It's not just about you, how about believing to build that orphanage, to pay that single moms house off, to fund that food pantry in your city, to advance the kingdom? The normal prayer is, "God, help me to pay my bills this month". A bold prayer is, "God, bless me with overflow, so I can not only pay my bills, but I can help pay somebody else's bills". A normal prayer is, "God, keep my children out of trouble". A bold prayer is, "God, let my children fulfill their destinies". A normal prayer, "God, help me to learn to live with this sickness, to manage the pain". A bold prayer is, "Father, thank you that I am free from this sickness, that by your stripes I'm healed, that I will run and not be weary, that I will walk in not faint".
The scripture says in James, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss". That word "Amiss" in the original language means weak, sick, miserable. When we ask God to just help us get by, just help us to make it through, that's a weak prayer. God is saying, "I created the universe, I flung stars into space, I opened blind eyes, I brought dead people back to life. When you come to me, ask for big things, knowing that I'm a big God. Ask me for your dreams, ask me to bring you out of debt, ask me to accelerate your goals, ask me to show out in your life". When you ask big God calls that a healthy prayer. When you ask for things that seem impossible, that's when angels go to work, that's when chains are broken, that's when you'll come into overflow, into more than enough.
"Well, Joel this sounds good, but things are tough in my life, I have some big obstacles, I'm just praying that God will help me make it through this year". Can I tell you respectfully? That's a sick prayer, that prayer needs medication. Turn it around, "Father, thank you that no weapon formed against me will prosper, that what was meant for my harm you're turning to my advantage. Lord, thank you I'm not only going to come out, I will come out better than I was before". That's a bold prayer, that's what gets God's attention.
Maybe you're struggling with depression - you have to make sure that you don't pray depressing prayers, "God, just helped me to endure. Grandmother was depressed, mother was depressed, the dog is depressed, I guess I'll always be depressed". Break out of that box, freedom begins when you start praying bold prayers, "Father, thank you that this depression is not permanent, it is not how my story ends. May have been in my family line a long time, but this is a new day, I believe generational curses are being broken, generational blessings are beginning". When you ask boldly in faith, declaring God's greatness, that's when he will bless you indeed, he will make things happen you could never make happen. Could it be, that you're not seeing the greatness of God's favor, because you're only praying weak prayers, you're only asking for the ordinary, the normal? God is moved by our faith, he's moved when he hears you asking for things, that seemed too big, unlikely, things you can't do on your own.
I know this lady for over ten years, her son was his off-course as can be. He was on drugs, he had stolen her credit cards and ran up all kinds of debt. He was in and out of jail constantly, causing her heartache and pain. Most people would have prayed, "God just keep him out of jail, just bring him off of these drugs". That's fine that's a normal prayer, but this lady dared to pray a bold prayer, she said, "God, I'm asking you to not only get his life straightened out, but use my son, let him help others, let him make a great difference with his life".
All the circumstances said it would never happen, no sign of anything improving, but one Sunday morning while he was in jail, the inmates had the television on watching our program. He came in, never planned to watch, but he heard me talking about how God has a purpose for your life and assignment to you for you to fulfill, and that no matter how many mistakes you've made, it doesn't have to keep you from your destiny. When he heard that, something came alive on the inside, strongholds were broken in his mind. Two weeks later he showed up at a service here at Lakewood, at the end he stood up and gave his life to Christ.
I met him afterwards and he had tears running down his cheeks, he told how his mother had prayed for him for years, how he felt love and a sense of purpose, like he had never felt before. Today he's the pastor of a church, he helps other young people that are in his same situation. His mother was so grateful and so thrilled at what God had done, but I think about where that young man could be, if the mother had only prayed weak prayers, get by prayers, "God, just don't let him get harmed"? - maybe he wouldn't be free, maybe he wouldn't be making such a difference. What am I saying? Pray bold prayers over your children, bold prayers over your dreams, bold prayers over your finances.
I pray every day, "God, take our ministry where no ministry is ever gone". "Well, Joel in a kind of selfish, kind of greedy". No, that's releasing your fame, that's what will take you to the fullness of your destiny. We've seen God open doors, I say it with humility, that have not opened for other ministries - television networks, that have a non-religion policy, they've never aired inspirational programming. Now, they air our program every week, they break their own rules to put us on. That's what happens when you pray bold prayers.
I pray everyday, "God, let my children go further that I'm gone. Let them supersede anything that I've done. Let them impact the culture in a greater way". Don't let these prayers go unanswered, because you never prayed them. You never asked for the unusual, the uncommon. God said in Psalms (Psalm 81:10), "Open your mouth wide and I will fill it". The principle is: however wide your mouth is open, that's how much God is going to fill.
If you're praying bold prayers, if you have a wide mouth, asking God to do the impossible, you're good to see God show out in your life. But if you have a small mouth, you're just asking God to supply your needs, to help you make it through, you content with the Status QUO - then you're going to see God's goodness in a limited way. And I'm not discounting the small things God does, I thank him that he woke me up this morning, I'm grateful that he supplies our needs - I'm simply saying: don't stop there, open your mouth wider and ask for your dreams, ask for that business, ask to build that children's home, ask him to free you from that sickness. This is the one time, where it's good to have a big mouth.
A young lady came down for prayer a while back, and she asked me to pray that she would make a C on her final exam. That struck me as being odd, I said, "Why would you want to pray for a C and not an C"? She said I've never made an C in this subject. I'm not good in math, I just want to pass. I didn't tell her, but I wanted to say, "That is a sick prayer, that prayer has the flu". I wonder, how many prayers are not being answered for you not because God won't do them, not because it's too difficult, but you've never asked? You've never had the boldness to open your mouth wide and ask God for what you really want, not for what you think will happen.
If you're single, it's not humility to ask God to just let you meet anyone. "God, they don't have to be talented, they don't have to be attractive, they don't have to have a good job. God, I just want someone that's breathing". No, you need to cancel that prayer right now, because your next prayer will be, "God, get them out of my life". If God answered what you're praying about, would it be what you really want? What if God had somebody amazing coming from you, somebody better than you can imagine? But God says to the angel, "Hold off on that A, hold off on that awesome person, they're okay with the C".
You need to ask God not for a watered-down version of what you want, not a get by version, not an "I-don't-deserve-much" version. Ask him for what you really want, ask him to bring somebody awesome into your life, somebody tall, handsome, godly, well-off, smart, talented, fun, good-looking - that's what Victoria did. Oh, I couldn't resist, she forgot to add humility though. My question is: how wide is your mouth open? Are you asking God to just supply your needs, to just help you make it through? God is saying: "Open your mouth wider and watch what I will do".
I told that young lady, that I wasn't going to pray for a c, we were going to pray for an A. Her eyes got real big, I said, "You were created to excel, you have talent in you that you don't know you have. Now, quit telling yourself all you can make as a C and start thanking God for an A". She changed her perspective, she started opening her mouth wider. She studied, she prepared, a month later she came back and said: for the first time she made an A in that class. Even her teacher was so amazed.
That would have never happened, if she had not opened her mouth wide and ask for what she really wanted. And if you will break out of the box and start praying these bold prayers, you're going to see some of these "First times", for the first time you're not struggling to get by, you have overflow. For the first time you're not fighting that addiction, you're totally free. For the first time you have someone amazing in your life to love. Now, do your part, stop asking for a C and start asking for an A.
You are not inconveniencing God by asking big, it's not like if God does what you want, then somebody else will be left out. God has unlimited favor, unlimited power, you're not being selfish. God helping you, doesn't stop him from helping others. And the scripture says (Luke 12:32), "It is the father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom". God wants to give it to you, maybe he's just waiting for you to ask.
1 Chronicles 4, it list some of the genealogy of the people of Judah. It's just one name after another, this person was a descendant of this one and on and on. 44 names go by, reading it it's kind of boring. Then on the forty-fifth name instead of just listing this man and going on to the over hundred names to come, the writer stops to give a brief description, as if to say this man did something significant, he didn't just live and die and get his name in the family line, he stood out, he did something worth pausing for.
Verse 9 says, "There was a man named Jabez that was more honorable than any of his brothers". His mother named him this, because his birth was so painful. Jabez stood out first off, because he honored God in a great way. He lived a life of such excellence and integrity. But that's not the only reason: the name Jabez means pain, sorrow and trouble. In those days names meant much more than they do today, they were like prophecies, they would predict what would happen.
The name Joshua means Savior. Every time someone said, "Hello, Joshua", courage must have filled his heart, he went on to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. The name Jacob means deceiver, Jacob lived alight deceiving people, he became what he was named. Well, think about how Jabez must have felt: his mother declared over him, that his life would be full of trouble, sorrow and pain. When someone said, "Hey, Jabez", they were reminding him that he was at a disadvantage, he had had bad breaks. If anyone's name in this genealogy should have just been listed and passed right over, it would have been his, but despite the odds being against him, despite what his mother prophesied over him, Jabez prayed a prayer in verse 10, that changed the course of his life. He said, "God, I'm asking you to bless me indeed".
It's one thing if he would have just asked God to bless him, but when he said "Indeed", he was saying, "God, I'm asking you to bless me with overflow, bless me in abundance, bless me with so much favor that I can leave my Mark". I read, where saying "Indeed" back then was like adding five exclamation points, he was asking God for the unusual, the extraordinary. Somehow he had the nerve to open his mouth wide, he went on to say (1 Chronicles 4:10), "God, enlarge my territory, expand my borders". Think of the boldness that took, of the circumstances, they all said that he was stuck, he could have just accepted it and been another name on the list. But the next verse says, "And God granted him his request" - he left his Mark.
What's interesting is: Jabez didn't part a Red Sea like Moses, he didn't defeat a giant like David, he didn't save the Israelites like Esther. There are not chapters in the Bible dedicated to him, but because he prayed a bold prayer, because he said, "God, bless me indeed" - God paused the scripture and said, "Wait a minute, don't just pass over this man, don't just list his name and move on, I need to say something about him, this man was unusual, he didn't let the circumstances determine his destiny, he asked me for the uncommon".
When you do like Jabez and say, "God, bless me indeed. Not with a little blessing, not just enough to get by, but God bless me with abundance, bless me with overflow. God, take me where I can't go on my own", then in years to come, when someone is reading your family line, you won't just be a name on the list, they'll have to pause and say about you, "Wow, they were a difference maker, they left our family better than we were before, they took us to a new level". You're not supposed to live and die, and nobody remembers you were here. The way to leave your Mark is number one: honor God with your life, stay on that high road, stay away from compromised, things that are keeping you from your best. And the second thing: pray these bold prayers, dare to say, "God, bless me indeed". Don't be limited by how you were raised, but what was passed down, by how unlikely your dream seems. Have a big vision, dare to ask God for what seems impossible.
All these people that were listed in this chapter, that came before and after Jabez, I'm sure they were good people, I'm sure they accomplished their dreams, some of them must have prayed and asked God for things, but nothing is mentioned about them. It's significant that God paused the scripture, to tell us that he prayed, "Bless me indeed". I wonder what would happen if everyday we would start praying, "God, bless me indeed. God, enlarge my territory, give me more influence, more resources, more opportunities". Not just once a month, but when you wake up in the morning, "Lord, bless me indeed today". At the office under your breath, "God, bless me indeed". Before you go to bed, "Lord, thank you for blessing me indeed".
"Well, Joel, isn't that kind of selfish asking for that much"? It's not selfish, when you're asking to fulfill your destiny, to become who you were created to be. The reason you need to ask is because there's an awesome future in front of you, things much bigger than you've imagined. You can't reach your potential praying small prayers, believing for the ordinary, accepting the status quo. God is counting on you to tap into his favor, to see the surpassing greatness of his power - that takes bold prayers, that takes people that will take the limits off of God, people that are not intimidated and how unlikely their dream seems. Maybe you've been asking God to blow and that's good, but I'm asking you to add an "Indeed". "God, bless me in unusual ways. God, do something uncommon, show out in my life. I'm asked in you God for your unprecedented favor".
In the scripture Elisha served the prophet Elijah for many years. He was faithful to take care of him and go wherever he went. When Elijah was about to be taken to heaven, he asked Elisha what he wanted. You would think Elijah would ask for something ordinary, normal, maybe some time off, maybe for a monetary gift. No, Elijah understood this principle, he knew how to pray bold prayers. He said, "Elijah, I want a double portion of your spirit". He was saying, "I want to do twice as many miracles, I want to have twice the influence, twice the anointing, twice the favor, twice the resources".
Elijah could have thought, "Man you're kind of greedy, you need to be more humble, think again and ask for something more ordinary". No, Elijah liked his boldness, he said in effect, "You keep serving me and you're going to have exactly what you said". Not long after that, Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind, and just like God promised, Elisha received a double portion of his spirit, he performed twice as many miracles as Elijah. This would have never happened if he had not prayed, "God, bless me indeed". The indeed is to go where you can't go on your own. You may be doing fine where you are, that's great, but that's not your final destiny - God has more in store for you, bigger opportunities, greater influence. Don't get stuck because you're not asking.
James 5:17 says, "Elijah was human, as we are, and yet when he prayed that it wouldn't rain no rain fell for three and a half years". Sometimes we see these people in the Bible as being super-human, we think they had so much more faith than us, God favored them because they were so special, but this scripture starts off telling us, that Elijah was human. Of course we know he was human, he wasn't an alien. God was saying this to let us know, that Elijah was an ordinary person, he didn't necessarily feel special, he didn't walk around with a supernatural glow. The reason we're talking about him, is he dared to pray bold prayers, he dared to ask God to do the impossible.
"Well, Joel, I'm not a minister, I'm not in leadership, I don't have a lot of influence" - you're right where Elijah was. Quit discounting yourself, quit thinking you can't ask for something big, you don't have enough faith, the requirement is: are you human? Since you are, God says, "You can ask for things that seem impossible".
Now, no more weak prayers, no more sick prayers, start opening your mouth wide and God's going to fill it. Every day, "Lord, bless me indeed". Not just "Bless me", add the "Indeed", put the exclamation point on it. You're saying, "God, bless me with abundance. God, give me overflow, so I can be a bigger blessing". If you'll do this, I believe and declare, like with Jabez God is about to enlarge your territory, he's about to do something that you've never seen, unprecedented favor, opportunities, breakthroughs, healing, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name.