Joel Osteen - Overflowing With Hope
I want to talk to you today about overflowing with hope. We all have situations that don't look like they're going to work out. We don't see how we can get well, how we can accomplish a dream, how our family will be restored. All the circumstances say "It's not going to happen". But Paul said in Romans 15:13, "May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit". It's one thing to have hope, but Paul prayed that we would overflow with hope. When you overflow with hope you're not moved by what the circumstances look like, you're not discouraged because it hasn't happened yet, you're not worried because you don't see a way. You know God is on the throne, you know he's ordering your steps, you know his plans for you are for good so you can't be talked out of it.
The odds are against you, but you don't stop believing. You don't see a way, but you keep thanking God that he has a way. People tell you that it's not going to happen, just accept it - you let that go in one ear and out the other. You know: what God started he's going to finish. "Well, Joel, I hope I'll get well. I hope my business makes it, this pandemic is rough. I hope I meet the right person, it's been a long time". That's good, that's better than being negative, but when you overflow with hope you take it one step further. Instead of "I hope I'll get well" - "I know I'll get well. I know God is restoring health back unto me". Instead of "I hope I'll meet the right person" - "I know a divine connection is coming, somebody better than I've imagined".
You've been saying that for five years, you really think it's still going to happen? I don't think so, I know so. You go through a disappointment, you could be upset, bitter, but when you overflow with hope you know what was meant for harm, God is turning to your advantage. Weeping may endure for a night, but you know, joy is coming. What are you overflowing with? Overflowing with worry "What if it doesn't work out"? Overflowing with doubt, "I don't see how this problem can resolve"? Overflowing with discouragement, "It's been so long, this challenge is too big"? You're overflowing with the wrong thing.
If you'll start overflowing with hope, believing despite what it looks like, thanking God when you could be complaining, expecting things to change in your favor, then you're going to see God show out in your life. Problems that look permanent are only temporary. The expert said "You would never get well", but God has the final say. You don't see how you can accomplish that dream - there are good breaks already lined up for you: the right people, favor. God wouldn't have given you the promise, he wouldn't have put the dream in your heart, if he didn't have a way to make it happen.
The scripture talks about being fully persuaded that God will do what he promised. It's one thing to be persuaded, but when you're fully persuaded you're not going to change your mind, you're not going to let people talk you out of it, you're not going to let circumstances cause you to quit believing. Before you see the promise, before the problem turns around, there's a waiting period where you don't see anything happening, there's no sign that it's going to change.
Every thought will tell you "You're wasting your time. Just accept it. You're not going to get well. You'll never break that addiction. Your business is never going to take off" - that's a test. God is seeing what you're made of. Are you going to get talked out of it, negative, "I knew it wasn't going to happen"? Or are you going to be fully persuaded? Or are you going to dig down deep and say "I'm not moved by what's not changing, I'm not discouraged because it's taking so long. I'm not worried because nothing is improving, I know God is a faithful God, I've seen him do it in the past, I know he'll do it again in the future".
This is what Abraham did. God gave him the promise that his wife Sarah was going to have a baby, but they were both way too old. Abraham was 80. Sarah had been barren her whole life, not able to have children. And sometimes God will put things in your spirit that don't make sense: dreams that seem too big, problems that look impossible, "How can I go to college, I don't have the funds? How can I start that business, I don't have the experience? How can I get the Compaq Center, it's David vs Goliath"? Here's the key: God doesn't ask us to figure it out. He doesn't ask us to come up with a plan, research it, see if it's possible, he simply asked us to believe.
Romans 4:21 says, "Abraham was absolutely convinced that God was able to do anything he promised". Our attitude should be "I am absolutely convinced that as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. I am absolutely convinced that my children will be mighty in the land. I am absolutely convinced that we will lend and not borrow, that we are above and not belittle. I am absolutely convinced that I will impact this world for the good, that my gifts will come out to the full, that I will leave my mark, that God is opening doors no person can shout, that this ministry will shine brighter and brighter".
Those dreams God has put in your heart, those promises he's whispered to your spirit, they may seem unlikely, you don't see how it can happen, no one in your family has done it - you could easily talk yourself out of it. You're right where Abraham was. That's a critical time. You can dismiss it, think it's too big, it's been too long, or you can do like him and say "God, I am absolutely convinced that you're going to turn my child around. I'm absolutely convinced that I'm going to get well. I'm absolutely convinced that my dreams are going to come to pass". You may not see any sign of this happening, you don't have any reason in the natural to believe - that's what it means to overflow with hope. Nothing in your logic, your reasoning says it's possible, but down in your spirit, in your heart you feel this passion, this knowing, this expectancy that God is going to do something out of the ordinary, something that you couldn't make happen.
Thoughts will tell you, "It's impossible. Why are you even believing, you know that problem is not going to work out". The same thoughts came to Abraham, "You can't have a baby. Your wife is 80 years old, that's never happened before". The scripture says (Romans 4:18), against all hope Abraham hoped on in faith. When it doesn't look hopeful, you don't see any sign of it happening, every thought says "You're wasting your time", you have to dig down deep, and against all hope - hope on in faith. Against the odds dare to believe. When the medical report says "You're not going to get well", hope on in faith. That's one report, but God has another report. When your business seems stuck, you lost a client, funds are down, you could settle there think it's not meant to be - no, hope on in faith, God is still in control.
This is what my mother did. In 1981 she was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. The doctors told her she only had a few weeks to live. There was no treatment that they could give her at the time. As far as medical science was concerned, they had done everything they could. My mother had no hope in the natural, but like Abraham, against all hope she hoped on in faith. I would hear her all through the day quoting scripture "I will live and not die. God is restoring health back unto me. The number of my days he will fulfill".
She could have been depressed, complaining, but she overflowed with hope. Thoughts told her that she was done, she would never see her grandchildren, you can wear that pink dress at your funeral - she tuned that out, and tuned in what God says. It didn't happen overnight, but little by little she got better and better, her skin color came back to normal, she started regaining weight. A few years later the doctor said "We can't explain it, but you don't have cancer anymore". That was almost 40 years ago. Today she's 87 years young, still going strong. The scripture says "Is there anything too hard for the Lord"?
What are you absolutely convinced of? It's not enough to just be convinced, you have to have a made-up mind, "I will get well. I will beat this depression. I will come out of debt. I will accomplish my dreams". Not "Maybe", not "I hope so", "If some people help me", "If I get the right breaks". No, if you have the ifs, you're going to talk yourself out of it. Absolutely convinced means "Giving up is not an option". Not believing is not something you even consider, your face is set, you're not moved by negative reports, not discouraged by how impossible it looks, not complaining by how long it's taking. You know - what God promised is on the way.
Abraham had all kinds of opportunities to quit believing. God gave him the promise but nothing happened. Year after year went by, no sign of a baby. The whole time Sarah was getting older. It seemed impossible when God first promised it, but now years later even more so. The scripture says (Romans 4:19), "Abraham considered not the weakness of his own body nor the deadness of Sarah's womb". If you're going to overflow with hope you can't consider all the circumstances. If you stay focused on how big the problem is, what the expert said, how impossible it looks - you're going to be discouraged. Quit considering the circumstances and start considering your God. He spoke worlds into existence. He parted Red Seas. He closed the mouths of hungry lions. He healed my mother of terminal cancer. He brought my father out of poverty into influence. He gave us the Compaq Center when all the odds were against us. No person can stop him, no sickness, no bad break, no addiction.
What are you considering? How big your problems are? Or how great your God is? One translation says (Romans 4:18), "All human reason for hope was gone, but Abraham hoped on in faith". You may feel like there's no reason to have hope, in the natural it's not possible, but we serve a supernatural God. When you keep hoping on in faith, you are paving the way for God to do extraordinary things.
When Abraham was a hundred years old, Sarah was 90 - this was 20 years after he received the promise, Sarah gave birth to a son that they named Isaac. Some promises take time. While you're waiting it's easy to lose your passion, think it's never going to happen, start believing those lies that the problem is too big, you can't accomplish your dreams, it would have happened by now - you have to keep your hopes stirred up, you have to be absolutely convinced. You're not moved by what's not happening, by how long it's taking, by how impossible it looks. You know, what God promised is on the way. That's what Paul prayed that we would overflow with hope, that we would believe when it seems too big, that we would stay in faith when it's taken a long time, that we wouldn't consider our circumstances, but we would consider our God.
David said in Psalm 5:12, "Surely o Lord, you will bless the righteous and surround them with favor like a shield". He could have just said "Lord you will bless the righteous", but he added the word "Surely". He was saying "I'm absolutely convinced. I'm fully persuaded that what you promised is on the way". You need to have some "Surelys" - "Surely I'll get well. Surely I'll pay my house off. Surely I'll meet the right person. Surely this problem is turning around. Surely new doors are opening. Surely I'll come through this pandemic better than I was before". Not maybe, there's a good chance, if the medicine works, if I get the promotion, if these people like me - no, you need to add the "Surely", you have to be convinced.
David said in Psalm 23:6, "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life". He was saying "I am confident that good things are coming. I am confident that this situation is turning around". It's very powerful when you add the "Surely" to what you're believing for. Thoughts will tell you that you'll never get well, you saw the medical report - surely oh Lord you will heal me, surely oh Lord good health is on the way. "You'll never get out of debt" - surely I will lend and not borrow. "You'll always struggle with that bad habit" - surely I will break this addiction, surely freedom is coming, surely I will accomplish my dreams, surely I will set a new standard for my family.
"Well how can you say that? None of the circumstances look like it's going to happen". Yes, but I'm not moved by my circumstances, I'm moved by what God promised. He said surely he will bless me, surely he will surround me with his favor. What you're up against may look too big, you don't see how it could work out, you could overflow with worry, overflow with doubt, overflow with fear - try a new approach: start overflowing with hope, start adding some "Surelys" to what you're believing for. Start showing God that you're absolutely convinced. When you have this "Surely mentality", you're going to see some "Surelys's" come to pass, surely your family is going to be restored, surely you're going to have that baby you've dreamed up. Surely you're going to meet the right person. Surely your business is going to excel. Don't let the circumstances fool you, surely God is about to bless you, and show you favor that you've never seen.
In Psalm 27 David had all kinds of things coming against him. He had every opportunity to live defeated, discouraged, he said "Enemies are waiting to attack me. They accuse me of things I've never done. They lie about me, they're mean, violent", on and on. Seemed like he was overflowing with trouble, overflowing with adversity, but just when you thought he was defeated he said in verse 13 "Yet I am confident I will see the goodness of God". He was saying "All these negative things have come against me, but one thing I'm confident of is surely God will deliver me, surely God will vindicate me. I am confident I will see his favor".
He didn't deny negative things were happening, he just didn't let it get on the inside, he didn't let it overwhelm him. "God I don't understand it, I was being my best, why did you let this happen"? He could have overflowed with self-pity, overflowed with discouragement, but instead he turned it around and overflowed with hope. He said "I am confident. I am absolutely convinced. I have no doubt, I will see the goodness of God".
I wonder what would happen if we had that same attitude. In the middle of difficulties, when we don't see a way, when it's not fair, instead of living discouraged, complaining, we would do like David - "I know I'm going to see God's goodness. I know healing is coming. I know breakthroughs are coming. I know victory is coming". God being for you is more than the world being against you.
When Moses sent 12 men to spy out the Promised Land, ten came back and told how the land was very beautiful, and very fertile. They saw clusters of grapes so large that it took two people to carry. It was more than they ever dreamed. But they went on to say "There are giants in the land. The people are too big, the cities are walled off, we don't have a chance". God promised them the land, but when they considered the circumstances, how big the people were, how impossible it looked, they overflowed with doubt. They were fully persuaded that they couldn't defeat the opposition. Now all two million people were discouraged and worried.
The other two spies, Joshua and Caleb, had a different report. The scripture says (numbers 13:30), "Caleb quieted the people and said, 'we should by all means go in and take possession of the land, for we will surely overcome'". Notice, Joshua and Caleb had a surely mentality. "Surely we will defeat these enemies. Surely we will overcome this problem. Surely we will live in the Promised Land". What's interesting is they were the only two people out of that whole group that ever made it into the Promised Land. All the others wandered in the desert year after year.
Don't get talked out of your dreams: may look impossible, there may be giants on your land, a giant of sickness, a giant of debt, a giant of addiction - do like David, do like Caleb, start putting some "Surelys" on the front of what you're believing for. "Surely I will defeat this giant. Not in my own strength, not in my own ability, but Lord I know you will bless me, that you will surround me with your favor". "Surely I will live healthy and whole", "Surely I will finish college", "Surely I will conceive this baby", "Surely my business will succeed".
"Well, Joel, what about the pandemic? What about business being slow"? What about our God? He's still on the throne! He's not limited by the environment, by the economy, by what you don't have, by who's against you - he has all power, he controls the universe! The good news is: he's on your side, he's breathing in your direction. The scripture (Philippians 1:6) says, "Be confident of this, that means have no doubt, what God started he will finish. That what he promised will come to pass". You need to have this surely mentality, this made up mind. You're not moved by the circumstances, by how long it's taking, but what's not changing - you know, God is a surely God. "Surely you will bless me. Surely you will do what you said".
See it's easy to doubt, it's easy to give up on dreams. Doubters are a dime a dozen - negative people, discouraged people, you can find them everywhere. God is looking for people that have a made-up mind, people that are absolutely convinced, people that overflow with hope, that believe when the odds are against them, that believe when they don't see a way. You may have challenges coming against you now, you could overflow with worry, with discouragement, with self-pity, but look at you - you're overflowing with hope, you're thanking God when you could be complaining, you're being good to people that are not being good to you, you're believing when you don't see anything changing, you're talking victory, declaring God's promises, you have a song of praise. You need to get ready, instead of overflowing with trouble, overflowing with sickness, overflowing with bad breaks, you're about to overflow with favor, overflow with healing, overflow with abundance, overflow with freedom.
Because you overflow with hope, surely God is going to bless you. Surely God is going to turn it around. Surely he's going to take you into your Promised Land. You're about to see something that you've never seen, something out of the ordinary, unusual that thrusts you to a new level.
The scripture (Matthew 18:19) says, "Where two or three agree according to God's will, they will have whatever they ask". And sometimes you can't find anyone to agree with you. People don't understand you, they think what you're believing for is too big, that problem could never change. I want to come into agreement with you. I want to put my faith with yours, and tell you that I am absolutely convinced - you're going to see the goodness of God. I am fully convinced that forces that are holding you back are being broken right now. I am fully convinced that the sickness, the trouble, the anxiety, the depression is not permanent, it's on its way out. I am fully convinced that you are coming into increase, promotion, abundance, overflow, that you will have more than enough. I am fully convinced that your dreams, your goals, what God whispered to you in the night are on the way. It's going to be bigger than you thought, more fulfilling than you've imagined.
Now get up every morning with a surely mentality, "Surely oh Lord you will bless me. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me". That's not being arrogant, that's overflowing with hope. That's what David did, that's what Caleb did, and that's what Abraham did. For 20 years while he waited for the baby with no sign of it, the scripture (Romans 4:20) says "He grew strong in faith by giving praise to God". I can see him all through the day "Surely oh Lord what you promised will come to pass. Surely this baby is on the way".
I know a young man that attends our services, he's a student from another country, he had a problem with his visa. When he went to enroll for the next year of school, he was told that he couldn't finish because of this problem. He had already completed his undergraduate work, he was in the middle of getting his masters, and it looked like it wasn't going to work out, he was tempted to get discouraged, but he did what I'm asking us to do - against all reason for hope he kept hoping on in faith, he knew God as an "Oh surely God". He didn't see a way, but he kept thanking God that there was a way.
A couple of weeks later he went back to check in with the school one last time. He had been told again and again, there was nothing they could do that, it was out of their hands. But this time there was a different lady working at the admissions office. They started talking and found out they both come to Lakewood. When you find someone from Lakewood, you might as well get ready, you're going to get blessed. Lakewood has awesome people. She said "I looked at your files, I see your problem, let me see what I can do"? She came back a half hour later with a big smile. She said we found a way that we can enroll you, we'll give you this letter that will extend your visa. He had three more years to go, he was so happy. But she wasn't finished, she said "I have a fund that I'm allowed to help students, I just received permission to award you a full scholarship for your next three years". He went on to finish school at no charge.
Surely o Lord you will bless your people. Surely you will surround them with favor. Are you looking at how big your obstacles are? Or are you looking at how big your God is? Your situation may seem impossible, like it could never work out, but one touch of God's favor, one good break, one healing, meeting one right person and everything will change. In life you're going to overflow with something: doubt, worry, stress. Why don't you overflow with hope? Why don't you believe that surely goodness and mercy are following you? Why don't you be fully persuaded, that what God promised is on the way?
It may be taken longer than you thought, don't be talked out of it. Like Caleb the giants may be big, but have that attitude "Surely I will defeat them. Surely I will enter my Promised Land". Not "Maybe it'll happen", "I'm hoping it could change". Have a new perspective "Surely oh Lord you will do what you promised. I am confident what you started you will finish". I believe and declare, if you will overflow with hope, like with Abraham, promises that look impossible are about to come to pass. Like David, blessings are going to chase you down. Healing is coming, breakthroughs, freedom, abundance, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name.