[music] God bless you.
It’s a joy to come into your homes, and if you’re ever in our
area, I hope you’ll stop by and be a part of one
of our services. These are the finest people
in all of Houston, Texas right here at Lakewood.
We’d love to have you be a part. Thanks for tuning in today.
I like to start with something funny, and I heard about these
three men that were out in the wilderness.
They came upon this violent, raging river.
They needed to get to the other side.
The first man prayed, “God, please give me the strength
to make it across,” and poof, God gave him big arms and strong
legs. He was able to swim
across in two hours. The next man prayed, “God,
please give me the strength and the tools to make it
across,” and poof, God gave him a boat.
He was able to row across in 30 minutes.
The third man prayed, “God, please give me the strength,
the tools, and the intelligence to make it across,” and poof,
God turned him into a woman. She looked at the map, hiked
five minutes up the stream, and walked across the bridge.
And yes, that was sent to me by a woman.
But here we go. This is my Bible.
I am what it says I am. I have what it says I have.
I can do what it says I can do. Today, I will be taught the Word
of God. I boldly confess my mind is
alert. My heart is receptive.
I will never be the same. In Jesus’s name, God bless you. I want to talk to you today
about “Don’t Settle for Less.” All of us have dreams that we’re
believing for and promises that God has spoken to us. At one time, we were excited
about them, but too often, when it’s taking longer than we
thought, because our health hasn’t improved, we didn’t get
the promotion, our child isn’t making good decisions, we get
discouraged and quit believing for the fullness of what’s
in our heart. It’s easy to water down what
God’s promised us. I don’t like this job,
but at least I’m employed. It’s good enough.
I was believing for a nice house, but I guess this
apartment will do. I was hoping to get well,
but I’ve learned to live with this sickness.
I guess I’m at least okay. No, okay is not who you were
created to be. Good enough is not what God
promised you. The enemy can’t stop God’s plan
for your life, but he’ll do his best to convince you to settle
along the way. And if you’re going to become
all you were created to be, you have to keep a fire in your
spirit. There has to be a holy
determination, a resolve that says, “I refuse to settle
for less than what God’s promised me.”
You have to make up your mind you’re not going to be talked
out of it. You’re not going to water it
down. You’re not going to let good
enough be good enough. It may be taking longer than you
thought. It may be more difficult.
The good news is it’s not too late.
You haven’t missed your chance. What God promised you is still
on the way. Not a watered down version, not
a partial healing, not to make do promotion, not a good enough
marriage. No, exactly what God promised
you. What you were excited
about before the delays, before the bad breaks is still
en route. God doesn’t abort a dream.
He doesn’t get talked out of what he’s promised.
He doesn’t water down what he’s spoken to us.
Now, maybe the reason you’re not seeing this favor is you’ve
settled. You’ve accepted that your
dream’s not going to happen. You’ll never get well.
You’ll never get out of debt. As long as you think that way,
it will limit your life. I’m asking you to pull up your
stakes, pack up your belongings. Mediocrity is not your home.
Good enough is not your destiny. Getting by is not where you
belong. You may be there now, but that
is not your permanent location. Don’t settle for an okay
marriage, okay job, okay health, okay life.
Yes, we should be content, but you shouldn’t be satisfied
with less than what you know God put in your heart.
But sometimes, instead of stirring our faith
up and believing for the best, we move the goalposts back
to justify what we’re seeing. I can’t seem to break this
addiction, but if I can learn to manage it that’s good enough.
I’ll never reach my dreams, but hey, I’m doing as good as my
coworker. That’s not too bad.
Instead of justifying it, moving that goalpost to fit what you
think is going to happen, why don’t you leave the goal there
and say, “God, I don’t see how this can work out.
I don’t see how I can get well, how my family will be restored,
how can reach my dreams. But God, I know you wouldn’t
have promised it if you weren’t going to bring it to pass.
I know you have a way where I don’t see a way, so I’m not
going to settle here. I’m going to keep believing.
I’m going to keep dreaming. I’m going to keep stretching my
faith.” That’s what allows God to do
great things. Genesis 15, God told Abraham he
was going to have a son. The problem was Abraham was 75
years old. His wife Sarah was 65.
They’d never had children. She had been barren all these
years. Now she had gone
through the change of life. It was impossible
in the natural. Year after year went by, no sign of a baby.
Every thought told them, “You’re wasting your time.
You’re both way too old. It’s never going to happen.”
Sarah finally told Abraham to sleep with her maid.
She thought that’s the only way they could have a baby.
It seemed so impossible, she watered down the promise.
She reduced it to what she thought could happen.
Many times, we do like Sarah. When God speaks something to us,
instead of coming up to his level, believing
for the unusual, the uncommon, the extraordinary, we bring it
down to our level. When I got word that the Compaq
Center was coming available and the Rockets were going
to move out of this building, something came alive
on the inside. I knew it was supposed to be
ours. But even though I was excited
in my spirit, my mind said, “There’s no way we’ll get
the building. It’s too expensive.
The city will never let a church have it.”
I was tempted to water it down. Voices whispered, “Joel, come
back to your senses. Don’t get your hopes up.
It’s never going to happen.” It’s easy to get talked
out of the great things God has in store.
There will be times God speaks things to your spirit that don’t
make sense to your mind. Sarah, you can’t have a baby
at 80. Joel, you’ll never get
the basketball arena. Dodie, you’ll never beat
terminal cancer. Just accept it.
You’ll never write your book. Never start your business.
Never build that children’s home you’re dreaming about.
You don’t have the resources. You may not, but God does. He’s not asking you to figure it
out, he’s asking you to believe. Why don’t you take the limits
off of him? “Well Joel, I can’t think of any
good reason to get my hopes up. Seems so unlikely,
so impossible.” Let me give you one great
reason. The Most High God is on your
side. He is breathing in your
direction right now. You wouldn’t be hearing this if he wasn’t about to do something
unusual, uncommon, something that you didn’t see coming.
You can’t explain it. It didn’t make sense.
People will scratch their heads, thinking, “How did you beat
the sickness? I saw the medical report.
How did your business take off so fast?
You didn’t have the connections.”
No, but you have the favor of God.
You have his blessing on your life.
What he’s promised you will come to pass.
Not a watered down version. Not a get by version.
Not a good enough version. Get ready for the fullness
of what God said. Make room in your thinking
for the abundant, overflowing, more than enough life that belongs to you.
The mistake Sarah made is she reduced what God promised
to what she thought could happen.
“Abraham, I’m 80 years old. Surely God didn’t mean I would
have a baby. Let me find the maid and you can have a baby with her, and we’ll
call that child our own.” No, you don’t have to take
up for God. You don’t have to try to make
sure he doesn’t look bad in case he doesn’t come through.
Let me help God make this happen.
God doesn’t need that kind of help.
He flung stars into space. He spoke worlds into existence.
He’s not at a loss at how to turn your situation around,
at how to bring your child back on course, at how to open a new
door for your business. Don’t reduce it to what makes
sense to you. Don’t let what you don’t have
talk you out of what God does have.
Get in agreement with him. God, this seems impossible
to me, but I know you can do the impossible.
I’m looking at it in the natural, but I know
you’re a supernatural God. You can take me where I can’t go
on my own. When the three Hebrew teenagers
were about to be thrown into a fiery furnace because
they wouldn’t bow down to the king’s golden idol, the guards tied their hands
and feet with cords. They were thrown
into the furnace, bound. They should’ve instantly been
killed. The fire was so hot, when
the guards threw them in, the guards lost their lives.
But in a little while, the king came to check on them.
He said, “Didn’t we throw three men in, bound?
I see four men loosed, and one looks like the Son of God.”
Here’s my point. You may feel like your hands are
tied, you’ve done your best, you’ve worked hard, you prayed,
you believed, but it seems like you’ve reached your limits. It’s never going to work out.
The good news is God’s hands are not tied.
He’s not limited by what’s limiting us.
And I believe today, some cords are being broken.
Some chains are coming off. What’s restricted you
in the past has lost its grip. That addiction that’s held you
back, the sickness, the financial difficulties,
the trouble at work, this is a new day.
The fourth man in the fire has shown up.
Like these Hebrew teenagers, you’re going to come out not
bound, but loosed, free, healed, promoted, vindicated, with that
dream you’re believing for. Now, start seeing yourself free.
See yourself breaking the addictions.
See yourself rising to new levels, fulfilling your purpose.
Your hands are not tied anymore. God is releasing you into new
levels of your destiny. Abraham slept with Sarah’s maid
and they had a son that they named Ishmael.
They loved Ishmael. They were happy to have him,
but he was not the promised child.
No disrespect to him, but Ishmael represents a spirit
of good enough. This is not what I was believing
for, but it’s close. It’s good enough.
I’m not completely well, but at least I’m better.
That’s good enough. I was hoping for that management
position. It didn’t work out.
This other job is good enough. You don’t have to settle.
God is not going to give you a substitute blessing.
He’s not into counterfeits. He’s not into making do.
He has the real thing coming. You may have some good enough
areas in your life, but don’t stop there.
Don’t let that spirit of good enough cause you to be
satisfied. You have to keep stretching,
keep believing for the fullness of what God promised.
Twenty-five years after God told Abraham he was going to have
a son, Ishmael was now 13 years old, God came to him again
and said, in Genesis 13, “Abraham, Sarah is going to bear
you a child.” When Abraham heard this,
the Scripture says he fell down laughing, saying, “God, I’m
100 years old now. Sarah is 90.
How could she possibly have a baby at that age?”
Seems so impossible, so unlikely.
He went on to say, “May Ishmael enjoy my inheritance.”
He was saying, “God, I’m okay with good enough.
I’m okay with the substitute blessing.
We love Ishmael.” What was he doing?
Moving the goalposts. God said, “Abraham, I am not
a God that gives good enough blessings.
You may be satisfied with a look alike, with a make do,
but not me. I love Ishmael, but I didn’t say
you’re maid was going to have a son.
I said Sarah was going to have a son.
By this time next year, she will give birth.
You are to name him Isaac.” But even though Abraham settled
for Ishmael, even though they settled for having a baby
a different way, God said in effect, “I don’t settle.
I don’t get talked out of what I promised you.
You may have watered it down, but I am true to my Word.”
What God has spoken over you will come to pass.
Not partially, not in an indirect way, not
through your cousin, not to where you say, “This is good
enough.” God is going to surprise you.
He’s going to do it even though it seems too late, even though
you’ve made mistakes, even though you’ve already accepted
that Ishmael is good enough. God is saying, “Get ready, Isaac
is coming.” For some of you, like God told
them, by this time next year, you’re going to see something God promised that you’ve already
written off, something that you’ve already accepted it’s too
late now. You’ve settled, but you don’t
know what God is up to. He said, “Have I spoken it
and shall I not bring it to pass?”
At 90 years old, against all odds, Sarah gave birth to a son.
They named him Isaac. She looked at him and said, “Who
would’ve ever thought an old lady like me could have a baby?” God has some of these “Who
would’ve ever thought” blessings coming your way, blessings you
can’t explain, favor that doesn’t make sense.
Who would’ve ever thought we’d be having church in the former
Compaq Center? Who would’ve thought you would
lead your company in sales? Who would have thought you could
have a baby when you were told you couldn’t have children?
Who would have ever thought you could pay your house off this
soon? What am I saying?
Don’t settle for a watered down version of what God
promised you. There are dreams he’s whispered
to you in the night, things that seemed so big, so unlikely.
You don’t tell anybody. Like Abraham, you could laugh. Me, be free from this addiction?
Everyone in my family struggles with it.
Me, have overflow in my finances?
Have more than enough? Or me be healthy, strong,
in shape, energetic? That may seem so unlikely, you
could easily discount it. God wouldn’t have promised it if
he wasn’t going to bring it to pass.
Don’t do like Abraham and Sarah, talk about how impossible it is.
They settled for Ishmael while God was waiting to bring Isaac.
Maybe that’s why it took 25 years.
Are you settling for Ishmaels, for good enoughs?
Are you watering down what God promised, talking yourself
into it? Isaac represents something that
you’ve never seen. Isaac is more than you can
imagine, the greatness of God’s favor.
What would happen if we would say, “God, I’ve seen Ishmael.
God, you’ve been good to me, but I believe Isaac is coming.
Lord, thank you for the fullness of my destiny.
Thank you for opening doors no man can shut.
Thank you for bringing promises to pass that seem impossible.”
Thoughts will tell you all the reasons why it’s not going
to happen for you. You’re too old.
You’re too young. You’ve made too many mistakes.
You don’t have the talent, the education, the resources.
None of that stops our God. One touch of his favor
and you’ll see Isaac. A friend of mine works
in commercial real estate. She had a large piece
of property on the market for one of her clients for more
than 20 years, right on the main freeway.
The owner wasn’t in a big hurry to sell it.
Over the years, she kept raising the price from several million,
to $12 million, to over $20 million.
People told her it would never sell for that amount.
She was wasting her time. A few months ago, she brought
a large check to the ministry. It was the tithe, the first 10%
of the commission from selling the property.
She said, “Joel, I never went to school for this.
I didn’t have the training, but when this company called
that wanted to buy the property, I met with their attorneys.
I was very nice, but I said our price was firm.”
They said, “Fine, we’ll give you what you’re asking.”
She sold the property. What’s interesting is 15 years earlier, she had given a $100
check to a young man in our ministry.
She sowed that as a seed and said, “God, I want to be
able to do more.” That dream was planted
in her heart. And when she sold this property,
this new gift was a thousand times what she had given that
young man. God knows how to bring Isaac.
He said in Deuteronomy, “I will make you a thousand times more
than you are.” We hear that and think, “There’s
no way, Joel. Nobody in my company makes
that much.” Your job is not your source, God
is your source. Now, you may have seen Ishmael.
You’ve seen God’s goodness, but there are some far
out things God has in your future.
Goals and dreams that you can’t accomplish in the natural, it’s
going to take the supernatural. The good news is God knows how
to do the extraordinary, things that you can’t do on your own,
things that will amaze you. But sometimes the reason we
settle is life hasn’t turned out the way we thought.
We’ve gone through disappointments.
Unfair things have happened. Now we’ve lost our passion.
This is what happened to Abraham’s father.
His name was Terah. He had three sons.
One of those sons, a young man named Haran, died at
an early age. Terah went through this great
disappointment of losing a son. Years later, God told him
to leave the place he was living and move to Canaan, the promised
land. He got his belonging, his
family, and he started out that way.
But when they came to the city of Haran, the same name as
the son he lost, instead of passing through the city,
instead of continuing on toward the promised land, the Scripture
says Terah settled in the city of Haran.
He started out good, but when he came to the place that reminded
him of the loss of his son, the place of disappointment, he
got so discouraged that he gave up on his dream.
Terah could’ve become the father of our faith.
He’s the original one God told to go to the promised land, not
Abraham. But because of the loss, he
chose to settle. If you’re going to reach your
destiny, you have to dig down deep and say, “Yes, I’ve
been hurt, but I’m not settling here.
I’ve been through disappointments, but I’m
not settling in self pity. I’ve been betrayed, but I’m not
settling in bitterness. I lost a loved one.
It was painful, but I’m not settling in despair.
I know God has beauty for these ashes.
I know weeping endures for a night, but joy is coming
in the morning.” The truth is, we’ve all had
bad breaks. We can all find a reason to live
offended, bitter, angry, but if you’ll refuse to settle,
on the other side of that hurt is a new level of your destiny.
You have to press past the pain, press past the disappointments,
press past those lonely nights, thoughts telling you, “It’s
never going to work out. You’ve seen your best days.” What if my father would’ve
settled in poverty, the way he was raised?
I wouldn’t be up here. What if my mother would’ve
settled in despair when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer?
She wouldn’t be alive. What if Joseph would have
settled in bitterness, betrayed by his brothers?
He would’ve never become the prime minister of Egypt.
What if Ruth in the Scripture would have settled
in discouragement when she lost her husband?
She would have never met Boaz. They would’ve never had a son
that would become the great grandfather of King David.
She would’ve never been in the family line of Jesus.
Amazing things await you if you just don’t settle.
You may have gone through disappointments.
Life has thrown you a curve. You have to get your fire back.
God did not bring you this far to leave you.
Your greatest days in your health, in your marriage,
in your career, in your finances are still in front of you.
But the enemy would love for us to do like Abraham’s father, get
so discouraged, so disappointed that we settle on the way to our
destiny, that we miss the fullness of what God has
in store. He’s okay if you have Ishmael.
He doesn’t want you to have Isaac.
This is what happened with the Israelites.
God brought them out of slavery. They traveled
through the desert, made it next door to the promised land.
God told them he would give them the victory, but when they saw
how big the people were, when they heard all the negative
reports, the Scripture says they became too discouraged
to believe. Instead of going in and taking
the land, they settled in the desert.
Yes, God took care of them out there.
He provided for their needs. They saw Ishmael, but they never
saw Isaac. I believe many of you are next
door to your promised land. You’re on the verge of seeing
a new level of blessing and favor.
The question is, are you going to settle there or are you going
to stir your faith up and say, “No, I’ve come too far to stop
now. These giants may be big, but I
know my God is bigger. I may have had this sickness
a long time, this financial difficulty, this trouble
at work, but I know God is still on the throne.
I will live and not die. I will prosper and succeed.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
I know today I’m not looking at settlers, I’m looking
at overcomers. I’m looking at more than
conquerors. I’m looking at victors, not
victims. Now, not settling may mean going
back to school, getting training so your gifts can come out
in new ways. It may mean developing your
business plan, meeting with mentors to bring about
your goal. Not settling for you may mean
joining a support group to help break the addiction, not
learning to live with it, but getting the help you need.
It may mean putting more effort into your marriage, spending
more time with the person God gave you to love.
Perhaps not settling for you is going up to the gym, taking
walks at night instead of watching television, being
proactive to get back in shape. But I wonder where you could be
in ten years if you just don’t settle.
Who knows where God is taking you?
Who knows the doors he’s going to open, the people you’re going
to meet, the dreams you’re going to accomplish, the gifts that
are going to come out of you? A more sobering thought, where
will you be in ten years if you do settle?
What will you miss if you settle in mediocrity, settle
in dysfunction, settle in self-pity, in bitterness.
You will miss who you were created to be.
Friends, what’s in front of you is way too important to settle.
God has your Isaacs. He’s already lined up your good
breaks, the healing, the freedom, the business.
Now do your part, don’t let good enough become good enough.
Get your fire back and go after the destiny that belongs
to you. Our attitude should be, “I’m not
going to settle next door to my promised land, I am going in.
I’m going to become all I was created to be.”
If you’ll do this, I believe and declare Isaac is coming. Something more than you’ve
imagined. New levels in your career,
freedom from that addiction, breakthroughs in your finances,
healing, wholeness, abundance, the fullness of your destiny,
in Jesus’s name. And if you receive it, can you
say amen today? I’d like to give you
an opportunity to make Jesus the Lord of your life.
Would you pray with me? Just say, “Lord Jesus, I repent
of my sins. Come into my heart.
I make you my Lord and Savior.” If you prayed that simple
prayer, we believe you got born again.
Get in a good Bible-based church and keep God first place. THANKS FOR WATCHING THE MESSAGE. I HOPE IT INSPIRED AND UPLIFTED YOU. MAKE SURE YOU SUBSCRIBE TO
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