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Hello, this is Mike Mindell in Ventura. My pillow right now, you can save up to sixty six percent on all of my products, everything from my pillows to sheets to bathrobes, mattress toppers, couch pillows, blankets and so much more. You can also get my book. What are the odds? From crack addict to CEO for just nineteen ninety seven and free shipping. It's the story of the American dream and with God all things are possible. Go to my pillow dotcom and use the promo code faith.


Hi, this is Joel and Victoria. Thanks for listening to our podcast and thanks for supporting the ministry. If you enjoy today's message, why don't you be a blessing and share it with a friend? We appreciate you and for God's very best in your life.


Well, God bless you. It's a joy to come into your homes, and if you're ever in our area, please stop by and be a part of one of our services. I promise you will make you feel right at home and like to start with something funny. And I heard about this man. He was the only Protestant in a large Catholic neighborhood. And every Friday during Lent, while his neighbors were eating cold fish, he was in his backyard grilling a steak.


They couldn't stand the temptation and decided to try to convert him to Catholicism. He finally agreed a priest came over, sprinkle water on his head and said, you were born a Baptist, you were raised a Baptist, but now you're a Catholic. The next year, on the first Friday of Lent, they smelled the same smell. They rushed to his house. He was in his backyard, sprinkling water over his state, saying, you were born a cow, you raised a cow, but now you're a fish.


Say it like you mean it. 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'll boldly confess. My mind is alert. My heart is receptive. I will never be the same in Jesus name. God bless you. I want to talk to you today about knowing you are loved. When Victoriana had been dating for about nine months, a friend of mine called me secretly.


She said, Joel, I just talked to Victoria. Don't tell her that I called. But she told me she thinks she loves you. And my friend was so excited she was waiting for me to join in the excitement. But I had a problem with two words. She thinks if she thinks she loves me, that means maybe she does. Maybe she doesn't. She's still trying to figure it out. It could go either way. She thinks.


Didn't give me any confidence at all. In fact, it made me think I need to perform better. I need to do more, try to impress, be good enough, she thinks, put me under more pressure.


Eventually, I'm happy to say Victoria came to her senses and she went from I think to I know that was over 30 years ago, but when you know somebody loves you, it puts it ease. You don't have to try to perform, impress the good enough. You can relax, be yourself, you're comfortable, you're secure. But a lot of people live with this. I think he loves me mentality when it comes to God. They base it on their performance.


I went to church last week. I did good. I think he loves me. I volunteered at the hospital. I was kind of my neighbor. I resisted temptation, earned his love. The problem with this approach is when we make mistakes, we get off course. We don't perform perfectly. We think God goes and find somebody else to love. After all, if you don't love me, human nature says I'm not going to love you back.


But God is not like people. People can love you conditionally. If you do write perform right. Treat me right, then I'll love you. But if you let me down, I'll go find somebody else. But when we make mistakes, God doesn't change his mind. You can run away from God instead of turning the other way, God will come running towards you. Quit trying to earn this love. There's nothing you can do to make God love you any more or any less.


It's a gift. Just receive it. Faith. Sometimes we're trying to clean ourselves up. Get good enough. Then we'll believe God really loves us. But take the pressure off. God loves you right now. He loved you when you were wrong. He loved you when you were off course. Paul said nothing can separate us from the love of God. You are a marked man, a marked woman. God put his love on you. Now you are permanently loved.


The Psalmist said if I go down to the depths of the ocean. God, you were there. If I go way up into the heavens, God, you are still there. You can't get away from this love. Well, Joel, I'm an atheist. I don't believe in God. He still loves you. I've made mistakes. I've had a rough past. Nothing you've done has changed God's love. I have an addiction. I still struggle with my temper.


That didn't cancel this love. The scripture talks about the great love we're with. God loved us, wasn't a little love and I think love unconditional love. It was a great love. We think about how much we love God, but what's more profound is how much God loves you. Before you were formed in your mother's womb, God knew you. He took time to plan out all of your days. He knows your thoughts before you think. Then he knows your words before you speak.


Then Jesus said the hair on your head are all numbered now. I love Victoria, but I have never taken time to number her hairs. No, doesn't mean there are fifty four thousand six hundred and twenty three that's counted. Numbered means this is her number twenty one thousand two hundred and thirty eight. Every time you take a shower, every time we lose a hair. God has to remember there was a popular book turned into a movie a few years ago.


It was called He's Just Not That Into You. It was about guys not really liking a girl. Can I tell you God? Is just the opposite, he's way into you if he's taken the time to number your hairs, to know your thoughts, to playing out all of your days, do you really think there's anything you can do to cause him to stop loving you? But how God must feel when we go around thinking, I think he loves me, I think I'm good enough.


I think I haven't done too much wrong. Get rid of the, I think mentality and start having an I know mentality. It's very freeing when you can say, I know God loves me. I know I'm the apple of his eye. I know he's smiling down on me. Voices will whisper, not you. You've made mistakes. You lost your temper. You're not religious enough. God doesn't love you because you're religious or good enough or come from a certain family.


He loves you because you are his child.


He breathed his life into you when you received this love. You live with a confidence. When you go from I think to I know you quit trying to earn it, quit trying to be good enough. You live secure knowing that your heavenly father loves you in the Bible. The Book of John was written by the disciple John. What's interesting is he never referred to himself as John when he talked about himself instead of using his name, he said the disciple whom Jesus loved in John Thirteen, he wrote, The disciple whom Jesus loved was sitting next to Jesus.


He could have just written John was sitting next to Jesus. When Matthew, Mark and Luke wrote their books, their accounts of the Gospel, they referred to themselves using their own name. Can you imagine if they would have read John's account? They would have thought. Who does John think he is describing himself as the one Jesus, Lord Jesus loved us all the nerve of that guy. But John had an incredible confidence not just in how much he loved God, but in how much God loved him.


Four times he referred to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. You would think, All right, John, we got it the first time we heard you loud and clear. You think you're the one who loves you don't have to keep telling us. But in Chapter 19, he wrote again when Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom Jesus loves. Now, you know, Jesus loved his mother. In fact, he probably loved his mother more than he loved John.


But John didn't take the time to tell us how much he loved his mother. He just reiterated the fact he was the one Jesus Lord. Now, you can fault him for it, but I have to give him credit. He knew how much he was loved to. Chapters later, John wrote The disciple whom Jesus loved, said to Peter, it's he didn't say the disciple whom Jesus loved said to the other disciple whom Jesus love. You could take this as being arrogant, self-centered.


But John was showing us the confidence he had in how much he knew God loved him. When you can do like John, maybe not announce it to everybody. Don't put it on your business card, but in your heart I'm the one that he loves. You wake up in the morning. Good morning, Lord. It's the one that you love all through the day. Lord, I love you and I know I'm the one you love. When Lazarus was very sick and close to death, his two sisters, Mary and Martha, sent a note to their good friend Jesus asking him to come and pray for Lazarus.


Jesus was in another city. The note didn't say, Jesus, we're begging you, please come pray for Lazarus. Jesus, you know Lazarus is a good man. Do you know how much he loves you? Instead, the note read Jesus, the one you love is sick. They didn't tell Jesus how much Lazarus loved him. They thought it would be more persuasive, more effective to remind Jesus how much he loved Lazarus. Sometimes we're trying to convince God that we love him.


God, I went to church last week, got a bit my tongue at the office when I felt like telling them off. God, I've been performing perfectly. Would you please help me? Why don't you do like Mary and Martha and say, Lord, the one you love needs healing. The one you love is lonely. The one you love has a child. It's of course, what moves God is not just your love for him, but recognizing his love for you.


It pleases God when you know you are dearly loved. That's what the scriptures. Come boldly to the throne. Don't go like a week worm of the dust, if my son came up to me half embarrassed, ashamed, head down that I hate to bother you. I know you're busy. I don't deserve it. It's just little old me. But, Dad, I'm just begging you, would you help me in this area? I wouldn't feel sorry for him.


I would feel bad about myself as a father. I would think what have I done wrong? My son comes to me so inferior, feeling unworthy, begging me for a little help. It's not my lack of love from my son. I'd give him the world. It's his lack of knowing how much he is loved. And I'm happy to say my children don't feel that way. They know how much they're loved and they're not afraid to ask. When our daughter Alexandra was ten years old, she was going out to eat with her cousins and they were about to go ice skating.


She came up to me in the den and said, Dad, can I have twenty dollars to go out to eat and go ice skating? I said, Sure, go get it. Go back and get it off my bathroom counter where I keep my keys. She gave me a kiss and said thank you. Then she turned and started walking toward the garage the wrong way. I said, Wait a minute, aren't you going to go get the money?


She smiled and said, I already got it. She said, I knew you would say yes, that made me feel good as a father. She knows how much I love her. She's not living with an, I think, mentality. I hope she loves me. If I perform good enough, he'll love me. She has no doubt my father loves me. What if we felt that same way about our heavenly father? You want to make God smile.


You want to make his day start approaching him like you know he loves you. You know he's for you. You know, he's longing to be good to you. It doesn't bring God any pleasure for us to go around insecure, unworthy, beating ourselves up for past mistakes, shake that off and start going boldly to the throne. Our daughter Alexandra is in college now. She called Victoria a few months ago and told how their sorority was having the big mother daughter.


Weekend wanted to make sure that Victoria could come. She gave Victoria the date.


It just so happened. It was this weekend. Victoria said, Oh, Alexandra, we have a night of hope that Friday night. Plus, Dad and I are supposed to speak at Lakewood that weekend and dad really doesn't like me to miss. Alexandra said, oh, mom, don't worry, I'll call Dad.


He'll do anything that I ask. She called and you notice they're not here. You know why Alexandra can have that boldness? She knows she's the one I love. She knows she's my prized possession. She knows I'll go out of my way to be good to her. She's my child now. I'll be good to your child. I'll be kind, loving, generous. But let's be honest. If it's between your child and my child, I will choose my child.


That's my daughter. She's my favorite. That's the way God feels about you. You're his child. Can I tell you a secret? Don't tell anyone. Keep it confidential. You're his favorite.


You're the one that he loves. I've heard it said God has no favorites. I think that's wrong. God has all favorites. You're his favorite. You're his favorite. You're his favorite. You're his favorite. God has the amazing ability to treat us all like we're his favorite. He's not like people. He doesn't have to pick and choose. He has unlimited love. He doesn't just show love. He doesn't just express love. He is love. That's not what he does.


It's who he is. When you start seeing yourself as his favorite, you'll go to him with confidence. You'll pray bold prayers. You'll ask him for your dreams. You'll believe for your health to turn around. You'll expect new doors to open, not because of who you are, but because of who your father is. You know, he'll go out of his way to be good to you. I grew up with five siblings. My sister April is the youngest.


She always felt like she was the favorite of the family. The truth is, my parents had more resources when she came along. My older brother Paul is forty seven years older than I, I mean, twelve years older than April. But from a young age, April started telling us all that she was our parents favorite. Now, that never bothered me because I knew she wasn't. I was. But she's been doing this so long now. When my mother sends us kids a group text, it lists our names at the top.


Paul, Lisa, Tamara, Joe. Instead of April, it says favorite. I had my mother's cell phone one time under the contacts she has April stored as favorite. Now, that's not right. I can imagine if God had a cell phone, you would be stored under favorite, not Joseph Rodriguez. Favorite Rodriguez, favorite Smith favorite Edward, favorite Rebecca. We're all his favorite. You're the one that he loves. Well, not me, Joel.


You don't know the mistakes I've made. You don't know the past. I've lived when I clean myself up, I know God will love me a lot more. Nothing you can do will make God love you any more. You might as well believe you're his favorite right now.


He may not be pleased with all your behavior, but that doesn't change his love for you. When we go around guilty beating ourselves up, that doesn't help you to do better. It pushes you down, causes you to struggle more. But when you receive God's love and know, despite your shortcomings, he's still proud of you. He still says you're amazing. He still calls you a masterpiece. That's what lifts your spirit. That's what gives you the strength to do better and to break those chains that are holding you back.


Luke, Chapter 19, there's the story of Zacchaeus. He was a tax collector back in those days. They were known for being dishonest, for cheating people. They were very disliked, even hated. Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector. He was especially despised, looked down on by everyone, not just figuratively, but even physically. He was very short. One day, Jesus came passing through their town and word spread quickly.


Everyone went out to try to get a glimpse of Jesus, including Zacchaeus. But it was so crowded, so many throngs of people. Zacchaeus couldn't see anything. He was too short. Rather than give up, he decided to climb up in a tree. He got in perfect position, had a great viewpoint, and a few minutes Jesus came walking down the street. I could imagine Zacchaeus was in all he had heard how Jesus had heal the sick, open, blind eyes cured the lepers.


Now Jesus was passing right in front of him was an amazing moment. Hundreds of people were trying to touch Jesus, get his attention. All of the sudden, in the midst of the commotion, Jesus stopped. Everyone froze, thinking, Why is he stopping? They got quiet. He's going to say something. Jesus turned and looked up in the tree. Tom, stop for Zacchaeus every hour was focused on him. Zacchaeus knew he was hated. He knew he had cheated, done people wrong.


He was waiting for Jesus to let him have it. But Jesus, said Zacchaeus, come down from the tree. I want to go to your house and have dinner. At that moment I believe Zacchaeus felt something that he had never felt something on the inside, said Zacchaeus. You're the one that he loves. Out of all the people there that day, no doubt there were rabbis, elders in the synagogue, respected leaders. Jesus could have gone to dinner with any of them, but he was making this point.


You don't have to have it all together for God to love you. You don't have to clean yourself up. Then you can come down out of the tree, then you can go to dinner. That was the case.


None of us would have had a chance. What's interesting is the name Zacchaeus means pure one. I doubt if anyone in that crowd ever called him Zacchaeus. They probably called him fraud, crook, cheater. One version says they called him scum. Jesus could have looked up in the tree and said, Hey, you come down. Hey, mister, hey, sir. Or somebody get that guy from me. But on purpose. Jesus, said Zacchaeus Puru one come down.


I want to go to your house for dinner. The religious leaders nearly passed out. They said, why would he go to dinner with such a notorious sinner? We don't see people the way God sees them. We look at their behavior, how perfectly they perform. God looks beyond all bad. They saw a notorious sinner. God saw the one that he loved. You may have made mistakes like Zacchaeus. You got to course you know, you're not where you should be.


But if Jesus came passing by today, he wouldn't say, hey, John, come on, man, let's go to lunch. You got that big church has this to do, right? You hadn't made a mistake in thirty three years. I'm proud of you. Let's go get something to eat. He would pass by all the people that look like they have it together. He would come to you. You're the one that he loves. You may be up in the tree trying to hard dealing with issues.


Can I tell you we all have issues. God is saying come down, pure one. Come down to a given child. Come down, riddim daughter, come down. Favorite one. Jesus point in choosing Zacchaeus over all the other quote good people was to let us know your performance doesn't determine God's love for you. Woodhall, if I can break this bad habit, if I can stop this addiction, I know he'll love me a lot more. He will be more pleased with your behavior.


Your life will go better. But that doesn't affect God's love for you. He's calling you pure one right now. Will you received this law? Will you come down and go to dinner, so to speak, or are you going to stay up in that tree and let condemning voices convince you that you all washed up? You have to shake that off and say it by faith. Lord, I believe I'm the one you love. I believe despite my failures, despite my mistakes, you still have a great plan for my life.


First, John Forces says this is real love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as a sacrifice for our sins. Real love is not our love for God. It's God's love for us. When we try to perform to gain this love, the problem is will never measure up. They will always be something we can't do right. Some reason we can't feel good about ourselves. Why don't you take the pressure off and receive real love, God's love for you?


That's what the lady had to do in John Chapter eight. The religious leaders brought her to Jesus. She was caught in the act of adultery. They threw her at his feet, said the law, says Stoner. What do you say we should do? Jesus said. You that are without sin throw the first stone. They all left from the oldest to the youngest. Jesus asked the woman, Where are your accusers? Hasn't anyone condemned you? She said, No, man.


Lord, he said, Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more. He didn't say go and say no more. Then I won't condemn you. Change your ways, get your act together. Quit giving in to the temptation. Then I'll love you. Then I'll be for you. Just the opposite. He said I don't condemn you first. Before he talked about her behavior, before he addressed the issues, Jesus wanted to make sure she knew she was the one that he loved when she felt this real love, when she realized the one person that could have condemned her wouldn't do it.


I believe something happened on the inside. She walked out of there, a changed woman. But sometimes religion tells us, clean yourself up, then God will love you. Do write, perform correctly. If not, God won't have anything to do with you. That's not real love. That's conditional love. If you do good enough, if you measure up, then God will help you. Real love is not about your performance. What you do or don't do.


It's about what God has already done. It's not based on how much you love God. It's based on how much God loves you. When my brother Paul was a little boy, before any of us siblings were born, my parents would put him in his bed at night and then they would go get in their own bed. Their rooms were just a few feet apart down a short hallway. My father would always say Good night, Paul and Paul would answer back.


Good night, Daddy. Good night, Mother. One night, for some reason, Paul was a little afraid. A couple of minutes after they had said their good nights, Paul said, Daddy, are you still in there? My father said, Yes, Paul, I'm still here. Was quiet for a few seconds. Then Paul asked, Daddy, is your face turned toward me? My father said, Yes, Paul. My face is turned toward you.


Somehow it made Paul feel better just knowing that his father's face was turned toward him. Can I tell you today your heavenly father's face is turned towards you. You're the one that he loves. You're his favorite child. He's not counting your mistakes against you.


He's calling you pure one. My challenge is receive this love all through the day. Lord, thank you. That I'm the one you love. Thank you. That your face is turned toward me. Remember, real love is not about your love for God. It's recognizing the great love God has for you. If you will do this, I believe and declare you're going to live confident, secure, overcoming obstacles, rising higher and big. Everything he's created you to be in Jesus name, and if you receive it, can you say it again today?


I'd like to give you an opportunity to meet Jesus, the Lord of your life. Would you pray with me? Just say, Lord Jesus are repent of my sins, come into my heart and 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.


Thank you for listening to the Toulouse podcast. Help us continue to share the message of hope with those all over the world. Visit Joel Osteen Dotcom. Give Hope to give a gift today. Thanks so much for listening to today's message. I hope you'll subscribe so you can receive the latest podcast to keep you inspired all through the week. We're praying for you. I know God's best is still ahead. We'll see you next time. Hello, this is Mike Mindell in Ventura.


My pillow right now, you can save up to sixty six percent on all of my products, everything from my pillows to sheets to bathrobes, mattress toppers, couch pillows, blankets and so much more. You can also get my book. What are the odds from a crack addict to CEO for just nineteen ninety seven and free shipping. It's the story of the American dream and with God all things are possible. Go to my pillow dotcom and use the promo code faith.


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