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.
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. I'd like to start with something funny. I heard about this man called the church office. He said, I want to speak to the head hog at the trough. The secretary was offended. She said, if you mean the pastor, you're going to have to call him pastor, but you may not call him the head hog at the trial.
He said, well, that's fine, but I was thinking about making a five thousand dollar donation to your church. She said, hang on, pork.
You just walked in, 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 unconditional trust.
It's easy to trust God when things are going our way. We're getting good breaks. Our business is blessed, our children are healthy. That doesn't take much faith. Life is good. But what about when things aren't going our way? Our prayers aren't being answered. The problem isn't turning around. We're not seeing favor. Too often we get discouraged. Thank God. Why aren't you doing something? You can see I'm being mistreated. My health isn't good.
I worked hard, but I didn't get the promotion. We think when it changes will be happy. When I meet the right person, when my health improves, when we have this baby, then we'll have a good attitude. That's conditional trust. God, if you meet my demands, if you answer my prayers the way I want on my timetable, then I'll be my best. The problem with conditional trust is there will always be things we don't understand, something that's not happening fast enough.
It didn't work out the way we want it. We prayed just as hard for my father when his health went downhill as we did for my mother. We quoted the same scriptures. We asked God to restore his health, to let him live. But my father went to be with the Lord. It didn't happen the way I wanted, and if I would have had conditional trust, I would have gotten upset. Bitter God, why didn't you answer my prayers?
The truth is, God did answer my prayer. It just wasn't the way I wanted. Are you mature enough to accept God's answers even though they're not what you were hoping for? God is a sovereign God. We're not going to understand everything that happens. Faith is trusting God. When life doesn't make sense, there will always be unanswered questions. Why didn't my loved one make it? Why am I not getting better? Why did this person leave?
Some things are not going to make sense, but God wouldn't have allowed it if he wasn't going to bring good out of it. You may not see it at the time, but God knows what he's doing. He has your best interest at heart. It's not random. It's a part of his plan. Dare to trust him. I didn't want to lose my father. Of course, he was one of my best friends. I'd worked with him here at Lakewood for 17 years.
We had traveled the world together. I didn't know what I would do when my dad was gone, but I found God had another plan. He had something else for me to do. I couldn't see it at the time. I wanted God to do it my way, but God had a better way. I thought I would spend my life behind the scenes doing production, running the cameras. I didn't think I could get up here in front of people.
I didn't know this ability was in me. But God can see things in you that you can't see in yourself. His plan for your life is bigger than your plan, but it may not happen the way you thought.
God doesn't take us in a straight line. There will be twist turns, the disappointments, the loss, the bad breaks. They're all a part of his plan. But if you have conditional trust, you'll get discouraged and think, why is this happening? I'm going the wrong way, but God is still directing your steps. Trust him when you don't understand. Trust him even when it feels like you're going the wrong direction. What I thought would be my darkest hour, the loss of my father.
I say this respectfully. In one sense, it turned out to be my brightest hour. It launched me into what I'm doing today into a new level of my destiny. But sometimes we want things so bad we're not going to be happy unless. It happens our way. I can't be happy unless I get the house, unless I meet the right person, unless we have the baby that's out of balance, anything you have to have in order to be happy the enemy can use against you.
And it's good to be honest with God. Tell him your dreams. Tell him what you believe in. For God, this is what I want. I'm asking you to heal my loved one. Turn this problem around. God opened these new doors. It's fine to ask, but then be mature enough to say. But God, if it never happens, if I don't get the promotion, if my loved one doesn't make it, if my health doesn't improve, I'm still going to trust you.
Let's see if we can get so consumed with what we want that it can become like an idol.
That's all we think about, all we pray about. It's always on the forefront of our minds. Turn it over to God, pray, believe, then leave it in God's hands. Don't get so focused on what you want that you miss the beauty of this day. Everything may not be perfect. There are things that need to change, but God has given you the grace to be happy today. It's very freeing when you can say God is in your hands.
I trust you, not conditionally. If it works out my way, I trust you unconditionally, even when I don't understand it. In the Scripture, the apostle Paul had what he described as a thorn in his flesh. It was something either physically or spiritually that he didn't like. It was bothering him three times. He asked God to take it away, but God didn't remove it. Paul was honoring God. He was being his best. He wrote half of the books in the New Testament.
You would think God would fix what was bothering him. But God said to him, Paul, my grace is sufficient for you. He was saying, in effect, I may not remove it just yet, but I will give you the grace to handle it. And if God is not removing what you want removed, if he's not changing what you want change, don't use that as an excuse to live sour, bitter. God has given you the grace to be where you are with a good attitude.
You can enjoy your life in spite of what's not working out. And sometimes the reason our prayers are answered the way we want is because it's not the right time or God has something better that we can't see. Or perhaps he's using the difficulty to do a work in us to help us grow, to get stronger, unconditional trust, says God, I don't like it. I'm uncomfortable, but I'm smart enough to recognize your God and I'm not your on the throne.
You're in control of my life. You said your plans for me are for good. You said you would lead me down the best path for my life. And even though I don't understand it right now. God, I trust you. Are you live and frustrated? Unhappy because something is not going your way that's conditional trust. You live a lot freer, a lot happier if you'll quit fighting. What? God is not changing. Quit being upset over what he's not removing.
Paul said, I have learned how to be content. Didn't happen automatically. He made this decision. I'm not going to live sour because God hasn't removed this thorn. When he wants to remove it, he'll remove it. But until then, I'm going to be happy where I am, Thor and all.
The truth is we all have some thorns, things that God is not changing. He could if he wanted to, he's God. All he'd have to do is speak. And that problem would turn around. That person would treat you right. Wouldn't be any big deal. But since he's not doing it yet, would you do like Paul and be happy where you are? Thorning All trouble and all loneliness and all it takes a mature person to say, even though God is not removing this, I'm still going to have a smile.
I'm still going to be good to people. I'm still going to give God praise. This is what happened with the three Hebrew teenagers in the scripture. They wouldn't bow down to the king's golden idol. The king was furious he was going to have them thrown into a fiery furnace. They said, King, we're not going to bow down. We know our God will deliver us. But even if he doesn't, we're still not going to bow down.
That's unconditional trust. I believe God's going to turn this situation around. But even if he doesn't, I'm still going to be. Happy, I believe I'm going to get the promotion. Believe my health is improving. I believe the right person is coming. But if it doesn't happen, I'm not going to get bitter sour. I know God is still on the throne if he's not changing it. He has a reason my life is in his hands.
Dare to trust him, not just when things are going your way, but even when you don't understand. The Psalmist said God will work out his plan for your life. You don't have to work it all out. You don't have to make it happen in your own strength. Try to manipulate people, fight all your battles. Why don't you relax, take the pressure off yourself and let God work out his plan for your life. He can do it better than you can.
He knows the best path. And that's what these teenagers were saying. We know God will deliver us from this far. But even if he doesn't, we're not going to get upset and start panicking. We know we're not doing life on our own. The most high God, the creator of the universe, is working out his plan for our lives. All the forces of darkness cannot stop what God has ordained. That sickness can't stop him. Trouble at work can't stop.
And the disappointments, the setbacks, you may have a lot coming against you. You feel like you're about to be thrown into a fire. The good news is you're not going to go in there alone. You couldn't be put in that fire unless God allowed it. The enemy is not in control of your life. God is in control. He is working out his plan. Sometimes his plan includes fiery furnaces. Sometimes it includes giants, Red Seas, Ferro's, people that don't like you, obstacles that seem insurmountable.
You don't see a way. But since you know the Lord is directing your steps, you don't try to figure it all out.
It may look like the end, but like these teenagers, you have unconditional trust. I know God will deliver me, but even if he doesn't, I'm still going to have a song of praise. I'm still going to have an attitude of faith. I'm still going to live my life happy. The king had these teenagers thrown into the furnace. The fire was so hot when the guards opened the door, they were killed. In a few minutes, the king came to check on them.
He looked through the window and couldn't believe his eyes. He said, Didn't we throw in three men bound? I see four men loosed and one looks like the son of God. What was that? God working out his plan for their lives. But I wonder what the outcome would have been if they would have had conditional trust. God, if you deliver us from this far, then we'll stay in faith. God, if you do it our way, we'll keep a good attitude.
But when the King didn't change his mind, when God didn't remove the obstacle, if they would have gotten negative complained God, we don't understand it. We prayed. We believe we stood in faith. Why didn't you turn it around? Maybe the furnace would have been the end. Maybe we wouldn't be talking about them today. If you want to get God's attention, if you want him to take you where you've never dreamed and turn impossible situations around, do like these teenagers.
I know God will deliver me from this far, have a statement of faith, but then follow it up with. But even if he doesn't, God, I'm still going to honor you.
I'm still going to be my best. When you live like that, you take away all the enemy's power. He's expecting you to get upset, to be worried if it doesn't work out, to fall apart, live in self-pity. When you have unconditional trust, you can't be defeated. You may have challenges that look bigger, stronger in the natural. You don't have a chance. Don't be intimidated. The forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you.
The scripture, says Anjo. You will not be harvested before your time.
You may get thrown into a fire, but if it's not your time to go, you're not going to go. God has the final say right now. He is walking out his plan for your life. There may be some fiery furnaces. Are you only going to trust him if he delivers you from the fire? If he takes away all the thorns, if he does it your way, or are you going to have unconditional trust, trust him like these teenagers, even if he takes you through the fire?
Looking back over my life, things haven't turned out the. I thought I had a plan, I had it all figured out, I told God what to do, when to do it, what I needed, who to use, how to get me there. I gave him good information, my very best. The funny thing is God didn't take my advice. He had his own plan. What I found is God's plan has always been better than my plan.
His ways have always been more rewarding, more fulfilling, bigger than my ways.
If God would have done everything I asked and answered my prayers the way I wanted on my timetable, it would have limited my destiny. I wouldn't be where I am. I couldn't see it at the time. Didn't make sense, seemed like a good thing. But one day I learned what Isaiah said, that God's ways are higher than our ways. His plans are better than our plans. Quit being discouraged over something that didn't work out the way you want it.
Don't live frustrated because maybe somebody left that you wanted to stay a door closed, that you wanted open. God knows what he's doing. You may not see it now, but one day when you see what God was up to, you'll be glad he closed the doors. You'll thank him for not answering those prayers. The longer I live, the more I pray God, not my will, but let your will be done. I don't fight the closed doors anymore.
I don't get frustrated when things aren't changing as fast as I would like. I know that God is in control. As long as you're honoring him being your best at the right time, God will get you to where you're supposed to be. It may not be where you thought God is going to take you further than you ever imagine. And I believe in praying for our dreams and pray in bold prayers, believe in for big things. But I've learned to let God do it his way, hold tightly to what God put in your heart, but hold loosely to how it's going to happen.
Don't get set in your ways. Don't be discouraged because it hasn't happened the way you thought. God is working out his plan for your life a couple of years after Victoria.
Now we're married. We sold our townhouse. We were going to buy our first home. We were so excited. We looked for months and months and we found this house that we really loved. It's on a beautiful lot, big trees, so picturesque. It was like our dream house. We made an offer not much less than they were asking. We didn't hear back for a couple of weeks and the house was empty. So we would go out at night and pray over it.
And thank God that it was ours. Dream about living there. Here's where we'll put our furniture. Here's where we'll put a swing set. One day we were sure it was going to happen, but they called back and said they weren't going to accept our offer. We knew that was the devil trying to take our house because that's supposed to be ours. Have you noticed the devil gets blamed for a lot of things he had nothing to do with?
We went back to that house and we started marching around it, pray and bond and loose and doing everything we could. A few days later, they sold it to somebody else. Have you ever felt like God let you down? He could have changed it so easily. We were right there, but the door closed. We said, God, where were you? This was our dream house. But if you're only going to be happy, if God does it your way, that's not trusting.
That's giving God orders, you'll be frustrated. Why don't you put your life in his hands? He knows what's best for you. He can see things that we can't see. A couple of months later, we found another house in close to the city. We purchased that place two years after that. We sold half of that property for more than we paid for the whole property. We ended up building a new house there. God blessed us in ways greater than we ever imagined.
But now sometimes I'll drive back by that other house I wanted so bad and say, Lord, thank you for closing this door.
Thank you. That it didn't work out some of the things that are not working out in your life.
Now, one day you'll be doing like I did. Lord, thank you. That it didn't work out my way. You could save yourself a lot of frustration if you'd learn to have unconditional trust. The closed doors, the disappointments, the delays, it's all working for you. And yes, it's good to be determined, be persistent, but let God do it his way. If he's not changing it, not removing it, not opening it. Don't fight it.
Learn to embrace where you are. He's given you the grace not to just be there, but to be there with a good attitude if you're going to pass the test. Keep a smile on your face. Keep a song in your heart. Keep passion in your spirit. Don't drag through the day disappointed. This is the day the Lord has made.
He's still on the throne. He's working out his plan for your life. He's going to get you to where you're supposed to be.
But live and worried. Frustrated, disappointed. That takes our passion. It steals our joy. And it can keep us from seeing God's favor. And sometimes the closed doors, the disappointments, they are simply a test. God wants to see if we'll trust him when we don't understand it, when life does it make sense. This is what happened with Abraham. He waited twenty years to have his son Isaac. He and his wife Sarah were way up there in their 80s.
They prayed, I believe, stood in faith. They finally saw the promise come to pass. They were so excited. You can imagine how Abraham must have felt years later when God told him to take Isaac on top of a mountain and sacrifice him. That didn't make sense. Isaac was what Abraham loved the most. This was the fulfillment of the promise. Now God was asking him to put his dream on the altar. Abraham didn't understand it. It didn't seem fair, but he was obedient.
He passed the trust test just as he was about to follow through. God stopped him and said, Abraham, don't do it now. I can see you trust me more than anything like Abraham. There will be times God ask us to put our dream on the altar. We have to show him that we don't have to have the house to be happy. If we don't have the baby, we're not going to live bitter and sour you believe in for your health to improve.
But when you can say if it doesn't get better, God, I'm still going to honor you. I'm still going to be my best. You are doing what Abraham did. You are putting your dream on the altar. When God sees that you don't have to have it many times like him, God will give you back what you were willing to give up. During World War Two, there was a young soldier in a library in Florida. While he was reading a book.
He noticed all the handwritten notes in the margin. They were very thoughtful and heartwarming. He turned to the front of the book. Just so happened it had the previous owners name and address. It was a lady named Holly that lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and telling how he was about to be shipped off overseas to Europe. The next day he invited her to respond and they could talk about the book. Much to his surprise, he received a letter in return for the next 13 months.
They wrote back and forth again and again, getting closer and closer. They were actually falling in love, yet they had never seen each other. He had requested a picture, but she refused. A year and a half later, he was coming back home through New York City. This was their big opportunity. They were going to meet for the first time and go out to dinner. She said, I'll be waiting for you. When you get off the ship, you'll know it's me.
But the pink rose I'll be wearing sailing back across the ocean. He was so excited and so nervous at the same time he stepped off the ship. The big moment finally arrived. This beautiful young lady came walking toward him. She took his breath away. She was stunning, tall, gorgeous features in great shape. She looked like a movie star. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. He was so taken aback by it. He didn't realize she wasn't wearing a pink rose.
As she passed on by, he finally came back down to earth. About that time this lady in her 40s walked up to him. She wasn't necessarily attractive, had graying hair, and just so happened she was wearing the pink rose, disappointed, but not showing it. He walked up to her with a smile. He saluted and said, Hello, ma'am, you must be Holly. I'm so glad to meet you. Can I take you to dinner?
The lady said, Son, I'm not sure what's going on, but the young lady that just passed you asked me to wear this pink rose. She said if you invited me to dinner to tell you, she'll be waiting for you in the restaurant across the. It was simply a test, will you do the right thing when it's hard? Will you trust God when it's not what you thought, when you don't understand it? God said to Abraham because you did not withhold your only son.
I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the sand on the seashore. When you do like Abraham, you do like this young soldier and you pass the trust test. God will not only give you the desires of your heart, he'll do more than you can ask or think. Are you living frustrated because your prayers aren't being answered the way you want? Your plans aren't working out. Take the pressure off. God is in control.
He knows what's best for you. You're not always going to understand it. If you did, it wouldn't take any faith. I'm asking you to trust him unconditionally. If you will do this, I believe and declare God is going to work out his plan for your life. He's going to open the right doors, bring the right people, turn negative situations around and take you to the fullness of your destiny in Jesus name if you receive it.
Can you say it 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, our repeat 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. Keep God first place. He's going to take your places you've never dream.
Thank you for listening to the Toulouse Dime podcast. Help us continue to share the message of hope with those all over the world. Visit Joel Osteen, dotcom slash. Give Hope to give a gift today. Thanks so much for listening to today's message. I hope you 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.