'Your Best Life Now' by Joel Osteen

At the time, we were living in an extremely old house that had experienced some foundation problems, preventing all of our doors on the inside from closing properly. We had stretched our faith and spent everything we had just to buy that home and get into that neighborhood. Thinking of our bank account, and my income at the time, it seemed impossible to me that we'd ever work our way up to a home like the one we had toured.

Being the "great man of faith" that I am, I said, "Victoria, that home is so far beyond our reach, I don't see how we could ever afford something like that."

But Victoria had much more faith than I did, and she would not give up. We stood out in front of that house for thirty minutes and debated. She told me all the reasons why it could happen. I told her all the reasons why I doubted.

She said, "No, Joel; I feel it deep inside. It is going to happen."

She was so filled with joy, I didn't want to burst her bubble, so I let the matter drop. But Victoria didn't! Over the next several months, she kept speaking words of faith and victory, and she finally talked me into it. She convinced me that we could live in an elegant home like the one we saw. I got rid of my limited thinking and I started agreeing with her. I started believing that somehow, some way, God could bring it to pass. We kept on believing it, seeing it, and speaking it.

Several years later, we sold our property, and through another real estate deal, we were able to build a house just like the one we had viewed. We saw it come to pass. But I don't believe it ever would have happened had we not first conceived it on the inside. I don't believe it would have happened if Victoria had not talked me into enlarging my vision. God has so much more in store for you, too. Start making room for it in your thinking. Conceive it on the inside. Start seeing yourself rising to a new level, doing something of significance, living in that home of your dreams. If you want to see God's "far and beyond" favor, then you must replace those old wineskins.

"I've gone as far as my parents were able to go," Steve said to me. "I've gone as far as anybody else in my family. That's good enough, isn't it?"

"No," I told him. "You don't have to be bound by the barriers of the past. God wants you to go further than your parents. I'm sure your parents were fine, hardworking people, but don't fall into that trap of just sitting back and accepting the status quo. You need to make a decision that you are not going to live an average, mediocre life. When you get up in the morning you need to have the attitude of: I'm going to do something great. I'm going to excel in my career. I'm going to enthusiastically serve other people. I'm going to break out of this mold and rise to new heights.

I tell my children all the time, "You're going to go much further than Daddy. You have so much potential. You're going to accomplish great things!"

I'm not simply trying to instill pride in our children; I want them to have a big vision. I want them to conceive great possibilities at an early age. I want them to grow up expecting God's favor, expecting to be leaders, expecting to excel in whatever they do. And I know they must have it on the inside before God can ever bring it to pass on the outside.

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