Turn Off the Flow | Joel Osteen

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Turn Off the Flow | Joel Osteen

Use your words to speak life into people. The mercy you show others is the mercy that’s going to be shown to you.

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Well, God bless you.
It’s great to be with you today and I hope you’ll stay connected with us during the week through our daily podcast, our YouTube channel, and social media, and you can come visit us in person.
We’d love to have you be a part of one of our services.
I’d like to start with something funny. I heard about this man that died and went to heaven. St.
Peter escorted him down this long hallway filled with thousands of clocks on the wall.
The hands on the clock were moving at different speeds. Peter explained that every person has a clock.
When they sin, the clock ticks. One clock was barely moving. That was Billy Graham’s clock.
Another clock was creeping along, Mother Teresa’s clock. The men said curiously, Can I see my clock?
Peter said, Yeah, we keep yours in the office and use it as a fan.
All right, y’all. 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 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 turn off the flow.
We live in a day where there’s all kinds of gossip, slander, people spreading rumors.
They can post it on social media and don’t even have to put their name on it, hide behind being anonymous.
They’re busy bodies. They have an opinion about everything.
They go around saying things that are half true, out of context, disparaging others.
But you and I should live by a higher standard.
Proverbs 10 says, To slander is to be a fool. Don’t talk too much, It causes you to sin.
Be sensible and turn off the flow.
How much higher could we go if we would simply turn off the flow?
Not have an opinion about everything? Not repeat things that are going to make someone look bad?
Not be nosy and try to find the latest scoop so we can pass it along?
Well, Joel, everyone’s doing it. Yes, but you’re not everyone. You’re a cut above.
God created you to be like an eagle, to rise above all the negative chatter, the backbiting, the gossip, and to use your words to bless people, not to curse people.
If you can’t say anything good, don’t say it.
To slander, to spread rumors, to make people look bad, the scripture says it’s to be a fool.
The reason it’s foolish is because what you sow, you’re going to reap.
If you sow hurtful words, disparaging remarks, talking bad behind their back, it’s going to happen to you.
You can save yourself a lot of heartache, a lot of trouble, if you’ll just turn off the flow.
You’re called to be an eagle. Now, don’t go around like a crow.
A crow is always making noise in everybody else’s business, trying to stir up trouble.
But one of the seven things the scripture says that God hates is someone that sows discord.
Someone that’s always stirring things up, bringing division, saying things they know are going to cause strife, jealousy, damage a reputation.
Hate is a strong word.
Could have said that God dislikes it, God encourages us not to do it, but God doesn’t take this lightly.
You can’t slander people and be blessed. You can’t discredit someone and see God’s favor.
Well, Joel, what I’m saying is all true.
I’m not making it up, but do you need to repeat it? Is it necessary? Is it benefiting anything?
Or is it just putting them in a bad light? I read this quote.
Have you heard a word against your neighbor? Then let it die within you.
This is saying, have you heard some gossip? Have you read something juicy on the internet?
Has a friend given you inside information about someone that failed, that cheated, that got into trouble?
Here’s what you do. Don’t run to the phone and call 3 friends.
Don’t get on the internet and expose them. Don’t email all your cousins. Let it die within you.
Keep it to yourself. This is going to show what kind of person you are.
Are you a big person? An eagle? You’re honorable? You stay on the high path?
You cover for people, you show mercy? Or are you a small person? A crow, noisy, a busybody?
Small people stir up trouble. Small people spread bad news.
Small people feed off of others’ mistakes and failures. That’s not you. You’re not a crow.
Be the eagle God created you to be.
When you let it die within you, you’re not just doing them a favor. You’re doing yourself a favor.
God will not promote gossips, fault finders, busy bodies.
I’ve heard it said that every person carries a bucket of gasoline and a bucket of water.
When you hear gossip, rumors, juicy information, you can either pour gasoline on it, add fuel to the fire, make it bigger, cause it to spread, or you can pour water on it and help put out the fire.
Too many people use their gasoline. They’re justifying it. Joel, it’s true. I’m just stating the facts.
They did wrong. They may be guilty, but the scripture says love covers a person’s faults.
Love doesn’t expose them. Love doesn’t go call 5 friends. Love doesn’t put it on Facebook.
The mercy you show others is the mercy that’s going to be shown to you.
If you’re harsh, judgmental, you expose people’s failures, magnify their mistakes, that same judgment is going to come back to you.
And you may know things that are true about people that could make them look bad.
That’s a test. Can God trust you to not damage their reputation? To let it die within you?
Or are you going to open that faucet and go around spreading everything you know?
That’s going to limit how high you will go.
In the book of Genesis, Noah was on the ark for 190 days with his family and all the animals.
You can imagine how he must have felt being cramped up not only with the animals, but with his family for 6 months.
Nowhere to go, always with each other.
Someone pointed out, the first thing Noah did when he got off the ark was get drunk.
I’m not saying that was right, but he had had enough.
Some of you have a hard time at the family reunion for one day. Imagine 6 months.
Noah went to his tent. He had too much to drink.
He was lying on the floor, passed out, not wearing any clothes.
His youngest son, Ham, came in and saw him there on the ground totally naked.
Instead of covering for his father, trying to protect his reputation, he poured gasoline on the fire.
He went out and started talking, spreading all the juicy news, told his brothers, you won’t believe what I saw.
Dad’s making a fool of himself. He’s drunk. He’s naked. He’s on the floor. On and on.
Noah’s other 2 sons, Shem and Japheth, did just the opposite.
They got a robe and went to the tent.
They held up that robe and walked in backwards so they wouldn’t see their father.
They didn’t want to look at him in that state, Even though he was drunk, naked, passed out, he had done wrong, made mistakes, these 2 sons wouldn’t dishonor their father.
They walked backwards and placed the robe over him to cover him.
One son exposed his father, went out and told everyone. These 2 sons covered their father.
They had their bucket of water. They were putting out the fire. They heard something juicy.
They saw their father had failed, but they chose to let it die within them. Which son are you?
One lesson that I love here is to stick up for your family.
The people that you live with, the people God’s connected you to, they’re going to make mistakes.
They’re going to say things they shouldn’t, do things that can bring embarrassment.
It’s tempting to be like Ham. Look what they’ve done. They’re a fool. No. That’s your family.
That’s your blood. That’s who God ordains you to be related to.
You need to defend your family, protect their reputations.
There may be things said behind closed doors, but outside, you need to be their biggest cheerleader.
Don’t call your friends and tell all the negative things about your son, your daughter.
Don’t tell your classmate how bad your brother is, how he can’t get it together.
No matter how much they don’t deserve it, you need to honor your family in front of other people.
You may have a private challenge, but don’t let it go public. Stick up for your family.
Defend those that God has given you.
Proverbs says, a friend is loyal, but a brother is born for times of adversity.
In tough times, your son needs you. Your mother, your father, your sister, they need you.
Not your judgment. Not the harsh, critical, you should have known better. You deserve to be exposed.
You embarrassed yourself. No, get the robe and cover them. They don’t need more guilt, more condemnation.
They already know what they did wrong. They got enough people talking, fault finders, gossipers.
They need someone that will show mercy, someone that will love them back into wholeness.
God is counting on you to be that bigger person, to cover a mistake, to not hold what happened in the past against them.
It’s easy to look down on people who are close to us because we know their faults.
We’ve seen their shortcomings. This is when mercy has to step in.
If your family can’t count on you, who can they count on?
If you don’t take up your father, your son, your sibling, who’s going to do it?
There are plenty of people outside trying to disparage, discredit, expose. Your family needs you. Be a healer.
Be a restorer. Be a lifter.
When Noah woke up and found out what happened, he said to Ham, the son that exposed him, Your children and grandchildren will always struggle.
There will be a curse on your descendants because you dishonored me. You damaged my reputation.
You didn’t defend me. You exposed me.
Noah said to Shem and Japheth, the 2 sons that covered him, you and your descendants will always be blessed.
You will prosper. You will rule over cities. Your land will increase.
You will always have God’s favor because you showed me honor.
The principle is whenever we’re gossiping, exposing, making people look bad, we’re on Ham’s side.
We step out from under the blessing. Would you all? I just talk a lot.
It’s not hurting anything. No. That’s limiting your future.
There’s a hindrance, a barrier that will keep you from excelling.
Get out from underhand side and come over to the blessed side.
When you show honor, even when honor is not due, like these brothers, you choose to cover a fall.
You stick up for your family.
You defend that coworker, you let that gossip die within you, you pour water instead of gasoline, God says to you what he said to the 2 brothers, you’re going to be blessed.
You will be honored. You will see favor and increase.
But a lot of the negative, juicy things we hear about friends and coworkers, there may be a small truth to it, but it’s slanted to make the person look bad.
It’s taken out of context. The negative is magnified. That’s how rumors get started. Now there are 3 different versions.
By the time it gets to us, it’s a fraction of the truth. Don’t believe everything you hear.
Don’t go around repeating things you’re not sure are accurate. A lot of people are busybodies.
They live to stir things up. They’re nosy, always trying to find the latest scoop.
Did you hear about so and so? You don’t need people in your life like that. Spirits are transferrable.
If you hang around to gossip, you’re going to become a gossip.
If you hang around people that find fault, complain about the boss, disparage their spouse, that’s going to get off on you.
If they talk bad about people in front of you, they’ll talk bad about you in front of others.
David said it this way, Psalm 101, I will not tolerate people that slander their neighbor.
He was saying, I’m not going to associate with gossipers, backbiters, people that spread rumors.
Your destiny is too important.
Your time is too valuable to spend it with crows, with busybodies, people that have an opinion about everything, always trying to stir something up.
You need to be around other eagles.
Eagles are too busy pursuing their own dreams to worry about what everyone else is doing.
If you’re around nosy, busybodies, that’s going to distract you from your assignment.
It will keep you from the greatness God put in you.
You shouldn’t sit at lunch every day with people that bad mouth the company and find fault with everyone.
That’s a sign they are jealous, they’re insecure, they’re small minded.
If you don’t make a change, that poison will get off on you.
You have to put up some boundaries.
A man came up to me one time and said, Joel, did you hear about so and so?
And I could tell the way he was saying it, it wasn’t going to be good.
I just smiled and said, No. I didn’t hear anything.
And if it’s not good, I don’t really want to hear it. Your ears are not garbage cans.
Don’t let people fill you with a bunch of rumors, gossip. Who failed? Who’s in trouble?
Proverbs 11 says, a gossip goes around spreading rumors, but an honorable person tries to quiet them.
When you’re honorable, you pour water on the fire. You take up for people. You defend your family.
The enemy would love to draw us in to gossip, spreading rumors, being a busybody.
That’s a sure way to miss your destiny. And these days, there’s more noise than ever.
People saying things that aren’t true, trying to discredit, make you look bad.
It’s tempting to think, hey, 2 can play at this game. Let me tell you what I think about you.
If we’re not careful, we’ll get drawn into battles we’re not supposed to fight.
We’ll end up critical, disparaging others, saying things that aren’t true about them. Let God fight your battles.
You don’t have to defend yourself. You have a defender.
Your reputation is in God’s hands and he has never lost a battle. Ignore the negative chatter.
Don’t try to come back the lies, the rumors, the innuendos. You’ll never stop all that.
That’s a distraction to get you to spend your time and energy trying to prove to people who you are, how you’re not what they said.
Those are lies. Those are rumors. Can I tell you, they are misunderstanding you on purpose?
They’re never going to be for you. The good news is you don’t need them to fulfill your destiny.
But one test that we all have to pass is to not be critical toward people who are critical of us, to not disparage those that are trying to make us look bad.
See, an eagle never fights with a crow.
When a crow is pestering him, all the eagle does is go up higher.
A crow can’t fly at the altitude. An eagle can fly out. Quit fighting and go up higher.
Ignore it. It can’t stop your destiny.
If you’re going to reach your furthest potential, you have to be comfortable being misunderstood.
Jesus did no wrong.
He raised people from the dead, healed the sick, he fed the multitude, yet people slandered him, mischaracterized him, spread rumors, all on purpose.
They knew he was doing good, but they were jealous, small minded, insecure.
They couldn’t handle who he was. Some people can’t handle your success.
They’re going to lie, slander, disparage. Don’t sink down to their level.
It may not feel good, but they can’t stop your purpose.
You stay honorable, stay faithful, stay trustworthy, and God will take care of all the negative chatter.
He may not stop it, but he won’t let it stop you. You’ll continue to rise higher.
Few years after I started pastoring, there was a couple that attended Lakewood that owned a transportation company.
They had such big hearts and they wanted to help people in need.
So every Sunday, they would drive their big stretch limousines to the homeless shelters and bring people to church, drive them to the Open Door Mission, to the battered women’s home.
They treated these people like royalty. Some had never been in a limousine, but they brought them to church.
We gave them seats down front and told them who they are, children of Almighty God.
Well, these limousines were so big, they didn’t have anywhere to park them.
Of course, they wouldn’t fit in a normal spot.
I told that couple to park them right in front of the old church on the main driveway.
Some Sundays, there would be a half a dozen of these long stretch limousines in front of the building.
One day I received a letter. It said, Joel, we came in from out of town to visit Lakewood.
We loved it. We love what you’re doing, but we just don’t think it’s right that your family would come to church in all those big limousines.
Sometimes we’re critical of things we don’t understand. We’re making judgments without knowing the facts.
We form these negative opinions. We say things, but it’s not what it looks like.
We don’t know the full story. We just see the limos. We don’t know the motives.
We don’t know the reasons. We assume things that may not be true.
With all the ways to communicate these days, with all the chatter and social media, this coworker said this and my friend said that and my neighbor told me this, maybe we’re judging things prematurely.
Maybe we’re finding fault without knowing the details. Even if it is true, where is the mercy?
Where is the grace to give people room to make mistakes, to not be perfect?
Maybe God is dealing with them. Maybe they’re gonna make better decisions.
Instead of judging them, talking behind their backs, why don’t you take that same time and pray for them?
Be a part of the solution and not the problem.
My father went to college back in the 19 thirties.
There was a new student that showed up that year dressed in the nicest suit they had ever seen.
It was a Zoot suit. The pants came up real high. He had a vest, a beautiful tie.
Everyone commented on how good he looked. He was the talk of the school.
Well, he wore that same suit the next day and the next and the next.
After a couple of weeks, people noticed that suit was all he wore. A month later, they started talking.
Here he comes with the same suit. Let’s see today. Yes, he’s got it on.
Once again, he was the talk of the campus, But this time, everyone was making fun.
They would snicker when he walked by, laugh and make more jokes.
3 months later, my father noticed he was packing up his suitcase and he asked where he was going.
He said, John, I’m going back home. My family is very poor.
They saved up all they could to send me to school.
We only had enough money to buy this one suit. It’s all I had to wear.
I was already self conscious about it, but now everyone makes fun. They ridicule me.
I can’t deal with it anymore. Dropped out and went home.
Of course, when my father and the other students found out about it, they felt about that big.
If they had known the facts, they would have been forgiving, understanding, even helped them to buy some more clothes.
How many times are we judging people without knowing the motives, without knowing the challenges, how they were raised, what they’re dealing with?
If we walked in their shoes, most of the time we’d be more understanding, more compassionate.
It’s easy to be critical, find fault, stir up the negative. That’s being a crow.
You’re an eagle. Let’s be people who are full of mercy.
People like Sham and Japheth, even when they are wrong, we cover the fault.
Paul said in 1 Thessalonians, make it your ambition to live a quiet life and to mind your own business.
What can distract us quicker than anything is minding everyone else’s business.
If he wears the same suit, that’s his choice.
If they have limousines at the front of the church, I don’t know all the details.
That’s not my business. I have enough drama in my own life. I don’t need your drama.
I’m not gonna judge you, be critical, tell you how to do everything.
Well, if I was them, I wouldn’t do that.
If I was her, I wouldn’t have married that guy. If I was him, I wouldn’t have chosen that career.
Here’s the whole key. You’re not them. You haven’t walked in their shoes. You haven’t experienced their pain.
You haven’t fought their battles. You don’t have their background.
It’s tempting to be critical, judgmental, but maybe there’s something you don’t understand.
Maybe those limousines are not what you think. Maybe wearing the same suit, he’s got a good reason.
Don’t be a hindrance. Start cutting them down. Be a help.
Use your words to bless, to encourage, to speak life, to speak victory.
I met a man That is not right That is not right.
I don’t understand why he would do that.
I thought to myself, I know exactly why, to get away from people like you.
Let people run their own life. If we’re nosy, busy bodies will end up critical.
Find and fall. Saying things to put people down. Now, run your race.
Focus on what God put in your heart.
What other people do or don’t do, that’s none of our business. That’s between them and God.
In the scripture, Moses’ sister, Miriam, didn’t like who Moses was going to marry.
She was Ethiopian from a different nationality than Moses. Miriam started talking behind Moses’ back.
She said to her brother, Aaron, why is he marrying this girl? She’s not the right one.
That’s a big mistake. Stirring up trouble, sowing discord. The scripture says God heard Miriam being disrespectful.
She wasn’t even talking to God. She was talking to her brother, but God heard it.
Verse 9 says, The anger of the Lord burned against them. It’s interesting.
When Jonah refused to go to Nineveh, did exactly opposite of what God told him to do, doesn’t say God was angry.
When David had Uriah killed to cover his affair, doesn’t say that God was angry.
But when Miriam talked bad about Moses, when she was critical and judgmental, it says God burned with anger.
God doesn’t take it lightly when we speak against people.
It was none of Miriam’s business who Moses chose to marry, but maybe Miriam was a busybody.
She had an opinion and she expressed it.
When she did, the scripture says immediately she was struck with leprosy. Her skin was full of disease.
She stepped out of the blessing in the ham side that opened the door to trouble.
By the mercy of God, she was later healed.
But this shows us how God sees slander, spreading rumors, being a busybody. Don’t let that be you.
Be an eagle. Stay on that high path. Put away your gasoline.
Keep your bucket of water to put out the fires. Be trustworthy. Be honorable and quiet the gossip.
You heard something juicy? Let it die within you. You have a destiny to fulfill.
There’s a calling on your life. Don’t get distracted by what others are doing. Run your race.
Focus on your assignment. God is counting on you to be the bigger person, to stick up for your family, to defend your friends, to cover some faults.
If you’ll do this, I believe and declare what God promised Shem and Japheth.
You and your descendants will always be blessed. You will prosper. You will be in leadership.
Your land will increase. You will become all God created you to be.
In Jesus’ name, and if you receive it, can you say amen?
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.
We’d love to send you some free information on your new walk with the Lord.
You can text the number on the screen or go to the website.
But I hope you’ll get into a good bible based church and keep God first place.

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