Faith It 'Til You Make It - Ben Tankard


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Faith It 'Til You Make It - Ben Tankard

  1. 1. Ben Tankard Ben Tankard is a 6’6” big guy, I look like HIM on the inside…..Joel Osteen
  2. 2. What Others Have Said About Ben Tankard I have enjoyed Ben’s music and ministry over the last decade. This new book has my endorsement! —A. C. Green, Former NBA Player, Motivational Speaker, Business Owner Ben Tankard is a big guy . . . I look like him on the inside . . . —Joel Osteen, Lakewood Church, Champions Pastor Network Ben Tankard has struck a chord the body of Christ needs to hear as he speaks to us about the significant role faith plays in helping attain our God-given goals without compromising the deeper treasure of inner harmony with God. —Bishop T. D. Jakes, The Potter’s House, Inc. Ben Tankard, is gifted and talented and has dedicated his gifts to the Lord! —Dr. Frederick K. C. Price, Crenshaw Christian Center Ben Tankard is one of the most talented young men in ministry today. Taffi [my wife] and I could not be more proud of what he has accomplished. Keep up the good work, Ben! —Dr. Creflo Dollar, World Changers Ministries International Everyone should read this book and hear this great message. Great work! —Dr. Myles Munroe, Bahamas Faith Ministries International
  3. 3. Faith It ’Til You Make It Make Your Future Hear Your Voice Ben Ta nk a r d A DIVISION OF THOMAS NELSON
  4. 4. Copyright © 2013 Ben Tankard. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. WestBow Press books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting: WestBow Press A Division of Thomas Nelson 1663 Liberty Drive Bloomington, IN 47403 1-(866) 928-1240 Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them. Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only. Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock. Ben-Jamin’ Universal 1510 Memorial Blvd Murfreesboro,TN 37129 615-907-0185 ISBN: 978-1-4908-0709-6 (e) Printed in the United States of America. WestBow Press rev. date: 09/12/2013
  5. 5. vii Welcome From Test to Testimony (Article on Ben Tankard from Victory Magazine, Kenneth Copeland Ministries. Reprinted by permission.) The evening sun was barely visible in the quiet December sky as Ben Tankard maneuvered his International RXT truck around the circular driveway to his home. He and his wife, Jewel, and their children had recently moved into the beautiful three-floor, 14,000-square-foot mansion in the Nashville, Tennessee suburb of Murfreesboro. The colorful lights illuminating the street set the tone for the season, and for how Ben felt every year as Christmas drew near. But the song softly playing on his truck stereo made the season more real than Ben sometimes ­cared to remember. Wiping a tear from his cheek, Ben stepped from the truck, now unable to erase the memory of the drumbeats from the song “The Little Drummer Boy.” Neither could he ignore the thoughts of how significant that song had been in his life. From the age of three, Ben had loved the sound of drums. “I can remember wishing for a drum every Christmas,” Ben recalls. “But somehow, even that young, I knew it would never happen. We were very poor! Our clothes came from Goodwill, and our Christmas presents often came from the Salvation Army.”
  6. 6. viii Poor Little Drummer Boy When he was seven, Ben tried out for the school Christmas production of The Little Drummer Boy. Unlike others auditioning for the part of the drummer, Ben didn’t own a snare drum. Rather than embarrass him by pointing out that the audition required him to have a drum, the music teacher had asked one of the other boys to loan Ben his drum. “Halfway through my audition the teacher stopped me and announced, ‘This young man is who we are looking for,’” Ben remembers. When the pageant concluded, Ben received three standing ovations. The teacher surprised Ben by giving him the drum he had used in the play. She also told him how proud she was of his performance, and that his mother had dressed him so perfectly for the part. “She had no idea I was not dressed ragged on purpose,” Ben said. “She never knew the clothes I wore that night—an old tattered shirt and some cutoff blue jeans—were the best clothes I had.” “Every time I hear that song I get emotional,” Ben says unashamedly. “It humbles me because I know where I came from and I know who is responsible for me being where I am today.”
  7. 7. ix Starting From Nowhere Where Ben Tankard is today is a good place. Acknowledged by many as “the Quincy Jones of gospel,” Ben is one of Christian music’s best- selling instrumentalists. Twenty-one gold and platinum albums line the walls of his twenty-three-room mansion—the result of songs he wrote and produced and his association with other artists in the industry. He has also received more than fifty Grammy, Dove, and Stellar Awards and nominations over the past twenty years, yet these tell only part of the story of how God has brought him through rough and tragic times. The vacation home in Florida; a fleet of vehicles that includes a limousine, a Mercedes, and two motorcycles; two private airplanes which Ben pilots himself; and an unshakable marriage that is founded on God’s Word are a testimony, Ben says, to what God will do when you truly trust Him. “It’s not because of anything I’ve done—it’s all about God’s mercy. Had it not been for Him I would be exactly where I started—nowhere.” Describing life growing up in Daytona Beach, Fla., as “nowhere” is about as accurate as it gets for Ben and his family. Ben’s father, Arthur, a Pentecostal preacher, worked hard to provide for his wife, Mary, and their two daughters and son. But times were hard. Like many in those days, the Tankards received their share of government rations, including food stamps, powdered eggs and milk, peanut butter, and cheese. When his job as a migrant worker didn’t bring in enough money to support the family, Arthur collected and sold aluminum cans. “He would leave home around 4:00 a.m. and spend all day looking for cans, and return with his station wagon loaded with smelly beer cans,” Ben remembers. “Sometimes we had cans in the backyard piled seven feet high. “I’m sure we weren’t the only poor people back then, but when it’s you, I guess you tend to only see yourself,” Ben said, recalling how a decent meal meant getting chicken backs and wing tips, and turkey parts from the meat market for ten cents a pound. “We got excited just knowing there was meat on those chicken backs.”
  8. 8. x The Reality of Poverty Poverty was a way of life for the Tankards, but so was church. “We were in church almost every day, and our parents were very strict regarding our lifestyle,” Ben recalls. “My sisters were not allowed to wear pants, we never went to the movies, and we could only watch TV two hours a day. “I remember thinking, What a way to grow up!” Ben said. “It’s not that I was critical of my parents, because they took real good care of us. I just didn’t understand why it was so hard to have enough food or a decent place to live. The Bible says faith comes by hearing, but the church we were in didn’t teach about prosperity. We didn’t know how to exercise faith for what we wanted, or that we could have faith to believe past where we were so we never prospered.” “The only time I remember my family ever setting a goal was once when we wanted a double-wide trailer. But that had nothing to do with faith; we just wanted a double-wide!” They never got the double-wide, but things did start to look up. In 1975, Ben’s dad came home after being away doing migrant work and announced he had found a steady job and a new place to live. The news signaled a fresh start for the Tankards, or so they thought. Their new home in Starke, Fla., turned out to be a small apartment in back of an old, abandoned movie theater. There was running water and a shower, but the only bathroom was at the front of the theater. In Starke, Ben developed a stronger interest in music and quickly excelled. He was the only seventh grader to play with the high-school concert band. In high school he played with the nearby university’s symphony orchestra. Later his family moved to Chattahoochee, where Ben’s life began to take shape when his large, six-foot, six-inch frame caught the attention of the high-school basketball coach. As a result of his impressive performance on the basketball court, and his musical talent, Ben had more than fifty college scholarship offers when it came time to graduate. To stay close to home, he chose to attend Wallace Community College in nearby Dothan, Ala.
  9. 9. xi The Wrong Plan Clearly, God had a plan for Ben Tankard. But by now, Ben had become so absorbed with his own plan for success he never considered looking to God. “I suppose it goes back to never being taught,” Ben says. “I never knew God loved me enough to do anything for me. My plan was to finish college, then play professional basketball overseas or try for a spot in the NBA.” In 1984, while playing with a minor league basketball team in Canada, Ben was invited to a basketball camp where, he was told, NBA scouts would be present. “The scouts did see me play and were interested in me,” Ben said. “But I blew out my knee in the first workout and just like that it was over. There went my chance of being in the NBA.” Considering himself a failure, Ben returned to Dothan, Ala.
  10. 10. xii A Real Turning Point Desperate people do desperate things. At twenty-one, Ben Tankard had become desperate. “I had done everything I knew to make it, but nothing worked,” Ben said. “Even worse, I had turned my back on church and God. Now I was in a fix and didn’t know what to do.” Alone in his mobile home, Ben picked up a brochure someone had given him announcing a local church revival. What harm could it do to go? he thought. That night at the revival, a broken Ben Tankard walked down the center aisle to the front of the room to ask Jesus into his life. “I had spent most of my life in church,” Ben said, “but I cannot honestly remember ever taking a step toward salvation. I guess because we were in church every day, I assumed I didn’t have anything to give up. But that night at the service, I gave it all up . . . I received Jesus Christ as Lord of my life.” As Ben headed back to his seat the minister said, “God has something else for you.” He anointed Ben with oil, and then told him to sit down and play the organ. “I had never played keyboards before, but that night, under the power of the Holy Spirit, I began to play like a seasoned professional,” Ben said. “Sounds were coming from that organ that neither I nor anyone else in that room had ever heard before—beautiful, jazzy, anointed sounds. Somehow, I knew they were from God, and I knew I had been anointed with a special gift.”
  11. 11. xiii The Sounds of a Minstrel Over the next few years, Ben endured more challenges. His father’s health had begun to fail, prompting Ben to move back to Florida to be closer to his family. With no career plans, Ben worked several odd jobs to help out, while a marriage, which had produced three children, ended in divorce. One day during his lunch break, Ben stopped at a music shop and was tinkering with a keyboard when a customer asked if he could play country music. When Ben started playing, the woman turned to the salesclerk and said, “I’ll take the one he’s playing,” Ben remembers. A similar thing happened the next day after a customer heard Ben playing classical music. When Ben’s talent became obvious, the store manager gave him a job. “I still had a great love for music, and I saw this as my opportunity to finally do what I really wanted,” Ben said. “Only this time I didn’t go out on my own. I knew for me to succeed I had to allow God to show me how to make it happen.” By 1989, Ben had started his first music company, and within a year had produced his first album, All Keyed Up. Though he considered it a good first effort, the music industry rejected it. “The negative responses poured in like rain,” Ben remembers. “Secular companies said the music was too gospel, while gospel companies labeled it too jazzy.” Undaunted, Ben continued to push his new “gospel jazz” sound. “I knew if this was something God had truly called me to, if He really intended for me to be successful as a musician, it would not come without some kind of difficulty or hardship,” Ben said. The years that followed brought their share of hardships, including the death of both Ben’s parents and a second failed marriage.
  12. 12. xiv A Spiritual Pied Piper In 1997, Ben visited the Holy Land. “Standing in the place where Jesus stood, and looking at the tomb where He was laid, something happened to me,” Ben reflects. “I began to see Jesus on a more personal level. Connecting the dots in my life, I could see how He had literally taken me from one point to another. I wanted to know Him even more!” That year, Ben enrolled in a correspondence course through Rhema Bible Training Center. “One of the books on my required reading list was Prosperity: The Choice Is Yours by Kenneth Copeland,” Ben remembers. “In it Brother Copeland talked about receiving to please the Father . . . When I read that, I understood— God has already provided for us, and it pleases Him when we receive.” Two years later, Ben was attending a conference when Pastor Creflo Dollar told him: “As you yield to God, you will be raised up as a spiritual Pied Piper like David, to usher people into God’s presence. You will be not only a musician, but a minister to carry the Word of the Lord and lead people into their destiny.” Around the same time, the Lord revealed something to Ben as he was reading Galatians 6:7, “God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” “I needed money to finance my music,” Ben said. “I understood that God had already made the provision. Now it was up to me to put my faith into action by doing something to receive what God had already given me. “I realized it was not just about the amount of money—it was about frequency. If I needed money every day, then I needed to give money every day.” Over the next year, Ben put into practice what the Lord had shown him. “I loved Brother Copeland’s teaching, and had already become a partner with his ministry,” Ben said. “So every day I put an offering in the mail to Kenneth Copeland Ministries or another ministry. Before long I began to see major increase in my family.”
  13. 13. xv By 1999, Ben’s music career was in full swing with a number of hit songs to his credit, including “Git Yo Prayze On,” “Sunday Driving,” and “Keynote Speaker.” Invitations for concert appearances were pouring in, and several of his recordings had received nominations for Stellar, Dove, and Grammy Awards. In 2000, Ben met Jewel LaGreen, herself a divorcee and the mother of one daughter. “From the time I laid eyes on her, I knew she was God’s perfect will for my wife,” Ben says. “An anointed woman of God, she is everything I know God intended for a man to have and I cherish her deeply.” A year later, Ben and Jewel were married, and in 2002 they started the Destiny Center church in Murfreesboro. “Our lives have not been without challenges,” says Jewel, who is still learning to balance her career as a businesswoman and fashion model with being a mother, homemaker, and pastor’s wife. “Everything we’re walking in is the result of prayer, and that’s what we want for others—to realize that for every prize there is a process, and it begins with the sacrifice of giving your life to the Lord.” Looking back, Ben Tankard has learned a lot about sacrificial living. “The truth is, I never really lost out on anything,” he says. “It took me going through a lot of hard times in order to pass the test. I needed to wake up and realize God loves me, and that He anointed me for a purpose. Nothing was taken away from me, it was just delayed.” Nothing was taken away, including Ben’s desire to be involved in the NBA. In 2007, Ben received a call from a young man he had met ten years earlier who was working his way through college. He had become a director of player development with the NBA. “He wanted me to help them develop some music-based motivational programs they could use to train, encourage, and develop young players in areas outside of basketball,” Ben said. He still works in that capacity today as a motivational speaker.
  14. 14. xvi “God knew what my involvement with the NBA was to be from the very beginning,” Ben says. “I didn’t have to be on the court to be a testimony of His goodness. Just trusting Him and utilizing what He had anointed me with was enough.” Some people call them trials and tribulations. But as he looks over the circumstances of his life and all he faced growing up, Ben Tankard sees them as a series of tests. “They were all tests that God helped me pass,” Ben says. “And because I passed, today I have a tremendous testimony that gives all the glory to Him.”
  15. 15. xvii Introduction Faith without works is dead! Do Something Now! Have you ever felt as though these things were true in your life? None of my prayers every come to pass. It seems as though everyone and everything is against me. I feel like there is a curse on my life. If I did not have any bad luck, I would not have any luck at all. Nothing seems to be “working” for me. Have you ever had these thoughts or spoken these words? If you have, then this is the book for you! As a believer, it is likely that you have heard teaching on the subject of faith many times. You may even be thinking, “I know all about faith.” Well, let me stop you right there! The truth is that you will never know everything there is to know about faith. Why? Because faith cometh by hearing. That is because we never stop hearing. I’ve heard it said that repetition is the mother of better learning. In other words, the more we hear about a thing, the more we learn about that thing. Faith isn’t something we learn or attain overnight. It’s a gradual process of learning. And, according to Romans 10:17, it begins with the Word of God.
  16. 16. xviii But even if you “know” the Bible, it does not guarantee you positive results! It is not just what you know that makes you successful, but what you do. Memorize this phrase: “Works will work without faith, but faith will not work without works.” In other words, faith is a two-sided coin. The front side of the faith coin is the “belief” side. This is where you have a high level of confidence in what you believe in as truth. The back side of the faith coin is the “action” side. This is where you actually act on what you believe as truth and do something on a daily basis until something happens. Most people are highly developed on the belief side and underdeveloped on the action side. I go to the gym at 6:00 a.m. three times a week to play full-court basketball with some other thirty-five-year-old and older guys. Our goal is to look thirty-five until we’re one hundred, so we run very hard to stay in shape. I have been doing this for at least ten years. Almost every time I leave the gym, though, I see a large man sitting in the lobby watching TV and drinking something from a large cup. He usually is waiting for the swimming aerobics class to start. From time to time I stop and chat with him. Over the last few years I have lost forty pounds from working out. But in the same time I have seen him gain weight. I finally asked him one day what was in the cup he was drinking from. He said, coffee with lots of sugar. I told him if he changed that to water, then he would probably see some weight loss and actually benefit from his membership. In other words, this man was highly developed in his belief that going to the gym would keep him healthy. However, sitting in the gym lobby drinking sugar was working against him! He needed to be highly developed in working out instead. In the same gym, I often see a man who has big arm and chest muscles but very, very skinny legs (he looks like a cartoon). He will go up to the weight room and immediately begin to work on his arms and chest area . . . again. Because he never works on his legs, one area of his body is highly developed and the other area is underdeveloped. This is a lot like most people’s faith.
  17. 17. xix In this book, my plan is to assist you in developing both sides of your faith coin. I am a living witness that faith will totally change your life. Over the last twenty years I have grown from sad to happy, divorced to married, unknown to famous, poor to rich, noneffective to effective, and low impact to high impact through developing the action side of my faith coin. This book will detail the simple methods I have used to change my life from one of poverty and defeat to one of complete fullness. I am so glad you have allowed me to mentor you in this area. Let’s get started.
  18. 18. 1 Ch a p t er 1 FAITH: Finding Answers in the Heavens For me, the word faith has two meanings: “Finding Answers in the Heavens” and “Forsaking All in Trusting Him.” Why is faith so important to our Christian walk? Part of that answer is found in Hosea 4:6, which says, “My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge.” Notice that it did not say that people are destroyed for the lack of commitment, a lack of good works, or a lack of speaking in tongues. No, it says God’s people are destroyed for the “lack of knowledge.” Knowledge of what? Knowledge of God’s Word and what it says. Did you know that the most important thing for a believer, once he or she accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, is to learn to walk by faith? The will of God is not automatic in our lives. Not only must we study the Word of God and learn about the inheritance, promises, and blessings we are entitled to, but we should be aware of the curses, such as poverty, sickness, and spiritual death, so we will know what to avoid and what not to accept into our lives as “God’s will.” For something to truly become a part of us, it hast to become embedded in our spirits and be the major force of our thought lives. We have to constantly renew ourselves by feeding on the Word of God.
  19. 19. 2 Ben Tankard That’s what hearing is about. In Romans 12:2, Paul tells us, “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” How is the mind renewed? By hearing something over and over. Even the world knows that repetition brings results. Have you ever noticed, for instance, how easily you can pick up on a song just by hearing it repeatedly on the radio? You’re driving along and all of a sudden you’re singing along to some silly song or jingle that’s playing. How did you learn those words? Surely you didn’t just sit down and practice until you had them memorized. No. Some way, somehow, that song was introduced into your thinking over a period of time. And subconsciously, you picked up on those words that then became a part of your spirit. Well, the same principle applies where faith is concerned. You hear the Word of God, you hear the Word of God, and you hear the Word of God. Then, all of a sudden, faith in what you have heard begins to grow inside you. The Word of God becomes just as real as that silly song you were singing. This spiritual law will work regardless of how you apply it. If you feed on natural things, you will think natural, carnal thoughts and do natural, carnal deeds. But if you feed your spirit on the things of God—Hi Word—you will do those things that are in line with His Word. All things produce after their own kind. A farmer wouldn’t plant corn and expect a full crop of beans several weeks down the road. Likewise, a landscape contractor is not going to put out several dozen pounds of grass seed and come back in a few days expecting to see wheat springing up. In the same manner, you should not expect faith to pop up if you have not planted the proper seed. You won’t get a harvest of faith if you are planting only soap operas and game shows. When trouble comes and you need to exercise faith, all you’ll find coming up out of your
  20. 20. Faith It ’Til You Make It 3 spirit is a repeat of what happened on one of those carnal television programs. We know a minister who is very anointed and full of the Word. He did a great job of ministering the Word to his family and leading them in prayer. However, when he was away at work or on business trips, his wife would spend all her time reading tabloids, on the phone, watching secular music video shows, and surfing the Internet. What do you suppose eventually happened to her spiritually? It was not too long before she began acting out some of the storylines she had seen in those soap operas. Because of the sinful ingredients she had fed her spirit, it wasn’t long before she attached herself to the wrong crowd and fell headlong into an extramarital affair. Soon she was separated and then divorced. Her family was ripped apart. Listen, my friends: your eyes and your ears are the gates to your heart. The heart is where faith grows. It is your responsibility to guard the gate! We are the products of our environments. There is no nutritional spiritual value in the things of this world. Just as we need to have a balanced diet to keep our bodies in shape, we need to have a balanced diet of the Word. That’s where faith begins. As Christians, everything we seek to accomplish has to be done by faith. Everything! Faith is the common thread that connects all the aspects of our spiritual walk with God. Without faith, the Scripture says, it is impossible to please God. The more that you hear the Word of God, the more your trust and confidence in God grow. Faith comes alive in you! Jesus said, if any man has ears to hear, let him hear. “And He said to them, Take heed what you hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given” (Mark 4:24). The Amplified Bible makes it even clearer. “And he said unto them be careful what you are hearing. The measure of thought and study you
  21. 21. 4 Ben Tankard give the truth you hear will be the measure of virtue and knowledge that comes back to you, and more besides will be given to you who hear.” Can you see that? Feeding your faith on the Word requires discipline. But in the end, that discipline—that time you spend hearing—will pay off. Many Christians have problems exercising faith because they are undisciplined. They don’t want to take the time to do the Word and to hear the Word, both of which are necessary to develop their faith. Their fellowship with God is hit and miss. Most would rather be doing something more fun—or more self-serving. Just think of the amount of time you spend on yourself—on the flesh— buying clothes and choosing makeup and hairstyles. On all the things Jesus said would profit nothing. Then consider how much time you actually spend in the Word of God. How much time do you spend praying? How much time do you devote to communing with God? Is there a balance? Probably not. Therefore, there will also be no faith when you need it. Why? Because you have not spent the proper time in the Word to build yourself up. You have exchanged time with heavenly things for those things of the world—those things that profit you nothing. John 6:63 says, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The Words that I speak to you are Spirit, and they are Life.” If you expect faith to come alive in you, then you must do what is necessary to have faith. Reportedly, it takes at least twenty-one days of doing something continuously for it to become a habit. What a profitable habit to meditate on the Word of God!
  22. 22. 5 Ch a p t er 2 Faith Is Now! There is a difference between faith and hope. Hope looks to the future expecting that the thing you believe in will happen. Faith, on the other hand, is always present. It is always now. Faith believes that you received whatever you believed when you prayed. Now. Faith doesn’t look to the future. It looks to the now, to the present. “Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for: the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Don’t get me wrong: hope is good. But it’s just the starting point. Hope allows you to have a positive attitude. In other words, hope will allow you to have a smile on your face even while the ship is sinking. But faith will make you act! It will make you do something to keep your ship from sinking. It will cause you to find a way to stop up the hole and keep the water from coming in. Faith gives you something to look forward to. Faith brings to pass what you believe in. Faith believes with the heart (now) and confesses with the mouth (now) that you (now) believe you have received what you desire from God. That is made perfectly clear in Mark 11:23-24. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever you desire when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.
  23. 23. 6 Ben Tankard Notice that in verse 23 the word say is mentioned four times, but the word believe only appears once. The revelation here is that you must say a thing four more times than you have to believe it. A lot of people are doing a lot of saying, but unfortunately, they are not saying in faith. Their saying is not now faith but later faith. Maybe you have heard someone say, “I know that God is going to bless me,” “My healing is just around the corner,” or “My new job is on the way.” You may have even said these words yourself. These are not faith-filled words because they are not spoken in the now. They are spoken in the future. Faith is now, and the words you speak in faith have to be in the now. Sadly, most people who speak this way are doing so in ignorance of the Word. They are sincere in what they say and believe, but they are sincerely wrong. They don’t understand that as long as you believe with your heart and confess with your mouth that your blessing is “just around the corner,” that’s exactly where it will be. And chances are you’ll never make it around the corner, and the blessing will never find its way to you. Having a “blessing right around the corner” mentality is not faith! It’s hope, and to a large degree it’s also doubt. Faith doesn’t sit around waiting for blessings that are just around the corner. No! Faith goes out and finds those blessings and brings them right to you wherever you are. Speaking words that put your expectancy in the future instead of in the now is like putting your faith in a waiting mode or a holding pattern. When you get to one corner, your blessings will have moved to the next corner. And they’ll continue to move. You’ll find yourself chasing your blessings instead of calling them in. You must align your confession with the now, not the later. Change your confession and begin speaking, “I believe I receive my blessings now, in Jesus’ name.” Agree with what God’s Word says.
  24. 24. Faith It ’Til You Make It 7 Since we have been created in the image of God, we must obtain results the same way He does—by speaking. God created the heavens and the Earth by speaking faith-filled words. He said, “Let there be light,” or as literally translated, “Light be!” He did not say, “Some day there will be some light around here,” or, “Lights are just around the corner.” It is so ironic that the tongue, which is the very thing that can bless you, can also lead to your demise. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. One slip of it can mean defeat when you were headed for victory. Faith-filled words spoken from your mouth are the keys to your success. Notice I said “faith-filled words,” not just “words.” Just for a minute, imagine you are standing in front of an eight-bedroom mansion. The owner hands you a bunch of keys and says, “If you pick the key that opens the door on the first try, I’ll give you the mansion.” Your desire, need, or sincerity would have nothing to do with whether you got into that mansion, would it? No. All you need to do is pick the right key. If you get it wrong, you will lock yourself out of the blessing. That’s what happens to a lot of believers in the body of Christ. They live a lifetime of defeat because they use the wrong keys to obtain the blessings of God! Then they get upset when they see people of faith use the “right” keys (faith-filled words) and living in mansions, flying in their own jets, and living virtually debt-free. Listen! God is no respecter of persons. He is a respecter of faith-filled words. He wants the same for all His children—even you—but you have to use the right keys!
  25. 25. 9 Ch a p t er 3 Faith Is an Action Another faith key is action. Don’t just speak what you believe, act as though you believe it. That means you must stop allowing your circumstances to dictate the way you conduct yourself. Learn to w­­alk by faith, not by sight. You are not moved by circumstances and situations. You are not moved by what your bank account says. You are not moved by the doctor’s negative diagnosis. You are moved by what the Word of God says only! And on God’s words you base your actions. You have to be totally controlled by the Word. Even when you can’t see the outcome in front of your face, believe the Word anyway. Why? Because the Word says it’s true and it says it is yours. Remember, faith is action! God is not moved by need, pity, or tears. He is only moved by your faith! Since God does not lie, the safest thing to do is agree with what He says about your situation. That means two things must happen. First, you must study the Word and find out what God says about your situation, then agree with Him. Second, you have to confess only what the Word says about your situation. You may have to separate yourself from your family and friends to accomplish one or both of these things. Negative talk from these sources can remove you from focusing on your faith. But the results, for you, will be well worth it. I like that scripture in Luke 8:41-54 where Jesus was preparing to raise the ruler’s young daughter from the dead. Everyone around Him was
  26. 26. 10 Ben Tankard filled with doubt and unbelief, saying things such as, “She is already dead or Jesus is too late.” Well, do you know what Jesus did? The Word says, “And He put them all out.” Hallelujah! Jesus did not have time for doubt and unbelief. He cleared the room of all unbelief. There may be some people around you who need to be “put out” in order for your faith to work. If so, put them out! You must guard the gate of your faith. Let me give you an example of what I mean by this. I remember when I moved to Nashville from Tallahassee, Florida. It was a monumental move for me because I got away from all the naysayers—those who said I would never make it. I escaped those who told me that “GospelJazz” would never be accepted. At times it may have looked as if they were right. But I would not allow what things looked like or what naysayers said to deter me. I remembered the words several strong, faith-filled speakers had spoken to me: “Faith is action!” I chose to believe the opposite of what things looked like. I chose to believe I had faith as a grain of mustard seed, just like Jesus said, and that I could ask for whatever I would and I would receive it. I believed Mark 11:24: “What things soever ye desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.” I also refused to dwell among “haters”. Today, I am reaping the blessings of believing in and standing on the promises of God. I have a thriving worldwide ministry, have recorded eighteen successful albums, received twelve Stellar Awards, three Grammy nominations, and eight nominations for the Dove Award. God has given me a lovely wife and family, placed us in a beautiful mansion, given us nice cars to drive, two airplanes, and a new office building and church sanctuary. Hollywood has even taken notice of God’s great blessings on the Tankards and we have our own reality TV show! How did all this happen to us? I assure you it had nothing to do with my own abilities. No, it was all God. It was His faithfulness to His Word.
  27. 27. Faith It ’Til You Make It 11 It is through our obedience to His Word, wherein I chose not just to be a hearer, but a doer of the Word, that I stand in the place of continual blessing. You can do the same thing. If you’re in need of a financial blessing, then you should be eating, drinking, consuming all that God’s Word has to say about prosperity. “But my God shall supply all of your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). If you need healing in your body, find Scriptures that deal with healing and just camp out there. The book of Proverbs is a good place find these. For example: My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes, keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those who find them, and health unto all their flesh. (Proverbs 4:20-21) Once you find Scriptures to support your needs, study them and stand on them. Then begin to speak the answer, not the problem. If you’re sick, begin to see yourself well and start speaking it out of your mouth. If you have bills that need to be paid, start saying, “I believe that I receive the money to pay these bills.” Actually, if you are looking to God for the money to pay off certain bills, you should already have the checks written out, placed inside stamped envelopes, and ready to be mailed. Now wait a minute. I didn’t say go ahead and mail them. That’s not faith: that’s foolishness and presumption. If you don’t have the money in the bank, then you shouldn’t be sending out bad checks. That will just land you in jail! But you can extend your faith, or, in other words, act on your faith by going ahead and writing the checks, knowing God is faithful to perform His Word. When the money comes in, then you’ve got the checks ready to mail. The same is true in other areas, such as buying a new car or finding a new home. If you are extending your faith for a new car, then you
  28. 28. 12 Ben Tankard should have already picked out that car, test driven it, taken a picture of it, and have a blowup photo of it on your living room wall where you can see it all the time. You have already priced the amount you would pay for insurance and figured it into your budget. That’s called faith! When a woman is expecting a baby, she does not wait until the baby arrives to prepare the nursery. She starts preparing as soon as she knows she is pregnant. Well, how do you become pregnant spiritually? By digging into the Word of God so you can “conceive” what God has for you! That’s called “faith in action” or, “faith with works.” “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead” (James 2:23). I know this may sound a little strange, folks, but it works. Trust me. You must begin to act as though you believe what you say. God’s Word never fails. My family and I now experience a rush of “jubilee manifestations” because we posture ourselves to receive from God by our actions. How do you do that? You start by saying now you are a millionaire and now you are debt-free. Don’t wait for it to happen. Start declaring now that you are never sick and you walk in divine health. A good rule of thumb is to never say what you don’t want. Even if you are so broke that you can’t pay attention, never admit it! Speak the Word, not the current conditions. We’ve adopted a family slogan and lifestyle we call “Act like it!” We act out, to the letter, whatever we confess. I was on the elevator one day and pushed the button, but the doors kept opening and the elevator wouldn’t go up. Eventually, I realized I had been pushing the button for the floor I was already on! You have to push the button (confess) for the floor (area in life) you want to go to, not the current floor (current circumstances) you are on. In other words, speak and act like where you are going, not for where you are currently located. Don’t set up a tent in the middle of your problems!
  29. 29. Faith It ’Til You Make It 13 I remember some time ago when my family had been standing on the Word for a bigger house. We decided to pick out the house we wanted and act as though it was ours. Every day when we left our home to go about our daily routines, we would leave early enough to drive by the house we had selected. Once there, we would pull up in the driveway, thank God for our house, then back out and continue on to our destination. On the way back home, we would again go by the new house, pull up into the driveway, back out, and go home. This may seem like a fruitless exercise to you, and it was to us at first. But the more we did it, the stronger our faith grew. Within sixty days we closed on that house. It was ours, praise the Lord! See? We began to “practice the promise,” not rehearse the problem. We did the same thing several years later when we were believing for our “dream mansion” (twenty-three-room mansion on several acres with a lake and golf cart access to the airport where our airplanes are parked). This time this “action” took almost five years! The bigger the desire, the more you have to act to activate your faith on it. Don’t get weary! God is no respecter of persons. He will do the same for you that He has done for me and countless others. “Then Peter opened his mouth and said, ‘Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons’” (Acts 10:34). God will honor His Word for those who will believe it. He is a covenant God! He always fulfills His end of the covenant. It’s up to you to fulfill your end. “God is not a man that He should lie; neither the son of man that He should repent; hath He said, and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19)
  30. 30. 15 Ch a p t er 4 Faith Traps That Snare Blessings I have learned that you don’t just stumble onto success. You plan for it. An old saying goes, “If you shoot for nothing you’ll hit it every time.” Another saying says, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do.” Prepare for success, then expect it! One strategy that is really effective is what I call setting faith-building traps. It’s a neat little trick that will help propel you into stronger faith. The idea is to place books and tracts on healing, faith, and prosperity in your house in places you know you’re bound to pass through at least once a day. That means you’ll always have something to read right next to the television, right? Then, put faith-building CDs in every CD player you have, including the car. Then, practice getting into the presence of God. Get up thirty minutes early each morning and spend time in prayer and studying the Word. Start a Scripture memory system and quiz yourself on the Word daily. That’s what David did, remember? “Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). Also, spend quality time in prayer. As we discussed earlier, prayer is the key to hearing from God. It is also essential to knowing how to prosper and be successful. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then
  31. 31. 16 Ben Tankard thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8) Learn to feed your spirit at least three times a day—the same as you do your natural body is. Attach certain Scriptures and confessions to the things you would normally do. That way, you are assured to remember the Word. For example, you know that you are going to brush your teeth every morning, so why not attach a Scripture to that act? For example, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). This is an easy way to confess God’s protection over you and your family at the beginning of each day. Do the same thing while you’re getting dressed. Put on the armor of God and His righteousness while you’re putting on your clothes as it is laid out in Ephesians 6:14-17: Stand therefore having your loins girt about with Truth, and having on the Breastplate of Righteousness; And your feet shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace; Above all, taking the Shield of Faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the Helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. By the time you get in the car, you should be so charged up that you are a blessing waiting for somewhere to happen. When you take on this kind of spiritual faith walk, you will turn the tables on Satan and put him on the run. Things will begin to happen for you, instead of to you! Make your faith work for you every day of your life. Use it for the little things like headaches and backaches, as well as the big things, like house payments, car payments, and serious illnesses. Jesus Himself said that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can use it for big things—like speaking to mountains.
  32. 32. Faith It ’Til You Make It 17 What is the mountain in your life? Your faith in God and in His Word is more than enough to remove it. Don’t be like those doubters who wait until they’re on their deathbeds to attempt to exercise their faith. Disaster is not the time to try to put faith into action. It should be in operation long before disaster strikes. Calling on God in the midst of trouble, when you have not previously exercised faith is called desperation. Desperation does not move God! “But without Faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is what moves God—faith that is applied by one who has taken the time to study God’s Word, then hide that Word in his or her heart and believe it. The more time you spend in the Word of God, building and strengthening yourself with His Word, the more prepared you are when the Enemy tries to pull something over on you. When Satan attacks your body with cancer and you have spent all your time in the Word instead of watching soap operas and talk shows, then you’ll be equipped to ward off that sickness. Psalm 107:20 says, “He sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” Also note James 4:7-8: “Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you.” You won’t hear anything on those soap operas and talk shows that you can use to make Satan flee. But you will find something in the Word. And what you find there will be exactly what you need to bring your faith to a level where you can have whatever you say. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. The Bible says that every person is given the measure of faith. How you nurture that faith, and how you develop it and use it depends upon you.
  33. 33. 19 Ch a p t er 5 Obey the Laws of Progression Time Is Your Friend! A key elements of the faith walk that people overlook is the importance of patience. How long you can stick to it and discipline yourself will determine whether you can achieve the desired result. Many times believers do all the right things, as we have discussed, but they give up right before the blessing shows up. All of that speaking and believing and acting on the Word went to waste because they did not have the patience to persevere. Take care to use these testimonies and the success stories as inspiration and not an inclination. They are intended to inspire you to walk by faith and dig into the Word for yourself. Don’t go out and get into debt by buying a big house, an airplane, or a car that you cannot afford. Again, I tell you: that is not faith! Don’t quit your job and think that you are ready to live by faith. No! Live by faith, and eventually you’ll be able to quit that job. In other words, don’t attempt the impossible without having rehearsed the possible. To everything there is a process. That process is the law of progression. As a faith baby, you must crawl before you can walk. Embrace the law of progression, and the time will go by faster. Faith is a spiritual muscle that must be exercised and developed. No matter how inspired you get watching the World’s Strongest Man contest on TV, you would never walk into a gym and work out using six hundred pound weights. That would be foolish. You would hurt yourself.
  34. 34. 20 Ben Tankard Likewise, you should not start working out with blessings that are too heavy for your faith. Your faith will be severely damaged. Believe God for the possible before you attempt the impossible. Allow your faith muscles to develop correctly. Pray that you can make rent payments on time for a year before you believe for and take on a larger mortgage payment for a house. If you want to go there, you will have to “sow there.” James 1:4 admonishes us to “let patience have her perfect work, so that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” Don’t be moved by setbacks. Sometimes when flying our plane to an engagement, we run into weather conditions that cause delays. That’s a perfect opportunity to get impatient: As with most people, we want to arrive at our destination as soon as possible. But patience is important: you never know what may be happening on the other end of your destination. Once when our flight was delayed, we later learned that had we left when we wanted, we would have run smack into a hurricane, and never would have arrived at our destination. That, my friend, was a divine delay! Delayed gratification does not mean denied manifestation. The element that separated us from life and death was time! Time can be your friend. God is always working behind the scenes. There may be times that you are doing all you know to do and nothing seems to be working. During that time just confess that, “My faith is working: it’s just a matter of time.” Sometimes when flying at a low altitude you experience turbulence. As a seasoned pilot, I’ve learned some things about flying and altitude. One is that the lower your altitude, the rougher the ride. Hot air from the earth meets with cold air from the sky and creates pockets. The solution to eliminating the rough ride is to climb to a higher altitude because the higher you go, the thinner the air, thus the smoother the ride. However, you just can’t pull up on the yoke and go from four thousand to ten thousand feet on your own. You have to get on the radio and request permission from the air traffic controller—the boss of the sky.
  35. 35. Faith It ’Til You Make It 21 Sometimes, he or she will immediately respond and give you permission to climb higher. But the response, many times, is, “Please stand by.” Note that the air traffic controller doesn’t say no. He or she says, “Please stand by.” So even though we may have been flying in turbulence, or in a storm, we were to hold our course and stand by for directions. Sometimes it seemed like hours before we received those directions, but we had to continue to patiently stand by. In the meantime, the storm would be so bad the other pilot and I couldn’t see out of our windshield. At that point we had to change the way we were flying. Instead of going by what we saw through the windshield, we now had to fly by the instruments on the panel in front of us. These instruments gave us true heading, direction, and speed, as well as radar of any storm activity ahead. By flying according to the instruments instead of relying on our vision, our navigation became more accurate because the conditions around us were constantly changing. This is what happens in the Christian’s walk of faith. We walk by faith—by the instruments—and not by sight—the windshield. While we flew by the instruments, I could hear the air traffic controller talking to the other pilots flying around us. I was sometimes perplexed because he seemed to be talking to everyone else but us. At the time I thought, We’re in this storm, and we need to go higher! Why are we still on standby? I later learned that when the controller placed us on standby, he was looking at the radar screen that showed him not only our plane, but all the other aircraft in the sky around us. (Of course we could not see them: the storm and cloud cover obstructed our view.) When the controller told me to stand by, he radioed the planes that were over, in front of, behind, and under us. He was directing them to relocate to other sections of the sky. The standby was to get those other planes out of the way so we could go higher. The controller was creating a highway for us in space! He was making a way out of no way.
  36. 36. 22 Ben Tankard So remember, “Please stand by,” does not mean, “No, you don’t deserve it.” It means hold your course while God works on your behalf. He is working behind the scenes. Hold on to your faith. Time is your friend. “Faith it ’til you make it!”
  37. 37. 23 Faith ACTION Exercises for Your Workout 1) Write your personal vision. Start small, then work your way forward by writing faith goals for thirty, sixty, and ninety days, then one year, three years, and five years. Give God praise every step of the way, no matter how small the victory. 2) Each week take your family and drive around in neighborhoods in which you cannot currently afford to live. Surround yourself with pictures and concepts of living a life in increase. If it is not in your mind, it is not in your future. Very few things in life are a surprise. You must create a lifestyle of expectancy. 3) Schedule at least thirty minutes each day for dreaming. 4) Pray in the Holy Spirit (tongues) for at least 30-45 minutes every day. You can break it up into three 10-15 minute sessions. Turn off the radio on the way to work and pray and give God praise. 5) Walk in forgiveness at all times. Make a commitment to walk in love and never again have another argument with your spouse or anyone else. 6) Give something away every day. If you have to, start with a dollar a day and work up. The more consistent you are, the more God will give you to share. 7) Meditate on the Word daily for whatever area of need you have. Do it day and night. 8) Send us your testimonies and pictures. We may include them in a future newsletter. 9) Develop a vision board that excites you. Put pictures and goals on paper and keep them with you. Read it daily and do something toward each item on you vision board every week! Your actions will be faith and create opportunities.
  38. 38. 25 FAQs Frequently Asked Questions About Faith Q. What is the Biblical definition of faith? A. Faith is grasping the unreality of hope and bringing it into the realm of reality. Hebrews 11:1 says that faith, “is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This means that when you pray you are one hundred percent convinced you have what you prayed for, regardless of what your natural senses are telling you. Q. What is the “Prayer of Faith”? A. Mark 11:24 says, “Whatsoever things you desire when you pray, believe that you receive them and you shall have them.” This is praying the prayer of faith. You pray in faith when you believe that you receive (have or possess) what you prayed for when you pray. When praying the prayer of faith you don’t wait until you see the answer before you believe you have it. You believe you receive it at the same time you pray. The world has a saying: “I won’t believe it until I see it.” Praying with this attitude is not praying in faith. Q. What is the difference between faith and belief? A. Confusion and lack of knowledge in this very crucial area of the Christian walk have caused believers to suffer in poverty and sickness. Believing is having knowledge of something. Faith, on the other hand, is acting on that knowledge. Believing is necessary and good, but it falls far short of faith. For instance, you may believe
  39. 39. 26 that if you flip a switch, the light will come on. Your faith is not in the switch, but in the power behind it. Q. In what areas can you exercise faith? What can you believe for? A. In faith you can believe for anything the Word of God promises. You cannot, however, believe beyond what the Word promises. Faith is based upon what God’s Word says. Q. How do you release your faith? A. With words. We have been made in the image of God. So for us to receive the things of God, we must do the same thing God does when He wants something: speak! In Mark 11:23 we are instructed to “speak” to our mountains. Everything God created was spoken into existence. Likewise, we must operate by the same principle to receive the same results. Release your faith with words! Q. What is the winning formula for developing faith? A. Do these things: 1) Find the promises in God’s Word for what you are seeking, then stand on those words. 2) Meditate on God’s promises, believing them and speaking them out. 3) Refuse to look at the circumstances around you. 4) Praise God for the answer as though it already has come. 5) Receive the blessing with thanksgiving. 6) Take baby steps and develop your faith with small things before taking on the larger ones.
  40. 40. 27 For Booking: B.T.M. P.O. Box 11594 Murfreesboro, TN 37129 615-907-0185 phone 615-523-8381 fax Other Book Titles From Ben and Jewel Tankard • The Full Tank Life • Millionairess Lifestyle Music CDs from Ben Tankard • Thicker Than Water (Single) • Full Tank • Mercy, Mercy, Mercy • Let’s Get Quiet • Piano Prophet • Song of Solomon • Play a Li’l Song for Me • The Minstrel • Play Me in Your Key • Git Yo Prayze On! • Instrumentally Yours • Keys to Life • Keynote Speaker • Sunday Drivin’
  41. 41. 28 • All Keyed Up • Christmas Love • Instrumental Christmas • Best of Ben Ben-Jamin’ Publishing P.O. Box 11594 Murfreesboro, TN 37129 615-907-4225 phone 615-523-8381 fax
  42. 42. S ometimes life is a series of tests. Sometimes life can be a mess. Still, if you learn how to focus your faith, you can turn the tests into testimonies and the mess into a message. That is what Ben Tankard has done and will demonstrate in this book. Faith It ‘Til You Make It is an easy-to-read series of faith nuggets from an NBA hopeful who lost his career through injury but rebounded to discover a hidden music talent that has made him a bestselling gospel/jazz musician. Through faith, you too can discover your inner powers. This gift can be triggered by the Word of God as you are inspired by your new faith mentor, Ben Tankard. Ben Tankard is a former professional basketball player, an American gospel/jazz keyboardist, a producer, a songwriter, and an author. Ben dropped out of college after one year to play minor league professional basketball in Canada. He was invited to an NBA camp but was injured and cut. Ben rebounded from his basketball injury to become a bestselling gospel and jazz musician. He is also a motivational speaker for the NBA, suit designer (big and tall), pastor, record label president, aircraft pilot/owner, and reality television actor with his own new show on Bravo TV—Thicker Than Water: The Tankards. Ben’s success is based on principles of faith and wisdom, which he shares in his bestselling books and articles and through public appearances. Ben and his wife, Jewel live near Nashville, Tennessee, with their children. INSPIRATION A DIVISION OF THOMAS NELSON