Ben Tankard is a 6’6” big guy,
I look like HIM on the inside…..Joel Osteen
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
—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
Faith It ’Til
You Make It
Make Your Future
Hear Your Voice
Ben Ta nk a r d
A DIVISION OF THOMAS NELSON
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.”
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.”
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
“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.”
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
“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.
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
“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.
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
“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.”
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.
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.”
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.
“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
works is dead! Do
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.
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
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.
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
I am so glad you have allowed me to mentor you in this area. Let’s get
Ch a p t er 1
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
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.
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
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
Faith It ’Til You Make It
spirit is a repeat of what happened on one of those carnal television
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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.
Faith It ’Til You Make It
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
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!
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
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
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
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.
Faith It ’Til You Make It
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
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
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!
Faith It ’Til You Make It
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
“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)
Ch a p t er 4
Faith Traps That
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,
“Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee”
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
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
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
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.
Faith It ’Til You Make It
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
Ch a p t er 5
Obey the Laws of
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.
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
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.
Faith It ’Til You Make It
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
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.
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!”
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
P.O. Box 11594
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
Other Book Titles From Ben and
• 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’
• All Keyed Up
• Christmas Love
• Instrumental Christmas
• Best of Ben
P.O. Box 11594
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
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.
A DIVISION OF THOMAS NELSON