Joyce Meyer - Keeping a Positive Attitude
Well, I wanna thank you for joining me today. I believe the word is going to be very helpful to you. I'm excited to hear it myself, because I'm gonna talk today about having a positive attitude. We're actually talking about joy, and how important joy is. And the things that can help us release joy, and the things that can block and hinder our joy. And I've already taught about it for the past two days, today will conclude this teaching on joy. But I hope that you're hearing some things that are really gonna help you be more lighthearted and joyful in your life. So, today we're gonna talk about having a positive attitude. Because you're certainly not gonna be joyful if you have a negative attitude.
I wanna tell you a story. There was a lady, 92-years-old, petite, well-poised and proud. Each morning, she's fully dressed by eight o'clock with her hair fashionably fixed, and her make up perfectly applied, in spite of the fact that she's legally blind. That's pretty amazing. I do well to get mine fixed, and I can see good. Today, she's moved to a nursing home. Her husband of 70 years, recently passed away, making this move necessary. And you know, that's normally a pretty difficult move for most people. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, the staff person provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet curtains that had been hung on her windows.
"I love it," she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old child, having just been presented with a new puppy. "Mrs. Jones, you haven't seen the room. Just wait," the staff person said. Then, she spoke these words, "This does not have anything to do with it," she replied gently, "Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time". Think about that. See, when she found out she was gonna have to go to the nursing home, she decided. I said she decided, to be happy about it. "Whether I like the room or not, does not depend on how the furniture's arranged, it's how I arrange my mind. I have already decided to love it. It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice, I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulties that I've had in my life, or with different parts of my body that no longer work. Or I can get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do work. Each day is a gift. And as long as my eyes open, I will focus on the new day, and all the happy memories I have stored away, for just this time in my life".
I love that, that every morning she decides that she is going to make the best out of her day. Now, you know what? That helps me to hear that story. And I'm sure there are many of you watching right now that, that would just completely turn your life around, if you would just make that decision every morning. You know, we don't make enough decisions for ourself, to be honest, we let the devil make too many of 'em. He comes and whispers in your ear very early in the morning, "This is gonna be a lousy day," "You feel bad," "You this, that," reminds you of all your problems. But you can say, "No, I've decided that this is gonna be a good day. I've decided that I'm gonna enjoy everything, no matter what". Negative thinking limits God, and it limits all of our potential. Great story about the Israelites when they were going through the wilderness.
In numbers 13:27, Moses sent twelve spies into the land of Canaan, to spy out the land to see if it was as good as God had promised. And I don't think Moses did that because he doubted God, I think he wanted the people to be encouraged. Because in order to possess the land, they had to dispossess the current occupants. And so, they we're gonna have to do a little warfare. So, 12 men went in, and when 12 men came out, 10 of them gave a negative, evil report. Only two of them had a good report. "They gave Moses this account: 'we went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey. And here is its fruit'". And I've heard in other places that the fruit was so big, so abundant, that like, one cluster of grapes was so big, that they could put one on each end of a pole, and they had to put the pole over their shoulders and carry it.
So, they said, "Here's the fruit. Boy, the fruit is abundant, just like God said. Yep, the land flows with milk and honey, it's a good land. But..." Ok, that's where we get ourselves in trouble. "Everything's good but, man, there's a lot of problems too". "But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. And we even saw descendants of Anak there". And that meant that there were giants in the land. You got any giants in your life chasing you around right now? You know what? No matter how big your giants are, they're not bigger than God. "The Amalekites live in the Negev: the Hittites, the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Canaanites", all these were enemies. So, they were only looking at the bad parts, they weren't looking at the good parts. They could've trusted God, and believed, "He would not have led us to this land, and told us to go in and occupy it, if it wasn't gonna turn out good". "But Caleb silenced the people".
You know, sometimes when we're around a bunch of negative people, we just need to say, "Be quiet, I don't wanna hear any more of that". And that's kind of what Caleb did, he was just like, "Shh, be quiet". "'We should go up and take possession of the land, because we certainly can do it'". I love can-do people. They encourage me. "But the men who had gone up with him said, 'we can't do it'". So, you always have the can-do people, and you have the can't do people. "And they spread among the Israelites", it's amazing how negative news travels fast. "They spread among the Israelites an evil report about the land that they had explored. And they said, 'the land we explored devours those living in it. And all the people that we saw were of great size. We saw the NePhilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the NePhilim)'", the giants. And listen to this, "'we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same way to them'".
Well, that's a lesson we could just stop and do about a 10-part series on that. However we see ourselves, that's the image we portray to other people. So, they did not believe that they could do what God told them to do. And so, their enemies knew that they could defeat them, because they didn't have any confidence. Boy, we need to be confident that we can do whatever God tells us to do. The Bible says in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who is my strength". Whatever God tells you to do, you can do it through him. God will not tell you to do things that you were gonna fail at. They saw the fruit was very large. And God's promise was true. But they saw the giants as being bigger than God.
Now, being positive does not mean that we deny the existence of problems. It simply means that we believe that God is greater than the problem. Let me ask you: whatever kind of problem you have right now, do you believe that God is greater than your problem? Do you believe that God can do anything? That all things are possible with God? You say, "Yeah Joyce, but". Well, let's just forget that part. Let's just stay in faith and every day say, "God, I believe that you're gonna take care of this". It may take a while, but suddenly, God will move in your life. You know, Paul and Silas were in prison. And at midnight, they were still singing Psalms, and their feet were in shackles. And I'm sure that prison was dirty, and they probably hadn't had anything decent to eat. I don't know, maybe they'd even had a beating, but they were still singing, because they still had confidence that God would do something. And the Bible says, "Suddenly, there was an earthquake, and it shook the doors open".
You may have a suddenly in your life today. You can have a problem that you've had for 10 years, go to bed with it, and the next morning wake up without it. Think about that instead of just how long it's been. Another good example is Joseph. He was the youngest of 12 brothers, daddy's baby. And his dad made him a special coat, and he was proud of the coat. And he had, had a dream. And you know, told his dream to his brothers, which maybe wasn't the smartest thing, because the dream was that they were gonna bow down to him. But they didn't take into account that he was young and inexperienced, and it says here that, "They hated him". And this was all out of jealousy. Oh, jealousy can make us do terrible, terrible things. And they hated him, and they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God, I love that, was with him. You should look up all the "But God" scriptures in the Bible.
You see, no matter who's against you, if God is for you, you're gonna end up being a winner in life. And God is for you, not against you, and God is on your side, and God does have a good plan for your life. He just needs you to get into agreement with him. Acts 7:9 says, "Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him". And if you know the whole story, he went through a lot of hard things. He had more unfair, unjust things happen to him. But eventually, he ended up being so promoted in Egypt, that only Pharaoh, himself, had more power than he did. That's a pretty good story. He went from the pit to the palace. No matter what's going on now, in the end, we win. I like to say when I'm having problems, "This won't last forever, this won't last forever".
Myself and another friend, got a hold of that a couple of years ago, and we always say, when we have a problem, "This won't last forever". And sure enough it doesn't. Psalm 37 verses 1-5, and versus 10 and 11, "Don't fret because of those who are evil nor be envious of those who do wrong". You know, sometimes you can look at people that are evil people, and their circumstances are better than yours are. And boy, that's annoying. And we don't understand that. "Why, God why? I just don't understand". But he says, don't fret or be envious of them. "For like the grass they will soon whither, like green plants and they will soon die away". In other words, they're not gonna last forever. "Trust in the Lord and do good". What should you do while you're waiting for God to move in your life? "Trust God and do good". This is so important. Trust God and do good, keep being good to other people.
Romans 12:21 says, "We overcome evil with good". You know, I hated the things that my father did to me, and they were awful, and things that he shouldn't have done, and things that really hurt me, and messed me up for a long time. They messed up my thinking, my emotions, how I handled all relationships. And for a long time, I hated him. And you know what? That didn't do any good, that didn't change him. And eventually, God really dealt with me about totally forgiving him. But not only forgiving him, but helping him in his old age, when he got to the point where he wasn't able to take care of himself. Well, you know what? That was how I got the devil back. If the devil's been Messing with your life, and you wanna get him back, you can't get him back by being mad and angry. The only way you can overcome evil is with good. He hates it when he throws his best punch at you, and you go be good to somebody else.
You say, "Well Joyce, that makes no sense". Well, of course not. You know, we live in a world that thinks that it's right side up. And it seems like the Kingdom of God is upside down. But really, the Kingdom of God is right side up, and the world is upside down. And if you didn't get that, I'm not gonna say it again. But, a lot of the things that God tells us to do, don't make sense to our mind, but they work. And that's the thing you gotta look at. Maybe your enemies don't deserve forgiveness, but you do deserve peace. So, do yourself a favor and forgive. "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart". While you're waiting, just spend time with God, be delighted in him, and be joyful in his presence, and he will give you the desires of your heart. You won't have to try to make them happen, God will give them to you, if you keep your eyes on him. And I love this, "Commit your way to the Lord: trust also in him, and he will bring it to pass".
When Dave and I got married, my brand-new mother-in-law gave me a white Bible, that had that scripture written in the front of it. God knew me, and he knew that I was a worker bee, and I was gonna do everything I could to try to make everything happen that I wanted to make happen. And I had to learn that apart from him, I could do nothing. And I had to learn how to commit my way unto him, and let him bring it to pass. Come on, some of you are working really hard trying to change your circumstances, and all you're doing is wearing yourself out, because you're trying to do something that only God can do. And maybe, today, you need to commit your way unto him, and trust him to bring it to pass. "In a little while, the wicked will be no more: though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek", not the weak, but the meek. Meekness is power under control, it's not weakness. "The meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity".
Psalm 27:13 and 14, one of my favorite scriptures, "I remain confident of this", David said, "I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living". The Amplified Bible says, "What would have happened to me had I not believed that I would see the Lord's goodness in the land of the living"! What kind of life are we gonna have, if we don't believe for good things? It's gonna be a life without joy. It's gonna be a sad life. It's gonna be a life full of all kinds of negative things. Because if you've got a negative mind, and a negative mouth, and a negative attitude, then your life is gonna be negative. "Wait for the Lord: be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord". Expect something good to happen to you. I think I said this yesterday, but it deserves being repeated, "Let your attitude be if anything good can happen today, it will, and it will happen to me".
You know, the Israelites who died in the wilderness, and by the way, all the people who came out of Egypt, except Joshua and Caleb, died in the wilderness. The only other people who went into the Promised Land, were born out in the wilderness. So, out of all of those, like, 1.6 million people or however many it was, that came out of there, all but two died because they had a bad attitude. I mean, wow, we need to think about that. Could you use an attitude adjustment? I mean, there's a Lot of times when I could. A Lot of times when I have to have a talk with myself. Sometimes you need to have a meeting with yourself and just say, "Ok, let's change this attitude". They never saw beyond their circumstances. All they thought about was the past, and their circumstances. They never had a positive vision for the future. And they grumbled, and murmured, and complained all the time.
Let me ask a question, how much complaining have you been doing? Or maybe you've been being very thankful, that's good, that's what God likes to hear. Numbers 14:2-4, "All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, 'if only we would've died in Egypt, or in this wilderness'", man, they were negative. "Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn't it be better for us just to go back to Egypt'"?
See, a Lot of times God's trying to take us to a new place. And there's a beginning, and it sounds good when God says, "Let's go to a new place". But you gotta go through the middle to get to the end. And in the middle there may be a few storms, and that's what you gotta make it through. You gotta keep your mind fixed on what God said to you in the beginning. "And they said to each other, 'we should just choose a leader and go back to Egypt'". You know, don't go back where you came from, just because it's hard, right now. I don't know, maybe I'm talking to somebody that's been addicted to drugs. And you've been in a program to get free, and today is an especially hard day for you. And you've been thinking about going back where you came from, don't do that! You've made some progress. Get through this hard day. Pray and get through this hard day, and get all the way to freedom. You're never gonna be free if you can't make it through anything difficult.
Chapter 20 of numbers, 3 and 4: "They quarreled with Moses and said, 'if only we would've died when our brothers died before the Lord. Why did you bring the Lord's community into this wilderness, that we could just die here'"? Man, talk about negative. But God told Abraham or Abram, before his name was changed. In Genesis 13, 14 and 15, says, "The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, 'now, look around you from where you are, to the north, the south, the east and the west, and all the land that you see. I will give it to you'". Wow. Whatever you see, he had lost, Lot and Abram's herdsmen were fighting with each other. And Abraham knew it wasn't going to work well, that it was not wisdom for them to be in strife. Because God's blessings don't rest where strife is.
So, he told Lot, "You choose whichever part of the Jordan valley you want, and I'll take what's left". Well, he didn't have to do that, because he was the one that gave Lot what he had to start with. So, he was humbling himself, and doing everything he could to keep peace. He said, "You take whatever part you want, and I'll take what's left". Well, Lot took the best part for himself. But God honors those who humble themselves and do what's right. "Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and in due time he will exalt you". And so, God came to Abraham and said, "Now, look to the north, south, east, and west and everything you see, I'll give it to you".
Wow. What do you see for your future? You know, negative thinking even hinders other people, from making a positive response. After the 10 spies gave their negative report, it says, "All the congregation wept all night and became exceedingly discouraged". And it even says further down that they wanted to stone Moses and Aaron. You know what? Negative people don't like being around positive people. My husband's real positive and up. And you know, sometimes if I get in a bad mood, and I wanna complain, or be negative about something, he'll come back with something positive, and it just makes me mad. Why if we're negative, do we want somebody else to be negative with us? Well, it's just the enemy. We don't need to be like that.
Let me tell you a little story. You know, even how you ask a question, will determine the other person's response. I heard myself say to a clerk not too long ago, "You don't have a Kleenex back there, do you"? Well, what kind of a way is that to ask a question? She didn't have any, of course. But maybe if I would have said, "Do you have a Kleenex that you could get me"? Maybe she would've went somewhere else and got me one. But I said, "You don't have one, do you"? Well, listen to this. A soldier had the job of handing out apricots at the end of the chow line. So, he decided to test the theory of positive and negative ways of asking questions.
So, to the first 100 men in the line, he said, "You don't want apricots, do you"? And ninety percent said, "No". To the next 100, he said, "Would you like some apricots"? Fifty percent took them, and fifty didn't. Then he tried a third idea. He said to the next 100, "Would you like one or two dishes of apricots"? Forty percent took two, and fifty percent took one, only ten percent took none. Wow. All because he changed the way he asked the question. Let's make a decision today, and ask God to help us to be positive, to talk positive. Now, don't ignore your problems. But you can even find a positive way to talk about your problems. "Yeah, I've got a big problem, but I've got a big God".