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Watch 2022 online sermons » Joyce Meyer » Joyce Meyer - Integrity - Part 1

Joyce Meyer - Integrity - Part 1

Joyce Meyer - Integrity - Part 1
TOPICS: Integrity
Joyce Meyer - Integrity - Part 1

When we started Joyce Meyer Ministries, 35 years ago, I've been teaching the word 45 years, but first five years was a couple of home Bible studies. Second five years I worked at a church. And then, God said, "Take your ministry and go north, south, east, and west," a lot of confirmation. Waited until God almost got mad at me before I finally did what he told me to. But he put this in my heart. He said, "There's three things I want you to do, and if you do them, I will bless your ministry". And I wanna say to you today, if you do these three things, your life will be blessed. Number one, he said, "I want you to always be excellent in everything that you do".

Excellence is not extravagance. It's not perfection. It simply means doing the very best that you can. Not being mediocre. Mediocre is halfway between success and failure. And mediocre people are not written about in the Bible. Nobody names their child Judas. There's a lot of people that you see in the Bible, and you see them with a choice, and they make the wrong decision, and you never hear from them again. It's kind of interesting, Gehazi was one of those people. So, I just wanna encourage you, whatever you do, do it with excellence, and especially when nobody's looking. Because God is always looking. He sees everything. And the world we live in today is not excellent. It's getting more and more sloppy and mediocre all the time. And we're making a mistake if we expect them to set the standard. We are the ones that need to set the standard. It's a Christian nation, and it's the Christian people that must set the standard.

So, one of our biggest challenges is to make sure that we don't become like everybody else, but that we are like Jesus. Amen? Second thing he said was, "Be a person of integrity". Always keep your word, which there's not a lot of that in the world today. How many of you have ever had the experience of taking a day off work to wait for a workman that was supposed to show up to repair something and they didn't come and didn't bother to call? There's more and more of that all the time. It's honesty. It's always telling the truth, doing what you said you would do, keeping your commitments. And he said, "The money that I trust you with don't ever mess around with it. Always be honest with it". The third thing he said was, "Keep the strife out of your life".

In case you don't know what strife is, it's bickering, arguing, heated disagreement, and the most dangerous: an angry undercurrent. It's kinda like when we, "Love you with the love of the Lord," and inside thinking, "I can't stand you". I wanna use the story of the ten virgins as an example of going the extra mile. And I think we can learn some things from this, if we pay attention. Matthew 25, verse 1: "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise". So, I guess, today, we get to decide which we're gonna be. "The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any extra oil with them". They didn't do anything extra. They only did what they barely thought they had to do, just enough to get by if everything went just right.

You know, if your drive to work is 30 minutes, if you leave 30 minutes ahead of time, you're always gonna be late. You can't live running everything to the last second. You always have to plan for unexpected things. Amen? And I'm the kind of person, I don't like to waste time. So, I would I have a tendency to wait till the last minute because I don't like to get somewhere early and have nothing to do for 10 minutes. But God and I are working on that. "The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps". They bought that extra oil. It cost them money. But they took it in case they needed it. Just in case they needed it. Well, weddings then, weren't like they are now. There wasn't a set time and it started right then. Everybody was at the feast, but the bridegroom was off negotiating with the bride's father for, what they called, the bride price.

And sometimes, that took longer than others for the guy to get what he wanted. And in this case, it took till midnight. That midnight hour, we've all experienced that in one way or another, haven't we? It says the bridegroom was a long time in coming. Can I tell you something? Almost everything takes longer than you think it will. Amen? "It was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, the cry rang out: 'here's the bridegroom. Come to meet him'. Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, 'give us some of your oil: our lamps are going out'". Now, I don't know about you, but people like that annoy me. Maybe you're not supposed to get annoyed if you're a preacher, but they annoy me. It aggravates me when people wanna do nothing, and then when they have a problem, go get the people who did what they should have done, to provide for them.

The world is full of people like that today. I always say, "Don't be jealous of what somebody has if you don't wanna do what they did to get it". That's just good advice. "Well, I wish I had a ministry like Joyce's". "Well, honey, I didn't get it wishing". This little part that you see, this little standing behind the pulpit that's like a... Compared to everything else that goes into it. See, I studied hours before I got here, and I know this message backwards and forwards. But I would never, ever show up at a place not having done my part because I believe that's what I'm responsible for. I want to give you, my best. I don't wanna just assume because I know the material that everything will go ok. So, while the others went off to try and "Buy oil, the bridegroom arrived. And the virgins who were ready", let me ask you, are you ready?

If Jesus came tonight, are you ready? Don't think you're gonna have time to get ready. You gotta stay ready. If the devil decides to attack you and your family, are you ready to put him in his place and stand firm? If you have a dream to be in ministry, are you using this time to prepare for what you wanna do? "Well, while they were on their way to buy oil, the bridegroom arrived. And the virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut".

See, you don't wanna wait until the door is shut. I wonder how many people have waited until the door was shut and they didn't get the job they wanted because they didn't do the part they were supposed to do. Or they got passed over for a promotion because, although they went to work and had a job, they always were mediocre, not really excellent. I said, last night, if you have a job and your hours are 8 to 5, and let's just suppose there's a time clock that you have to use, don't check in at 8 and out at 5. Clock in at 5 till 8 and 5 after 5. You say, "Well, why should I do that"? Why not? Why not go ahead and go the extra mile? If you clock in at 8 o'clock, you're not at your workstation working at 8 o'clock. By the time you get your coffee, say "Good morning" to everybody, get organized, it's 8:15, 8:20. Amen?

And I don't mean to be rude when I say this, but God has had to teach me that, when we behave that way, we're actually stealing. And there's a great little scripture that we all know. We call it the golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". My goodness, every problem we have would be solved if we would do that. Right? Because if that was your company, you wouldn't want people to do that. So, if we do, what we would want other people to do, wow, we're on our way to excellence. Some people won't save anything for retirement. They gotta spend every penny they get their hands on. And if you just start when you're young, and you save just a little bit of everything you make, boy, it'll take the pressure off of you, as you get older.

We have two categories of people: investors and gamblers. You can decide which one you are. An investor always does, he makes a sacrifice up front and knows that he will draw interest on that sacrifice and be well-provided for, later on. Does anybody in this building care anything about later on? Because later on will come. Amen? Procrastination is a thief. We're always gonna do the right thing tomorrow... Tomorrow... Tomorrow's a dangerous word. When Pharaoh was going through all the plagues, when he had the plague of the frogs. And the frogs, which... I don't like frogs anyway. But they were everywhere, frogs in the bed, frogs in the oven, frogs on the porch, frogs in their closet. I mean, frogs everywhere. And Moses said to him, "I'll pray for you, and the frogs will go away. You tell me when you want me to pray". And the dummy said, "Tomorrow".

Now, let me ask you a question. If your bed was full of frogs, why would you wanna wait till tomorrow to get rid of them? That's a pretty interesting story. So, let me just say, don't sleep one more night with the frogs. We have investors, people who do the right thing upright. See, I believe wisdom. I have my own little definition for wisdom. Wisdom is doing now what you'll be happy with later on. Wisdom is sanctified, common sense, that's all. And Jesus is made unto us, wisdom, from God. Every one of us has wisdom. You don't even need to pray for wisdom. You need to pray to use the wisdom that you have. And then, there's gamblers, the people who always take a chance that they can do the wrong thing and somehow or another magically end up with the right result.

See, the five foolish virgins were gamblers. They were assuming the bridegroom would get there right on time and they'd have enough oil. They didn't plan for any delays. They didn't plan for any hiccups. They just planned for everything to just go just the way they wanted it to. And they got left out. And I don't know about you, but I don't wanna get left out. So, I'm gonna do everything that I possibly can do, knowing that if I do what I can do, God will always do what I cannot do. Did you hear me? If you do what you can do, God will always do what you cannot do. If you wanna a new home, your home's not big enough, or you've lived in an apartment all your life, and you gotta bunch of kids and you're really cramped and you want a new house, keep the one you've got clean. Keep the trash out of your yard. Be the most excellent you can with your old car. If you're expecting God to give you a new one. Amen? Don't leave your clothes in the dryer overnight and get up the next morning and put them on and go out like that.

Now, to be honest with you, we shouldn't have to spend church time telling people stuff like this, but we do. Ladies, I love you, but please, pay attention to how you dress. Nobody needs to see down your shirt and up your skirt. God didn't call you to be a temptation. Just go look at yourself in the mirror before you leave. Just take a minute. You have one life to live and one life to give, and I wanna ask you, what are you gonna give yours to. Please, please, please don't get old, and on your deathbed, look back and have nothing but regrets. Nothing is worse than feeling bad about all your decisions and it being too late to change 'em. So, I just wanna say to you, if God is dealing with you about anything, how many of you, God is dealing with you about something right now?

Okay. Don't put it off. Don't be like Pharaoh and spend another night with the frogs. Get busy and do now what God is dealing with you about. You know why? He's not going to change his mind. Don't think you're gonna wait God out because it won't work. The lazy person may go to work, but they'll never do an excellent job or be promoted. They complain constantly about everything that's wrong at their job, and in society, but they will not lift a finger to change any of it. Their favorite statement is "They need to fix this". Do you ever wonder who "They" are? We are "They". Try fixin' some of your own problems, instead of expecting everybody else to do it. "They". In John chapter 5, the first 8 verses, there's a story that I have used so many times in my messages. My husband is probably so tired of hearing this one, he could scream. There's so much to learn in this story. If you feel sorry for yourself, get ready to get shaken. "Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals.

Now there is in Jerusalem near the sheep gate, a pool of water, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda, and it is surrounded by five covered," they call 'em "Colonnades". They were porches. So, imagine this. You got this big pool of water and there's a porch, a porch, porch, porch, porch. And lying in these porches are disabled people, people that are crippled, people that are blind, people that are paralyzed. They need a miracle. And the way this thing worked was, once a year, only once a year, an angel would come and stir the waters up. And whoever got in the water first, got their miracle.

So, one man had been in that condition for 38 years. "And Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he'd been in that condition a long time, and he asked him", and this is so interesting to me. He said to this man, "Do you want to get well"? What kind of a question is that? "Well, of course I want to get well. That's why I'm laying here". Really, what he was saying, "Are you ready to do what you need to do to get well". So, maybe, I'll say that to you today. How many of you need changes in your life? Are you ready to do what you need to do in order to have those changes? Or are you just sitting back, praying, wanting God to do a miracle?

You say, "Well, doesn't prayer work"? Of course, prayer works, but we're partners with God, and we always have a part and God has a part. He won't do our part and we can't do his part. And most of the time, when we pray, he'll show you what's wrong. God will show you what's wrong, if you're willing, you would be amazed, every single Christian would be amazed if they would just start doing what God tells 'em to do, how their life would change. Now, you know, I think about this man. He says, "Do you really wanna get well"? So, I don't want you to forget. I'm saying to you, "Do you really wanna get well? Do you really want the changes that you say you want? Are you willing to do your part"? "'sir,' the invalid replied", now, you're about to see his real problem, "'sir,' the invalid replied, 'I have no one to help me into the pool when the water's stirred. And while I'm trying to get in there, somebody else always gets ahead of me'".

Poor guy. You know, the biggest thing that's wrong with some people is they just sit around and feel sorry for themselves all the time. And I spent years feeling sorry for myself because my dad had sexually abused me. And I just thought, "Boy, if that just wouldn't have happened to me, I could have a good life". Let me tell you something. I don't care what has happened to you. You can still have a great life. When God says he is no respecter of persons, he means just that. And the Bible is for who ever, "Whosoever will believe". You can have whatever the Bible says you can have, but you can be pitiful or powerful, and you're not gonna be both.

And you may think, "Well, you just don't know what I'm going through. I've got a reason to feel sorry for myself". But here's what I'm trying to tell you. It's not doing you any good. You can feel sorry for yourself till Jesus comes and you're just gonna keep your problem. It won't help you. What good does it do you? It doesn't do you any good. You're wasting your time. "'sir, I have nobody to put me into the pool'". And see, that's what we want. We want somebody to come along and, "Can you pray for me, Joyce? Pray for me that this problem will go away, and that problem will go away". And this is what Jesus said to the man. You see that? "And Jesus said to him", what? "'get up!'", exclamation mark, and "'pick up your mat and walk'". I like that. He told him, "Clean your mess up, too". "Take it with you".

Now, you know, maybe, I don't know, maybe, you drove 45 minutes here today just to hear me tell you, "Get up". Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get up and do your part. You are not entitled to anything. I'm gonna say it again. You are not entitled to anything. What we deserve is to die and go to hell. But God has given us forgiveness and mercy. And he has already pre-arranged a good plan for our life. The Bible says that you might walk in it. God prearranged a good plan, and we have to walk in it. God will give you the grace. He'll give you the energy. He'll give you the ability. But he will not do it for you. Get up!
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