Joyce Meyer - Believe That God Is and That He Is a Rewarder - Part 2
God has no limits. He has no restrictions. He can do anything, anytime, anywhere for anybody. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord, your God goes with you: he will never leave you nor forsake you". Never leave you, nor forsake you. And over, and over, and over, it's just everywhere. Isaiah 41: "Do not fear for I am with you". Matter of fact, I wanna read you some of this because this is just too good not to. Isaiah 41, we'll start in verse 10. "Fear not [there's nothing to fear], for I am with you: don't look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen", and I love this, "And harden you to difficulties".
Every time you go through something hard, it makes it easier for you to go through it, the next time. Do you understand that? If you're going through something hard right now, don't be so sad about it. Rejoice a little bit. The devil's just helping you get stronger for the next thing. Pretty soon, he won't be able to control you at all. "Don't look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you: yes, I will hold you up and retain you with my [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice. Behold, all they who are enraged and inflamed against you shall be put to shame and confounded: they who strive against you shall be as nothing and they shall perish".
Man, you ought a be liking this. "You shall seek those who contend with you but you shall not find them: those who war against you shall be as nothing, as nothing at all. For I am the Lord your God, I hold your right hand: I say to you, 'fear not: I will help you'". Come on. Let's act like we believe it. And then, look at verse 15. Oh, this just gets me. "Behold, I will make you to be a new, sharp, threshing instrument which has teeth: and you shall thresh the mountains and beat them small. And you shall make the hills like chaff". I mean, he's saying, "Listen, everything you're going through", and I know some of you are going through some really hard times, right now. We're all going to do that. It's gonna happen to everybody.
You've been through hard things. I've been through hard things. It doesn't go on forever. But as you mature and you get stronger, and you believe less and less of the lies of the devil, and you really believe the Word of God, and you stand on that, the devil can't control you anymore. You'll be that new threshing machine with sharp teeth. And he'll be running away from you instead of you running away from him. Amen? Come on. Are we believing the word today? "Rejoice in the Lord, and again I say rejoice". Paul was in prison when he wrote that. And the prison that he was in, the sewer system in the city ran through it. And when he wrote that, there's a good possibility he was standing in something you wouldn't wanna stand in. And he says, "Rejoice in the Lord, and again I say rejoice".
I'm still working on that one but, I'm going toward it. Let me tell you a little something about fear. I gotta tell you this real quick. Fear, "Fear not," is a little different than, maybe, what you think it is. When the Bible says, "Fear not," and it does say it over, and over, and over, and over. I don't know if they're correct, but I've heard that it says 365 times, "Fear not," one for every day of the year. I don't know if that's accurate or not, but it is in the Bible a lot, a lot. "Fear not". God doesn't want us to be afraid. He wants us to be bold, and full of faith, and have confidence, and believe that he loves us, and believe that we're winners. And no matter what the devil brings against us, he will not win in the end. Amen?
But, "Fear not," doesn't mean not to feel fear. It doesn't mean not to shake or tremble. "Fear not," literally, means don't run. That's what it means. Don't run away from things. "I'm with you". Confront them. It's time for us to stop running from things and not facing things. It's time to deal with issues in your life, and not just keep hiding from them. It's our secrets that make us sick. It doesn't bother me at all to tell openly and loudly what happened to me in my life. Because I believe it's miraculous what God has done in me. I think it's amazing what God has done in me and what he's done for me, and what he's done and is doing for many of you. I mean, many of us should be locked up somewhere, just with hardly any mind at all. And here we are, decent human beings, that are making a difference in the world because there's no problem in our lives that God cannot conquer, but we can't be running away from things. Courage means to stand still and face issues, not to run away from them.
Is anybody in this building, today, running from something that, maybe, you need to? It's just time. It's time to deal with things. If you've got an issue between you and somebody else, just deal with it. Deal with it. Be the first one to apologize. It won't kill you. It may feel like it will, but it won't. You'll live through it. Matthew 28:20, one the last things that Jesus said to his disciples, "And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age". Get it again. There's nowhere that you go that God is not with you. The seven "I am's" of Jesus taken from the new King James study Bible. "I am the bread of life". As bread sustains physical life, so Christ offers and sustains spiritual life. "I am the light of the world".
To a world lost in darkness Christ offers himself as a guide. And, you know, the world, today, is a pretty dark place. But I see a light out there. And the devil's trying to put it out. But he can't put it out because it's in my heart. I see it. He can't take it away from me. I don't care what the world does, I've already read the end of the book and we win. Amen? Come on. You know what Jesus is doing right now? He said, "I go to prepare a place for you. That where I am, you may be also. In my father's house, there are many mansions". Oh, I can't imagine what it looks like there. But I like fancy stuff. I hope mine is really fancy. Just deck it out, Jesus. "The light of the world". "I am the door of the sheep". Jesus protects his followers as shepherds protect their flocks from predators. "I am the resurrection and the life".
I love this. Death is not the final word for those who are in Christ. Come on, you don't have to be afraid of death. We don't have to be afraid of it. For the believer, honestly, life only begins after death. I mean, whatever it is we think we're doing now, that we call living, I mean, it's nothing compared to what it's gonna be like when we get in his presence and with him. I'm planning a seminar, and it's gonna be Moses, and Abraham, and me, and Jacob, and Isaac. And I think we'll have it in a big stadium with every seat full. Don't be worrying about tomorrow. Just live today. Live life one day at a time. God loves you. He's with you all the time. He will never leave you. "I am the good shepherd". He's committed to caring for and watching over us. "I am the way, the truth, and the life". He's the source of all truth. And "I am the vine," John 15:1 and 5.
By attaching ourselves to Christ, we enable his life to flow in and through us. Then we cannot help but bear fruit that will honor the father. And I like to just do a little example. You know, Jesus said that he's the vine and we're the branches. And so, you might say he's like the trunk of the tree and we're the branches. And let's just say, you're a peach tree. Well, have you ever seen a peach tree standing there going...? "Trying to get some peaches here, but..." I mean, that's the way I lived for years... "I'm trying to be good". "I'm not trying to change". "I'm trying to be a good wife..." But if we just hang there, if the branch just hangs on the vine that life comes up through that vine and into those branches and... ploop, peaches. We need to relax and believe and stop trying to make all these things happen our self.
God's not pleased when you're going through your life... "Ew, I'm trying so hard. I'm trying so hard". We all tell, "God, I'm trying so hard. I've done everything I know how to do, God. And I just, nothing's working. I'm trying so hard". And then we do this: "I give up. I just give up". One time, I was doing my thing and I got in the floor, "God, I just, I give up". And honestly, I heard God say, "Really"? I mean, he sounded excited. And I didn't quite get that at first, 'cause I was really trying to get him to feel sorry for me. And God is not gonna feel sorry for us because we have got the goods. We don't need pity, we need faith. We need to believe what the word says and start acting like it. And God just showed me, the only time he gets to work, are for those few minutes in life here and there, when we quit.
Come on, turn some stuff over to God. How many of you have got a kid you need to turn over to God? Would any day be any better than today? Why not just turn it over to God? I had to turn something over to God last week. And then, I remembered, I turned it over to him before. Somehow or another, I took it back. So, I said, "Well, God, I hope it sticks this time. I'm sorry I took it back," but, and you know, just giving it to God made me feel so much better. It's just like, "Phew". Those "Who have believed do enter the rest of God". That supernatural, beautiful rest of God, where right in the midst of the most terrible thing, you can have this peace and rest, but only as you believe.
What must I do to please God? Believe. Have faith. Believe his word. Believe that he is. Believe that he is the rewarder. Now, let's talk about that, a little bit, before I run out of time, here. I think this is funny. You know, I wrote down here, "Practice being present where you are, and you will always sense that God is there". Practice being present where you are. Do you know how hard it is to just stay focused on what you're doing? Now, I don't multitask as good as I used to. My brain can't keep up with it anymore. But I'm really kinda glad because it's so much more peaceful than trying to do nine things at once.
Now, here's the thing that I think is funny. The world thinks that they have found something amazing. They call it mindfulness. And it's now becoming this big industry where they're having seminars to teach mindfulness. And they think they've discovered something amazing in meditation. Read the book. I mean, God said, "If you meditate on my word day and night, everything you lay your hand to will prosper and succeed". Meditation is all over the Bible. And now, Christians have gotten afraid of it. We had the answers all along. Mindfulness is in the Bible. That's no new thing that they've come up with. It's in Ecclesiastes 5:1, Amplified, "Keep your foot [give your mind to what you are doing]". Right there.
Don't you think it's funny when the experts come up with some big thing that God's been telling us for thousands of years? God is a rewarder. Ooh, I love this. It's important for us to remember that God is good. He rewards right choices, and he rewards right behavior. And I am living in the rewards of God, and many of you are, too.
This whole thing that took place with my father, with the incest for, I don't know, 13 to 15 years, I don't remember exactly. And it was regular, and it was bad. And my mother knew about it, but she was afraid of him. And so, she didn't do anything about it. And that made it even worse. So, I was pretty lonely growing up. I reached out to a couple of relatives, and they didn't want to get involved. You know why? Incest, back in the '50s, nobody talked about that. I think I'm one of the first people to start talking about this publicly and out loud.
Now, a lot of people do. But, I mean, to talk about something like this in church, 40 years ago, was like, "My God, what are you doing"? Well, I'm telling the truth, because it's only the truth that's gonna make you free. And I had to deal with all that junk. I couldn't hide from it. I couldn't run from it. I had to face my father and talk to him about what he did to me. I had to forgive him, and it took me a few go-rounds, but we finally got it done, me and God, together. And then, God told me to take care of my mom and dad until they died. And I thought that was the devil. "No, no, God is not gonna ask me to do that". But oh, yes, God will ask you to do that. I was praying for his salvation. God wanted to save him, but he said, "We're gonna throw a little love in here".
Remember we talked last night about how faith and love work together. And people laugh when I say this, but it's true. I mean, they were old and not in good shape. And I thought, "Well, yeah, I can do this for two or three years". Well, it was like 13 years. And I didn't enjoy it. I didn't like it, but I did it because I love God. Amen? And I mean, we took good care of 'em. First, we bought them a nice little house, and then when they got to where they couldn't keep up with that, we put 'em in assisted living. And then, when they could no longer do that, we put 'em in a nursing home. Between me and my kids, they got visited at least once a week. We kept them in nice clothes.
I did what was right before God. And I can tell you, I think it was, in the spirit, one of the most powerful things that I ever did. And I think it affected this ministry in a very positive way. And I'm telling you, I don't care how hard it is, you forgive people that have hurt you and it will be the most powerful act that you will ever do. God has done things for me like, I wanted to go to college, but I couldn't go to college. I just had to get out and go to work right away, get away from my dad. And I didn't go to college, but I have four degrees. They've been given to me. Now, I appreciate it. I probably don't appreciate it as much as somebody who actually went to school, but I know that it was a gift from God. Four different universities have given me honorary scholarships because of all my writing. And my teachers recognized I had a writing gift and they wanted me to apply for a journalism scholarship.
Well, of course, that was out of the question for me because, once again, I had to just get out of the house and get away from my father. Well, it's a funny thing. I never took a class on writing, never got to go to college with that scholarship. But somehow, without knowing how to, I've written 130 books. I mean, God is funny. Come on. And I had a bunch of minister's wives want me to get together with them. And one of the questions they wanted to know was, how do I write a book? I couldn't even tell 'em. I don't know. I just pick a subject. When I sit down, I don't have the slightest clue what I'm gonna say. Now, I get material. I do research. And, you know, I mean, I'm not just stupid, but most of it just comes out of my spirit. It's just simple, every day, full of my life stuff. And I just think it's hilarious. I was on the platform one time with Martin Smith. Remember them? They used to be delirious.
Now, he does something else. Here, I almost failed English and I'm talking in 130 languages now, around the world, every day. And he failed music. Come on, "God uses the weak and the foolish things of the world to confound the wise". And I wanna tell you to start asking God for the rewards that he's promised you in his word. You get a concordance, it's so easy today to study. Get out that computer, get out a search, pick out a search engine and just put in there, "Show me every scripture in the Bible about God being a rewarder". And you will be amazed how many places it says that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. When you make a right, hard choice, you can figure on a reward coming your way. I don't do right things to get a reward, but I sure was glad when I found out they were available. And I'm not bashful. If there's anything in there that God says I can have, I'm gonna go for it.