Joyce Meyer - The Journey to Spiritual Maturity - Part 2
Psalm 103:17-18, "But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children, with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts". A covenant is an agreement between two parties, each party having privileges and responsibilities. God has promised us so many blessings, and what he's asked us to do is to love and obey him. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey me". I think that's John 14:15. He did not say, "If you obey me, I will love you".
See, we read it wrong. We're not buying God's love through our obedience. We're not buying special favors with our obedience. We love God first. And the more you love God, the more you're gonna obey him. So, if you're having a problem with obedience, why don't you just go study more about how much God loves you and fall deeper and deeper and deeper in love with God. And the more you love him, the more you're gonna have to do what's right because you just can't stand not to. Amen? Instead of trying in the flesh to do things right, just spend more time with God. Noah had a covenant with God. The earth had been flooded and when the flood subsided, God made a covenant with Noah. There were things that he asked Noah to do, and they all were dietary laws which wouldn't make any sense to us. And he said, "I will put a rainbow in the sky as a sign of this covenant". And we still get to see that. That rainbow.
Okay. But there are different strokes for different folks, as they say. And Abraham comes along, and God makes a covenant with him. And the first thing he says to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3, "The Lord said to Abram, 'go from your country, your people, and your father's house to the land that I will show you'". Now, why did he have to get away from his family? Because they were all idol worshipers. And I want to tell you, sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is get away from somethin'. Amen? I'm gonna say that again, sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is get away from something. And so, and he told Abram, if you'll do this, "I will make of you a great nation". Number one. Number two, "I will bless you". Number three, "I will make your name great". Number four, "And you will be a blessing". And number five, "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you, I will curse".
I love every bit of that. Man, all he had to do was walk away from some wrong stuff. And God said, "I'm gonna bless you. I'm gonna make your name famous. I'm gonna...I'm gonna...You're gonna be so blessed that you're gonna be a blessing to everybody you get around. And everybody who blesses you, I'm gonna bless them because they bless you". Wow. That's pretty good stuff. And then he said, "We're gonna make a covenant. And that's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna do all those things", I just read to you, and he said, "For you, I want you to obey my precepts. And as a sign of this covenant, every male has to be circumcised". Now, I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have a rainbow than a circumcision.
How many of you could use a rainbow right now? Well, I'm sorry, that may not be the way it goes. And circumcision is really just cutting a way of flesh. And it was a way of showing under the new covenant that God wanted us to walk in the spirit, not in the flesh. Thank God we don't have to do what he had to do, although most male babies are circumcised because it's healthy. But the circumcision that we have is the circumcision of the heart. Where we're walking in the spirit, not in the flesh. But I thought that was pretty good, you know, that not everybody gets the same thing. God saved us by his grace and he gave us the Holy Spirit to help us walk in obedience to him. We don't even have to try to do it by ourself. He gives us all the help that we need. We're not perfect in our performance, but we can have a perfect heart toward God. And that's what God is looking for.
"The eyes of God roam to and fro across the earth, looking for someone whose heart is perfect toward him, in whom he might show himself strong". And so, a person with a perfect heart just, you want to do everything that God wants you to do so bad you can just hardly stand it. And that desire to please God: causes you to study it, causes you to pray, it causes you to want to do everything that the word tells you to do. And you don't read the Bible out of obligation, and you don't spend time with God out of obligation, and you don't give out of obligation. You do those things because you love God.
I remember, I remember my brother saying to me one time many, many, many years ago, he said, "Why do you give all that money to the church"? And I looked at him and I said, "I'm not giving it to the church. I'm giving it to God". It never one time occurred to me that I was giving it to the church or a person. I always knew I was giving it to God in obedience to him. And you need to realize that when you give, you're not giving your money to a man or a woman or a person or a building. God's putting it through their hands, but you're giving it to God. And I might even go so far as to say if the person that you give it through, misuses it, that still won't keep you from being blessed, if you have in mind that you're giving it to God. So, we're not perfect in our performance, but we can have a perfect heart toward God and the Holy Spirit through the word will help us be "Transformed into God's image from glory to glory to glory". We have been predestined to be transformed into the image of Christ. Can I say something? You may be the only Jesus your neighbor will ever see.
Now, I am just in a pitiful shape here because I'm down to 11 minutes and I haven't even started my message. So, I have an eight-point message. And here's number one. I do this all the time. It's pathetic. So, I'm just gonna tell you some of the blessings that are yours. And tell you that you need to start just pressing in a little bit and letting the devil know that you're not gonna do without 'em. Amen? First thing that God has given us is the forgiveness of our sins. Now, that is so amazingly wonderful. It just gets me so excited when I think that he not only forgives our sins, but he forgets them. Forgets them and moves them as far as the east is from the west, which nobody can figure that out. But he forgets 'em. And I just saw in Isaiah 43:25, I've read that hundreds of times, but I never saw this. It says, "I, even I, am he who blots out and cancels your transgressions, for my own sake". He doesn't even do it for us, he does it for himself. I might have to think on that some more, but, you know, it thrilled me because I've been teaching people for years now you don't forgive other people for them. Do yourself a favor and forgive.
And then I run across this, and he says, "For my own sake". God doesn't want anything between us. He doesn't want anything between you and him. He wants it to be good and clear and pure and he wants you to be comfortable. And there's so many scriptures in the Bible that talk about the forgiveness of God. But, you know, one of the things I think that we make a mistake about is, I don't think we know how to receive. I think we read some of this stuff and we just don't know how to receive. So, I want you just to take 30 seconds and I want you to close your eyes and sit real quietly and inside in your heart I want you just to think over and over, "All of my sins are forgiven". Go. Okay, we'll say that's 30 seconds. Now, this is just a little trick I'm teaching you today. I think if you use this at home, it'll really be a blessing to you. Because I do think that we got this stuff on our head, but we don't take time to just sit in the presence of God and receive it. How many of you think I might be right? Maybe. I don't know. Okay.
Now, the second thing that I was going to talk to you about today was that God promises to be with us always. Can you just think about how amazing that is that God lives inside of you? God lives inside of you. The Holy Spirit lives in you. Jesus lives in you. You're the house of God. He said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you. Everywhere you go, I'll go. I won't leave you, not until I have done everything that I told you that I would do". My goodness, how wonderful can it get? Genesis 28:15, "I am with you and I will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you". Come on, somebody give God a praise. So, now, we're gonna do it again. 30 seconds. And you're going to sit there and you're gonna just think, "God lives in me". Go. Okay.
Now, I know we have a hard time focusing for very long. So that's why I said 30 seconds. But just, this can change your life if you start doin' this at home instead of just sayin' your prayers and you know everything make sure we get all of our little boxes checked off. Every time you ask God to forgive your sins, just take a few minutes and just, "Boy, my sins are forgiven". Or stop just a few times a day and think, "God is with me right now. Whew. I've got this big guardian angel up here that you can't see. Lord have mercy. Don't mess with me". Amen?
I was in Phoenix, Arizona, this actually happened. I was at Tommy Barnett's church, and we had actually prayed before the service that God would put angels all over the church. And a woman, I don't think she told me. She told somebody and they told me, and she was obviously shaken up. She said, "My husband only brought me here 'cause it was my birthday. He didn't care anything about seeing Joyce, he's not a believer. But he brought me here because it's my birthday". And she said, "During the service he started to shake and cry, and I thought, 'well what? What is wrong with you'? And he said, 'well, don't you see 'em? Don't you see 'em'"? And the bottom line of the story is, he said, "When Joyce came out", and I usually in our conferences, I stay over to the side over there. And he said, "When she walked out over there, there was a bunch of men in white robes that were with her. And I thought they were the choir". And he said, "When she walked over to the platform, picked up her Bible, they made a semicircle around her and each one pulled out a sword and lifted it up".
Whoo! And you've got that same thing! Come on, why don't we use our imagination for somethin' other than stupid junk? Amen? You know, I can't imagine what the disciples thought when Jesus left, but he did try to tell 'em he'd be back. But I don't know how much they believed him or not. But in the Jewish culture, they had something in their culture that they did when they went to somebody's house for dinner. If they liked it and wanted to come back again, they folded their napkin nice and neat and laid it on their plate. And that meant "I enjoyed your company, and I enjoyed the food". If they didn't care for it, they took it and just wadded it up like that, and left it there.
Now, I double checked what I'm gettin' ready to tell you with somebody who's smarter than me. In the tomb, when they went in and found it empty and the linen that had been wrapped around him was laying down here at the top where his head was. The napkin was folded, nice and neat. And was laying there. Well, he already has come back through the Holy Spirit, but Jesus is comin' again. And I don't know about you, but I want to be ready. Amen? One of the things that we have as a blessing is that we're joint heirs with God, with Christ. Joint heirs with Christ. Everything he gets, we get. Whoo, ooh, ooh, ooh. Can you believe that? And the Bible says that we are predestined to be adopted as sons and daughters of God. Now, I know maybe you don't care much for that. It's Ephesians 1:5, "In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will".
Well, here is what I heard the other day. I read it. It's just so good, I can hardly stand it. In the Roman culture, if you had a natural born son and for some reason you decided to disinherit him, you could. Maybe you didn't like the kid. Maybe you thought he'd waste your money. Whatever it was, you could disinherit him. But if you had an adopted child, you could not for any reason disinherit him. And we are adopted by God. So, there is no way the devil can take it away from us. Amen? And I got more and more stuff that I can't tell you this time. Maybe next time. God has provided so much for us. Please don't let the devil take it away from you. Study and find out everything that belongs to you: mercy belongs to you, grace belongs to you, forgiveness belongs to you, God has promised to meet all of our needs according to his riches and glory by Christ Jesus. Amen?
Listen, if you have not received Jesus as your Savior, please don't leave without doing that. I'd like to just pray a prayer with anybody here who would say today, "Joyce, I've not, I've never surrendered my life to Christ. I know I'm a sinner and today I want to be born again. I want to leave here knowing that I'm right with God and that all of these privileges are mine". Or maybe you've tried to serve God at some time, and you've fallen away, and you've been livin' in sin again. And you're sayin', "You know, Lord, I'm lonely. I want to come home".
If that's you today? Would you lift your hand up wherever you're at? And I'm just gonna pray with you. Come on, nice and high so I can see 'em, if that's you. Come on. All over the place. Okay, now, listen to me. I'm gonna ask you to do somethin'. People don't wanna do it, but I'm not doin' it to embarrass you. I'm gonna ask you to just stand up. And the reason why is because if you won't take a stand in here, there's no way you're gonna go out there in public and take one. So, if you meant what you said, I want you to stand up right where you're at. Come on. Yeah, come on! Come on. Okay, your life is gonna change right now. You may feel somethin', you may feel nothin', but let me tell you somethin', you're gonna see a difference in the days to come. I want everybody to pray this prayer with me right after I pray. Say:
Father, God, I love you. Jesus I believe in you. I believe you died on the cross. You paid for my sins. I believe you rose from the dead. And you're seated at the right hand of God. I surrender my life to you. I know I'm a sinner. But I don't want to live like that anymore. I want to be a Christian. A Christ follower. Come into my life. Take me just the way I am. And now make me what you want me to be. I believe I'm saved. I'm on my way to heaven. And I wanna enjoy the journey. Amen.