Joyce Meyer - If I Could Go Back and Do It Again - Part 2
You may be in the darkest place in your life, right now. You may be going through things that make my story sound like a party. Believe me, no matter how bad you're hurting, there's always somebody that's hurting worse than you are. Somebody going through something harder than what you're going through. And there's a beautiful scripture in Isaiah 45:3. It says, "'and I'", it's God talking, "'and I will give you the treasures of darkness'". There's treasures for you in these dark places.
So, while I was pregnant with this boy, sitting right down here, on the end of the row, darkest time in my life, and now, he's the child who has, after almost driving me crazy while I was trying to raise him, because our personalities were just really alike. And I'll be honest, and he knows it, I told him I was gonna talk about him, I loved him because he was my kid, but I did not like him. And he will admit he was not very likable. You know, this personality test we took, it's not that popular anymore, but cholerics are the type-A, strong-willed, you know, go get 'em type people. And there was like 40 points on this test, and I was 38 points choleric, and he was 40. And we're trying to get along. And I didn't know what in the world was wrong with him because I wanted to control him, and he wanted to control me. And oh, gosh, we had a hard time.
Don't give up on people. Do not give up on people. I cannot tell you how many times that I wanted him to just get out of my life. When he went to Florida to go to Bible college, I was so glad when he left home and left town. Well, he knows it. And I mean, then I called him, and I asked him to come to work for me, and I thought, "How dumb can you be and breathe"? And I must have threatened to fire him 20 times over the years. But now, finally, praise God, now, we're really good friends and he'll call me in the morning sometimes, "I just needed to hear your voice. Love you". And he's the boy that, all the missions we have all over this world he has personally had part or been the one responsible for starting that. He's over our world missions program. And so... you were my treasure in the dark places. It took a while to see it.
And you don't know, you have no idea how many times I wanted to give up on him. And I am telling you tonight, don't give up on people. I am so glad that Dave didn't give up on me. So that's the first thing. I mean, in one way I can say if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't do it, but then I got the treasure so, see. And I want you to understand that if... Everybody say, "If". If you trust God, no matter what kind of a dark place you're in, God will bring something good out of it. If. Say it again "If". If you trust God. And that is so hard to understand, how you can just have such a terrible thing going on and God works something so miraculously good out of it. And only God can do that. Nobody else can do that. So, there are treasures hidden in the dark places.
The next thing that I would have changed is, if I could go back and do it over, I would start facing the truth about myself a lot sooner than I did. And you know what? Facing the truth about yourself is probably the hardest thing you'll ever do in your whole life. It's so easy to blame somebody else for our bad behavior. And how many years did I say, "Well, if I just wouldn't have been abused then I wouldn't behave this way". And all it was, was just an excuse. Because no matter what has happened to you in the past, God can teach you how to behave and act right, if you take responsibility for where you're at. You cannot get to where God wants you to be if you don't take responsibility for where you're at. And it may be somebody else's fault that you're here now, but it's your fault if you stay here.
Come on, did you get that? And you probably heard me say this a million times, but all I did was sit around and feel sorry for myself. And God said to me, "You can be pitiful, or you can be powerful. I'll take your pick, but you're not gonna be both". And so, if you want to experience the power of God in your life, then, tonight, you have to make your mind up that you are finished feeling sorry for yourself, no matter what has happened to you in the past. You do not get to feel sorry for yourself because God is telling you that he will take the mess and make a miracle out of it, if you'll give it to him. Amen? Facing the truth about yourself.
"If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed. And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free". But it's only if the truth is applied. It's not some magical thing that if you read the Bible, it's just all of a sudden, you're gonna change. You have to apply it. And I'll tell you, it's only pride that keeps us from admitting our faults. And when God convicts you about something, he's not asking you to go change it. He's asking you to agree with him, to repent, take responsibility for it and say, "Now, God, where and how do we go from here"? Is that hitting anybody where it needs to hit? I don't want you to go home and keep blaming somebody else again. I expected Dave to keep me happy. It was his fault if I wasn't happy. God said, "You stop giving Dave the responsibility for your joy and take the responsibility yourself". Amen? It's not somebody else's fault if you're unhappy.
If I could go back and do it all over again, I would enjoy the journey a whole lot more. You know, part of the reason why I couldn't enjoy my life was because after God called me into ministry, everything was taking so long. And I was so stinkin' impatient. And I didn't know that, I want you to listen to this, God had something prepared for me, but he had to prepare me for it. And so, I want to show you what it's like. Have any of you ever put together a big puzzle? This is a 6000-piece puzzle. Now, if you buy a puzzle, you buy it because of the picture on the box. Look at that. Beautiful, beautiful. You think, "Oh, yeah, that's the one I'm gonna buy. I'm gonna buy that. I'm gonna put it together". That's like your dream. And then you, "Oh, I didn't know there were that many pieces. This is gonna take a long time".
So, the first thing we do is we turn all the pieces over and then we do all the outline pieces. You know, we always pick the easy part first. We'd really be better off if we did the hard stuff first. And if you ever notice, on these boxes there's more blue sky and green trees and grass than anything. And I tell you what, sometimes, you put together blue sky so long you think you're gonna go crazy. Now, you gotta be in the spirit with me or you miss that. In other words, you do the same thing, same thing, same thing, same thing, same thing. I was being faithful to that little Bible study: little Bible study, little, little, little, little, little, little and then more little.
And I was so sick and tired of blue-sky pieces. And then, God'll give you a little, he'll give you a little something, you know, a little surprise. A little, and so, maybe, you'll get to put the steeple on the church here or something. And then, you start on green trees. And then it's green, green, green, green, green, green, green, green. And then, don't you love it when you get to this point where you're...? Man, to me, this is the best example. It's like, "God, I've walked through all that and I finally got it put together. It's finally together! I'm not missing any pieces, I don't think. I hope not". But have you ever done, when you're working on a puzzle and you've got a piece and it looks like it goes here? And it almost does. You ever try to? And that's what we do a lot of times, you know. We get in a hurry and we're like, "You are gonna work! I'm tired of putting this thing together. This is gonna work"!
Those of you who've been through, I mean, Lisa's sitting here like, "Mhm, mhm, mhm," see, she gets it. You don't fully get this unless you've been through it. If you're one of the give-ups, you gave up when you were one fourth of the way through the blue sky. Well, you know what? You can't skip ahead, you're gonna have to go back to the blue sky. Everybody's gotta go the same way. You gotta let God do what he wants to do in you, before he can do anything through you. And the more you let him do in you, the more he can do through you. Amen? If I could go back and do it all over again, I would work hard, but I wouldn't work as hard as I did. I believe in hard work, and I think if you're gonna have anything worth having, you're gonna have to work hard at it. But the thing that I wish I would have done that I didn't do was I wish that I would have said no to the things that I could have said no to that really wouldn't, they were not things that would make or break the ministry.
You know, when you get just a little bit well-known, everybody wants you to do them a favor. And, you know, when you come from nowhere, it's hard to say no to big things. But I had to learn that no matter how mad it was gonna make somebody else, that I had to do what God was telling me to do, not what they wanted me to do. Amen? And some of you are so stressed out because you're running all over the place trying to keep up with what all your kids want you to do. And runnin' 'em here, and, you know, there. You're like a taxicab service. It won't kill your kids if they don't get to do everything everybody else does. They won't die. And you don't have to work three jobs so they can have the $150 pair of tennis shoes. My kids grew up just fine. They still love God and I got their shoes at garage sales 'cause I didn't have any money.
Come on. So, I made myself sick, and then I got okay. And then again, I made myself sick and I got okay. The last time I made myself sick, I didn't get okay. Not for three years. And finally, about five months ago, I finally started feeling normal again. I got adrenal fatigue really bad. And Paul Osteen was one of my doctors and put me in the hospital in Houston and they ran every kinda test imaginable and said, "For your age, you are extremely healthy". And I thought, "Well, why do I feel like I'm dying"? And they said, "You have severe adrenal fatigue". And I said, "What am I supposed to do"? And Paul looked at me and he said, "I want you to rest for 18 months". I said, the first thing I said, I said, "What do you do? What do you do when you rest for 18 months"?
Well, it was pretty obvious what my problem was. I didn't know how to rest. Come on, some of you have had the gas pedal to the floor for so long, it's stuck there. Come on, I'm talking to everybody here. And so many people in ministry get themselves in trouble. We hear all these stories: this one's on drugs, that one's on alcohol, this one's done this, this one's having an affair. And, you know, a lot of it is caused because of just what I'm talking about right here, they get so tired that they cannot hear from God anymore. And they're hurting so bad because they're not having any fun. They're not enjoying their life, they're not resting. And so then, they're weakened and it's easy when temptation comes along to fall into sin.
And I'll tell you, if you don't get the right amount of rest and fun and enjoyment as well as work and worship, you will, one day, pay for it. Amen? But you know what? And I can honestly tell you, even the abuse included, even if I could go back and do it all over again, I really wouldn't. You know why? Because all of that is what's made me who I am. Amen? And I'll just tell ya, if you wanna be who God wants you to be, you're gonna have to quit running away from the hard stuff. You can't give up on God every time it doesn't go your way. When you go through those times where you feel like you just can't stand the pain, if you just stand still God's digging out a deeper place in you for more compassion and more love and more of everything to give to everybody else. And really, don't just live for yourself. That's such a small life. If the only thing that's in your life, is you, you are to be pitied above all people. Amen? Make room for everybody. Everybody needs to be loved. Amen?
Okay, now, listen to me just for a minute before we finish for tonight. It's very important to me, if you have not received Christ, that you don't leave and go home still in that lost condition. And, you know, maybe you've heard the term "Born again" and you don't understand that. Obviously, you don't get back in your mother's womb and come out again. We're talking about being born again inside. See, you can be one of the what I call "The walking dead". You know, you're walking 'round, you're alive and breathing, but you're dead inside. And I don't care, maybe you've gone to church for 30 years that doesn't mean that you're born again. Jesus didn't die so we could have a religion. He died so we can have a personal relationship with him. A personal, intimate relationship with him where he's your best friend. Our high call is to enjoy God, not be afraid of him.
And you know, it's so simple, Jesus has already done everything. All all he's asking us to do is believe it. I'm gonna make this simple. If you're here, tonight, and you've never surrendered your life to Christ, maybe you go to church, but you've really not surrendered. You're still trying to run your own thing. Do your own thing. You signed up to get God to give you what you couldn't get for yourself. But if you're not truly born again and you're ready to really give your life to God. See, we don't just receive Jesus, we give ourself to him. It's not just a one-way thing, here. And a lot of people do this like, "Receive Jesus, and all your problems are over". No, they're not. I'm not gonna lie to you and tell you that. But your worst day with Jesus will be better than your best day ever was without him. Amen?
So, just close your eyes for a minute, let's give people some privacy. If you're here, tonight, and you say, "Joyce, I'm ready to surrender my life to Christ. I want to be born again. I want to live for God. I want to be a Christian," will you raise your hand nice and high so I can see where you're at? Thank you. Bless you, bless you, bless you, bless you. Come on, all over the place. All over the place. It's time. Thank you. God bless you. Up here, in the balconies, let's see. I want everybody that leaves here tonight to go home with your heart full of Jesus.
Okay, now, listen, I'm gonna ask you to do one more thing for me. Not to embarrass you, but I'm gonna ask you to stand up. Not gonna bring you down to the front, but I just want you to stand up and I'll tell you why. If you won't take a stand in here, you'll never go out in the world and take one. So, if you meant what you said, come on. If you meant it... Let's stand up. Come on. Amen. All over the building tonight. It's time to stand up for Jesus, amen? Come on, up in the balconies, let's stand up. Don't let this time pass you by. If you know you should stand up, don't keep sitting there. Alright, I'm gonna pray a very simple prayer and I want you to pray it right after me. As a matter of fact, let's just all pray the prayer, make them comfortable. And boy, something wonderful's gonna happen. You may feel something, you may feel nothing, but I'll tell you, your life will never be the same. Let's just pray this:
Father God, I love you. Jesus, I believe in you. I believe you're God. I believe you came to earth. I believe that you went to the cross and paid for my sins. You took my penalty. You took my punishment. I'm sorry for the way I've lived. Forgive me. I receive you, Jesus. I wanna live for you. I wanna be a follower of Christ. Now, I surrender, I give myself to you. Take my life, and make me what you want me to be.
Now, just think about it for just a minute. Your names are being written in the lamb's book of life, right now. Everybody shout out, "I'm saved"! "I'm on my way to heaven". "And I'm gonna enjoy the journey". Amen. Come on, give these people a praise.