Joyce Meyer - Sowing, Reaping and Generosity - Part 3
- How to know Jesus
Well, thank you for being with me today on, "Enjoying Everyday Life". You know, God does want you to enjoy every day of your life. So, make a decision that you're going to enjoy this day. And yes, even if you have a problem in your life, you can enjoy the day because you can enjoy God and you can enjoy yourself. Even if you've made mistakes, even if you've done something wrong, you can repent, ask God to forgive you and you can go right ahead and enjoy yourself and enjoy the day. I've been teaching this week on sowing and reaping and I want to repeat something that I said earlier in the week. I said, I really like the principle of sowing and reaping because I feel like it gives me a little measure of control over my life.
And what do I mean by that? I mean that if I want something, I can have it by sowing some seed. If I want more friends, I can sow the seed of being friendly. If I want people to forgive me when I make mistakes, I can be assured of having it if I am quick to forgive myself. If I want people to be more merciful with me when I make mistakes, I can have that harvest in my life if I am merciful with other people. And also, if I need more financially, I can grow financially by being diligent to always give a portion of what I have to the work of God.
Now, we're just gonna call this today, sowing what you want to reap. And this will be the end of this teaching on sowing and reaping. But I think it's very important that we learn to be very generous. So, ask yourself, are you a generous person? Do you do just what you have to do to get by? Maybe you don't even think that much about being generous. You know, I think about it a lot. And I try to be generous on purpose. I don't want to feel like it or I don't wait for God to command me to give something. But I want to be a giver because I've found out that it makes me very happy. Proverbs 11:18, Amplified Bible says, "The wicked man earns deceitful wages, but he who sows righteousness, (moral and spiritual rectitude)", which means rightness, "(in every area and relation) shall have a sure reward, [permanent and satisfying]".
So, here, he's talking about sowing righteousness. He's talking about behavior, and that if we sow right behavior, we're gonna have a satisfying reward. You know, there's an awful lot of people in the world that just aren't satisfied. And I was like that for a long time, I just wasn't happy. And there was no real reason for me not to be happy. I had a good family. I had a good job. We didn't have any money problems. And God finally just spoke to my heart, and he said, "You're unhappy because you're selfish". And I was. I was a selfish person. And I still battle that. I think we all have to battle that on a daily basis. To put others before ourselves is a challenge because there's something in our flesh that always wants to make sure that we are taken care of. But what God wants us to do is be a blessing to other people.
And by doing that, we're sowing seeds and then he will bring a harvest into our life by taking care of us. If you do God's work, he'll always make sure that you're taken care of. Galatians 6:6-10, "Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. Don't be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction: whoever sows to please the spirit, from the spirit will reap eternal life". It's very simply saying, if you'll obey God instead of doing what you feel like doing, you're gonna have a life that's gonna be satisfying and a life that you can enjoy living. But if you ignore God and do what you wanna do or what you feel like doing, then you're not gonna like the results.
Don't ever think that you can do the wrong thing and reap a right result. I think there are people in the world that are gamblers, what I call gamblers, and they gamble. They think, "Well, you know, maybe I'll be the one to get by with it". You know, for example, and I'm not trying to condemn anybody by saying this, but on cigarette packages it says, "This product may cause cancer". Well, but there are still a lot of people who use that product and they're not using it planning to get cancer. They think that they will be the one that will beat that, and it won't happen to them. And they may be, but they also may not be. So, do what's right and you will reap a satisfying and a sure reward. "Let us not become weary in well-doing, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don't give up".
You know, we always wanna know, "When God, when? When's my breakthrough gonna come"? You know when it's gonna come? At the right time. And the right time may not be your timing, but God's timing is always perfect. And you say, "Well, why not now? I want it now". Well, maybe God's trying to do a work in you that has not been accomplished yet. Maybe he's waiting for you to make a greater commitment to him. You know, God wants us to lay our lives on the line for him and say, "God, I'm here, whatever you want". "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all of these other things will be added unto you". We won't have to be always trying to get God to give us something if we'll put his kingdom first.
"Therefore", well, let's back up, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don't give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers". So, God says "Every time you have an opportunity". Wow, I wonder how many opportunities we let pass us by. Let's just say you work in an office and, oh, I don't know, you hear a worker say they're a month behind on their rent. And so, you decide you pray for God to give them the money to pay their rent. Well, why pray if you have enough money that you could pay their rent? "Well, well, well, well, well". Well, see we don't think about that. We want God to do everything, but we don't want him to use us to do it.
Make yourself available to God, "God, here I am. Everything I have belongs to you. Whatever you want me to do, that's what I wanna do. Even if it's not easy for me, I want to be obedient to you and I wanna do what you want me to do". He says be good to everybody, but "Especially to those who are of the household of faith". As I said before, to think that we can do wrong and get a right result is deception. God's precepts cannot be set aside. And you know, we live in an age of great deception. And the Bible says that we need to be careful. We need to pray that we're not deceived. Matthew 24, is a chapter in the Bible that's about the signs of the end times, and it tells us, "Pray that you be not deceived".
Colossians 2:8 is another scripture in the Bible that talks about all the deception in the world today. It says, "See to it that no one Carries you off as spoil and makes you yourselves captive by so-called Philosophy and intellectualism". You know, we hear sometimes about Philosophers. "Well, that person's a Philosopher". And so, we're impressed, "Oh, they're a Philosopher". Well, what is a Philosopher? I looked it up and it just says it's a thinker. Well, I'm a Philosopher then, because I think. You know, we have to be careful about just, "Well this person's got four degrees behind their name so, wow, we need to listen to them".
Well, you know, I'm all for education. Get all of it you can and all of it you want. But God's wisdom is still above all of our degrees. And somebody can have a lot of degrees behind their name and we think, "Boy, their advice is always gonna be good". Well, do you know? Good advice is not necessarily wise advice. God offers us wisdom. And wisdom, I believe, is to do now what you'll be happy with later on. Sadly, we don't always care enough about later on, but later on will come. "Don't follow human traditions, (men's ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elementary teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah)". 1 Corinthians 3:18-20, "Don't deceive yourself. If any of you think that you're wise by the standards of this age, you should become 'fools' so that you may become really wise".
Now, you know, I'm not saying the world has no good advice to offer, but we have to be careful that we don't just go along with what the world has to say, because there's some pretty crazy ideas out there, right now. And we need to always go back to the Word of God and believe it above everything else. Now, we're talking about sowing seed and the Word of God is seed. So, right now, I'm sowing seed into your life by sharing the Word of God with you. But there are, you may receive it and you'll reap a real benefit from it, if you put it into action, it'll produce a harvest in your life. But if you just thought, "Well, I'll listen to Joyce today and see what she has to say". But I don't know, maybe because I'm talking about sowing and reaping and being generous, that's not something that really interests your flesh.
You know, our flesh is much more interested in getting than it is in giving. And so, it says the seed that is sown does no good if it falls among thorns. That refers to someone "Who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, making it unfruitful". We can't be worrying about money and worrying about everything else, and the Word of God really do us any good. If you're God's child and you're doing what he tells you to, you don't have to worry about those kind of things because God will take care of you. I said, God will take care of you.
You may say, "Yeah, well, I've been praying about something and it hasn't happened". Well, that doesn't mean it won't happen. Don't give up. There's seed, time and harvest. There's time between seed and harvest. Be very careful about your attitude toward things and money. To be honest, things can be a blessing, but they can also be a curse. If you don't keep God first in your life, things can be a real big problem. Deuteronomy 11:16, "Take heed to yourselves, lest your minds and hearts be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other Gods and worship them".
God will give us material possessions. He'll give you things. He'll give you things that you want. He'll give you pretty things and nice things. He'll give you a nice home. He'll give you a nice automobile. But we must be very, very, very, very, very, let me stress, very careful to maintain a right relationship with our things. In other words, hold everything you have loosely in your hand, in your heart, so that if God requires it back, you're not gonna have any problem letting it go. You know, my wedding ring, one day, I'd worn it up here to the studio and I put on something different to leave with, and it ended up in a little Jewelry bag that I took home. And for some strange reason, it ended up in a drawer that I never usually put Jewelry in. And so, when I went to look for my wedding ring, the next time I wanted to wear it, I couldn't find it. Well, first I started to get upset and then I said, "It's just a thing. I'm not gonna let a thing upset me".
Now, my heart was still a little bit hurt, but I wanted to say the right thing. "God, I know it's just a thing. It's not worth me losing my joy over. It's not worth me losing my peace over". Well, my daughter, bless her heart, she was determined that she was gonna find that ring. She went through every purse that I had. She went through every, I've got all these little Jewelry bags in my drawer. And she went through every one of those bags. And she even went into that drawer where we never put Jewelry, and she felt, grabbed a handful of those bags and she felt something hard in it. And when she pulled it out, it was my ring. So, God found it for me and gave it back to me. But I was so glad that I didn't get all upset, and mad, and worried, and sad over that thing.
Don't let things steal your joy. Things are just things. Think about these people that are in hurricanes or floods and they lose everything that they have. You know, any possession that you own can be replaced, but your joy and your peace, your love for God can't be replaced by anything else. Be careful what kind of a relationship you have with things. Always, always, always put God first. Now, we're gonna talk about the book of Genesis, for just a minute. Eve made the mistake of looking too much and thinking too much. When the serpent tempted her and lied to her, she should have said, "No," right away, and walked away. Don't flirt with the devil, because if you do, he'll win every time.
It says, "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, 'did God really say, "You must not eat of any tree in the garden"?' the woman said to the serpent, 'well, we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, "You must not eat fruit from the tree that's in the middle of the garden, you must not touch it, or you will die."'" Well, here comes the big lie. Satan says, "You will surely not die". Well, if Eve woulda really been on her game that day, she would have said, "You're a liar". We should always believe what God says more than we believe how we feel, more than we believe what we think, more than we believe what anybody else says, because God is always right and everything else is wrong. He says, "'God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good from evil'".
I think that's beautiful, because you know what? God never wanted people to even know what evil was. He said, "You can eat from all these trees but don't eat from this one". So, all these things they could do and yet Eve wanted to do the one thing that she couldn't do. And, you know, that's the way sin is. When we are told not to do something, the very fact that we're told not to do it, makes us wanna do it that much more. That's just the way that the flesh is. "'God knows when you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will know good from evil'. But when the woman saw the fruit of the tree and that it was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable to gain wisdom".
See, she forgot all about what God told her and she started basing everything on what she could see and what she wanted to know. "So, she took some of it and ate it. And she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it". Now, you know, I have to stop for just a minute and say that it irritates me that Eve always gets blamed for everything. Eve was not the only one deceived, here. Adam was, too. If Adam was the head of the house, which he was supposed to be, then he should have told Eve, "I'm not gonna eat that. And Eve, you shouldn't have eaten it either. So, you need to repent, right away, and ask God to forgive you before we all get ourselves in trouble".
But then, the part that I really like, I'm not gonna read all of this, but if you go on down to verse 12, God confronted them because they hid from him. And when he came looking for 'em that evening, he said, "Why are you hiding"? And they said, "Well, because we're naked". He said, "Well, who told you, 'you're naked'"? And then, of course, the truth came out, which it always does. "And God said, 'who told you, you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat'? And the man said, 'the woman that you gave me, she gave it to me'". So, "God, you gave me the woman. So, it's your fault. And the woman gave it to me, and I ate it, so, it's her fault".
Do you know? We need to take responsibility for our actions and not always be blaming them on somebody else. For years, and years, and years, I blamed my bad behavior on the fact that I'd been abused when I was a little girl, sexually. Well, God finally told me, he said, "That's a reason why you act the way you act, but don't let it become an excuse to stay that way". You see, God will set you free from anything if you'll just do things his way. No matter what has happened to you, in the past, if you'll make a decision, today, "With God's help, I'm gonna start obeying him and doing what he wants me to do," your life, your bad circumstances can be turned around. Your life can be a field of weeds, but if you start sowing good seed, it will choke out all those weeds and you'll end up with a life that you can really, really, really enjoy.
All we have to do is be a doer of the word, not just a hearer, but a doer. I'm glad that you watched the program and I hope you watch it every day. And I'm glad that you hear it, but it's really not gonna do you any good if you just listen to me and don't do what you learn. James 1:21-25, he says, "Get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit, receive and welcome the Word of God, which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls". It's not talking about the salvation that Jesus offers, it's talking about the changing of our souls, the changing of our mind, our will, and our emotions. "But be doers of the word, [obey the message] and don't just listen to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the truth]".
Isn't that exactly what Eve did? She had to get into reasoning in some way, and Satan said, "Well, did God really say"? And it got her thinking, I'm sure, "Well, yeah, why did he tell me that? Why shouldn't I eat that one tree? It looks good". And she didn't need to do that. She didn't need to try to figure out why God told her that. She just needed to do what he said. The Bible is the truth, and anything that doesn't agree with that is not truth. And I know some of you think, "That's an antiquated idea. That's an old book that doesn't apply to today". It's not an old book. It's a book that's full of God's word and God's will. And it does apply today because God is a God that never changes. I said, God is a God that never changes.
Now, some of the customs in the Bible may have changed. But God's word, the things that he tells us are sin, if they were sin 2,000 years ago, they're still sin today. Please live by the Word of God. We can only reap what we sow. And if you sow obedience, you're gonna reap a harvest of a life that you can enjoy. Genesis 8:22, "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease". Only making right choices provides right results. And I love Psalm 126:5. And I want you to listen to this. "They who sow in tears shall reap in joy". In other words, sometimes, it's hard to do the thing that God asked you to do. But if you do it, you'll reap a harvest of joy. You know, when God put on my heart that I was to take care of my mother and father who had abused me, as they got older and take care of them until they died and make sure that they had a good life, I mean, at first, I rebuked it. I thought it was the devil. I thought, "There's no way God would ask me to do that".
You know, just because something is hard doesn't mean that God wouldn't ask us to do it. You may have to sow in tears, but you'll reap in joy. And when my father asked me to lead him to the Lord and baptize him, there was my joy. It was hard to do it, but it was so wonderful to see his salvation and to know that even after the wretched life that he lived, that God had mercy on him and that he went to heaven. Now, you know, every thought turns into a word and then those turn into actions. And so, it's very, very important what we think. Sow what you wanna reap in life. God's giving you an opportunity, "I set before you life and death, choose life that you and your descendants may live". We love you. If we can pray for you, call us, and let us know what you need prayer for. We appreciate you. And we ask that you pray for us. Thank you for being with us today. God bless you.