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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joyce Meyer » Joyce Meyer - Tests and Rewards - Part 1

Joyce Meyer - Tests and Rewards - Part 1

Joyce Meyer - Tests and Rewards - Part 1
TOPICS: Tests, Reward
Joyce Meyer - Tests and Rewards - Part 1

There was a time in my life when I had had so many bad things happen to me for so long that I got to the point where I was afraid of trouble. The Bible calls it "Evil forebodings". And it says that "All of our days are made anxious by evil forebodings," by just, have you ever had so much stuff in your life that you're just kinda waiting for the next shoe to drop? You know, you're like, "What's gonna happen next"? And I'm so glad I don't have to live like that anymore that now I've come all the way full center and now I wait to see what the next good thing is that's gonna happen in my life. And I did a thorough study on the word "Hope" a few years back and found out that hope is not like the world, "Well, I hope something happens, but I don't know if it will, but I hope it will". But Bible hope is expecting something good to happen at any minute. It's a positive expectation that something good is going to happen to you.

And that's the way I live now. I'm glad that Jesus completely turns us around and causes us to learn how to live completely opposite of the way we did live. And I'm not afraid of trouble now. I know that some will come, I don't know what it will be, but Jesus said in the world there will be tribulation. It's foolish for any of us to think that we'll ever reach a time when we're on this earth where we will never have any kind of trouble. And so, we have to toughen up a little bit, spiritually toughen up a little bit. "The strong spirit of a man sustains him in bodily pain and trouble, but a weak spirit who can bear"?

So, you've been made stronger this weekend. But that strength won't last forever. You gotta keep pourin' it in, and keep pourin' it in, and keep pourin' it in because the world sucks it out, sucks it out, sucks it out, amen? But the good news is, is you don't have to be afraid of trouble, you know why? Because you are more than a conqueror. And I mean that. I really believe, you know, maybe for a long time I just confessed it and I preached it, but somewhere along the line I crossed over. And I mean, I really 100% believe that no matter what the enemy comes up with, that we can outlast him. And we can experience the victory in our lives. And if you know that, then the trouble that you're going through won't be nearly as bad because you have such positive expectation while you're on your way to the victory.

You know, the Bible says that "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". And faith means that you've got it inside before you get it outside. And when you've got it inside, it's pretty much the same as having it outside. You're just going through the process, waiting for it to show up. So those two and a half months that I wasn't able to walk, when both of my legs were down, I knew I was gonna get all right. I knew that. I knew that I was in God's hands and that he wasn't finished with me yet, and that one way or another, he would strengthen me and make me able to finish what he's called me to do. So, therefore, I wasn't really all that unhappy during those two and a half months. I mean, I would have rather been able to go out and go places, but I wasn't really unhappy because I knew, that I knew, that I knew, that I already had the victory before I saw it. Amen? And you do too. But it doesn't do you any good if you don't know it.

2 Corinthians 4:8, "We are hedged in and (pressed) on every side, [troubled and oppressed in every way], but", I love that. That's the transition. He said, "Look, I got this problem, but, let me tell you this". "Not cramped or crushed: we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair". The word despair means to be without a way. We're never without a way, because Jesus is the way. Amen? We may not know the way, but he knows the way. See, whatever kind of situation you have, whatever you're going back home to, I can't promise you that your situation at home will have changed, but I can promise you, if you've been paying attention, you've changed. You've changed, and that means that whatever it was that was bothering you is not gonna bother you nearly as much as it did. And that's gonna make the devil mad, 'cause he wants to bother you. Amen? We're never without a way.

"We are pursued (persecuted, and heart driven), but we are not deserted [to stand alone]: we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed". See, I love that, taking the negative thing that the devil's trying to do, and turning it around into something positive. That's what the world doesn't know how to do. "Always carrying about in the body the liability and exposure to the same putting to death that the Lord Jesus suffered". But I wanna explain this so you understand in a practical way. That doesn't mean that you're gonna get on a cross and die like Jesus did. But Jesus said, "If any man wants to be my disciple, let him take up his cross and follow me". And the Amplified Bible says, "Forget himself, lose sight of himself and all of his own interests".

So, the death that we're called to die is to die to self. The cross that we carry is to learn how to live an unselfish life. And that is a big job because we like ourselves. We want what we want, when we want it, the way we want it, and don't tell me, "No". Amen? And see, before you can really serve other people, before you can really fulfill what God wants you to do, which is to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul said, "I, the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ". We have to die to self. Otherwise, we're always in the way. And basically, it comes down to, "Lord if you can remove this cup from me, take it, but if not, your will be done, not mine".

Your will be done, not mine. I'll tell you how I pray. Anything that I pray for that's not specifically in the word, I always say to God, "And if it's not your will, then please don't give it to me," because the last thing I ever want is something that God doesn't want me to have. You haven't had a hard time until you get a bunch of stuff that God's not in. God told me a long time ago, he said, "You remember this, if you start it, you're gonna have to finish it because I'm not gonna take over when you get tired". Amen? So, we have to be careful about getting stuff started that's not God. So, I'm gonna, not to add to the word because the Bible says not to do that, but I'm gonna amplify this a little bit myself so you get it.

"Always carrying about in the body the liability and exposure to the same putting to death to self that the Lord Jesus suffered. So that the [resurrection] Life of Jesus also may be shown forth by and in our bodies". Jesus died to self. He was betrayed. He was rejected. He was abused. He was hated. And he had to not let all that bother him and keep his eyes strictly fixed on what his father had sent him to do. Verse 11, "For we who live are constantly [experiencing] Being handed over to death to self for Jesus' sake, that the [resurrection] Life of Jesus also may be evidenced through our flesh which is liable to death". Now, stick with me, verse 12. "Thus death to self is actively at work in us, but [it is in order that our] Life [might be actively at work] In you". One little, tiny person out there is kinda... You know what that means? "I can't help you until I've died to me".

Come on, don't make me stay here on this one scripture all afternoon. I can't really help you, or maybe I should say this, to the degree that I have died to self, it's only to that degree that I can help you. And the more I die to self, the more resurrection power can flow through me to help the people I'm ministering to. See, I'm taken care of. I know where I'm going. My life is settled. My name's in the lamb's book of life. I am not the least little, tiny bit afraid of death. I'm looking forward to getting out of here. I understand now what Paul meant when he said, "As far as I'm concerned, I'd rather go, but for your sake, I'll stay".

I've lived my life: I've done everything that you can do. There's nothing that this world has for me that I want. But I do wanna finish what God has called me to do. And I believe that many of you do too. Maybe some more than others, but. Jesus didn't die just so he could make you happy. He wants you to be happy but more than that he wants you to be holy and if you are holy you will be happy. But see, we chase happy and ignore holy. And what we need to do is chase holy and holy will make us happy.

Now, I'll give you a little sneak preview of what Tampa's gonna to be like. Because I've already written the book for next year and I finally wrote it. I wrote a book called "What about me? What about me"? And so, we're going after this selfish, self-centered, "What about me" thing in Tampa next year. And you want to gather up every selfish, self-centered Christian you know, buy them a ticket and bring 'em, 'cause we are having a death and a burial and a resurrection. Amen? I love what Paul said, "My determined purpose is to know him and the power of his resurrection that lifts me out from among the dead even while I'm in the body". Do you know as long as we're selfish and self-centered, we're just dead? There's no real life flowing to us or through us.

And we think that if we get our way, we're gonna be happy, but it's just the opposite, really. The only way you can really be happy is when you give yourself away. And here's the secret, I'll tell you the secret: if you forget about yourself, God will do more for you than what you can ever possibly imagine. But as long as you're trying to do it for yourself, you'll never get it. It will always evade you. And we're so scared to not get our way. We're so afraid to give up what we think we want. That's why I asked you, on Thursday night, how many of you would be willing to walk away from anything in order to have all of the Holy Spirit in your life? You know, let's go back to Abraham for a minute. God said to Abraham, "Leave your father's house and all that you know and all that you're familiar with".

Now, you know, we read that like, too quick. "Leave everything and go to the place that I will show you". God wouldn't even tell him where he was going. Why did Abraham have to do that? Because his family were idol worshipers. And sometimes, God has to call you out from the things that are poisoning you before he can do what he wants to do in you. Amen? And most of the time that means a period of wilderness loneliness. Because you don't have what you used to have, but you don't have what you're gonna have. See? And you don't even know what that's gonna be. You don't even know that you're gonna like it. So, we have a tendency to wanna hang onto this until we see this, so we have a choice. But God says, "Uh-uh, you let go, and trust me, then I'll show you". Come on, "Then I'll show you what I'm gonna do".

You know what desperate people do? They do stupid things. I was afraid that nobody would ever want me because I'd been abused, and so I married the first guy that paid any attention to me, and I knew when I did it down deep inside that it was a huge mistake. And all I did was buy five more years of misery on top of 18 I'd already had. He didn't work, ran around with other women, wrote bad checks, ended up going to prison. And I only did that because I was afraid I would never have anybody. Wonder how many women are here that have made the same mistake. Well, God can fix it for you. He can still make it work out good if you know how to believe him. I didn't know then. And please don't get mad at me when I say this. I'm not trying to be rude or mean to anybody. But so many people today live with somebody they're not married to.

And you know what? If somebody doesn't love you enough to make a commitment, you are better than that. You deserve more than that. You're worth more than that. And maybe that's what you've gotta walk away from. I don't know. "But I don't wanna not have anybody". You're better off with nobody than with the wrong somebody. Amen? You know, I lost all my friends when I chose the Holy Spirit. But they, obviously, weren't good friends anyway or they wouldn't have gotten rid of me as soon as I didn't do what they wanted me to. You may think you have good friends that actually are bad friends because if they can't control you, they'll throw you out. Quit trying to make yourself happy all the time, and God will make you happy. You know, I don't know what you think my life is like, but other than this, I don't do anything special. I mean, I don't.

You know, I stay home, I work, I put together messages. I get home tomorrow, and gotta pack for the next trip in Hershey. And then, the week after that I'll be putting together messages for Hershey. And that's okay, that's what I do, that's my life, that's what I'm called to do. But I don't know what you think that people like us do, we don't float around on the glory cloud singing the hallelujah chorus all day long. And then, after next week, I'll be in the TV studio recording so you guys can say, "Hi," to me in the mornings. I work. And I love it because I've got the best boss in the world. Amen? And I do a lot of writing. And the woman that helps me, that edits my books and helps me is here.

I want you to stand up for just a minute, beth. I want everybody, I want you just to appreciate all the help she gives me. Man, I keep her busy. I called her up last week, said, "How would you like to start doing research for me"? She's always up for whatever. I'm just pleading with you. Every time you hear in your head, "What about me"? Just say, "God, you'll take care of me. You'll take care of me". And I'll do the robot for you, not because I want to, but you won't shut up if I don't. I don't know if you saw the video earlier where I was doing it in India. And my little interpreter was follow, no matter what language you speak or what continent you live on, everybody has the same problems. Your problem isn't anything new. Everybody's got it.

But years ago, before I knew anything about what I'm trying to talk to you about today, when I was still just full of me, come on, what are you full of? I was still just full of me. The Bible, Paul said that he wanted us to just be "Bodies wholly filled with God". Oh, that sounds so yummy. I just wanna be a body wholly filled with God. Well, I was full of me, so I couldn't be full of God. And I was always thinking about me. "What about me? Wha..."? "Well, dave's gonna play golf, but what about me"? "And the kids are gonna go out and play all day. I cooked, and they're gonna leave the mess, and they're gonna go out and play, what about me"? "Dave's watching football, but what about me"?

I didn't care about anybody else enjoying their life. It was just, "Oh, what about me"? Selfish, self-centered. You know what? The loneliest place in the world is to live in solitary confinement with nobody but yourself. In your little four by eight cell with just you. No room for anybody but you. I woke up one morning, laying in bed, thinking about myself like I usually did. I love to think about what I'm gonna eat that day. What am I gonna do to make myself happy? See what do I wanna do today?

And then getting half mad before I ever got out of bed because I already knew what Dave was gonna do and I didn't want that. And God just spoke to me, kind of a funny little cartoon Revelation, but he said, "You remind me of this little robot, and the devil, before you're fully awake, the devil starts putting all these thoughts in your head, 'well...'" he said, "It's like winding you up for the day. 'what about me? What about me? What about me? What about me'"? And he said, "Then you put your feet on the floor and this is the way you look to me all day, 'what about me? What about me? What about me? What about me'"? Now, who would have known that that robot would have become famous in over 100 languages? But everybody understands it.
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