Joyce Meyer - Be Careful How You Live
Let me ask you some very direct questions. I'll ask myself these questions too. What is your lifestyle and would Jesus approve of it? Does he approve of who you hang out with? Does he approve of your choice of entertainment? Does Jesus approve of the movies that you go to? Does he approve of the way you dress? Does he approve of what you talk about around the lunch table at lunch with your carnal friends? You say, "Man, I need to feel better. Can you preach somethin' else"? No, 'cause you know what? I could feed you dessert today but that's not gonna keep ya healthy and strong.
Question number two, do you have a specific purpose, something that you believe that you are to accomplish in your life? See, I'm getting a lot of the looks I thought I would get. "I don't know, I'm waiting for God to show me what he wants me to do". Do you know what? Sometimes you're not gonna figure out what God wants you to do until you get out there and start moving and trying a few things. "Well, what if I'm wrong"? You'll survive. I've been wrong lots of times and I'll still here. Amen?
Alright, are you living your life on purpose each day working toward the purpose you feel that God has for your life? And your purpose can change at different seasons in your life. One of my daughters home schools her girls and that's been her purpose, to be a good mom and to home school those girls. But now they're 13 years old and God is changing her purpose and she's gonna start going out and doing some speaking because she really wants to help people. Give yourself to what you're supposed to do in this season of your life, bloom where you're planted, and don't get so addicted to your plan that when God wants to change it, you won't let go of it and do something else. And don't minimize, whatever it is that God wants you to do right now, don't minimize that. You may be taking care of elderly parents.
Can I tell you something? I think that touches God's heart about as deep as you can touch it because let me tell ya something, taking care of elderly parents can be a real job, I know. Because you know what? Now listen to me, it's what we do behind the scenes that affects the power and the anointing that we carry out in public. Do you have a plan? Are you able to follow through with your plans? How many days do you have in which you don't accomplish what you set out to do? How easy do you lose your focus? Are you leaving a legacy? Here's a good one, will the world miss you when you're gone? What have you done with your life so far? You know, these are sobering questions but we need to be sober sometimes.
1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be well balanced, (sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times: for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring in fierce hunger, seeking someone to seize upon and devour". And you know what? If we don't wake up, sleepy Christians, walk carefully, which means the Greek word is circumspectly and that word means to walk looking all around you being careful. It actually has a word picture connected to it of walking barefoot in a field of thorns. So, how many of you would take your shoes off, go out into a field of thorns and just...?
We wouldn't do that but sometimes that's the way we live life, amen? No, I mean you'd be like, "Is this the right thing? Is this the right thing? Is this the right thing"? I'm just asking today if we could start living a little more carefully? How many warnings do you ignore? You say, "Warnings, what do you mean"? Well, let's just say that your back has hurt for five years and you've never bothered to go see why, "Well..." When your body hurts somewhere consistently, it's warning you that something's wrong. And if you take care of little problems, they won't become big problems. Thank you for your excitement. All right, I'll just move on to something else. We had better seize the day before the devil seizes our day.
1 Corinthians 3:10 says, "According to the grace of God bestowed on me, like a skillful architect and a master builder I laid the foundation, and now another man is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds". There's the word again, careful or circumspectly. Paul is saying, "I taught you about Christ. I've laid a foundation in your life, now you're gonna be building a life. Be careful how you build". And if you go actually study those scriptures out, it says that we can build wood, hay, straw, stubble, gold, or silver.
How are we building our life? I spent so many years going to bed at night regretting what I spent my day doing, and I don't want do that anymore and I don't want you to do it. I want to go to bed at night and be proud of what I got done that day. Amen? What are you doing with what God is giving you? A.W. Tozer said this and I think this is awesome, "A man by his sin may waste himself which is to waste that which on earth is most like God". You here on earth are more like God than anything else here and he's saying, if you waste yourself, then you're wasting the thing that is the most like God. This is man's greatest tragedy and God's greatest grief.
You know, waste of any kind is sad and certainly the waste of an entire life is the saddest of all. And how many of you know somebody that has just wasted their whole life? Okay, well, I think we all do. My dad did that and it's so sad to see somebody in their 80's on a walker, gray hair, all wrinkled up who's pretty much alone and has nothing left but regrets. I will not live like that. I am not gonna get to the end of my life and have nothing left but regrets. And the only way that you can not have regret tomorrow is to do what's right today. Today, we need to start making right choices.
If God is dealing with you about anything in your life and you know that you need to be obedient to him and you're putting it off for another day, I think tomorrow's maybe the most dangerous word that we have in our English language. "I'll do that tomorrow. I'll do that tomorrow". Well, what if Jesus comes today? Thank you. It wasn't a loud clap but nonetheless it was a clap. How many of you understand what I'm trying to do here today? I'm trying to move somebody to make some decisions. I'm trying to move somebody to stop just waiting for somebody to come and wave their hand over you and make it all right. I'm yelling to somebody, "Get up"! It's time to get up and start doing something with what God has given you.
"Well, I just don't know what God wants me to do". You know what? Half the time when I come up here, I don't have a clue what God wants me to do and I've got a message, but I'll tell ya one thing, I've never come up here and not had God work through me. And if you will take a step, God will work through you. Amen? I believe that God hates waste. I don't like to waste God's money. I don't like to waste my time. I don't want to waste my energy.
Do you know that every day that you spend angry is a day that you have totally wasted? Totally wasted. Every day that you spend feeling sorry for yourself, it's a totally wasted day. It's completely unproductive. It does not help your future in any way, shape, or form. It's just keeps you stuck in the same spot. Come on, we're talking about making some decisions today. You know, we're always spending something. You're spending your time. You're spending your energy. You're spending your money.
Now, like today, you have spent, by the time you leave, you will have spent, well, 2 hours and 15 minutes from the time the service started and some of you probably got here early. And so, let's just say, let's just say even if you spent 3 hours here today, okay, well, that's time well spent because, you know why? This is gonna help you tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day. But you could have went out for coffee with two friends and sat and gossiped for 3 hours about everybody else you know, and that's not gonna make you feel good. You'll be unhappy later today and won't even know why. But now today, you're gonna have a much better day because you're sitting there having life ministered to you.
What does the Bible say? If you sow to the spirit, you will reap from the spirit life and life eternal. And if you sow to the flesh, you will reap death, ruin, decay, and destruction, amen. Make good choices. Feel good about the choices that you're making. Amen? I figured out yesterday, and I'm down the road a ways with this so don't, I'm not asking anybody to do what I'm doing but I started working out with weights 11 years ago and I did that 3 hours a week. It would take me an hour three times a week and I had a trainer. Well, about a year and a half ago, I started adding walking and I got up to 5 miles every day. And so, I spend about 17 hours a week exercising.
Okay now, and I'm not trying to impress you. I'm trying to make a point. Okay... Before I got up here to teach this, I took an inventory of my time. How much time do I spend watching TV? How much time do I spend sleeping? How much time do I spend doing this? How much time do I spend doing that? How much time do I spend with God? And I looked at it and I thought, okay, I'm spending 17 hours a week working out, but what am I doing with that? I'm buying years, see? I'm buying energy. I'm buying vibrancy. I'm buying the opportunity to be here a lot longer than I would be if I didn't do anything so I can help more people and maximize the gift that God has given me.
And that's really the reason why I started doing it. I looked at myself one day and I mean, God spoke to my heart and he said, "If you don't start getting exercise, you are not gonna be strong for the last third of your journey". Amen? And, you know, I mean it is amazing the energy Dave and I have for our age. And Dave doesn't like to talk about old but nonetheless we got a few years on us. Amen? I mean, that good-looking guy will be 76 in July. And he's still got a six pack.
See, here's the thing to realize, you can add years to your life and not get old. I sure don't feel like I'm gonna be 73 in 30 days. I don't feel like that. And when I'm out there walking, and sweating, and climbing those hills, I know I'm buying years. I'm buying energy. I need to be creative. I mean, I teach a lot of different things, a lot of different places and write all these books. I've gotta be fresh and I've gotta be creative. I don't have five messages that I can go all over the world and preach. Every time I get on that television, you want to hear something different. And my brain was kind of starting to not wanna think anymore.
Well, one of the reasons was because I wasn't getting any blood to it ever. Oh, you know what I'm saying. When you spend your time, you're buying something with it. So, do you want to invest your time or waste your time? And see, I don't think it's wrong to watch a movie on TV. I don't think it's wrong to rest. I'm not saying that you gotta just work, work, work, work all the time. You need a balanced life, but we all know that we can sit and watch stuff on TV that is just flat-out stupid and just go... I mean, I've done that 3 hours. Anybody else out there?
And then tomorrow we want God to wave his hand over us and... Ooh, we're having too much fun for a Friday morning. I'm sorry for all the people that missed it. You know what I've been doing? And it's been an interesting project. Several times a day now I'm stopping and kind of going over what I've done with my time so far that day. And I'm finding it to be interesting because we often say, "Life just goes by in a blur". Well, sometimes we need to take the time to think about what we're doing with the time that we have.
Joyce: Well, to truly make an impact on people's lives, we usually can't do it alone. God wants us to work with him and with each other to touch the world. And joining me today, is Nancy Alcorn of mercy multiplied. We have worked together for 28 years to help young women recover from trauma. Can you believe that Nancy, 28 years?
Nancy: That's amazing. I'll tell ya. I'll never forget when I first found out about you, it was back in the days of the cassette tapes. And somebody sent me your testimony on a cassette tape and said, "You need to have the mercy girls", and back then, we've got multiple homes in America and around the world, but back then, we had one and it was in Louisiana. And when I listened to your testimony, I was blown away. And I'm like, I gotta get my hands on, you know, some more resources from this woman, whoever she is. So, I started researching you. And you had a set of tapes on how to deal with bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness. So, back then we didn't have dvd's, we had cassettes. So, we played the cassette testimony tape and we would follow up with your teachings and people would just find it much easier to forgive based on the fact that if she could forgive that, we can certainly, forgive this.
Joyce: We met you in Tennessee, didn't we? And had lunch?
Joyce: And told you that we wanted to start becoming a regular partner with you.
Nancy: I remember exactly what you told me. You said, "Nancy", you called me and you said, "Nancy, we want to give you more money, but we can't until we get to know you". So, even back then it was all about relationship for you. And then, you sent David and Shelly to the Louisiana home to check it out, and they taught, and things just went from there and our relationship has grown, and grown, and grown over the years. But, you know, 36 years ago, when I stepped out on faith to start mercy multiplied, and for those listening, you know, we take young women and free of charge, who need help. And it's faith-based, and we don't take any government funding so that we have the freedom to share Christ, and I think that was appealing to you. But, God specifically, said to me, "Your needs will be met through your giving. So, you've got to sow into good ground. You've got to give at least 10% in offerings when I tell you, and to other ministries that are doing amazing things, helping hurting people". And I don't know of any ministry that's helped more hurting people around the world than this one. So, I feel like if I ever stopped sowing here that there'd be a huge drop off in our income. So, we have to keep giving, 'cause it's good ground to sow into.
Joyce: That's how you pay your bills, isn't it? By giving.
Nancy: That's right.
Joyce: Well, Nancy, when you started mercy, you were actually, a counselor for the government, weren't you? Tell us what you were doing.
Nancy: Yes, I spent five years at a girl's correctional facility for juvenile delinquent girls. And there about three hundred locked up, for a year, at any given period of time. So, I was actually, athletic director there, even though I had a degree in social work and criminal justice. So, I did that for five years. And then, I got recruited to be in the emergency child protective services unit, which is on call 24 hours a day, goes out with the police in middle of the night. I got recruited because of my criminal justice background and that they, because I had worked in a prison, and I wasn't afraid to be out in the middle of the night like that. So, I spent three years doing that. And I saw little boys and little girls being, you know, used and abused in just horrible ways, and would have to go out and, you know, put kids in emergency foster care placement to get them out of danger. And would even be put in situations where I would have to talk to the perpetrators if they were on the scene. I mean, it was just like, awful things. And I'd have nightmares about it. And I found myself, during that season of time, really angry at God like, "Why do you have me here? I don't want to do this anymore. This is too hard". And I'd have nightmares about it. And the Lord was like, "You just spent five years dealing with angry teenage girls, and now, I'm taking you back in time and showing you what happened to them when they were little kids, and why they were so angry". So, it was almost like God had me in the school of the Holy Spirit. And after eight years, he spoke to my heart, "I have not anointed the government to heal broken hearts and set captives free".
Joyce: That's true.
Nancy: "It's a broken system. And you have to have the freedom to share about the only one who can help broken hearts, and who can bring freedom, and that you can have a permanent, lasting, loving, unconditionally loved relationship with, and that's Jesus Christ".
Joyce: Well, I hope that those of you watching that are partners with our ministry, I hope that, it really makes you feel good about your partnership just knowing that you are also partnering with Nancy. There's lots of other things that you're doing, helping us do. And so, we're all doing it together. But you can see the power of partnership. And I think the power of consistency is so important. And I always say, "It's not what you do right one time that changes your life, it's what you do right over, and over, and over". And so, I'm glad that we've been partners with you for 28 years. And I don't plan to ever stop because you really are: I know you, and I know you really care about these girls. Now, you say something that I'd like you to explain a little bit. You talk about transformation rather than treatment. What do you mean by that?
Nancy: Well, there are treatment programs all across the country and those programs make a lot of money, but they basically, treat symptoms. We actually, for example, if a young girl is strung out on drugs, then legally, because we're not a medical facility, we have medical people that work with us. But legally, we have to send them through detox. So basically, to a treatment program so that they can physically come into mercy without going through withdrawals. Back in the old days, we'd just lay hands on 'em, you know, and God would...
Joyce: Set 'em free.
Nancy: But they won't let us do that any more. So, same with eating disorders, or addictions, whatever the situation is, they'll treat the symptoms, but it's like, okay, "I know that you're an addict but why are you an addict"? "I know that you have an eating disorder but what brought you to that place"? What's underneath the rock, in other words.
Joyce: Getting to the root of the problem.
Nancy: Getting to the root of the problem. So, we're not opposed to people getting help through treatment, but we always tell people that there's a step beyond treatment called, "Transformation". And that only, can come through Christ working in us, both to will, and to do his good pleasure, renewing the mind, healing of the heart. Experiencing the fullness of God, and allowing him to give us a new heart and a new spirit, and understanding that we can, through the power of our choice, we can break that generational pattern off of us. And we can choose to walk forward and leave our past behind because 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "If any person be in Christ, they are a new creation: old things have passed away, all things have become new". So, we teach the girls, you don't identify with being an addict, you identify with being a new creation in Christ, and you break that pattern, that habit off of you, and your new identity is a child of God.
Joyce: And you have 91% success rate. That's just amazing. So, 91% of the girls that graduate stay in good condition and go on to live good and fruitful lives.
Nancy: Right. And a lot of 'em are in ministry. A lot of them have their own businesses. I think, a handful of 'em even work or you.
Joyce: Yeah, some of 'em work here for us.
Nancy: And it's just so exciting because only Christ can do that. And if you go even, to some recovery groups, they teach you to say, "Hi, my name is Nancy and I was once an addict and I'll always be an addict". And the Bible says that you have what you say. So, we teach the girls, "No, don't say that anymore. Don't identify with your problem. Identify with what's happened to you and who you belong to, now". So, we teach 'em not to say, "I've been sober for 20 years". Say, "I'm a new creation in Christ for 20 years".
Joyce: Yeah, right. Well, you sure are helping a lot of people. And we sure are thankful. And I know you're glad that we're partners with you, but to be honest, we are the ones that are really blessed. The Bible says, "It's more blessed to give than to receive". So, it's really cool to think about, that we're here doing our thing, but we can financially support you and then be part of all those things that you're doing. And so, once again, for those of you that are partners with us, these testimonies are all partially your testimony because these things don't happen without the funds to help these people. And so, today, we want to ask you to become a partner with the ministry if you're not one. I believe that it will be a real blessing to you. And we don't require any certain amount of money, we just ask you to pray and whatever God puts in your heart just do it, and do it, and do it and keep doing it, and keep doing it. And I hope many of you will become lifetime partners with us. If, for some reason, you just cannot become a regular partner at this time, or you don't feel like that's what God wants you to do, then prayerfully consider sending in a really good offering today just to help us continue to help people like Nancy and all the other great ministries around the globe that are helping so many hurting people. Thank you for watching today. And I want to encourage you to pray for these girls and also do as much as you can to help them. Thank you for being with us.