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Joyce Meyer - Facing Fear And Finding Freedom

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I'll be honest and say I think we all probably have a lot more fear in our life than what we might even recognize. And usually if you've got a big fear, like a heart-pounding, you know, this is really, "Oh, I'm so afraid", you get that, you know? But I think there's a lot of little underlying fears that have been around for so long that we've just kind of gotten comfortable with them and don't even really recognize that they're there. How many think that could possibly be the case? And so, I'm for let's be free from fear, okay? And you can't be free from anything that you don't recognize and learn how to deal with. And so, then when you do recognize it, you gotta confront it, you gotta face it.

One thing about fear is you cannot run from it and ever get away from it, that's what fear loves to do, it loves to chase you and watch you run. And what God wants us to do is confront things and deal with things and know that because he's with us, we can do anything, anytime, anywhere that we need to do. You're gonna probably hear me say a good number of times this weekend, God is with you. That's the main reason the Bible gives for not being afraid. "Fear not, for I am with you. I will fear no evil for thou art with me". And some things we hear so much that we just get so used to hearing them that they don't mean to us what they should mean.

And if you really take the time to stop throughout your day and think, "Now God is with me right now, God is with me in this, I'm never alone, God is with me", it becomes a greater conscious reality to you and it starts to get really cool to realize that you and God are doing life together. Isn't that awesome? See, I don't know if you know this or not but he doesn't just live in the church building. You don't just go see God on Sunday morning. You are the church. You are the temple of God. You are his building and he lives in you. And he said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you". Amen?

So, fear means to run from. The basic definition, if you look it up in Greek, means to take flight, to run from. And in another place in Hebrews it says that we're not to shrink back in fear. So, fear can cause us to shrink back, in other words, not to do what we know we're supposed to do or to say what we're supposed to say. How many times in life have we felt like we needed to talk to somebody about something and we really felt like we should do it, but we just say, "Well, I just don't like confrontation". Well, you know, just because you don't like something doesn't mean that you don't need to do it. We don't all like everything we do. That's why we need the Holy Spirit in us to show us what to do so we can courageously follow him.

So, courage is doing it afraid. Courage is doing what you know you should do, even though you might feel afraid. If you think that you're gonna have a time in your life where you never, ever feel fear, you're sadly mistaken. You will feel fear at different times in your life until you're no longer in a human body because that is the devil's number-one weapon that he uses against God's people to keep them from their God-ordained destiny. Amen?

Wonder how many people sitting here tonight that have backed off from something at some time in your life that was something you were really supposed to do that would have turned out to be really, really, really a cool, awesome thing. And now you've just got a little bit of this, "I wish I would have". Well, you know what? Let's don't get over here on this side of life and live with regrets. Let's start doing what the Bible tells us to do and live by faith. Now, the devil has got plenty of fear and it's like a poison but God has given us an antidote for fear and it's faith, faith. When fear knocks on your door, send faith to answer. Amen?

Now, if you do a little bit of study on poisons and antidotes, you know that there are certain antidotes that work on certain poisons. And so, if you got poisoned, you would go to the hospital and tell them what you took or what bug bit you or whatever and they would tell you the antidote. Well, the Bible teaches us that the enemy will come against us with fear, that it is an evil spirit, for God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. And we're encouraged all over the Bible to walk by faith, to live by faith.

And so, let me just throw this out. I think a lot of times people get in faith or they use their faith when they have some kind of an emergency. "Well, I really, I need a breakthrough". So, we think we're gonna pray this prayer of faith and we're gonna get a breakthrough. But the Bible never tells us to do that. It says to live by faith. The just man shall live by faith. We must exercise our faith every moment of every day. We're to live by faith, to walk in faith. And in Romans 1:17 we're told that there is a righteousness which has all to do with our relationship, our personal relationship with God.

There is a righteousness that's revealed in the Bible that leads us from faith to more faith to more faith. And so, this all gets into the whole area of knowing that God loves you, and that he loves you completely, and that he's just proud of you, and has a good plan for your life, and that you're made right with him through the blood of Christ, and that you're forgiven of your sins. And so, the more you understand righteousness and all of its implications, the more your faith builds and the more your faith builds, the more courageous you're gonna be.

Now, let me say that again. The more your faith builds, the more courageous you're going to be because if you're ever going to do anything worth doing, you're gonna have to be willing to be wrong to find out if you're ever right. And see, people who are afraid of God, or afraid that God doesn't love them, or afraid that God's gonna get mad at them if they make a mistake, they won't do that. So, everything, everything that has anything to do with peace, or joy, or being successful in life is all based on the foundation of knowing who you are in Christ, that he loves you, loves you, loves you, loves you, loves you, loves you, loves you, loves you, loves you, loves you.

And another word that I'm convinced we throw around a lot is God loves you unconditionally. And I think we've heard "Unconditionally" so much that I've decided to use a little different word for a while and that is "Completely, completely". Okay, I was dealing with something this last week. You know, we all get convicted different times of areas in our life where God wants us to come up higher. And so, I've learned to really appreciate that conviction from the Holy Ghost. I don't mind it at all. I like it. I welcome it because to me that's a sign that God cares about me, that he loves me, and that's exactly the way he wants us to feel.

You know, when I started out in my walk with God, every time God would show me something that was wrong with me, I would get condemned. But that's not what it's for. Conviction is not for condemnation, conviction is to get us to face a situation and then deal with it with God so he can lift us out of it and make us better people. And so, he was dealing with me about something and, you know, when God deals with you, there's a part of me that's just like disappointed in yourself that, you know, 'cause sometimes we do stuff that we don't even realize what we're doing or how it's affected people and when God shows you you're like, "Oh man", you know? But as I was praying, I heard myself say, "But, you know, Lord, it's so good to know that even though you're showing me something that is not a good thing, that you want to change in me while you're dealing with me about this, I still know that you love me completely".

But let me tell ya something, that's freedom and it took me a lot of years to get here. And I kind of noticed you're... "How can love me completely if he's told me that I'm doing something wrong"? Because he doesn't love us based on what we do. And see, that's so hard for us to grasp. God doesn't love us based on what we do, he loves us because he is love, that's all he knows how to do. He doesn't know how to do anything else, amen? You have a right standing with him that's been bought and paid for with the blood of Christ and it's not based on your works, it's based on his. We're not justified by our own works, we're justified by his.

And I know that's so hard to grasp because in the world, if you hear the word "Free", you think there's a hidden cost somewhere but when God says free, he really means it. And the thing is you're like, "But Joyce, it can't just not matter what I do". I didn't say it doesn't matter what you do, what I said is what you do is not gonna buy God's love or get him not to love you. The whole thing is is we get it backwards. We think if we can do enough good, God will love us but he's already saying, "No, I already love you and I want you to do what's right and let me work with you to change you because I love you", see, we need to be so amazed that God loves us. Amazing. "You love me completely, even though I've been a real jerk this week"? Yeah, he does. Yep. Y'all doing good up there?

I just want you to know that I know you're up there. So, God gives us faith and we need to walk by that faith and the more we know how much he loves us, the more we'll be able to exercise our faith. Luke 18, verses 1 and verse 8, "Also Jesus told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up). So I tell you, he will defend and protect and avenge them speedily. However", and I love this, "When the son of man comes back", which he is coming back, you know? "Will he find persistence in faith on the earth"? 2 Peter chapter 3, verse 14 says, "So, beloved". Everybody say, "Beloved". Cause we're gonna deal with that word here in a little bit.

"So, beloved, since you are expecting these things, be eager to be found by him at his coming without spot or blemish". That's the first thing he says. When Jesus comes back, be determined that he's gonna find no spot or blemish. Number two, "And at peace". Number three, "Free from fear". And number four, "Free from agitating passions and moral conflicts". And so, he puts right in the same sentence with, "Don't be immoral", he puts, "Don't be found in fear". God wants you to be courageous. He wants you to be bold. He wants you to pray bold prayers.

Well good, I got two people here that sound like they're... Hey, that's good. That's why God sent me. He wants you to pray for things that you know you don't deserve. I said, he wants you to pray for things that you know you don't deserve, that's why, beloved, we pray in Jesus' name, not our own. I don't say, "God, I ask you to do this for me in joyce's name". Yeah, that's funny, right? We're all like ha, well that wouldn't get for far. But boy, you should go and read often what the Bible says in John 14 and 16 about asking in his name. And the amplified Bible in particular says that when we ask in his name, we are presenting to God all that Jesus is, that's what it means to say, "In Jesus' name". We're presenting to God.

Look, I know I don't deserve it so I'm not gonna waste my time praying in my name, but I'm gonna pray this bold prayer in Jesus' name, not because I think I deserve it, but because I believe it's your will. I'd rather ask for a lot and get half of it than ask for a little and get all of it. Come on, I'mma say that again. I'd rather ask for a lot. I'd rather ask for a lot and even get a fourth of it. God's not gonna get mad at you if you ask for too much.

Now, I'm not suggesting that we just be greedy but and I'm not even talking so much about things. Ask God to reveal himself to you, to speak to you, to let you do great things in the earth for him, to put you in a position where you can lift up his name and glorify him. Matter of fact, I think we need to not just pray about things, things, things all the time. The Bible says that if we delight ourselves in him, we will give us the secret petitions and desires of our heart.

So, you can let God know what you want. You don't have to camp on top of it all your life and then just, you know, I pray bold prayers. I've asked God to let me help every person on the planet and, you know, it's a little bit out there. But we're making some progress. I'm glad I didn't just say, "Oh God, bless my little 20 people Bible study". I mean not that that's not good if that's what you believe you're supposed to be doing and that's what I was doing then. But hey, if you got a big vision, you better get your mouth open and start praying some bold prayers. So, be found free from fear and free from agitating passions.

Now, I want to say this very plainly, fear torments. In 1 John 4 it says, "Fear hath torment". Now, I grew up entrenched in fear, just entrenched in fear. My father was mean and he controlled everybody with fear, fear of being beat up, fear of being slapped, fear of making him angry, fear of not whatever, just fear, fear, fear, fear, fear. And it has taken me a long, long time with the help of the Holy Spirit to work my way out of all that. And I still deal with things just like everybody else does. Nobody ever arrives as long as they're in a human body. It's our goal to just keep moving. Amen? Just keep moving, keep going forward.

So, will he find faith when he comes back? Well, what is faith? Hebrews 11:1 says, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things that we do not see". So, once you have a manifestation, you don't really need faith anymore in that area. But while you don't see what you want to see or hope to see, that's when you need faith. I have faith that God is with me tonight and that the next ten words that come out of my mouth are gonna all make sense. Once I've already preached this message tonight and go home and hopefully feel real good about it, then I don't need faith for this anymore. Then I gotta have faith that I get good sleep tonight, and then have faith that everything tomorrow works out good.

We walk by faith, we live by faith. And then I particularly like a definition that the amplified Bible gives in Colossians chapter 3 about faith, that faith is the leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in his power, his wisdom, and his goodness, his power, his wisdom, and his goodness. In other words, God has the power to do what needs to be done in your life. He has the wisdom to know how to do it right, and he's good enough that he wants to do it even for somebody like us who doesn't deserve it.

Now, who could not get excited about a God like that? It aggravates me the pictures that the world shows of Jesus sometimes. This little emaciated guy, you know, and little baby, fat baby angels with little wings, you know? Come on, when you run into your first angel, it's not gonna be a fat little baby with little wings. Probably gonna scare the toodle out of you. Amen? Lord, Jesus has got fire in his eyes, and a sword coming out of his mouth, and rides on a white charger, and a robe dyed in blood, you know? It's like, whoo.

All right, Exodus 14:10, "When Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked up, and behold, the Egyptians were Marching after them: and the Israelites were exceedingly frightened and cried out to the Lord". Now, God was delivering them and they were being chased by the enemy. Do you ever feel like that even though God is in the process of delivering you that sometimes you're being chased by the enemy? And they had the Red Sea in front of them, which was an impossibility, and they're being chased by the enemy behind them.

Well, that's what you call being between a rock and a hard place, amen? But in our instance, we've got the rock with us and he moves the hard place. But I'm sure that we've all got some kind of Red Sea in front of us, some impossibility that we just don't know how in the world we're ever gonna do that. Come on, anybody got a "That" in your life? "I don't know how in the world I'm ever gonna do that". Amen? And then if you dare look behind you, you're like, "Oh no, the devil's still chasing". And their temptation was to run. Where? Well, they kept wanting to run back to Egypt, which would have really been bad but that's what people do sometimes. They backslide all the way back where they came from because they don't want to deal with what it's gonna take to go forward. And boy, that's the last thing that you want to do.

"And they said to Moses, is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you treated us this way and brought us out of Egypt"? So, now they're blaming Moses, that's another whole message. "Did we not tell you in Egypt, let us alone: let us serve the Egyptians? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die out here in the wilderness". Now they got a bad attitude. Come on, when you're in that place, how many of you are like, "God, I just feel like I'm gonna die. This is gonna kill me". Come on, "This is just gonna kill me. I just can't do this. I just wanna die".

All right, thank God for verse 14. I'm sorry, back to verse 13, I'm sorry. "And Moses told the people, fear not: stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the Lord which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you will never see again".

We are living in some tough times. And I don't know, I asked a friend today, I said, "So how bad do you think it was in Sodom and Gomorrah"? I'm sure it was pretty bad but I'm not so sure we're not right along up there with 'em, amen? And the Bible says that when Jesus returns, it'll be like it was in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. And so we would not be wise if we didn't live as if Jesus is coming back any moment, amen? And so in Luke 21:26, the Bible teaches that in those times, the times that we're living in, that men will be swooning away or expiring with fear but I wanna start in 21, verse 9, and we're gonna read through verse 13.

Luke 21:9-13, "And when you hear of wars and insurrections (disturbances, disorder, confusion), don't become alarmed and panic-stricken and terrified", in other words, don't become afraid, "For all this must take place, but the end will not come immediately. Then he told them, nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be mighty and violent earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilence (plagues: malignant and contagious or infectious epidemic diseases which are deadly and devastating)", sound familiar, anybody? My gosh! This was written 2000 years ago.

"And there will be sights of terror and great signs from heaven". Verse 12, "But previous to all this, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, turning you over to the synagogues and prisons, and you'll be led away before kings and governors for my name's sake". And you know, we don't get that real well but let me tell you, there is a lot of places in the earth where this is happening to people. I mean, they are being persecuted and killed for admitting to being a Christian. And I love verse 13. This is why I read the whole the rest of it, "This will be a time (an opportunity) for you to bear testimony".

C'mon, we're living in the best of times right now. This is why he says, "Look, things are gonna get tough before I come back. It has to be that way". And I don't know why everything has to be this way but one thing I think is a lot of people just aren't smart enough to serve God in good times. And so we may have enough hard times to kind of motivate those people that are out on the fringes but they're gonna be looking for something that really maybe says to them, "God is real and, honey, we're it".

C'mon, I said, "We're it". And so that's why the Bible says, "When he comes will he find persistence in faith"? When he comes back, he wants to find four things: a church without spot or blemish, people at peace in the midst of all the turmoil, people that are not afraid, and people that do not have a lot of immorality in their life. We have a God-ordained goal in front of us and we have the Holy Spirit to help us fulfill the mission that God has given us.

Now, let me just throw this out. There's a lot of unhappy Christians. And I'm sure I got some here tonight and probably got a lot more watching by TV right now. I was so unhappy for so long and I was a believer. And it's kind of an oxymoron. I mean, how could you be unhappy if you know you're not going to hell? I mean, that's enough to kind of put some kind of a smile on your face, I think, maybe, hopefully, amen? And I believe that a lot of people are unhappy, even though they're saved, because they're living for the wrong purpose. The purpose they're living for is to please themselves and to get what they want and to feel good about everything, rather than saying to God, "Here I am. Send me". Here I am. Send me.

When Isaiah said to God, "Here I am. Send me", he did not have any idea of what he was gonna be sent to do. He didn't ask about the pay scale. He didn't ask about the vacation schedule. He didn't ask about the retirement plan. He said, "Here I am. Send me". He signed a blank contract. He signed a blank contract. Hmm, come on, why don't you give up running your own life and just trying to use God to get everything you want? How about, "So here I am. Send me", tonight? How about some of that, "Here I am. Send me". Your joy will come back quickly.

Now, 1 Thessalonians 4:16 through 18. This is just intended to cheer you up. "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons, with the shout of an Archangel, and with the blast of the trumpet of God. And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first". Hey! Use your holy imagination and think a little bit about what this day's gonna be like. Boy, all the people that tried to get rid of God are gonna be shocked on that day. All the graves open up and people start floating up. Whoo! "And then we, the living ones who remain on the earth, shall simultaneously be caught up along with the resurrected dead in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: so always (through eternity of the eternities) we shall be with the Lord"! Oh my goodness! Whoa! Hey, listen. Turn to the person next to you and say, "You're just passing through".

Okay, verse 18. Okay, now, here, this is what's so important about this. Now, look at this. "Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words". Did you notice how excited you got when I read those scriptures? I mean, I can go read them anywhere. I could go to Africa, India, anywhere, any state, read those, and Christians are gonna react the same way. Because deep down inside, God has planted eternity in our hearts. That's what the Bible says. We know that there's more than this. And we know that we were created for better than this. And we're just trying to make it through and I'm just trying to help you make it through. And you need to help each other make it through. And we need to encourage one another in the midst of everything that's going on.

Now, let me tell you something. Instead of just sitting around in groups and griping about society, I mean, the news is so terrible. You've gotta be a strong believer just to read the headlines. Instead of doing that, when you hear people saying that kind of stuff, why not just say, "But the Lord's coming back". But Jesus is coming back, amen? And irregardless of how it looks, God is alive and well on planet earth and he is in control. Fear is a dead end but faith always has a future. I said that. That'll be on the internet under "Joyce Meyer said". It's funny when I look up quotes and find my own.

Okay, you know what? The end of the world is a new beginning for us. Nothing to get upset about. You know, I've often pondered why the Bible doesn't say more about what it's gonna be like there. And you know what I've come to the conclusion of? Here's why I think the Bible doesn't say more about it. It says a little but we'd like to have a lot more details, wouldn't we? Like, am I gonna have a job? Where am I gonna live? Oh, please, God, do I get to be in charge of something there, finally? You know why I think God doesn't tell us much about it? I think it is gonna be so amazing.

Now, listen, that there are absolutely no words that we can understand that would describe it. That's what I think. Now, we're gonna talk for a little bit about some of the things that make us afraid. Here we go. Mark chapter 4, verse 35 says, "On that same day when evening had come, he said to them, let us go over to the other side of the lake". Now when Jesus says, "We're going somewhere", then we're going somewhere, okay? And if you look at chapter 5, verse 1, it says, "And they came to the other side". Isn't that cool? Verse 35 he said, "Let's go to the other side". Chapter 5, verse 1, "And they came to the other side".

Now, boy, it would be nice if that's all there was. But there's verse 36, 37, 38, 39 and maybe 40, I don't know. A bunch. So here it goes. "And on that same day when evening had come, he said to them, let's go over to the other side". Now how many of you, God has said to you in some form or fashion, "Let's go over to the other side"? How many of you know what I'm talking about? It's like, okay, let's deal with this problem. Let's conquer this. Let's do that. Maybe for you it's let's clean the house up. Let's wash the dishes. Let's do the laundry. Let's pay the bills. Mountains are different for different people.

"And leaving the throng, they took him with them, just as he was, in the boat in which he was sitting. And other boats were with him". So there was more than one boat. "And a furious storm of wind of hurricane proportions arose, and the waves kept beating into the boat, so that it was already becoming filled". So the first thing that is probably gonna happen to us when we head for the other side of anywhere is we're gonna get a storm. What's the storm all about? Well, it's the enemy trying to frighten us. C'mon, we're talking about fear. It's the enemy trying to get us to go back to shore. Find some safe place to park the boat. "And he himself was in the stern of the boat, asleep", I mean, c'mon, asleep! Jesus is asleep and I've got a storm.

Wow! "God, where are you? I can't hear from you, I don't know what to do. You're not helping me. Are you sleeping"? But the Bible says he never sleeps. Now Jesus was sleeping 'cause he had a human body. We all need to sleep, but in his resurrected state he doesn't need any sleep. Wow, in heaven, we won't need to sleep. Cool. And in heaven, food's not gonna have any calories. That's in Joyce chapter 1, verse 2. Woo! Boy, you all got excited about that. Verse 39, "And he arose", oh, wait a minute. Verse 38, "But he himself was in the stern of the boat, asleep on the leather cushion", lot of details, "And they woke him up and said, master, do you not care that we are dying in this storm"?

Do you not care? God, do you love me? Do you care about me? If you love me, why are you sleeping? "And he got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, hush now! Be still! And the wind ceased (sank to rest as if exhausted by its beating) and there was immediately a great calm (and a perfect peace)". And I'm sure they went, "Oh, thank God". But the first thing they got now was a rebuke. "Why are you so timid and fearful"? Yeah. Oh! "How is it that you have no faith"? See, he would have preferred that they took a nap in the storm too. He would have preferred that they said something like, "Well, Jesus, you're acting like you're asleep but we know that you know everything that's going on. You've got this under control. Everything's gonna work out fine". Let me tell you, when you're in the middle of anything, learn how to say this, "This is not gonna last". C'mon, this is not gonna last.

I had some kind of a stomach thing going on for 3 weeks. Dave had it 1 day. But no, Dave and I operate on different plans. Anyway, 3 weeks. And I really I didn't feel bad physically but my stomach was messed up, had bad taste in my mouth, nothing tasted good. Just wasn't good. And I kept saying, "This is not gonna last". People would say, "How are you doing"? I was, like, "Well, still having a problem but it's not gonna last". You know why? Because I've learned that nothing does.

Come on. What kind of problems did you have this time last year that are now gone? Come on now. What kind of problems did you have 5 years ago? Maybe if you were here when I came last year, you were sitting in here afraid about something else that's now been taken care of. You know, the thing about fear is actually the fear of something happening is usually worse than if that thing happened. Because when something does happen, there is a grace that comes from God to deal with it but while you're over here afraid that it might happen, there's no grace here.

So all you can have is torment. We good? You learning something? All right. Well, I always say, "New level, new devil". Paul said, "A wide door of opportunity opened unto me and with it, many adversaries". That's 1 Corinthians 16:9. Isaiah 41:10, "Fear not there's nothing to fear". Why? "I'm with you". Come on, everybody say, "God's with me. Don't look around you in terror". Listen, you can get yourself in real trouble looking at your circumstances too much. Talking about 'em too much. Looking back at the enemy. Looking at the Red Sea...

You know, years ago when I first quit my job to prepare for this ministry that was just like, a picture in my head at that time, I mean, I did some radical stuff, really, like, if it wouldn't have been God, it would have been really dumb. And so every month we didn't have enough money and needed a miracle from God. I still remember we were $40 short every month of paying our bills and every month God gave us a miracle. But every month I went through my panic-stricken fear, what's gonna happen, blah, blah, blah. And oh Dave, I wanted him to come out and worry with me and he would not do it.

How many of you know when you're worried and upset you just can't stand it if somebody's just peaceful and laughing and having a good time. It's, like, "I have to do everything around here". And I would say to Dave, "Why don't you do something? Why don't you do", and he's, like, "What do you want me to do"? And I remember, I would get the checkbook out and I'd get out all the bills and I'd run all the numbers again and again to see if maybe I made a mistake or could find any money anywhere and I would just get myself so upset. Why? Because I was looking all around me. Anybody know what I'm talking about? Dave said, "We're tithing, we're giving. You quit your job because you believed that that's what God told you to do. He meets our need every month. Now why don't you just come on in here and watch television with me and the kids"? Oh no. No, no, no, no, no. "Somebody has to be responsible".

Come on, you get it, don't you? Somebody's gotta be responsible. Well, I couldn't solve it. Yeah, you feel like I'm living in your house, don't you? "Do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, I will help you: I will hold you up and retain you with my victorious right hand of righteousness and justice". Whoo! And I'm gonna skip over to verse 15. I love, love, love, love, love this. "Behold, I will make you a new, sharp, threshing instrument which has teeth: and you shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, and you shall make the hills like chaff". In other words, God says, "Even in the midst of this storm, I have a plan and you will end up on the other side and while you're out here, if you'll stay in faith, I am gonna turn you into a new, sharp, threshing instrument".

Come on, let me say something. You're not gonna like it but what you're going through right now is gonna turn out good for you. It is gonna turn out good for you. If you don't quit on God, you are growing spiritually and it is so painful but it's gonna be so worth it. Come on. Let me just make one observation. How many of you got much closer to God in your troubles than you ever did in your good times? So, point made.

Now, I mean, I guess I could read Habakkuk 3 but, oh well, why not? "Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vine, though the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice". Okay, let's get it to make a little more sense to us. "Though I lost my job, my son was fighting again at school, my credit card was hacked into two times this month, and now the doctor wants me to have a colonoscopy. Well, God! All that stuff you gotta drink before you get that test. Yuck, yuck". "Yet I will rejoice in the victorious God of my salvation"!

Now here's the thing. And I guess I need to throw this out there: The less we complain, the more we grow spiritually. C'mon, that was worth you coming. Because here's the thing. If we can just tell somebody else and if they'll just feel sorry for us, then we just feel so... Yes, I am quite pitiful. But what we've done is we've relieved a little bit of what God is trying to use to change us on the inside and so, man, if I'm going through something and I keep my mouth shut... Whew! I'll get some kind of a virus or something and tell Dave how terrible I feel, and he's, like, "Yeah, I had that last week for 3 days".

Well, why didn't you tell me? He's, "Well, you can't help me". Now, I don't necessarily think that's the best way to go for relationship but it is a case in point. Come on, it's a case in point that, let me say that again 'cause I just really didn't have that in my notes. I think that's a God thing. The less we complain, the more we grow.
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