Joyce Meyer - Prepare For Increase
And so I'm calling this message, "Prepare for increase". How many of you like increase? All right, but actually the message is about not complaining. I hid it under that title, because if anybody wants to buy a copy of this later, you won't buy it if it says, "Don't complain". If I wrote a book on not complaining, it would just be a waste of time. But I can write one on "Prepare for increase" and, man, whoo! You should have seen how excited you looked when I said I was teaching on preparing for increase.
And so, first, I wanna start by sharing something with you from my journal from this year. And on January the 22nd, the word "Complaining" came up in my heart so I wrote down "Complaining". And then the Lord spoke to my heart, "Beware of complaining. It weakens your wall of protection. Angels hearken to God's word. Speak the word and experience more of their help. Praise, gratitude, and thanksgiving make us stronger and release more help from angels and the Holy Spirit".
Now, I'm always glad when God gives me reminders like this because complaining is something that we just automatically do every time we have an inconvenience. But if we're going to not complain, we're gonna have to do it on purpose. We don't have to try to complain. But we do have to try not to complain. How many of you agree? And it's not that we don't have anything to complain about. I mean, we've all got numerous things that we can complain about, probably on a daily basis. But I don't think that we realize how truly dangerous complaining is. Can I just start by saying you're not gonna complain your way into increase. That's not how you get it.
Well, three days later, January the 25th, I wrote... Actually, January 26th, "Yesterday, while I was walking, the Lord put the word increase into my heart. It came in me like a fire. I believe I am to prophetically declare increase over our ministry and our lives," and, by the way, that includes anybody who's a partner with this ministry. "Increase in every area. Souls saved, creativity, energy, enthusiasm, more laughter". I tell you what, I'm gonna have a big increase in laughter this year. "Finances, health, peace, favor". And I've got a big long list. But I realized that I believe God spoke the word about being even more careful than ever about complaining and I don't consider myself to be a big complainer now. I used to be. But God just kept chipping away at it and chipping away at it and chipping away at it and every time I'd start to get maybe a little bit loose and murmuring a little bit more, I'll get a fresh word about not complaining.
So how many of you can use this today? It might help you. There's no reason for anybody in the building not to have your hand up, amen? Because it's just the easiest thing in the world to do. And so I realized that God spoke that word to me about not complaining because he does want to give us increase, all of us really, but I'm not gonna complain my way into increase. The more grateful I am, the more increase God can bring in my life. Now, Psalm 103:20. Thank you, Lord, for this word today. "Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word".
So Psalm 103 says that angels hearken to the voice of God's word. How many of you know enough about the Bible to know that according to the word, you have angels assigned to you? Guardian angels, angels... I believe the room today is full of angels. I mean, I just believe that. I believe they go everywhere with God. Think sometimes we need to think about it a little bit more. But we can release their help in our lives by confessing the word, by being grateful and thankful and we actually hinder their help when we murmur and complain and find fault with everything around us.
So I'm a firm believer in declaring the word. I don't even have the time to tell you how much declaring the Word of God out loud over my life and family, ministry, has helped me over the years. I mean, it's just been phenomenal the results that I've seen by just speaking out the word instead of always sitting around speaking out how I feel. And that doesn't mean that I don't get off into wrong areas and sometimes talk a lot about how I feel, because I do. But I have learned over the years and I'm still learning because many years ago, God gave me a real healthy, reverential fear of complaining.
So let me just say that I believe that complaining is sin. We'll just wait a minute and let that soak. Some things you can't just rush over. "Well, why would it be sin? I'm just expressing how I feel". Well, the Bible says whatever's not of faith is sin. And we're not complaining by faith. We don't really expect God to answer our complaints. Now this is something that God spoke to me many years ago and I'd like to share it with you. "Joyce, if you're gonna complain about something, then don't bother praying about it". Well, don't pattycake. If you're gonna clap, clap. Think about that. If we're gonna complain about something, then just don't bother praying about it.
Philippians 4:6, "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving," with thanksgiving, "Continue to make your wants known to God". It doesn't say, "With complaining". With thanksgiving. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 through 19, "Be happy in your faith and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually: be unceasing in prayer praying perseveringly: and thank God in everything no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks, for this is the will of God," this is the will of God, this is the will of God, "For those of you who are in Christ Jesus".
You know, I believe that God showed me a long time ago that there are so many people that are wanting to know, "What's God's will for my life? What's God's will for my life? I don't know what God wants me to do. What's God's will for my life"? But if we just start with the things that we do know, like be thankful in all things, then that kinda opens the door for God to reveal the rest of it to us in his time and in his way. You know, when you don't know what to do in a situation, keep doing what you know to do, which is to be thankful in all things and in every situation try to find something positive in it and speak that out.
"Do not quench the Holy Spirit," verse 19 says. "Do not quench the Holy Spirit". He hasn't just all of a sudden now gone to a whole new subject. He's saying, "Be thankful in everything for this is the will of God. For those of you who are in Christ Jesus, do not quench the Holy Spirit". And you know what it means to quench the spirit? To stop, suppress, or subdue. So I don't think I'd be stretching it to say that every time I complain that I may be hindering the Holy Spirit from doing something in my life that he wants to do, and there's probably angels standing by that are just thinking, "I just wish you'd be quiet because I am trying to help you," amen?
Now, you know, the flesh... It's interesting about complaining because I don't know if you've ever noticed but when you're by yourself, all by yourself, you don't complain. It's only when people come around. And the reason is, is we want somebody to feel sorry for us. And it's not gonna help us. I had all these issues and one of my biggest problems was I felt sorry for myself all the time. I felt sorry for myself because I'd been abused as a child. I felt sorry for myself because I didn't get a chance to go to college. I felt sorry for myself because my metabolism runs slow. I mean, there was a billion reasons, you know, why I could feel sorry for myself, amen?
And, boy, I'd get upset and maybe something was going bad and I'd get upset and I'd want Dave to feel sorry for me. And I remember him looking at me and saying, "I am not gonna feel sorry for you. That is not what you need". Whew! But you know what? He was right. Because as long as we keep getting somebody to encourage us in our pitifulness, then we're never gonna get strong and come out of it and say, "No matter what has happened to me, I can overcome it through Christ". And if you listen to much of my teaching, you've heard me say we cannot be pitiful and powerful at the same time.
So I've kind of noticed that when I'm in a room by myself I don't moan and groan and complain but, boy, if somebody walks in. Yesterday morning, I was on the treadmill. I'd already been on the bike. I was on the treadmill. I was almost at five miles and I'm sweating. My face is red, my heart is beating. And I was just doing my workout. Dave walked in and I noticed right away, I'm like, "Aghh... Phew... Boy". And God just caused me to realize, "Now, listen to you, you're just trying to get some attention for your flesh. Just trying to get somebody to say, 'oh, you are so wonderful. You're just working so hard. You are so wonderful'". Come on, pay attention. You'll notice when you're in a room by yourself, you don't murmur and complain but, boy, when somebody comes around, it's another whole story.
Philippians 2:14 and 15. I love these scriptures, love 'em. "Do all things without grumbling," yes, all things. Yes, that includes your thing. Can you clean your house without grumbling? Guys, can you cut the grass without grumbling? Can you drive in traffic without grumbling? Can you go to the grocery store without grumbling about high prices? It's a little too quiet in here for comfort. Now, you see why a book on complaining wouldn't sell. But we're not talking about complaining this morning. We're talking about preparing for increase. So we're excited about that, aren't we? We're preparing for increase.
Now, I'm not telling you that you don't have a reason to complain. But I am saying that it won't do us any good at all. So this is about being smart enough to help ourselves, get to the place where we wanna be. Because you know what the word complain means? Part of the definition of the word complain means to remain. Mm-hm, I'm gonna talk to these guys back here. Don't you just hate it when you're back there and everybody ignores you? I'm gonna pay attention to you, amen. To remain. To stay overnight, one definition said.
You know, the Israelites complained and they wandered around in the desert for 40 years. Jesus praised God on the cross and he got raised from the dead. And by the way, if we wanna think about our suffering and whether or not we could avoid complaining, does anybody here remember Jesus complaining on the cross? Or in the Garden of Gethsemane? Or any time he was betrayed or abandoned or abused? No, never complained. Hey, I'll pray for you if you'll pray for me. "Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining against God". The amplified Bible says, "Against God". So it kind of seems to me like God takes it personally.
You say, "Well, I'm not really complaining about God. I'm just complaining about my situation". But do we believe God's in control? "Well, I just think God's in control of my blessings, not this stuff". "That you may show yourselves", and this is the part I love, "That you may show yourselves", verse 15, Philippians 2:15, "That you may show yourselves to be blameless, guileless, innocent, uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and a wicked generation spiritually perverted and perverse, among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars and beacons shining out clearly) in a dark world".
So am I actually seeing that right? Is he actually saying if you can just get out in the world and not complain. That's it. If you can just get out there and get through the day and don't complain, then, man, the world is such a mess that you are gonna just seem like this bright light in the midst of all the darkness that's going on out there. And you know what? This is something we can do. I said last night, all Christians have a job. And if you wanna get a payday, you better go to work.
You know, when everybody sits around the lunch table and complains about their jobs and their boss and their pay and the conditions, you can sit there and represent God without preaching one sermon by just sitting there, not joining in, and saying, "Well, you know, things may not be perfect here but I'm glad I got a job. There's a lot of people don't even have a job," amen? You can say things to turn the atmosphere around without sounding super-religious, which sometimes turns people off. So I wanna say out in the world don't blend in, stand out. Make people wonder why you're different. Make 'em wonder why you're happy, why you don't complain about everything that's going on, why you're not afraid of everything that's going on in your life.
When I praise and I'm thankful, every time I say, "Thank you, God," angels go to work in my life. But I am talking this morning about not just those devastating things although it's good to make it through that. But just to get through even... I think sometimes we never have big victories 'til we start having small victories. And so why don't you just make a commitment, asking God to help you to start trying to get through just one day at a time or a 1/2 a day maybe. Or an hour. Or maybe you could just try to get out of the church today without...
I decided I was going to do a little test. And so, for 8 weeks, I wrote down every annoying thing that happened to me that gave me reason to want to complain. And in an 8-week period of time, I had 34 things happen. That was one every other day. You should do this sometime. You'll be amazed, and you'll see what the devil's trying to do. He's just trying to absolutely annoy the living daylights out of us, so all of us who have bumper stickers and Jesus pins, and big crosses hanging around our neck, just go around murmuring, and griping, and grumbling, and complaining. And then come into church on Sunday and singing, "God is good". And everybody says, "All the time".
You know, I'm sorry, I've been around a long time, and I just... If we're not going to go out and live it, then what is the point of coming in here and singing it? Amen? So, here we go, 34 things. Number one, I injured my back at the gym. Water leaked out of my humidifier and bubbled the wood on my table. I broke a nail, which is tragic for me. You don't want to be up here with a bandaid around your finger. I twisted my wrist. I left some luggage on the plane. The nursing home called about my mom before she passed away. I was taking care of her in a nursing home. And so, you never know, when you're taking care of elderly people, when they're going to have a problem. And it's rarely convenient. And whenever it is, you've got to stop what you're doing and take care of it.
So, I hear some of you saying, "Amen". So, they called two times about my mom. My back is still hurting. Now, I hurt my arm trying to do stretches for my back pain. So, now at this point, I have a back pain, an arm pain, and a wrist pain. The nursing home called again about my mom. I spelled a red vitamin drink on a white couch. Hmm. Dave hit a golf ball through a window on the golf course. I woke up in the middle of the night one night, and I was talking to what I thought was Dave, and he wasn't answering.
And I had spent a few minutes talking to his pillow. I spent some money I didn't plan to spend replacing the couch I didn't plan to replace. I got my toe caught in my underwear. And I pulled my little toe. I got the elastic caught between my little toe, my next toe. And I'm hopping, hopping around. And I pulled on them, and I didn't break my toe, but I'll tell you what, it was black and blue. It swelled up. I actually ended up pulling one of the tendons. It was very painful. I had to tell my very independent, 86-year-old aunt, who I also am responsible to take care of, that she couldn't drive anymore.
You haven't had any fun till you tell an elderly person that you're taking their car keys. Had to replace my mother's TV so she could have TV ears to be able to hear the TV because I had already bought her hearing aids that she had to have and never wore. Okay, I went one day when I was in another city to the Waldorf Astoria to go to the spa there and get a massage. And when you go to the spa, they give you little lockers, and you change your clothes and put them in the locker, and you put on a nice little robe.
So, I got my massage, I went back to my locker, grabbed my clothes, took them in a dressing room. Got on my top, different things, couldn't find my pants. No pants. I'm thinking, "Did somebody get in that locker and steal my pants because they knew they were mine"? I thought, "Well, I left them in the locker". I went back out to the locker, no pants. I looked all over the room, no pants. All right, I'm thinking, "How am I going to get home"? I put the robe back on, I go up to the desk in the Waldorf Astoria hotel. And you know, there's not many places I go where people don't know who I am, so it's not like, you know, I can just sneak around and do this.
So, I went up partially dressed, robe on. The lady says, "Can I help you"? I said, "I've lost my pants". Now see, this is real life. This is not pulpit life. This is real life. Hey, we got lives just like everybody else does, amen? And so, they said, "You've lost your pants"? And I said, "They weren't in my locker". Well, so now we go downstairs, she comes with me, we're searching. She looks in every locker, couldn't find the pants. So, finally she says, "You know, we have a gift shop. And I'll call, and you go over there, and we'll give you a pair of pants".
Well, the problem is the gift shop, you had to go through the lobby, all the way through the lobby over to the gift shop in your robe. So, I got in the gift store. And the lady smiled, she said, "Are you the lady that lost your pants"? So, they gave me a pair of pants. I finally made it home. That afternoon, they called and said, "We are so sorry, Mrs. Meyer. We found your pants". I said, "Where were they"? She said, "Well, you apparently left them on the bench, and someone brought them up to the desk and turned them in. But we had our appointment book laying on top of them, and so we never saw them".
So, that was a fun day. Lost my pants at the spa. My mother lost her new $350 glasses. We think she accidentally threw them in the trash can. Our water was off for 24 hours. My aunt had shingles in her eyes, which meant we had to take her to an eye specialist. And she can't walk, and she's very heavy, so getting her to the doctor is not an easy thing. I had a situation at work I wasn't expecting. It was a people problem. How many of you love people problems? Dave had back surgery and couldn't go to Indonesia with me, so I had to go by myself. I flew 47 hours in 7 days. I didn't go myself, I had people with me, but 47 hours in 7 days to Indonesia. And while we were there, the city flooded, and our meetings were basically ruined. Got on the plane to come home and had a stomach virus.
Three hours after I was home from Indonesia, I got a call in the middle of the night to come get my aunt from the hospital. I am like, had another employee issue that was kind of tense. Our web went down for 2 days, that's expensive. The phones went off at the office. I jammed my toe into the leg of the couch, spilled a box of crackers on the pantry floor, had to tell my aunt she now had to move to the nursing home because she couldn't stay in her apartment. The fire alarms were being tested all day in the hotel where I was staying. But to top it all off, my 34th thing that I have on this list, every day I make a protein shake after I work out. Well, Dave has this... I made my protein shake, and it tasted really odd, weird, kind of soapy. And I'm thinking, "Man". And then I realized what it was.
Dave is really good, he does dishes, Dave does dishes. Give Dave a hand, he does dishes. However, he will not use a dishwasher. He thinks he gets them cleaner by hand. So, but he's in love with dawn dish-washing soap, the blue stuff. And so, he puts all the dishes in the sink, pours water, and he dribbles. Well, I didn't see it, but there was still soap in my shaker dish, my shaker cup. And so, I drank my shake with dawn dish-washing soap. And do you think Dave felt sorry for me? You know what he did? He went around all day singing, "I'm forever blowing bubbles". Come on, give God a praise that we can live life and survive.
So, here's the thing. Life is real. And stuff happens. And it is so challenging when things like this happen not to murmur and complain, and bleh, bleh, bleh, bleh, bleh, bleh, bleh, bleh, bleh. But let's play the glad game. Instead of being upset we had to walk 27 flights of stairs, let's be glad that we can do it. Instead of being upset you have to replace a couch you don't want to replace, be glad you got the money to do it. Instead of complaining about your job, be glad you got a job. Instead of complaining about your husband, ladies, let me tell you, there's some lonely woman that would take him off your hands. I mean, she would take the imperfect version of your husband just to have somebody to eat a meal with. Complaining is a sin.
Numbers 21:4 through 7. Talking about the Israelites, "And they journeyed from mount Horeb by way to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom, and the people became impatient depressed, much discouraged because of the trials of the way". Now, we're okay being thankful till something happens that we don't like. How many of you know that trials are a part of life? Tribulation is part of life. I'd be surprised if any one of us gets through this entire day and something doesn't happen that we would much rather have preferred that it didn't happen. But I can tell you something. How much attention we pay to those things determines how much they bother us.
I can honestly tell you that stuff, even all this stuff that I read you, didn't bother me all that much. Matter of fact, I would have forgotten all of it if I wouldn't have kept a list. But it was amusing to me to just see how many things happened in that period of time, and I was able to stay happy, praise God. And that's what makes the devil mad, amen? Can you stay happy? You know, Jesus didn't die to deliver us from everything. It would not be impressive to people if we were happy and never had a problem. Anybody can do that. But when you have situations that you go through, or you're praying and you've got to wait, and you don't understand why, and there's things happening in your life you don't understand why, trusting God is what we're called to do.
Jesus didn't understand when he was on the cross, "My God, why have you forsaken me? Into your hands I commit my spirit". I believe, I believe. I'll tell you what, I'm writing a book on trust and trusting God. And I'm really enjoying it. Trusting God is not something we have to do. Trusting God is a privilege. I mean, it's a privilege to always have that option of trusting God. Verse 5, "And the people spoke against God and against Moses". Here we go, the blame game. I got a problem, it's somebody's fault. "Why have you brought us out of Egypt just to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, neither is there any water, and we loathe," or hate, "This light (contemptible, unsubstantial) manna".
Now, they were just beside themselves with amazement not too long before that because manna. And now, all of a sudden, they hate it. That's why, honestly, if we're honest with ourselves, we will end up complaining about things that we begged God to give us. "Then the Lord sent fiery burning serpents". Complaining opens up the door for problems. "Then the Lord sent fiery burning serpents among the people and they bit the people, and many died". Actually, it was 23,000 fell dead in one day. "And the people came to Moses", I love this, "And said, 'we have sinned'". Oh, great revelation.
What all has to happen in our lives before we realize that God doesn't like our murmuring and complaining, and our self-pity, and all the nonsense? He wants us to trust him, and to thank him, and praise him no matter how stupid our circumstances look. I love Romans 8, where it says, "Even though we look like sheep being led to the slaughter, we are more than conquerors through Christ, who loves us". More than a conqueror. That means that you know you're going to have the victory before the problem ever starts. And so, when a problem comes into our life and says, "Oh no, what am I going to do"? Just say, "I've got the victory. I don't know exactly when it'll manifest, but in the meantime, I have the privilege of trusting God and watching to see what he will do in my life".
We focus too much on the problem and not enough on what God's doing to bring us out of it. I'm so glad you came this morning. You're just going to be so much happier today now. "The people came to Moses and said, 'we have sinned, and we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he may take away the serpents from us.' So Moses prayed". And of course God is good, he delivered the people. The Israelites complained, and many of them died. But in the New Testament, the Bible shares this whole story again in 1 Corinthians 10:8 through 11. And he says that this happened as an example to us that we would not follow in their footsteps. I love that.
So, let's just don't take this as some Old Testament story, the poor Israelites, how dumb they were. No, he said, "I've only put this in here as an example to you". So, we're going to read it again. Verse 8, 1 Corinthians 10, "We must not gratify evil desire and indulge in immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand suddenly fell dead in a day"! Now, here he's calling it immorality. Over there, he says they murmured and complained. Now, it's immorality, and 23,000 fell dead in a single day. Now, I'm not saying if you complain, you're going to fall over dead. That's not the point of this message at all. But I do want to maybe put a healthy, reverential fear in all of us about the dangers of complaining.
How many of you agree that complaining is a pretty huge problem with large majority of people? I mean, it's amazing if people, some people today, not all people, but some people today can get in and out of church without complaining. "Well, the music's too loud, and she preached too long, and the lights are too bright". And you know, "I didn't get the seat I wanted, and I had to park so far away". Mm-hmm. Just let you sit on that for a minute. Verse 9, "We should not tempt the Lord and try his patience, become a trial to him". He's saying, "You guys think you got problems? You should be up here listening to all of you". "Nor should we exploit his goodness as some of them did and were killed by poisonous serpents".
Don't open a door for the devil. "Nor should we discontentedly complain as some of them did and were put out of the way entirely by the destroyer. Now these things befell them by way of a figure as an example and a warning to us, they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation)". Complain means to remain. Are you content most of the time? Are you high maintenance? Does it take a lot to keep you happy? Does everything have to go your way in order for you not to complain?
Now, I want you to listen to what I'm getting ready to say. Don't complain about something you're not willing to do anything about. See, you like that one. How many of you complain about how much you have to do? No hands? Come on, I know better than that. "I can't believe everything that I'm expected to do, meh meh meh meh meh meh meh. No sane person could live like I do and survive. My stress is just unbelievable. I just don't think I can stand this". You know what? You can fix your stress. I mean, I could sit down with you and fix your stress in 1 hour.
You say, "How could you do that"? Help you realize how much you're doing that's bearing no good fruit, and how much you're doing because you're trying to keep somebody else happy that really doesn't care about your joy at all. Don't have a complaint without a vision. Nehemiah had a complaint about the broken down walls, and he got a vision and a plan to fix them. I love this. Don't complain about your dirty house. Just go clean it. Martin Luther king had a complaint about racism, and he had a vision to end it. Come on. Don't have a complaint without a vision.
Habakkuk 2:1 and 2. "Oh, I know that I've been rash to talk out plainly this way to God. I will in my thinking stand upon my post of observation and station myself on the tower of the fortress, and I will watch to see what he will say within me and what answer I will make as his mouthpiece to the perplexities of my complaint against him. And the Lord said to me, 'write the vision and engrave it down so plainly on tablets that everyone who passes by might be able to read it easily and quickly as he goes by.'"
If you got a complaint in your life about your finances, then write down your vision. "The day is going to come when I'm going to be totally out of debt". You write these things down, you tack them up on the wall someday... I mean someplace. And every day, three, four times, you get your list and say, "God is on my side. I give, and it's given unto me good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. I will not live under the pressure of debt". Amen? "I feel bad, I'm tired all the time. I'm gonna get to the bottom of this. I'm gonna have energy and zeal, and feel good everyday of my life".
I found out that when I pray, God not only miraculously solves all my problems he very often shows me something I need to do. Thank you. One man here agrees with that. Come on, I still got another service to do. You better keep me cheered up. Okay, listen, God is so good. You know, for the life of me, I can't figure out how anybody can get through one day without God. All these people out in the world that are trying to get rid of God, and say they don't believe in God. I just, I mean, I just, they surely don't have a brain, not anywhere. And I just want to say to you this morning, if you've not received Christ as your Savior, it is the absolute best decision that you could ever make in your whole life.
You know, the only reason that I can think of why somebody would not want to receive Christ is because they think if they do then they're not gonna be able to just do everything they want to all the time. That there might be a few guidelines, or some commandments, or maybe you have to give up some of your lifestyle that's not pleasing to God. But, let me tell you something. Those are the things that are making you miserable. God's never gonna ask you to give up something without giving you something better.
God is good. Why would you not wanna have a relationship with somebody whose Almighty and all-powerful and says he loves you before you ever showed up on planet earth? Why would you not want to have this presence of God with you all the time? I love the fact that God is with us all the time. He's concerned about everything that concerns us. Some of you are desperately looking for somebody to love you and I'm here telling you today that nobody will ever love you like Jesus will, nobody.