Joyce Meyer - Seize The Day
For about 3 years, I had it really strongly on my heart to teach people how to live on purpose and to live on purpose for a purpose. And so, I've written a book that we're calling "Seize the Day". I'm sure many of you have heard that statement, "Carpe diem", well, that's what it means, seize the day. And it basically means learn how to live your life on purpose and not just get up and kind of float through the day and wait to see what happens.
Are you one of those people that ever have a lot of plans in the morning and you mean well but by the time you go to bed at night, you know you were busy all day but you don't have a clue what you did? You didn't really get hardly anything that you wanted to get accomplished accomplished. Well, to be honest, that's because you're letting all kinds of circumstances seize you and we always say, "Well, I just had so many interruptions". Well, the truth is is you let yourself get interrupted. Amen, one person way over there likes that. Thank you, it's encouraging. And I do it too.
You know, it's like we don't have to answer the phone just because it rings. We don't have to stop what we're doing and talk to somebody for 30 minutes about something we're not even interested in just because they choose that time to want to talk to us. And you're not being mean if you start saying, "I need to live my life on purpose and I need to put it into the purpose for which God is calling me to". And so, it's time for us to take our lives back. Amen? It's time to just stop letting everything around us dictate what we're gonna do.
I want to start with Ephesians 5, verse 14. Thank you, Lord, for the word tonight. I pray that you would use it to impact people in many different ways. Different people are gonna hear lots of different things and I thank you for speaking to everybody, including me, in Jesus' name. Ephesians 5:14 through 17 are a group of scriptures that have always impressed me. They have a lot of meaning in them. Remember now before I start this, that he was talking to the church at Ephesus. He was talking to born-again people. He says, "Awake, o sleeper, and arise from the dead".
I wonder how that would be to start a conference? "Wake up, you sleepy Christians and arise from the dead". But, you know, sometimes that's the truth, we just kinda go through life, and we go through church, and we go to church, and we can stop being excited about God and stop being excited about our lives, and stop being excited about everything if we don't learn to live life on purpose, and be happy on purpose, and have joy on purpose, and have peace on purpose. Amen?
See now, not everybody's like this but I think that there's a lot of people who just sit around and wait for something to come to them all the time. "Well, I wish". "Well, I wish I felt happy". "Well, I wish I had your life". "I wish I was more disciplined". "I wish I would have been working out for the last 30 years". Okay, if you don't remember anything else, please remember this, you get nothing by wishing for it. Tell the person next to you that, "You get nothing by wishing for it". How many of you agree with me that there's an awful lot of people like that in the world, they're just kind of sitting back waiting for something good to happen to them and they're not doing anything to cooperate with it?
Now, like I said, you're not all like that but if you're an aggressive person who does get up every day and seize your day, then you can just sit there smugly and say, "Ah, finally I'm hearing a message that I'm already doing". "Therefore he says, awake, o sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine (make day dawn) upon you and give you light. Look carefully then how you walk". Carefully, the word "Carefully" in the Greek is to walk circumspectly and that means to walk looking all around you all the time as if you're in a very dangerous place.
Matter of fact, pastor Mike was telling me that he studied it out a little bit further and it gives some kind of a word picture of be like a person walking barefoot in a field of thorns. How carefully would you walk? I mean, you'd be very... But see, I don't think we're careful enough sometimes. The Bible says the devil roams about like a lion roaring in fierce hunger seeking someone whom he may devour. He can't devour just anybody he wants to but sleepy Christians, people that aren't being careful about how they live. Let me give ya an example, how many of you have been offended in the past 7 days? Okay, that was a thorn and if you would have been living carefully enough, you would have thought, "I know what that is and I'm not stepping on that, not again. Been there, done that".
See, so many things that happen to us are the devil trying to steal from us, whether he's trying to steal a moment, or an hour, or a day, or our life, or our joy, or our peace, he roams about like a lion roaring in fierce hunger seeking someone whom he may devour whom resists steadfast in the faith. We need to live more carefully. "Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people)", and now I love this, "Making the most, making the very most of the time buying up each opportunity, because the days are evil".
You know, don't ever let the miracle of the moment pass you by. Be the kind of person who's watching to see how God wants to use you and watching to see what God wants to do and even if it's giving somebody what to you can be just a little, tiny compliment to them, it can be a life-changing thing or it could change their day around. Let's don't let opportunities pass us by to be used by God. And let's don't let opportunities pass us by to be obedient to God. Let's don't be the kind of people that God's gotta deal with us 3 weeks before we finally get around to doing what God tells us to do. Amen?
We're gonna talk some in the next three sessions about waste, and we're gonna talk a lot about time. You see, every day that goes by in your life is one you're not ever gonna get back. And so, we can either waste our time or we can invest our time. Resting is not wasting your time, we need to do that. Having fun is not wasting your time, we need to do that. But do you know every hour that you spend angry is a total waste of time? Every 15 minutes that you spend in self-pity is a waste of time. Every 10 minutes that you spend worried, nothing's ever accomplished through worry. It makes nothing better. Being mad at people don't make them change. Half the time, they're out having a good time and couldn't even care less that you're mad.
The devil roams about like a lion roaring in fierce hunger, seeking whom he may devour. We need to live like wise, intelligent people, not as the witless, people who don't know what they're doing. We need to learn the word and then pray. I don't care if we have to pray a hundred times a day, "God, help me do what you tell me to do in this word. Help me stop living like a sleepy Christian that's got a blindfold on walking around out in the world not paying any attention to the attacks of the enemy". How many of you believe tonight with me that if you lived a little more carefully and opened your eyes just a little bit wider, that you could save yourself a lot of trouble probably daily in your life? So, that's kind of what this is gonna be all about. We're gonna be smarter when this is over.
"Therefore", verse 17, "Do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is". Now, here we come down to it, probably 50%, 60% of the church, maybe more would say, "Well, that's my problem. I just don't know what God's will is. I'm just waiting". See, there we have it. Come on, I don't even need to go any further for some of you. "I'm just waiting to see what God wants me to do". Come on. "If I could just hear from God". Well, you know what? God can't drive a parked car. Maybe, you see you're not going in some direction. You know, waiting on God is not a ministry.
Now, the Bible talks about waiting on God, but it's not the kind of waiting that we do. It's not like waiting doing nothing to see if God ever wants you to do anything. You know, when I first felt the call of God on my life, I mean, I did anything that was available to do at my church and a lot of it wasn't right for me, I wasn't anointed for it. One of the things I did was I went out with a group of people and passed out Gospel tracks on the streets of st. Louis and I hated it, hated it. I am not a street preacher. I mean, I didn't like it. And then I tried working in the nursery at church and that only lasted a week and me and the kids knew that weren't right. I tried the helps ministry and I'm sorry, but that's not me either. I want to be helped.
You know what? I'm a leader. I was born to teach and when I started opening my mouth and doing that, ah, now that worked, that worked. And see, you gotta start moving and doing something till you find what fits. And sometimes at different times in your life, maybe something you've been doing for a long time doesn't seem to be fitting right anymore. You know what? I made a decision this past year, I'm not... Now, when I say I'm not gonna be married to anything but Dave I mean we get married to our plan. Come on.
"Well, that's the way I've always done it so that's the way I've gotta do it". And especially when you're in ministry and you've been a ministry for a long time. You got this system, and you're working this system, and you're doing what you do. And, you know, you can get married to your plans and not even hear what God's trying to say to you. Listen to me, God doesn't care how long you've been doing something the same way. If he wants to change it, what you've been doing won't work anymore. Amen? Life would be so exciting if we would really learn how to follow the leadership and the guidance of the Holy Spirit instead of worshiping our plan and sitting around waiting somewhere for God to show us what we need to do.
Luke 22:42 through 44, Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. "Saying, 'Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.'" so, what's Jesus saying? "I don't want to do this". That's okay, you can sometimes, when God asks us to do things, it's not even bad to say, "I don't want to do it", because he knows it anyway. "I don't wanna do this. Yet not my will, but yours be done". So, what's he saying in that moment? "I don't want to do this, but I will do it, if that's what you want".
Come on, there's something here for somebody. "Lord, I want out of this marriage, but I will stay in it if that's what you want". I got one excited person over here. Don't go getting all quiet on me because I said something you don't want to do. "I really don't want to go to the cross", Jesus, "But your will be done and not mine". Now, watch what happens, watch this. And I love this. "And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him in spirit".
Come on, make the connection. You don't want to, it's going to be hard, but you lay your will on the altar, and you say, "I will, Jesus. Because I love you, I will". Then the strength comes. Then the strength comes. But here's the thing. Sometimes, when you're on the decision-making side of that, you don't feel the grace, you don't feel the strength. You feel that it is impossible, "There's no way that I can do that". And that's when God wants us to remember, "Yes, where I'm at right now, it is impossible. But if I'm willing to", come on. If I'm willing to, then supernatural strength comes.
And see, that doesn't mean... See, here's what we do. Help me, Jesus. Sometimes, I get so full of all this stuff, and I don't know which to bring out first. We want everything to be easy. It's easier just to quit than to work through things with people. You all clapped when I said Dave and I have been married 49 and 1/2 years. Well, let me tell ya, a lot of those years, we weren't clapping. Come on, there's a message here. And I know there's times when it just won't work. I guess I'll give you one little out just in case you can't stand this message, but my gosh, the things now that back then, I just thought, "Well, if he's going to keep doing that, there's no way that I can stay with him". And you know what? Now, he still does a lot of the same things, and I think it's funny.
Come on, a lot of you are upset over stuff, you're ready to quit on something, and it's not even really that big of a deal except you just want it all to be easy. You know, when you marry somebody, don't look at them and in your heart think, "I hope you make me happy". You know how many people get divorces because somebody else is not making them happy? You know what God told me when I was like, "Well, bluh bluh bluh bluh"? He said, "Quit making Dave responsible for your joy. Get happy". I better come over here and talk to you guys for a while. How many of you understand?
Now see, just because you give God your will and the strength comes, that still doesn't mean it's all going to be easy. Let's read the next verse. "And being in an agony of mind". This is after he got the strength. See, the strength was for this. Because when you say, "I don't want to, but if it's your will, I will", and then the strength comes, the strength is for the battle. It's not to remove the battle, it's for the battle. Come on. "And being in an agony of mind, he prayed all the more earnestly and intently, and his sweat became like great clots of blood dropping down upon the ground".
And we know the story, there was a crucifixion, there was a bloody, horrible death, there was a resurrection. Come on. You can't get to Sunday without going through Friday. Some of you are looking for the resurrection, but you're trying to avoid the crucifixion. See, I think it's fun now because I've learned how to do it. I didn't think it was so much fun when I was learning how to do it. And don't stone me because you'll like this later. Are you with me? So, we don't want to, but that's what God wants. Or we do want to, and that's not what God wants. We probably live too much out of our own thoughts and out of our emotions, and not enough out of our renewed will, a will that's been turned over to God.
I wonder what would happen if I opened up the altar for people to come and turn their will over to God. Mmm. You know what? I think we need more of that, I'll tell you why. Jesus is coming back soon. Now you know, I'm not an end-time prophet. I'm not saying it's going to be today or tomorrow. You know, the apostle said he's coming soon, so I figure if he was coming soon then he's surely coming sooner now. I don't know how much soon we got to get, but there's so many of the signs of the end times that are already fulfilled. And to be honest, and I'm certainly not a doom and gloom preacher, but I mean, the Lord could come at any time.
And so, we need to live ready. We don't want to wait and try to get ready when we hear the trumpet blow. We need to live ready. And I don't think those of us who have the responsibility of sharing the word with people, and teaching people, and trying to give people some guidance, we are going to be judged by God if we don't tell people what they need to hear, and not just what they want to hear. And so, I'm just pleading with you, as Paul said often, "I beg you, I plead with you", that was because he felt what he was preaching with such intense passion. And he loved the people, and he wanted them to have the very best life that they could possibly have.
And so, I'm just pleading with you to learn what the reverential fear and awe of God is. And to have enough of it when you know that God wants you to do something, to choose to do it. And when you know he doesn't want you to do something, choose not to do it. And if you will choose, even if it's a hard choice, God will strengthen you, and he will help you make it through the battle. But you'll have to continue putting your will on the altar every single day of your life. And it gets easier as time goes by. An unregenerate person, a person who's unsaved, does many wrong things by willpower or choice. And a regenerate, or a born again person, should do many right things simply by willpower and by choice.
So, it's good to get up every day and say, "I choose today to do the will of God. I don't know exactly what all that's going to mean. I hope it's all easy, but if it's not, I choose to do God's will anyway". And the strength will come for you to do what God wants you to do. Deuteronomy 30:19, great verse of scripture, "I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curses. Therefore, choose life, that you and your descendants might live". Amen. Every good choice that you make affects your children. Every good choice that you make will affect your grandchildren. The choices that we make do affect other people around us.
Now, as I said, there are many things that we cannot do by our own will. He's the vine, we're the branches. Apart from him, we can do nothing. But let me say this again. And this, people kind of like, I had to think about this a long time. I've had this stirring around in me 3 years. We cannot do anything without him, and he won't do many things without us. See, you're still like, it's still kind of like... Let me tell you something. God will do what you cannot do, but he won't do what you can do. And if you do what you can do, then God will do what you cannot do. But if you don't do what you can do, then God won't do what you cannot do.
Do we need to go over that again? I'll give you an example. Let's just think about how Jesus fed the multitude. First, the disciples said, "Well, how are we supposed to feed all these people? We don't have enough". And they told him what they had, something like 41 dollars and some-odd cents or something in today's money. They said, "That's not enough". You know, they'd have been better off if they would have been like the little boy who said, "Well, here, I've got a lunch".
Somebody had to give what they had in order for Jesus to multiply it. Come on now. If we keep telling God what we don't have and what we can't do, then we're not giving him anything to multiply. But if we say, "Well, I can't do that, but I can do this, so I'm going to do this. I can't make that person give me favor and give me a job, but I can go keep looking. And if I keep looking, then you'll do what I cannot do". Amen? And so, he fed thousands of people with few fish and a couple loaves of bread. And, and this is the part I love about this, and when everybody was full.
See, I get to feed people now. And I hope you leave full tonight. And I'll tell you what, honestly, when God and I wrestled this thing through 40 years ago, I basically said, "Well, if you can do anything with this, have at it". I had a mouth. Stop telling God what you can't do and what you don't have, and start doing something with what you do have, and start doing something with what you can do. And so, what happened was he multiplied the little bit the little boy had, and then there were 12 baskets full of leftovers. And that's another whole part of another message that I'll share. He said, "And gather up the fragments that nothing be wasted".
We've got to learn to stop wasting our resources, wasting our time, wasting our energy. Every hour that you spend angry is a wasted hour that you're never going to get back in your life. Don't let the devil do that to you anymore. Look carefully how you walk. Don't go out barefoot and walk in a thorn field, and not pay any attention to where you're going. Okay, here we go, how can you know the will of God? Lord Jesus, help me. Well, first of all... I mean, if we're not going to study the word, we're not ever going to know what God wants. And the worst thing in the world that you can do is go to somebody else and ask them what God wants you to do.
Now, I'm not saying it's wrong to get advice, I'm not saying it's wrong to get counseling, but it should really only be to confirm what's in your heart. Or if you are getting ready to do something really off the wall, and five or six people you respect tell you not to, then that's good to listen. But even then, sometimes, I mean, everybody told me not to step out and do what I'm doing. I mean, I got put out of my church, I lost my friends. I mean, it was tough to obey God, tough. I wonder how many amazing miracles we miss in our life. I wonder how many just flat-out astounding things God would do in people's life if we could ever get over caring what everybody thinks. Amen?
You know, I'm kind of learning when people come to me for advice, instead of just starting to pop off advice, I say first, "Well, what do you think? What's in your heart? What are you thinking that God is saying to you"? And the biggest majority of the time, they're right. It's not that we don't know what God wants us to do, we're just kind of afraid that we don't know what God wants us to do. So, if you're not going to study the word, you're never going to know because the word is a light to our path, it's a lamp to our feet. It keeps us out of trouble, keeps us safe, directs us, guides us.
You got to know the word. And it's gonna take time. And it's going to take a lot of time. And it's some of the best time that you can ever spend in your life, some of the best time you can ever spend. Knowing the Word of God will set you free. And it doesn't just set you free magically. What it does is it shows you the right thing to do. And then, as you do it, you'll be set free. "If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free".
Well, it's implied that if you know it, you're going to be smart enough to do it. It doesn't just mean, like, "Because I underline it in my Bible, now it's going to happen". Oh, I got pink markers, orange markers, blue markers, yellow markers. I mean, I really got all the colors, and I have orange for certain things, and I love to check off chapters. I read this, I read some, I've got four, five chapters I've read multiple times. That still don't mean that I know anything. The only way that we know if we know anything is if we're doing it. Are we doing it?
So, we know the will of God first and foremost by the word. Now, there are a lot of things that the word covers, but there's a lot of decisions we have to make that just the Bible doesn't give you chapter and verse. You don't know. And so, you can sit around, and you can wait for a prophecy, you can wait for confirmation. And then half the time when you get it, then you want another one. Or you can start using what God has given you that's on the inside of you, and learn how to trust it.
Proverbs 1:1 through 5 gives us an outline for how to live a successful life. So, here it comes. "The proverbs (obscurely expressed, maxims and parables) of Solomon the son of David, the king of Israel, that people may know skillful and godly wisdom", everybody say wisdom, "And instruction, discern", say discern, "And comprehend", say comprehend, "Words of", say understanding, "And insight", verse 3. "Receive instruction in the wise dealing and the discipline of wise thoughtfulness, righteousness, justice, and integrity", verse 4. "That prudence", say prudence.
You know, there's probably a lot of people in this room right now and a lot of people watching by TV, you don't have a clue what prudence even is. And here God's telling us to guide our life by it. You should do yourself a favor and write down all these words that we just don't pay much attention to at all that are all over the Bible, especially in proverbs. The Bible tells us to rule our life by these things. And at least do yourself a favor and look them up in a dictionary, and find out what they mean.
Because here's what I'm telling you. God has given you the ability to do these things. If the Holy Spirit's in you, then you have the ability to do these things, and if you start, well, let's finish. "Prudence", getting ahead of myself. "And knowledge, discretion", say discretion. That's another one, what does it mean to be discreet? That doesn't mean to sneak around at the office and flirt with a guy you're not married to. That's not being discreet. Read a little further in proverbs and you'll find out that's being stupid. "And discernment", say discernment. Oh, that's such a big one. "To the youth", verse 5. "The wise will hear and increase in learning, and the person of understanding will acquire skill and attain the sound counsel, so that he may be able to steer his course rightly".
How can I know the will of God? Learn how to be discerning, learn how to be discreet, learn how to have prudence, learn how to discipline myself. Can I tell you something? Every one of you, if you use these principles, it wouldn't take you very long at all, even if the Bible doesn't cover something that you need an answer to, you want to know what God's will is for something and you can't find it in the Bible? If you follow these principles, it won't take you very long at all, and you'll know exactly what God wants you to do.