Joyce Meyer - The Power Of Gratitude
Now, let's go back for a few minutes to this thing about all things working out for good. I mean, of course, I can, you know, I can tell you my story and just quickly say that, you know, how could anybody in their right mind stand and say, "I'm not even really sorry that what happened to me happened now". I can't explain it, but I know that some way, somehow, my life is better because of it. I know that. I know that. If I would have had this great beginning in life and just been treated like Pollyanna, I don't think my life would be as good now as it is. I don't think I would know God as well. I don't think I would have as the depth of relationship that I have with him. I don't know that I'd be helping as many people.
Let me tell ya something, you can turn your pain into somebody else's gain. Your mess can become your message. I'm on a mission to find really unique and creative things to be thankful for in my life. I mean I like all the regular stuff. Thank you for salvation, thank you for food, and home, and family, and Jesus. I mean I love all that and that's all important to do that, but I just think there's things that we miss. I really do.
Now, I thank God a lot for clean water. It's amazing to go to the sink and just turn a button and get it hot or cold, as much as you want. I've even got an automatic hot water dispenser that puts out boiling water and I can heat my coffee cup with that water. Actually I had a funny thing happen. I really wish I had it up on the screen but I can't get it up there now. I have to do it maybe later.
Somebody sent me some beautiful tulips and they were lovely, so I didn't have them kind of arranged right and my son came over and he said, "Those don't look too good. Let's fix them". So, he helped me get them all pretty and they're looking pretty. He says, "Now you put water in them". So, I watered 'em and I came back by about 30 minutes later and they were all just completely, I mean, just like, totally flopped over. So, I sent him a picture and I said, what happened to these? And he's like, "What did you do? Did you water them"? And I said, "Yes". "Did you trim too much off the bottom"? "No".
And so, all of a sudden it was like, God gave me a word of knowledge, I saw that I used the hot boiling water dispenser. So, there are things to use it for and things not to use it for, and I don't recommend using it on your flowers. That didn't work very good. Anyway, one of the things that the Israelites, that was I was told, I read this, that the Israelites gave thanks for... bet you never thought of this one, when they went to the bathroom, they thanked God that they had openings in their body to let our their waste. I mean now, that's creative gratitude. Right?
So, I'm on this mission to be creative about giving thanks. When I get up in the morning, I usually thank God that I can walk, talk, see, and hear. And right now, I'm really thanking God that my hip is healed so well because you don't know it, but three months ago this past Monday, I was in the operating room having my hip replaced, totally replaced. And the doctor said, "If you saw what we did to you, you would think we were barbarians". And he told me how they do it, how they open you up, it's like a 5-inch thing, and they separate your muscles and stuff, and break the bone, and saw it in half, and put a new part in there. And I'm like... And here I am. Three months, twelve weeks and nobody would ever even know.
God is amazing. He is amazing. And see, I see a real miracle in God's providential planning in all that because I did my last conference at Joel's church in Houston on a weekend in November, the Monday after that conference was over, the best doctor in the city had agreed to work me into his schedule. I got in. I had from then until this conference off and so during that time, I went from the little walker stage. Oh, you should have seen me. It was like... I mean, we had some fun. I mean Dave had to put my socks on me for like four weeks and other things we won't talk about. And I was so glad when he didn't have to put my socks on me anymore because he is so slow at it. But he's not here. He wants to get every seem straight 'cause Dave's this detailed person. I'm like, "Will you just put the sock on"?
So, you know, there's so much to be thankful for, so much to be thankful for. Let's get creative in gratitude. Does that sound fun? I mean let's just get really creative in our gratitude. So, we've started this whole campaign. We've got a big bookstore at the office. It's got all glass windows and I said, I want all those windows covered up with little sticky notes of different things that you're thankful for. Let's don't be like the lepers. Ten were healed and only one, only one came back. If we're gonna take that percentage, that means only 10% of people are grateful and 90% are murmuring and grumbling no matter what they do for you.
The Bible says, "Be anxious for nothing but in all things through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God". Why should God give me, if I'm a complainer, why should God answer my prayer and just give me more to complain about? The heart has to change. Do all things without grumbling, and fault finding, and complaining against God. I'm back to Philippians 2:14 and 15. "Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining".
This says against God. It's like, "Well, God, I'm not complaining against you," but he says we are. "That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children out in the world in the midst of a wicked generation among whom you are seen as bright lights and shining stars". God's saying, "You're my people. Get out there and give some flavor to a dull, tasteless world".
How about going to your place of work and giving some flavor there? Don't just sit and complain about your workplace like everybody else at lunch. Be a person who, "Well, you know, yeah, you know, there's some things that need to change here, but I'm thankful to have a job". 'Cause you know what? If you don't want yours, somebody will take it. And if you don't want your husband, some lonely woman would probably love to have him. She'd probably take him stinky feet and all just to have somebody to eat with. You know, how many lonely people there are in the world? And we get married and day three we start trying to rework 'em and change 'em. It's not gonna work. Give it up. Come on, we're havin' fun.
Okay, I have three scriptures that I want to share with you that I hope and pray puts a little bit of fear in you about complaining. I think we need to be afraid to complain. I mean it obviously hasn't totally stopped me yet but, you know? Maybe tonight will help me. I am really a grateful and a thankful person but I find myself, you know... 1 Corinthians 10:9 through 11, "We should not tempt the Lord try his patience, become a trial to him, critically appraising him, and exploiting his goodness".
See, God is basically saying, "I am so good to you so when you complain, you're exploiting my goodness". "As some of them did and were killed by poisonous serpents". He's talking about the Israelites when they were going through the desert. "Nor should you discontentedly complain as some of them did and they were put entirely out of way by the destroyer which is death". Twenty-three thousand of them fell dead in one day. Serpents got into the camp through murmuring, grumbling, and complaining.
Now, thank God we live in the dispensation of grace, but I don't think we're gonna drop dead if we complain, but I do think that we block our blessings, at least to some degree. Thank God for his mercy, you know, his goodness is not based on my ability to never complain, but I think it's a principle that if we don't learn to live with a grateful heart, and especially being grateful when things are not going our way, and to give thanks, not only to God, but to people. I'm telling ya, I think you can change the atmosphere where you work. You can change the atmosphere in your home, you can change the atmosphere in a church, perhaps in a city, perhaps even in a nation. What would happen if just the Christians got thankful? We should be the happiest people on the face of the earth because we're not going to hell. I mean that's something to be thankful for. We're gonna miss the whole brimstone and fire thing. If you're not happy now, you'll get happy.
So, 23,000 of them died and then they got a revelation. "Moses, pray for us, for we have sinned". Really? I wonder what gave you that clue. I think if nothing else, we can at least go to bed at night and ask God to forgive us for anytime we complained and murmured during the day. Amen? Now, numbers chapter 14, verses 1 through 6. "And all the congregation cried out with a loud voice, and they wept all night. All the Israelites grumbled and they hated their situation, and they accused Moses and Aaron, to whom the whole congregation said, we just wish we would have died in Egypt! Or that we would have died in the wilderness"!
See, these are the people that were begging God to get 'em out of bondage in Egypt. Wonder how many times we beg God to change our situation and he doesn't take us the route that we planned. Hello? You know, we really don't want to be transformed, we want to be translated. Some of you don't know the meaning of those two words, okay. To get translated means I'm here and then all of a sudden I'm there. I get to skip all the going through part. But when you're transformed, God arranges circumstances that force you to trust him and to stop being independent, and stubborn, and bullheaded, and there's a brokenness that has to take place in our life and only God knows how to break us in the right places where we're not destroyed. He breaks our pride. He breaks our stubbornness.
Come on. The Bible says that there was a shorter route that God could have taken them to the Promised Land, but he took them the long, hard way on purpose because they were not ready for war. See, you think when you get into the Promised Land, when you're getting everything you want, there's gonna be no more trouble from the devil, ha, ha. Oh, ha, ha, ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha, ha. Hardy, hardy, ha, ha. No, every new level is a new devil, so we have to learn how to do war and how to face our enemies while we're still in the wilderness because every level of new responsibility means you're gonna have new things coming against you.
Now, I can tell ya most of it don't even bother me anymore. It's just like, been there done that, know where this is headed. Amen? I mean we laughed tonight. Matter of fact, I told my assistant I said, "Okay, I want you all year this year, this conference tour year, I want you to keep a note of every goofy, stupid thing that happens to us when we are out in conferences and at the end of the year, we are gonna sit and laugh our heads off and watch how many times we did what God sent us to do and defeated the devil". Amen?
So, first conference of the year coming right out of the gate, Dave can't come 'cause he's got this head thing. He feels really bad. I started getting dressed tonight and I'm careful about my clothes that I bring. And I have so many pairs of black pants that it is just really probably disgusting, but I just got a lot of black pants. And out of all the black pants that I have, I brought a pair of black pants that where I buy my clothes, they had failed to hem them. So they were too long and I couldn't wear them.
So, I took them off and then I put on another pair of pants, this one, in fact, that are tight 'cause that's what they're supposed to be. And I put on another top, and it was great on one side but then I looked at the other side and it was short... So that kinda... And I said, "Well, that's not gonna work".
So, now we're into the third outfit and the lovely Jewelry that I had set aside to go with it got left at home. Look at all my troubles. It's terrible. But here's the thing that's frustrating to me about it, I know what time I'm gonna leave and I start getting dressed 15 minutes ahead of time so then when I have to do that, it gets me in this... And what the devil's trying to do is get me here with no peace so I can stand up here and say, "Praise the Lord, thank you Jesus. Isn't everything wonderful tonight"? And inside I'm going... So, in the midst of all that I have to, "Stay calm, stay calm, stay calm. Thank you, Lord, that I do have clothes here that I can go to the meeting in. I just have to find 'em".
Okay now watch this 'cause this is just really good. So, verse 3, numbers 14, verse 3, "Why does the Lord bring us to this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones are gonna be a prey. It'd just be better for us to return to Egypt? And they said one to another, let us choose a captain and return to Egypt". And there's thousands of these people... And watch this, the response of the men who became the leaders. Now, come on, there's a message here. "Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the Israelites".
When they heard the complaining, it grieved them so much because they understood the danger of what they were doing that they just fell down flat on their faces before God and I'm sure started praying for God to forgive 'em. "And Joshua the son of nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among the scouts who had searched out the land, they rent their clothes". They were so grieved that they tore their clothes, back then that was a sign of great grief when somebody would die, they would rip their clothes. And so, these are four men that get talked about in the Bible as being heroes, the rest of them you never hear anything about again.
I want to ask you, do you want to be talked about as a hero for God, or do you want to just get lost somewhere out in the wilderness and maybe, yes, end up in heaven, but never really do anything here that's gonna count for anything? See, I know a lot of times we think we're looking for some deep, complicated answer to our intense, complicated burdens. "God, what is wrong? If you'll just show me what kind of hierarchy demon this is". And God's just trying to say tonight, "Will you just stop complaining and be thankful"? Come on. This is something I can do. Amen?
"Oh God, what's wrong with my life? I don't understand what's wrong with my life? God, what's wrong with my life, my lousy, stinkin', terrible, miserable life that I hate? I wish I had somebody else's life, God". No, "Thank you for my life, Lord. Thank you for everything that's even happened to me in my life because I trust you to work it out for good". You know what? If you're bold enough, you can even thank God for the pain that you're going through right now. You know why? Because when you're hurting, you either go under or you go over. But if you go over, you get to know God in a way that you could not possibly have known him without that pain in your life. You can have something in God that nobody could take away from you. And we can add dry throat to the list.
Ginger: Our question today, comes to you from Amanda. And Amanda says, "I have a son who's just become a teenager and sometimes I just wonder how we're going to make it through. What advice do you have for me for raising a teenage son"?
Joyce: Pray. A lot of prayer. You know, here again, experience just does...
Ginger: And you've been there, a couple times.
Joyce: I had three teenagers...
Ginger: At the same time.
Joyce: Same time, and a baby. So, you know, one of my sons had a personality very much like mine, but I didn't realize that was why I couldn't get along with him. I didn't, you know, it was like arguing with myself. But here's the thing. Everybody's gonna make their own choice about what they're gonna do with their life. And there's nothing you can do to change that. It's good to try to tell your kids what's right, but you have to be careful that you're not just harping on it all the time to where they feel like every time they come near you, you're preaching to them, or constantly finding something wrong with them.
So, it does take a lot of prayer and a lot of God showing you when is the right time? When do you just pray and let it go? But we do have a promise from God that if we, "Train our children in the way they should go, when they're old, they won't depart from it". Now, we don't know how old they gotta be, but... Nah, I'm kidding. But, all of my kids, I mean, I could go through each one and the concerns that I had and some very deep concerns, but we kept praying for them, and we kept trying to be a good example.
And you know, every one of them have turned out great. They're serving God. I'm not saying they've never gone through anything or we've not gone through anything with them. But it all works itself out in the end, if you continue to trust God. Once again, I'm not promising that every child on earth is gonna turn out marvelous because they do have a free will and can do what they wanna do. But you really, being a parent of teenagers, and I'm sure especially today, is extremely challenging.
And when I say, "Especially today", there's just so much more in morality today than there was when I was raising my kids. I mean, they weren't dealing with the temptations that kids are dealing with today. But I really believe the most important thing about raising a child is, not so much what you tell them to do, as it is what they see you do.
And what kind of a home atmosphere there is? What kind of a home life there is? Are you doing things as a family or is everybody just going in different directions all the time because they're all just so busy? So, once again, I think if you provide that right atmosphere and you pray for your kids, man, pray for your kids. One prayer can do more in one second, than all the trying to convince somebody to do what's right can in a long time. And just remember this too will pass, they will grow up, and some day they'll probably be your best friend.