Joyce Meyer - Why, God, Why?
And today, I'm going to teach on, "Why, God, why"? Seems like we spend more time when-ing and why-ing than we do anything else? So, the Bible tells us that we are not to lean to your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5-8, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart," and the amplified Bible says, "And mind," and I like that. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not lean to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your path," or direct your path. "Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the Lord and turn away from evil". Now, watch this. "It will be healing to your flesh, and refreshment to your bones".
Wait a minute. If I stop trying to figure things out it's gonna promote healing in my life? Well, according to that it is. And you know why? Because all this reasoning and trying to figure everything out causes a bunch of other things that we're gonna talk about here in just a little bit. And they all bring stress. And stress brings anxiety. And I definitely believe that just being a worrier, and trying to figure things out all the time, and trying to make sure you're in the know on everything, I think that, that's one of the reasons why we have so much stress today. We've actually, got too much knowledge about things that we don't really need to know anything about.
I mean, how much junk, do you read on Facebook? I mean, really? Who cares what aunt Tilly had for breakfast? I don't. You know? I mean, some of the stuff that people put on Facebook, I'm like, "Really? You think somebody cares about that"? But, man, we get so frantic if we get away from that phone for five seconds. "Oh, my phone, where's my phone? Gotta find the phone". And I know you've been like me, you'd run all over the house looking for your phone while you're talking on it. Oh yeah.
You know, I'm getting a little bit older now, and you do some strange things. The other night, I started to go to bed and I went and got my purse and took it with me. I'm just like, "Oh well, I seem to know, what I need to know when I get up here, so you know, we'll leave it at that". But you know, you get on Facebook and you read something bad about somebody else, somebody's gossiping or telling tales. And we don't even know that it's true. And most of the time, it's not. And then, if we have no spiritual maturity we'll pass it on to somebody else like it is true. "Oh, did you read"? And we think anything we see in the news or on Facebook is true.
It's just amazing the lies that people can tell today and get by with it and there's no repercussion. And that's one of the things that has changed in America that's not good. And let me just tell ya. Don't believe everything you read. Can you just think, just for a minute? I feel like we might be able to get it, right now. Can you just think about how much peace you would have if you just stop trying to figure everything out? Come on. Just think about this. Just, "Oh my gosh". Some of you just think too much. Always got your mind rotating around something. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
A lot of frustration comes from trying to do things that aren't working because God's not in 'em. Because we never, even, ask him if it was the right thing to do, and now, we're trying to figure out why nothing's working. If God's in something, he'll make it work. Now, you know, a lot of times you feel like this, at least, I have. Like, "Well, if the devil would just get out of my way. It's just the devil. The devil, I'm frustrated and it's just the devil". Well, let me read you something and then see if you'll wanna change your mind. 1 Peter 5:5, in the Amplified, "Likewise, you that are younger and of lesser rank, be subject to the elders (the ministers and spiritual guides of the church), giving them due respect and yielding to their counsel".
So, you know what that means? That means that younger people should listen to older people. Is everybody still breathing? Nobody's had a heart attack? And honestly and truly, that's one of the things that's gone wrong in our society, people need to show respect for older people and not treat them like some worn-out, antiquated, wrinkled-up piece of flesh that doesn't know anything anymore. So, "Clothe (apron) yourselves, all of you, with humility as the garb of a servant, so that its covering cannot possibly be stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance toward one another". Now, watch this. "For God," not the devil, "For God sets himself against the proud (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful), and he", God, "Opposes, frustrates, and defeats them, but he gives grace to the humble".
So, that means if I'm trying to do something that really, only God can do, he's gonna oppose me and I'm gonna be frustrated because my plan's not working out. But my plan's never gonna work out if it's my plan and not God's plan. Proverbs 16:9, "A man's mind plans his way, but God directs his steps", thankfully. You ever wonder why things seem to be going the opposite of how you're trying to get 'em to go? That's God pulling you in the right direction. One of the reasons why we experience so much struggle in our life is because we're trying to go one way and God's trying to go another. God's plan is usually beyond our limited thinking. Isaiah 55:8-9, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts".
Now, you know, we all love Ephesians 3:20, "For God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond all that we could ever dare to hope, ask, or think". Think, no matter what you can think up, God can do something greater than that if you'll put your trust in him and be willing to wait on his plan to come to pass in your life, instead of doing your own thing. Amen? You know what? Things won't work if they're not God. Hello?
So, listen to me. If you're struggling with something right now and... How many of you get frustrated a lot? Oh my gosh, is this for you? You know what frustrates us? Trying to do something that's not working that's never gonna work because it's not God's plan. If you want peace in your life, then if God's not in it, get out of it. And if God is in it, then be patient and let him do it in his timing, the way he wants to. Jesus didn't die just so we could go to heaven someday, he died so we could enjoy life. And we cannot enjoy life if we're always frustrated about how long things are taking, and always confused because we don't understand what's going on in our life.
If I were to ask today, "How many of you have been confused lately"? How many hands would go up? Okay, now, look at me. You know why? 'Cause you're trying to figure somethin' out. You cannot get confused if you refuse to try to figure things out. You can't. You can't get confused. Now, I'm not saying that we're just a bunch of dummies and we don't ever think about anything. But here's my guideline, I can ponder it, I can roll it over, and over in my mind until I start to feel confused, or I start to lose my peace, then I've got to let it go. And I had a huge problem with reasoning. And I might, even, say I was addicted to reasoning. In other words, I could not settle down, just like a drug addict can't settle down until they get their fix.
Well, me thinking that I knew what God was gonna do was my fix. I had to think I had it all figured out and in the right place. But there was so many things that I thought I had figured out, and I didn't have a clue what God was gonna do. You know, God can do something in your life ten times, the exact same way. And just about the time you think you've got him figured out, he'll do something completely different that totally shocks you. Amen? Everybody say, "God knows what he's doing". Man's steps are ordered by the Lord. No wonder that we don't understand our way.
Joyce: Frustration, confusion, and stress are key factors that can hinder us from living a life of trusting God. So, with God's help, let's try to answer some of your questions about these issues, right now. Ginger's here with me. Well, Ginger, why, God, why?
Ginger: Oh, you know, I can relate to these because I can be a, "Why", kind of person. I like to figure things out. I like answers that we just don't always get. So, I know you'll have some good answers for these, though. This first question comes from Aisha, in North Carolina. She says, "I have physical problems brought on by stress. I pray, but at times, I feel like I can't control my thoughts. How do I free myself from overthinking everything in my life"?
Joyce: Well, number one, you can't free yourself from anything. So, that's the first problem...
Joyce: Is trying to do it yourself. So, I suggest talking to God about it, which is prayer. You know, "This is obviously, a problem in my life, and I don't seem to be able to stop it. So, I need your help". You know, "Show me what I can do". And you know, I mean, I was so addicted to reasoning. I mean, I had to think I had the answer to everything. And to be honest, it can just about drive you mad. It just does nothing but make problems worse.
Ginger: Yeah, your right.
Joyce: And so, I finally gave it up. You know, like I called, "A fast", on reasoning. And instead of, when I would be tempted to get into, "Well, God, I don't understand," well, I would just say, "Never mind, Lord. I trust you". It was like a decision that I had to make that, and the Lord's put this in my heart one time, "Don't you know if you could understand everything then you'd be God, instead of me". You know, there are mysteries in Christ that we don't understand. There are things that happen in our lives that we don't understand. And you know, one of the things that I say frequently is we live life forward, but we understand it backward. And so, now, I can look back and understand a lot of things that were really problems for me when I was going through them. So, trusting God is the key. And I've written a great book on trusting God called, "Unshakeable Trust", and then we have a devotional on trusting God called, "Trusting God day by day". So, study in that area. Study what the Bible says. I mean, there's nothing wrong with asking God why, but a lot of times he's not gonna tell you. And the real danger is, with all the reasoning is, sometimes you think you've got something figured out, you think, "Oh yeah, now I get it". And then, it turns out to be something totally different than what you thought it was.
Ginger: That is so true.
Joyce: And to be very honest, very honest. You're never gonna have peace unless you can give up having to know. We need to get comfortable not knowing.
Ginger: Yeah, and Aisha, with problems brought on by stress, this is something that can really help her.
Joyce: Yeah, it just aggravates it, it really aggravates the stress.
Ginger: Alright, here's a question from Diane, in Franklin Square, New York, "Joyce, I want to know my purpose. Life is stressful and the clock is ticking. I know I have a God-given purpose but I feel frustrated that I don't see any change on the horizon. I don't have the answers. My fear is that I missed the mark. Why does it seem that God is not answering me"?
Joyce: Well, the thing that comes to me, for her, is instead of trying to figure all this stuff out, I believe that what your purpose is, is something that you're going to enjoy. I think that it's something that you're probably pretty good at. It doesn't make any sense if the God who loves us so much would make me do something all my life that I hated and was no good at. And so, just step out and find out. You know, just start doing some things, kingdom things, I'm talking about. And see if it's a fit for you. And you know, I tell this frequently, and people always laugh when I do, but I just was so hungry to serve God. I mean, and I didn't know at that time that I was gonna be teaching, but I just wanted to serve God.
And so, I was pretty bold and I would step out and try things. And one of the first things I tried was street evangelism. My church, at that time, was real big on going out in the streets and passing out tracts. And I went and I hated it. Now, I mean, that may sound bad, maybe I should love it, but I didn't love it. And I remember the first time I handed a tract to somebody, they slapped it out of my hand and said, "I don't want that blankety-blank thing". And then, I tried nursery, working in the nursery. And that only took about two weeks, and me and the kids knew I wasn't called to that. And I mean, anything that they needed help with, I'd try to help it. I tried to be my pastor secretary for one day. And after one day, I got fired and that was so devastating. And he just basically, said, "I don't know why, you didn't do anything wrong, but this just doesn't feel right". And so, when I started teaching, when I was asked to teach a Bible study, well, that was it.
Joyce: And so, try. Just don't be afraid. You know, in order to try things, you have to not be afraid of failure, because...
Ginger: That's huge.
Joyce: You will fail at some things on your way to finding out what it is that God wants you to do.
Ginger: So, maybe, in this case, instead of asking why God's not answering, it's checking out the what's. Trying all the possibilities and seeing what fits.
Joyce: Taking advantage of anything that comes in front of you. And I know one girl, she couldn't seem to figure out what it was that God wanted her to do. And she was getting on up in years in her life. Sounds like this girl. This girl, I'm talking about, was probably already in her fifties. And she wasn't married, had not, nor was she dating, and felt like this, frustrated. And she said God gave her the scripture, very strongly one morning, I think it's Psalm 100 verse four, "serve the Lord with gladness". And see, I mean, there are people in the Bible that were called just to minister to the Lord, and that's all. They just ministered to God in the temple day and night. So, sometimes, we're looking for something that's got a big title on it, that may be impressive. And what if your whole purpose was just to be an encourager to other people? Or intercessory prayer?
Ginger: That's an important purpose.
Joyce: Or sometimes it's just do, take every opportunity to be a blessing to somebody else and you won't be too far from finding your purpose in life.
Ginger: Alright, there's another, "Why" question that I'm sure many of our friends, who are watching, are asking. Lindsay, from Minneapolis, says, "My husband and I are struggling with infertility, and the potential costs of treatments. We're now in our mid-thirties, we can't adopt, even though we'd love to, why would God not want us to have children?
Joyce: Well, this doesn't mean that God doesn't want them to have children. But if they don't have any, they certainly, should trust God that there's a purpose in that, that they don't see. I didn't know you couldn't adopt when you were 30. I thought...
Ginger: She doesn't say why she can't.
Joyce: Yeah, 'cause, I mean, adoption or fostering children...
Ginger: For whatever reason it's not working for them.
Joyce: I just prayed yesterday that more people would be willing to foster or adopt a child. There's so many people that could offer a child a great home and they just don't. And so, you can pray for the money for the treatments. You can look into fostering if you can't adopt. But I would not stop believing God. I mean, think about Sarah. She was so far on the other side of impossible that it was really impossible without a miracle. But let's don't ever blame our problems on God. And we can say well, you know, "Isn't God in charge of everything"? Well, ultimately, yes, he is. But the only way, and I just feel like I need to look right at our viewing audience right now and say the only way to ever have any joy in life is to trust God in the things that you don't understand, things that don't make any sense. And learn how to, instead of saying, "Why God why"? Say, "God, I don't understand but I trust you and I believe that when the time is right, you'll give me the answers that I'm looking for".
Ginger: That's great. Here's a question from Venice, California. "I've been smoking for over 35 years. I managed to get it down to three or four cigarettes a day. God has shown me that he wants me to quit. I've tried everything. I'm sorry, and distraught. Why can I not quit"?
Joyce: Well, first of all, I would never say again, "I can't quit". Now, my story's a little bit unique or maybe, even, comical but I started smoking when I was nine years old because all the kids in my neighborhood were older than me and they all smoked and so, I did too. When I really got serious in my relationship with God, I started feeling that I should quit. And Dave just prayed that God would take away the desire for him to smoke and he did, and he never smoked again. Well, every time I would try, I would suffer, and suffer, and suffer. But there was something I had said all my life that I didn't realize was a problem when I was saying it and that was, "I could never quit smoking. I know if I ever tried to quit smoking that I'd be a nervous wreck or I'd want to eat the whole refrigerator and I'd gain weight all the time. I could never quit smoking".
Well, first, I had to repent for saying that all the time. And then, and I didn't know that much about the power confession then, but the Bible says, "The power of life and death is in the tongue, and those who indulge it, will eat the fruit of it whether for life or death". So, what we say is really important. And I can remember driving home from work, coming down highway 44 here in St. Louis, over 40 years ago, smoking a cigarette and saying, "I don't smoke, anymore. I give it up. It's expensive. It stinks. I don't smoke". And you know, within two weeks I had quit. Now...
Ginger: Now, a lot of people are going to say, "That doesn't make sense".
Joyce: Yeah, well, right, it doesn't. But see, with God, all things are possible.
Ginger: There it is, yeah.
Joyce: And so, as I frequently say, you know, there's truth and then there's facts. The fact was, I was smoking. The truth was, God would give me the grace and ability to quit, but I had to believe first. See, in God's economy, you believe first and then you get it. In the world, we don't believe anything till we can see it or feel it. And so, now, I'm not saying this is some magic formula that you can just get whatever you say, just by saying it. You know, God's pathway for different people are different. But I would stop saying, "I can't quit". And you know, to be honest, this is just an opinion, you're really kind of better off to just quit and not mess with this three or four cigarettes a day.
And I can tell you what happened to me. I was very uncomfortable the first week. I mean, like, seemed like, all I could think about was, "A cigarette, a cigarette, a cigarette". One day, I got mad and I went digging through coat pockets in the closet to see if I could find a loose cigarette. And the first week was tough, but then, the second week it was easier, by the third week it was easier, and after a month, I mean, there is an addiction to nicotine, but it's not super, super strong. So, it's more of an emotional addiction or habit because I would notice even months after I quit smoking, if I would be on the phone in a rather heated or intense conversation, I'd find myself looking for cigarettes, even though I hadn't smoked for months and months.
Ginger: Yeah, that'd be a trigger for you.
Joyce: And so, start believing, call yourself, "I'm not a smoker. I don't smoke anymore. God helps me with this. All things are possible with God". And try not to make it your own, personal struggle where you're the one who has to do it. Let God do it through you. Trust him to do it through you.
Ginger: Trust, that word keeps coming up, that's the key.
Joyce: It's a big word.
Ginger: Thank you, Joyce.
Well today, we're offering three teachings on CD called, "When, God, when?" I would imagine that almost every person watching, right now, needs to get on the phone or on your computer, and you need to order that right away. And along with it, you'll get a little booklet called, "Developing patience". I'm sure none of you need that, but just in case you do, that'll come along with the CDs on, "Why, God, why"?
Let me say something. You know, if you have a problem with something, do whatever you have to do to help solve the problem. So, if you have a problem with these things we're talking about today, and we're offering you help and the only thing standing between you and the help is a little bit of money, there's no better investment than in the Word of God. We waste money on stuff all the time that doesn't do us any good at all. But the Word of God is powerful and it never grows old. So, if you have a need in these areas, or you know anybody who does, maybe you know somebody right now that's had some things happen to them that really have them confused. Why not invest in somebody else's life and give them something that can really help them. Hey, God bless you. Thank you so much for being with us today, and have a great day.
Okay, now listen. Life can be confusing if you don't trust God. Trusting God is just the most wonderful thing in the world. That's why I really highly recommended that devotional and that book today, because, well, it's just, I mean, Dave's always, he had a rich relationship with God before we got married and it's a good thing 'cause he couldn't have stayed married to me, otherwise. And it's always been easy for Dave to trust God, and it's been harder for me and I'm sure, part of that was because of the way I grew up.
And you know, I was not a little girl whose daddy took care of her. You know, I told somebody yesterday, I said, "Nobody ever really took care of me". I'd started working when I was 12, 13 years old because I didn't ever want to have to ask my dad for anything because anything he did for you had to pay for some way, shape, or form. And so, I never really had anybody to take care of me. And it was harder for me to learn to trust people and even, to learn to trust God. How many of you know what I'm talkin' about? You know, you spend half your life feeling like you gotta take care of yourself and it's hard to just let go of everything.
And so, Dave is not a worrier. He doesn't try to figure things out. He just takes life one day at a time, as it comes. And he takes no medicine. He has nothing wrong with him. You saw him up here. In a month, he's gonna be 79 years old. Come on. He still wears the same size clothes, he wore, when him and I got married. I do too. Actually, I'm a little smaller than I was when we got married. But when, I think about all the time that I've wasted trying to figure stuff out. And I do take medicine. You know, it just saves you so much trouble if you can just say, "God, I trust you with that". I mean, if you don't know what to do, then just trying to make up something and doing it just for the sake of doing something, is just wasted effort and energy.
There's a little thing in the Bible called, "Works of the flesh". And that's our energy trying to do what only God can do. And he doesn't want us doing that. He wants us to do what he guides us to do and what he leads us to do, and we should always be obedient to God to do anything he wants us to do. But sometimes, God just wants you to keep quiet. That's shocking, right? You know what? You're not gonna talk your kids into loving Jesus. Hello? You can't make somebody love Jesus. They either will or they won't. You're not gonna win them with words, but you could win them over by displaying, consistently, a godly attitude in your home.
Now, there may be stuff going on in your life and you just don't get it. Well, the Bible says in Romans 8:28, "That all things work together," everybody say, "Together". "All things work together for good to those who love God and want his will". All things. I love that scripture because it's really true. If you believe that, I don't care how bad your stinky situation is, something good will come out of it even if nothing other than you learned not to do that again. Amen? But let's just think for a minute about baking a cake. And it's been so long since I've baked one from scratch that I don't know that I would remember all the ingredients, but I think I can do it without butchering it too bad. None of the ingredients, by themselves, would be very tasteful.
Who'd just wanna eat spoonfuls of flour? Not me. I wouldn't want a raw egg. Now maybe, if you're a sugar fanatic, you might like to sit with a spoon and just eat a cup of sugar, but I wouldn't care to do that. That wouldn't be much fun for me. By themselves, they're each one, not much that you can do anything with. But when you put them all together then you get a delicious cake. Well, you know, what? Here's the good news for you. Some of you, have still got a couple of ingredients coming. Right now, it's not all working out together for good. But that's because you're missing a couple of ingredients, and they're on their way, and you'll end up with something great. Come on. You will end up with something great if you'll just be peaceful, wait on God.
You know, "Well, what am I supposed to do while I'm just waiting on God"? Well, how 'bout just enjoying life? Just enjoy life. I came that you might have and enjoy your life and have it in abundance. Do you know that you can enjoy life while you have a problem? No, you don't know that. I'm saying, you can enjoy your life... No, people feel guilty almost, if they're enjoying your life while they've got a problem, "No, we have to figure this problem out". I remember like 40 years ago when Dave and I were... 40 years younger and we had three little kids by then and like most young married couples we had just enough money to barely get by.
I paid the bills, you know, of course, 'cause I wanted to be in charge of everything. And especially, the money... Women, how many of you like to be in charge of the money? You can have the remote, give me the money. No, actually, I want the remote too. Dave would be in the room next to the kitchen, watching TV with the kids and they'd be playing. I remember when the kids used to put rollers in his hair, you know, when we had those brush hair rollers. And I mean, I wouldn't let one of my kids get in my hair and play around. No way, no how. And Dave would just let 'em jump all over him, put rollers in his hair, and I'd be out at the kitchen table with all the bills spread out and the calculator, and every time I added them up, it didn't work. There wasn't enough money.
So, I would try again. And there wasn't enough money. And then, I'd try again, and there still wasn't enough money. Then I would get mad at Dave because he had the audacity to be in the other room laughing and playing when we had a problem. Come on, now. Come on, you get me, you know where I'm coming from. And I would say to him, "Why don't you stop acting like a little kid and get out here and do something about this"? And he'd say to me, "What do you want me to do? We got the bills. God's always faithful. We tithe. We give. We do what God asks us to do. God will take care of it. Why don't you just quit trying to figure it out, and come in here and just enjoy the evening"? Oh, no! I wasn't having nothing to do with enjoying anything, "We have a problem".
Do I have any relatives out there? Like, really close relatives, you get me? "We have a problem and we are going to sit out here and be miserable and try to figure out this problem. There's gonna be no enjoying life in this house..." Oh my gosh, I was so uptight. Tense all the time. It's a wonder I'm still alive. My mother-in-law gave me my first Bible. And it was a little white King James Bible and she wrote a scripture in the front of it. Very prophetic, I think. Psalm 37:5, "Commit your way unto the Lord, trust also in him, and he will bring it to pass". That's a great scripture for all of us.
What is the fruit of reasoning? Let's just think about what good it does us for a minute. Now, you understand, I'm not talking about just being a dummy and never trying to figure anything out. But I am talking about not going so far that you end up frustrated and confused. You know, sometimes the more you think about something the more double-minded you become. How many of you know what I'm talking about? You made a decision and then you think about it again, "Well, no, maybe I should do this". Then you think about it a little bit more. "Well, no, I think I'll do what I was gonna do to start with". And then, you call up somebody else that doesn't even know how to run their own life and... You ask them what they think you should do. Come on. I mean, double-mindedness makes you miserable. Make a decision and do something. Amen?
How many of you are in indecision right now? You got a decision you need to make and you just keep going back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth. Well, you know what you need to do? You need to pray about it. If God shows you something specific, by all means, do that. And if he doesn't, then do what you think is the right thing to do. And guess what? If it's not the right thing, you'll find that out pretty quick. See, it's not the end of the world if we make a mistake. Sometimes the only way you can find out what to do, is to find out what not to do. Okay, so, the fruit of reasoning is struggle. Reasoning is a mental struggle. And God has not called us to struggle, he's called us to rest. "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and overburdened and I will cause you to rest". The amplified says, "I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls".
Heaviness, I think depression even comes from too much mental activity. Your mind needs to rest. You don't need to take a two-week vacation, go lay on a beach, and worry about all your problems. Some people take time off just to figure stuff out. When we allow our minds to rotate around and around a problem, it makes us tired. And I'll be honest with you, I think mental tiredness is harder on us than being physically tired. I think, when you're physically tired, it's almost a good feeling because you can sit down and get some rest. But you know, you can't get away from mental agony. On and on, and on. And so, give your mind some rest. Reasoning causes confusion. Trusting God prevents confusion.
Psalm 71:1, "In thee, o Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion". 1 Corinthians 14:33, "For God is not a God of confusion but of peace". I like the Amplified translation of Colossians 3:15. It says, "And let peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule and (act as umpire continually) in your hearts". Now, we all know what an umpire is. They decide what's in and what's out, right? And peace is supposed to be our deciding factor about anything.
There are women in here right now, and maybe men, that you're married to somebody and having all kinds of problems, but you didn't have peace about doing it when you did it. I married a guy when I was 18. Just thought nobody would ever want me, so the first guy that paid any attention to me, I married him. And I was born again when I was nine, so I didn't have any kind of a working, active relationship with God, but he was still trying to work in my life and protect me. And I knew, down deep inside, I knew that I was making a mistake to marry this guy. But I did it anyway, out of desperate desperation. Desperate people do desperate dumb things. Hello?
Well, it was a 5-year nightmare, just an absolute nightmare. He'd ran around with other women all the time. He wrote bad checks. He was a petty thief. He was a con man. He left me, I was 18 years old and he took me to New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico and left me there and took off with a friend. And here I am, 18, and in a town I don't even know anybody, and had to borrow money, $75 from a friend to come back on a bus. Once he left me in Oakland, California. And I've gone back to both of those places and held conferences just to prove that, just to prove the devil wasn't successful in destroying my life. And to prove that you can do dumb things and you can overcome and rise above it and do great things. Did you hear me?
So, if you've done a bunch of dumb stuff in your life, you can just... Release it, leave the thoughts of it here, today. I'll announce to you, if you're repentant, "You're forgiven". Hallelujah. God not only forgives your sin, he forgets it, so you didn't even have to talk to him about it anymore. You just, give God your mess and watch him make a miracle out of it. Go ahead. Just give God all your mistakes, every mess that you've ever made. Wow.
I mean, after 18 years of being abused at home and then a 5-year marriage that was just nuttier than a fruitcake, I mean, Dave drove up, in front of my mother's house, where I was living at the time. My mom and dad's house, was a four-family flat, to pick up the young man that lived upstairs, 'cause they worked together and they were going somewhere. And he saw me washing my mother's car in short shorts, thought I was cute, so, he decided to flirt with me. And I didn't like men. Didn't trust men. And he said, "Hey, when you finish washing that car, you wanna wash mine"? I said, "If you want your car washed, wash it yourself".
And he said, the thing that went off in him, was that's the girl for me. So, It had to be God or he would have been the dumbest human on earth. But he'd been praying for a wife. He was 26 and wanted to get married. And Dave is a man that believed that faith without works is dead. He was dating three girls at the same time. And then, I came along and that was the end of that. There was no more dating anybody else. He prayed that God would give him a wife, and he said, "Make it somebody that needs help". Well, believe me, I kept him busy in the help department for a long time, long time. But all that mess I had in my life, all that horrible awful stuff, I needed one more ingredient, and he's sitting on the front row. Amen?
I'm telling you, some of you, got another ingredient coming. Amen? You put your trust in God and there's nothing that you've done or nothing that you've been through that God cannot use for your benefit if you'll give it to him. But you might as well forget trying to figure everything out because it doesn't work that way in God's kingdom. You trust him and he will hide things from you, and you'll have to get to the point where you're okay with it or you're gonna be miserable all the time. Amen. I like my message, whether you do or not. "And let peace rule and (act as an umpire) in your life settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, and in that peaceful state to which as members of Christ's one body you were also called to live. And be thankful (appreciative), giving praise to God always". I love Philippians 4:6 and 7, "Be anxious for nothing, but in all things by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God: and the peace that passes understanding".
How many of you need more peace in your life? Well, you're not gonna get it if you don't give up some of the reasoning. Come on, do I have any folks here that reason too much? Come on, I don't wanna think I'm just preaching to the air. Complication, my gosh. It's amazing how complicated we can make things if we just think about it a little bit too much. How many of you ever heard me tell my simple barbecue story that turned into a nightmare? How many of you heard that? How many of you been haven't heard it? Oh, well... There you go. The church that we went to, when we were young, we were part of a social group there.
I remember, one time, after church on Sunday, I got this bright idea. "Hey, why don't", talking to three couples, "Why don't you all come over next Sunday after church and we'll through some hot dogs on the grill. Just play some games out in the yard or something, just have some good time of fellowship". "Yeah, that sounds good, we'll come". So, here got this three couple party going on, can handle that, few hot dogs, potato chips, pork and beans. It'll be good. But by Tuesday we were painting the barbecue pit, planting new flowers. I had thought about all the people that might get their feelings hurt if they found out that I had a party and didn't invite them.
So now, we're up to ten couples. And then, hot dogs weren't good enough. I had to go get something else that I couldn't afford. And then, we couldn't have potato chips, had to make potato salad. So then, I had to work all day. And then, I got mad at Dave 'cause I was working all day. Come on, how many of you know what I'm talking about? And I mean, I was mad at those people by the time they got to my house. I didn't want 'em there. Why did you come anyway, because now, all I'm gonna do is clean up your messes all day and wait on you, while you have a good time. Now, I ask you, "Whose fault was that"? I mean, the simple barbecue had peace. I mean, it was just tied up with a bow of peace, but I turned it into a nightmare.
Come on. How many things are you turning into a nightmare, because you just won't leave it alone and let it be simple and peaceful? And one of the big things that reasoning does, is it blocks discernment. See, we're not supposed to live off the top of our head. We're supposed to live with some depth. And that means, your head can come up with something that your spirit has no peace about, at all. Come on, you all... You know that. If you're a Christian, it doesn't take long until that starts. It's like, all of a sudden, you don't feel right about all these things that you've never had a problem with before and now, you've received Jesus, and all of a sudden, things are like, wait a minute. We start getting discernment. We start knowing things in our spirit that we don't know in our head. And the Christian is supposed to live by discernment. We discern things. We sense things. We don't even know how we know but we've got a sensing, "I should do that, or I shouldn't do that".
One of the girls that travels with us, Mike's wife, was telling me that recently, they were on a trip and she told her husband, "I feel like we're supposed to pray for your car". And his car was home in the garage. And he even told her lately, he thought, "That sounds a little off," but you know, they prayed for his car. Well, when they got home, a squirrel had gotten into their garage and was just tearing stuff up. Tore the blinds up, and knocking stuff over, and he knocked some stuff off a shelf that it could have very easily fallen on his car and dented it. And so, she was discerning something that made no sense to her or to him, but it's better off to follow that discernment than it is to end up being sorry, later on.