Joyce Meyer - Godly Wisdom For Your Finances
Welcome to "Enjoying Everyday Life." I'm so glad that you're with us today and glad to have our studio audience here with us, so I've got some people to talk to here in the studio as well as talking to all of you beautiful, wonderful, handsome, amazing people that are watching the program today. And you know what? You really are amazing. God created you with his very own hand, and he's got a really, really, really good plan for your life.
And I know that many of you watching today, you're probably hurting, and you've got a lot of different things going on in your life, but I want you to know that don't ever think that nobody cares about you because God cares about you. He sees you. He knows exactly what's going on in your life, and He has already planned your prison break. All you have to do is listen to Him and know exactly that He loves you, that He cares about you, that your sins are forgiven, and that whatever's holding you in bondage, whatever's got you in some kind of emotional prison or mental prison or financial prison, that God has got a way for you to get out.
Today I wanna to talk to you about money. Do you know that Jesus said more about money than He did heaven or hell? I think that's interesting, in over half of the parables, Jesus talks about money. So money is not something that's a bad thing to talk about. Matter of fact, I think if we talked about it in a right way a little more than what we do people might have a lot less trouble with it, and I just want us to think about all the things that this does and all the things that it causes. This buys things. To get this, people steal. They lie. They mistreat people. Some people will even kill to get it. People commit all kinds of crimes to get it. Divorces are caused because of it. To get more of it, people sometimes don't pay enough attention to their children.
I don't think it's quite as important as we make it out to be. And we all know that we do need money. It's what we use in the world today to get the things that we need, but I think we have to come to an understanding of the difference in our needs and our wants. It's not that we shouldn't all be able to have some of the things we want, but to be honest, nobody needs to have everything that they want. And the quest for materialism and for stuff is actually destroying our society. Greed can destroy a family. It can destroy a person. It can destroy an entire society.
Well, what really is greed? Really, greed is no more than just saying, "No matter what I have I'm not satisfied with it for very long, and then I think I have to have more." And I believe that greed is an evil spirit that comes against every single one of us. I've experienced feelings of greed in my life, and I've learned the way to fight greed is with generosity, and I really, truly mean that. You can fight greed, you can keep greed out of your life, by being generous on purpose. I think that's one of the reasons why the Bible tells us that we are to give back a tithe of all of our increase to the house of god, which then should be used to help people. So, in effect, we're giving a part of everything that comes to us to help other people, and that keeps our minds off of just us.
There's nothing worse than just living a selfish, self-centered life that's totally absorbed in "What can I do, and what can I get?" And I want more of it. And then having to have something just because somebody else you know has one, and maybe they can afford one, and you can't afford one. But you find some manipulative way to get one just so you can feel like you're as good as they are, and it's just really kinda foolish if you look at it, the importance that we place on things.
Do you know the bible says that every single thing that we go purchase, every single thing that we have, is already in the process of decay. So when you think about it, the car that you buy is already in the process of decay. The home you buy is already in the process of decay. And if you don't think it is just go drive by a junkyard somewhere and realize that what is now a pile of junk at one time was somebody's dream, and there's no telling the price that they may have paid in family, in relationships, in doing damage to their health, in lots of things in order to get that thing that is now laying in a junkyard somewhere and has no value to them at all.
Now obviously I'm not saying that we don't wanna have nice things. I believe God wants us to have nice things, but I do believe that there's a very clear direction in the Word of God in Psalm 37:4 that says that, "If we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart." And the great thing about God is we can trust Him to give us what is safe for us. The flesh fights against wisdom. We have wisdom in us from God, and we have to learn how to be led by the Spirit. So we can't let the flesh rule, and we need to realize that it will if we don't stand up to it.
So it's good to trust God to give what is safe for us to have, and I pray all the time, "God, I want you to give me anything You want me to have, but if I ask You for something and it's not right for me, then I'm asking You now not to give it to me." Now for those of you watching by TV, can you just start to do that? That's a bold way to pray and not, "God, I want this. I have to have this. I need this. I can't be happy without this. I don't know what I'm gonna do if You don't give me this." But, "God, I'd like to have this, and I'm asking You for it," because the Bible says you can ask God for anything, "Ask me for anything," "You have not because you ask not."
Ut the good news about that is if you're really trusting God and abiding in Him, you can trust that even if you ask for something that's not right for you right now or it's the wrong time, you can trust God not to give it to you, and that's not really even a NO. It's just, "I've got something better for you, and you really don't know how to ask for that yet." It's a wonderful thing to not crave possessions, to enjoy what you have but to not crave them to the point where you cannot be happy without them.
So there's a lot of good things that I wanna share with you today. I've read a couple of books that were very valuable to me, and some of the things that I'm gonna be sharing are taken from some of those books. One of 'em is a book called, "Money came by the house the other day," by Robert Katz, and then "Financial Peace" by Dave Ramsey, so I wanna give credit where credit's due. And I'm gonna share a few things that I've read out of their books, but their books are great, and I think they would be a blessing to you. I wanna talk to you today about becoming debt free, and I know that a lot of people probably don't even have in your mind that that would ever be a possibility for you.
But I want you to never stop believing in miracles, and a miracle doesn't always mean that there's nothing for you to do. It means that God will do everything you can't do, but He's gonna ask you to do what you can do. So you might say, "Well, you know, I can't do this and that. I can't give this and that." But what can you give? What can you do? If we start doing what we can do and we do it to honor God and to glorify Him, now we've got a way to pray and say, "God, I need a miracle from You." But God's not gonna give us a miracle while we lay on the couch and eat doughnuts and watch soap operas all day.
You know, for example, if you're in debt and you wanna get out, then that means you're probably gonna need a job and maybe a job and a half or maybe two jobs for a period of time, and it means that you're not gonna be able to go buy everything that you see that you want. And you may have to cut up all the credit cards. You know, I think some people need plastic surgery and in a different way than what we think about it. They need to get out the scissors and cut up all those little plastic cards that are charged up to the max that they're paying all kinds of interest on paying for stuff that they couldn't even find it in their house if they went to look for it right now. And so we are really addicted to stuff, and we don't wanna be. Let's trust God to give us what we really need.
James Dobson said he got a great revelation while playing the board game monopoly. He was playing it very aggressively, getting homes, turning 'em into hotels, taking everything that everyone else had, putting them out of the game. Soon everyone had lost everything they had, and he had it all. Isn't that our goal in life? As he started putting the game away, he began throwing the pieces back in the box when he suddenly realized something. When our lives are over, everything we have gained will simply go back in the box, and someone else will come along and start all over with it. Why not spend your life doing something that's going to last, amen?
Now, you know, sadly a large majority of people, anyone who doesn't know the Word of God, doesn't have any idea about what I'm talking about right now. They just think that the whole purpose in life is to see how much stuff you can get and walk all over whoever you need to walk all over to get it, and we just have to make sure that we are not like that in the church. The Bible never says that money is evil. It says, "The love of money is the root of all evil". We can enjoy our money, but we should not love our money to the point where we love it more than we love people. I mean, I think we all know people who, in order to get money, mistreat people.
And I think we need to use money to bless people, not use people to get money. I think I'm gonna say that again. I think we need to use money to bless people, not use people to get money. I don't believe that God would put anything in a person's hands that would cause them as much torment as money has caused in our world if he didn't intend them for it to be a blessing.
Two books I recommend for research, "Money came by the house the other day", by Robert Katz and "Financial peace" by Dave Ramsey. I've had both of these men on my TV show, and they have detailed plans on what you can do to get out of debt. And they will work for anybody who works the plan. We even have people working right here who read the material. And I know of one case where people were deep in debt and had problems with that all their life and now they are out of debt and it's so freeing.
Most people if they get a raise, before they ever get that extra money on their first paycheck, they go find something to buy. "Oh, and now we can get this. Well, now we can get this". And so then they're already making a payment on something before they even get the money. Well, why not say, "Well, I'm gonna get a raise this year at work so I'm gonna take that extra money now and pay it on this bill", instead of going and buying something else? "Well, then I don't get anything out of it". Well, yeah, you do, down the road, you get to be debt free.
And see, the problem is is we want instant gratification. We really want everything to, "I want it to feel good right now". But what about later? No discipline for the present seems joyous, nevertheless can somebody cheer for later on? Nevertheless, later on it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those that have been trained by it. Scripture, Hebrews chapter 12. Discipline doesn't feel good right now.
Before I came here today, I had my workout at the gym and it was lower body day. And I can tell you that it was not fun. At about 3 o'clock tomorrow afternoon, I will be sore, I am sure. But I tell you what, when I can get those jeans on that I bought and be comfortable in them, mmm-mmm, I'm gonna be glad then. And so we have to stop just being instantly gratified. When you go out shopping, don't go buy things emotionally.
I remember an experience that I had and I'll never forget this. I had saved some money. I don't know what I had, maybe a couple hundred dollars. I'd saved for a long time and had this money. And so I really wanted and needed a new watch. And so we went out shopping, went into a Jewelry store. They had this beautiful watch there. Of course, the salesman said, "It's only on sale today. Goes off sale at 5 o'clock. The store's closing in 2 hours. Oh, this looks great on you". And there was all this pressure to get it right now.
Well, you know, one of the things I've discovered and I don't know what it is they do to the lights in stores, but I can tell you stuff looks better in the stores than it does when you get it home. I mean, I've had that experience. I'll buy it in the store and then go home with it and think, "Well, this don't look as good as I thought it did. What's the problem"? It's got something to do with the kind of lights that they have. So you better take that baby somewhere where you're looking at it in real light before you take it home. But anyway, it was pretty and I almost bought it. It was gonna take all my money.
And so I said, "You know what"? Cause by then, I was starting to learn a little bit from God about how to wait and how to walk in wisdom. And I said, "I'm gonna just walk around out here in the mall for a little bit and if I want it, I'll come back before the store closes". "Well, you know now this is only today and you can only get it today", and you know. I said, "I'll come back if I want it". Don't get talked into doing stuff that you don't want to do. Don't get talked into doing stuff that you don't want to do. Don't follow your emotions, follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
So I took a little walk and, you know, it's amazing when you get away from the look of something, how your attitude toward it begins to change. And so while I was walking in the mall, I saw this dress in the window. It was actually a suit. I loved it. Oh, my gosh. I mean, it had just the right little thing in the back. I like these suits that kind of fit you at the waist and back then they had little ruffles back here. And I just, oh, that was so cute. And then my husband didn't help, he said, "Oh, that's gonna look so good on you. You gotta try that on".
So I said, "Well, if I get that, I can't get the watch". And he said, "Well, just try it on". So I tried it on and sure enough, it looked absolutely amazing on me. Now I had a problem. Am I gonna get the suit, am I gonna get the watch? So again I said, "I'm gonna take a walk out in the mall and I will come back and let you know". And honestly, I'm telling you the truth, while I was walking out in the mall saying, "God, what should I do? Which one, you know, which one should I get"?
The thing that came to my heart was more than I wanted the watch and more than I wanted the suit, I wanted to keep my money so I would have the liberty to go to lunch if I wanted to, take a friend to lunch if I wanted to. The thoughts of having that $200 that I could spend in little pieces over a period of time was much more delightful to me than buying either one of those things and then having nothing. So I obeyed God, didn't get either one and lo and behold, my husband came home in a couple of weeks with that suit. So you see, if we wait on God, God will do for us what we will not do for ourselves or should not be doing for ourselves.
So the Bible says in proverbs 27:23, "Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and look well to your herds". Well, obviously most of you don't have flocks or herds. Well, what was he saying? If you got a field full of sheep out there, know how many's out there. If you got a field full of cows out there, do you know how many that you have? Well, do you know how much money you really have? You should know what your fixed assets are, what your assets are that you could turn into cash right away if you needed to, what assets do you have that yeah, they're nice and they're worth something but you probably couldn't even sell them even if you wanted to.
I mean, I've had that experience before. I've gotten talked into investing in things that people said, "Oh, man, this is worth thus and so and I'm gonna give it to you for this". I remember buying an antique one time. It was like this big decorator piece from the Victorian age, and I just thought it was so pretty. It was like this big horse and carriage and it had somebody's name on it and they were supposed to be famous. "And there's only so many of these left in the world. And boy, you can enjoy this. And then when you're ready to sell it, it will be worth thus and so and thus and so".
Well, time went by and I got tired of that kind of artwork, didn't want it anymore so I thought, now I'm gonna make myself some money. Well the problem is nobody wanted it. And so no matter what you have that you think is worth something, if nobody wants it... I did that with a painter. There was a painter that was real popular. Now, I wasn't spending a lot of money on these pictures but, you know, a couple hundred dollars, two or three hundred dollars. And people would say, "Oh, man, 20 years from now, these paintings are gonna be worth $3,000, $4,000, $60-, you know, $50,000".
Well, here again, I had a whole bunch of these things and then the guy wasn't so popular and nobody hardly knew who he was, and now you can't even hardly give them away. And so we have to realize what is really an asset that can be turned into cash and what is something that really you own it but it really is not really worth anything. Know exactly what you have and know exactly what you owe. Write down how much you make and write down how much you owe and don't leave out anything. And don't keep adding to the "I owe" side when the "I make" side is not getting bigger too. Know the state of your flocks. Do you really own something or does it just own you? Let's don't be what people fondly call consumer crazy, having to have stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff.
Let me read ya a story. This is written by Adeline Haws, H-A-W-S. It's called "The Rooster and the Hen". "Said the little red rooster, believe me things are tough. Seems the worms are getting scarcer and I just can't find enough. What's become of all those fat ones? It's a mystery to me. There were thousands of them through the rainy spell, but now where can they be"? So that's the person who just wants to sit around and have everything and not do very much.
"But the old, black hen who heard him didn't grumble or complain because she had lived through lots of dry spells. She had lived through floods of rain. She picked a new and un-dug spot the ground was hard and firm. I must go to the worm, she said, because the worms won't come to me. The rooster vainly spent his days through habit by the ways where fat, round worms had passed in squads back in the rainy days. When night fall found him supperless, he growled in ancient rough. I'm hungry as a fowl can be. Conditions sure are tough. But the old, black hen hopped to her perch and dropped her eyes to sleep and murmured in a drowsy tone, young man, hear this and weep. I'm full of worms and happy for I've eaten like a pig. The worms were there as always, but boy, I had to dig".
And, you know, the truth is, is you can sit and feel sorry for yourself because you're in debt. You can say, "Woe is me. I've got all these bills. I'm unhappy 'cause I've got all these bills, and I'm not paid enough. And my wife spends too much. And my husband spends too much". And it's all everybody else's fault, everybody else's responsibility. Or you can get serious, you can have, I always say have a meeting with yourself. We're always making appointments, but sometimes we don't take the time to make an appointment with ourself and just sit down and say, "What am I really doing? How much stuff am I in debt for that really hasn't done me one bit of good"?
Hey, we all like something new once in a while. We all like something pretty or, you know, the guys like something manly or whatever it is, a new golf ball, a new something to throw around or bounce around or, you know, a new rake or a new hammer or whatever it is. And I believe that God does give us the desires of our heart. And I found in my life that God will keep people encouraged. If they'll be faithful over the little that they have, then God will bring in, miraculously, the other things that you need.
And I can tell you it is so much more fun to trust God and watch God bring you things supernaturally. What if you really need something or there's something you... Not even need, there's something you'd really like to have, but you're refusing to go out and go in debt to get it? And suddenly, somebody that you work with comes in and says, "You know what? I just felt like God wanted me to give you this". Well, "Ah"! Man, you're so excited.
You know what? That's a whole lot more fun than going out and buying it and a flipping a credit card at somebody and then having to pay it off for the next number of months and feeling kind of sick inside because you know that you didn't do the right thing. And if we will stop going in debt to provide things for ourself that we could wait on, we will see a lot more miracles from God. He wants to do more for us than what we're letting him do, but if we're gonna get it the wrong way, then God will not be able to give it to us the right way. Amen? Can anybody give God a big praise for that?
I love 1 John 2:15-17. Let's just listen to this. "Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. For if anyone loves the world, love for the father is not in him". Now I know that's strong. We're not saying here that people don't love God, but we're just saying that according to the Bible, you can serve God or money, but you're not gonna serve both. So what we need to do is serve God with our money and the more we serve God with our money, that means putting God first in our money, the more of it we're gonna have.
My husband has a simple, really, little formula that he uses and, you know, I don't know how many of you watching know this, how many of you even here know this, but our ministry, the ministry here, Joyce Meyer Ministry has no debt. So the money that you give can really go to helping people. It's not going to pay off debt that we have. Every single thing that we have is paid for, including the building that we're in. And that is, of course, a credit to God, but it's largely a credit to my husband's patience and wisdom in refusing to buy things that we didn't have the money for.
And Dave has always had this little pattern that he follows which is: save some, spend some, give some. And he says that if you take what you have, your means, he calls 'em our borders, and out of what you have, you give some, you save some and you spend some. And spending some is important. You know, you might not be able to do that for a while if you're deep in debt and you need to dig your way out. You may have to do without for a period of time and that won't be a ton of fun, but you'll live: you'll survive.
And, you know, God will do special things for you. If you'll make that commitment, God will make things happen for you and don't complain about it. Don't complain, "Oh, this is so hard and it's taking so long". No, you know the best thing to say would be, "You know what? I didn't use wisdom. I got myself into this and with God's help, I'm gonna get out of it. He's gonna show me what to do. He's gonna give me the grace to do it, and I believe that God will give me what I need all along the way, including any encouragement that I need. And God is more than able to provide a few little things for me here and there to keep me from getting too discouraged".
I think that you'll see some miracles happen in your life that will absolutely amaze you. So we have to always love God, love his word, more than we love the world and more than we love money. Don't love or cherish the world or the things that are in it. Enjoy them, but don't fall in love with them. I always say we need to hold everything loosely. We need to realize that we are not owners, we are stewards. Actually to tell you the truth, we don't own anything. Everything that we have, we're managing it for God. We're a steward of what God has given us, and we need to handle it well.
The good news is, is that we don't have to love things. We can be in love with God. It says, "Everything that's in the world is currently passing away". Verse 17 says, "And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cRavings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it: but he who does the will of God and carries out his purposes in life lives (remains) and abides forever".
Let me just finish by saying, I'm gonna ask you to be careful about waste. You know, one of my sons teases me because I can't stand to throw food away. And I just don't like to waste stuff. I even know a man one time, I heard this story, he had some food left over in the restaurant and he had them bag it up. And somebody with him said, "Why are you taking that with you? We're just going back to a hotel room". He said, "Oh, you never know, I may run into somebody homeless that's hungry". Well, he didn't go very far and he saw a homeless man and asked him if he would like to have the food that he had left over.
So, you know, whatever you want to do with that you can do with it, but I'm just saying we gotta respect money if we're gonna expect money. And one of the things we don't want to do is waste stuff. Just make sure that you're not getting stuff you don't even really want, then you end up pouring it down the drain or, you know, "I didn't really want that to start with". And, you know, if you buy something to wear and it doesn't end up being what you really like or you're not gonna really use it, you wear it once and don't like it, don't just leave it hanging in the closet for 2 years in case you ever decide that you want it. Pass it on to somebody else. Use it, that way you can invest it. If you don't, you lose it.