Joyce Meyer - Hearing From God
All right, when we stopped this morning, we were talking about how to find God's will for your life and that seems to be a big thing for a lot of people. "How am I supposed to know what it is that God wants me to do"? And, you know, I remember one girl that used to work for me and she was in her 50s, very attractive woman but she just never been married and never even really dated to any degree. And she said God told her, "I want you just to serve me with gladness, serve me with gladness".
And so, perhaps there are even people that God wants to station throughout the body of Christ that just are one of those kind of people. They're just there to be an uplifter and an encourager and to give an example of being content.
You know, God uses us in so many different ways and I hope that you're past the thinking that if you're not on a platform somewhere then you're not being used by God. Because to be honest, most of the work that needs to be done and is done out in the world is done one on one by people that are out there on their jobs, in the marketplace, in the store. Most of the people that need help are not coming to church. I mean now, I'm sure we all need help in here today but most of the people that are a lot more desperate for help than you are are out there. They didn't know to come in here today. So, we come together like this to learn and grow so we can then go out and be the witnesses that Christ wants us to be to change the world.
Every single Christian is called into ministry. Every single one of you are called into ministry. We all have the ministry of intercession. It's our ministry to pray for other people and we all have the ministry of reconciliation, the Bible says, which is being that go-between that helps to bring reconciliation between the lost and God. So, you all have a ministry, finding out the particular way that God wants you to manifest that ministry may be one thing, more than likely it's gonna be several things, but I stop by saying that the only way you're gonna ever gonna find out is to step out and find out. Don't be afraid to try things. It won't take very long and you'll know if it's just something that you can do or if it's the thing that God wants you to do.
You know, Paul was ministering for quite a while before God said, "Separate unto me now Paul and Barnabas for the work to which I have called them to do". So, they were ministering for a long time before that happened but then God set them apart for a special thing. And I think a lot of times we're so intent on being set apart for that special thing that we don't get the training that we need for that thing by doing all these other things that God may want us to do.
You might serve in the helps ministry. You might, I don't know, be asked to help clean the church. It might not be something that's very attractive or anything that you feel is worth very much but a lot of times in our life God runs us through the paces, I guess I can say, to check our attitude just to see, "Are you willing to do anything that I ask you to do or does it have to be something big in order for you to be willing to do it"?
So, say it again, don't be afraid to step out and find out and just because you step out into something and it's not right for you, that doesn't mean that you made a mistake in stepping out into it. It just means that you're in the process of trying to find out what it is that God wants you to do. I mentioned that a great man of God said that he had never, in all of his walk with God, at any really important juncture in his life had God tell him exactly what he wanted him to do. He said, "God always worked with me, but he made me get out there and try things, and pray about things, and do things".
So, if you take too much of a supernatural look at what it means to be led by the Holy Spirit, many times you're gonna miss what God really wants you to do because in many ways the way that God speaks to us and deals with us is a lot more normal than what you might think. And so, we're gonna go ahead from that point and talk about some other things about how to hear from God. First of all, I want to say if you won't listen to the little things that God asks you to do, chances are you'll never hear him tell you anything big. Amen?
You probably have heard some of these stories so I won't labor with them too long but when God started calling me into ministry back in the '70s, I already had three children and certainly was not in a place where I could go to Bible College but even though you can't go somewhere to go to school to be trained for ministry, you can always go to the school of the Holy Ghost. You can always ask God to begin to train you right where you're at in whatever it is that you do.
Well, I was a housewife and part of that time I was still working a full-time job but after a certain period of time, because I wasn't getting anytime to study, I felt like God wanted me to quit my job and spend as much time as I could studying the Bible. I had a dream in my heart, but there was no evidence that it was ever gonna happen.
A lot of times you may want to do something but if you don't take the time for the preparation then you'll never be released into what it is that God wants you to do. So, in order for me to quit my job, we were gonna have to take a big step of faith because our bills were $40 a month more than what our income was gonna be. And so, back then was when I learned how to trust God for money and most of the things that he did for us were seemingly little small things but they really helped me build my faith in God.
I had a few friends and, you know, we did things like go to the farmer's market once a week and things like that, but I had a grocery store that was right down the street from my house and so it seemed like I ended up in the grocery store two, three times a week. And as unique as this might sound, God taught me some of the most profound lessons that I've learned that have helped me all my years in ministry in that grocery store.
And really, I'm telling you this because I want you to urge you to watch for how God is trying to teach you in the ordinary everyday affairs of everyday life. You can learn some amazing lessons just as you go about your normal everyday. So, one of the first things that God began to deal with me about was putting my grocery cart back in the space that was marked off for grocery carts.
And, you know, most people don't want to do that. They want to leave it out in the middle of the parking lot to chase somebody's else's car down or it's amazing how hard we will work at trying to kick the wheels in a certain direction so it won't roll. It would take much less time to go put it back where it belongs but instead of doing that, we spend all this time trying to get it not to go anywhere and then it ends up running into somebody's car anyway. And it's sad for me to say this but it took me two years to get fully obedient. So, it's obvious that I was a long way away from being worldwide ministry material.
How many of you understand what I'm saying? If you're not gonna obey God when he tells you to do something like walk with integrity or to do something with excellence, you know, like something that we all do 'cause we feel like that God deals us with to do it. We stay in a lot of hotels and every time we leave our hotel room, we turn all the lights out and because that's something that I just felt like God put on my heart. Now, you know, I can have the attitude what do I care? I paid for the room, they gotta pay the bills. But see, however you treat other people, you're sowing a seed that's gonna come back to you at some time in your life.
So, I wasn't in Bible school but those were lessons that God was teaching me. He was teaching me how to be excellent. He was teaching me how to be honest. Another thing that he taught me in the grocery store was we were on a very tight budget, $70 every two weeks for groceries and so I had to go with my coupons and my calculator and make sure that nothing went over.
And you have a tendency when you go to the grocery store, especially if you're hungry, you'll put a lot of stuff in your cart that by the time you get to the last aisle, you realize you can't pay for all of it and so you have to pick through and decide what you can keep and what you can't. And I, like many other people at that time, I would just take out what I didn't wants and just put it anywhere, wherever I was at in the store. You know, that's why you find a head of lettuce in with the cleaning supplies in a grocery store. It was people like I used to be that do that.
Well, you know, I didn't want to go all the way from the milk and egg aisle which is all the way over here on the end all the way back over to the produce, you know, to put away a head of lettuce, why? Because we're lazy and I just didn't want to. Now, I didn't care that somebody else was gonna have to clean up my mess so that was another thing that God taught me. It was like, nope, take it back, put it back where you got it.
You know, God can annoy you. He knows how to annoy you. Put it back, put it back, put it back, put it back, put it back. And you try to walk away from it and it's just like, just go put it back. And another thing that I learned in the grocery store was to read the fine print on the coupons. Like, I remember that they would very often have chickens on sale, three for a dollar or whatever it was. It was a long time ago that you get three chickens for a dollar. But, when you become a christian, a serious christian, you start noticing the fine print that you've managed to ignore. And I never noticed that it said, "Limit three per customer".
Well, I didn't want three chickens. I wanted to fill my freezer full of chickens so I would take my kids to the store with me and each one of them would get three chickens in their cart, Dave would have three, the kids would all have three, I'd have three. We'd all have our coupons and then the Holy Spirit started convicting me. I mean, do I have to get convicted about chickens? Don't I have things much more serious in my life than chickens? And he'd call me back to that fine print.
Well, I knew that I had a problem when I was in line one day getting ready to pay for my chickens and I thought, I don't think I gave my daughter enough money for tax. And my heart was pounding in fear that the clerk was gonna realize that I was doing something that I shouldn't be doing. And so, I began to learn, you know, if you gotta feel like you gotta hide something or you feel like you are doing something wrong then that means that you are.
Well, to be honest, I'd been a christian for a long time but I didn't know stuff like that. Nobody was teaching me that kind of stuff and I had somebody recently actually a well-known minister, he was at a conference where I was teaching some things on excellence and he said, "I have never in my life heard that kind of stuff". Now, how can we be grown adults and not know what excellence and integrity is? Yet many people in the world don't and that's why the world is in the mess that it's in.
And then one other thing I'll tell you that I remember God teaching me when I'd be out in a department store shopping, you know, how a lot of people they'll knock clothes off the hangers and just leave them lay on the floor. And God started telling me to pick them up and put them back on the hangers. And I thought, well, why should I clean somebody else's mess up? That doesn't make any sense. But then I felt like the Lord said to me, "Well, would you like to have somebody clean your messes up someday"? And so now God has provided and has for years and years all the help that I need in order to do what I'm doing.
Let me tell ya something, sometimes when you, or we, when we disobey God in some of these little things, we don't really realize that we're creating a problem for ourself that we're gonna deal with later. So, when God tells you something little to do, keep in mind that anything God says, there's nothing little about it. So, if God bothers to tell you about it, then that means that it's a big and an important thing in your life and you need to just, in obedience, child-like obedience, amen? Just like a little kid it may seem silly but child-like obedience.
I think nothing bonds us together with God in close fellowship more than being a child of God who's willing to do seemingly foolish little things just because you believe that's what your Heavenly Father wants you to do. So, I'll just say again if we're not gonna obey God in little things then we're probably gonna miss out on a lot of big things that we would like to do.
How about if somebody gives you too much change? Do you take it back or do you just think, "Oh man, God's blessing me"? See, anybody that knows the Word of God knows that that's just silly. You know, more than anything it's a test to see if you'll be honest, amen?
I bought a pair of shoes one day and I'd been looking at the purse that went with it and was gonna get the purse and then I decided not to get the purse. When I got home, the guy had accidentally put the purse in my bag. Well, you know, in a way it's a little bit irritating whenever somebody else has made a mistake that now you have to spend your time and gas money to go correct, but I knew that I needed to do it. This is how we hear from God.
How many times do you know what you need to do? You don't need a three-part series preached to you. You know down deep inside what you need do. Well, one of the main ways that God speaks to us is through just knowing. There's no need to try to explain how you know, you just know. You just know that you should or you shouldn't do that thing. This is what makes our relationship, our personal relationship with God, precious and exciting when you walk with him in your everyday ordinary Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, when you walk with him in your ordinary everyday life and you want with all your heart to obey him and to be the kind of person that he wants you to be.
Don't have your mind on being in some big ministry. If you're called to be in some big full-time traveling ministry or to be on a platform somewhere to do something magnanimous, that's wonderful but I'll tell you you'll never get around to doing that if you don't do these little things that I'm telling you to do. That's always gonna be part of the training because, what does the Bible say? It's the little foxes that spoil the vine.
I'll tell you another thing that causes us a lot of problems. I won't harp on this but I think it's one of the things that keeps us from hearing from God properly and that's having a negative complaining attitude. I'll tell you what, I think if any person could just get through one whole day without uttering one complaint it would be an outstanding miracle from God, amen? I'll bet something that God has spoken to all of you, including me, hundreds of times in your life, "You don't need to say that".
Nobody, I'm the only one? Just, you know, just getting ready to say something. Sometimes I'll notice I'm getting ready to say something and the only point is it's gonna call attention to me. You know, sometimes we want to say something cute, or smart, or funny but it's just really, it's to draw attention to ourselves. When you can start getting really, really honest with yourself and really checking your motive for why you do things, you can start maturing pretty fast and I know that I have a lot of times in my life when God will just simply say, "You don't need to say that".
Now, I'd like to stand here and telling you that I'm always obedient and anytime he tells me not to say it, I don't but I'm not that good yet, thank God I'm not where I used to be but I'm not where I need to be either. However, I am happy that I'm still making progress. This is all intended to help us be more obedient. You know, the Bible says, "Be still and know that I am God". And so, a lot of that knowing, it's a different kind of knowing. It's not a head knowing, it's a heart knowing.
One great female missionary, I didn't recognize her name. I didn't even write it down. I don't know that you would, but she did a lot of great things on the mission field and when she was asked how she knew what to do, I loved her child-like answer. She said, "Oh, I don't know. I just get these anointed notions". And I thought that was good. You know, God will speak to us sometimes through just giving us an idea, but you can tell there's something a little different about it. It's not just like a in your head idea. There's something in it that kind of feels special about it.
I was talking to somebody over the break about how I decide and know what I think I'm supposed to teach or preach in any given meeting that I do, and I've done this a long time and a lot of it. I mean, I think I had one month here recently where I taught 13 different messages in one month. Well, how do I know what's right for each crowd?
I get out messages sometimes that I've preached in years' past and sometimes I'm doing it just to see if there's a subject that seems to fit. You know, when you're walking with God and doing what God wants you to, it just feels right. It just feels comfortable. You know, nobody likes to wear clothes that are uncomfortable. We like to be comfortable and I like to be comfortable in my relationship with God.
And so, sometimes you gotta try a few things before you come around to what you're comfortable with. So, you can know what God is wanting you to do just by, "Do I feel right about that"? So, I can have preached a series in messages at one point and just thought they were the greatest messages, the greatest thing.
Now maybe four or five years later I can pick those up and I think, you know, I'm gonna re-preach that. That would really be good. And I can start to look over the notes and it just falls so flat inside me. It doesn't even interest me so why would I think it would interest somebody else? But then I could pick that same set of notes up two months later and then it would just feel right.
So, a lot of our hearing from God, well, I would say almost all of our hearing from God, it's not coming from out here somewhere. It's coming from inside of us.