Joyce Meyer - Let God Fight Your Battles
How many of you are just tired of feeling like you're fighting something all the time? Okay, well then, the way to recover from that is to learn how to let God fight your battles. God has a battle plan and any time we get in a battle we need to know how to fight the way that God wants us to fight. I said this morning that we have weapons but the weapons of our warfare are not carnal weapons, they're not weapons you can see or feel or go to the store and buy so if they're not carnal weapons then they must be spiritual weapons.
In preaching the Word of God to you tonight, I am doing warfare with the enemy by speaking the Word of God. I'm helping you do warfare in your life and I'm doing warfare in my own life just because I'm speaking words that are full of life and power. The Word of God is not just any word. It is a word that changes lives. People don't gather into a building, travel, and pay for hotels and all the things you've done to come to hear somebody stand up here and talk for hours on end if it's not something that is gonna make a huge difference in your life. And I love the fact that you pay attention and you're focused. The word renews our mind, it drops down in our heart, and it makes changes for us.
So we do have spiritual weapons. Peace is a weapon. Walking in peace when the enemy's throwing his best at you is a weapon. Righteousness is a weapon. Knowing who you are in Christ is a piece of armor but it's also a way for you to fight the enemy. Wearing the helmet of salvation. Thinking the way a child of God should think. And the Bible talks about "Wielding the two-edged sword," which happens to be this. You notice it doesn't say just wear it on your side. It says get it out of your sheath and use it. Wield that two-edged sword. So we talked some this morning about using the Word of God against the enemy, the power of speaking the Word of God. And tonight we're gonna find out what our battle position is and just see what God can do for us if we'll fight the way he wants us to fight.
2 Chronicles chapter 20, in verse 17, "You shall not need to fight in this battle: take your position, stand still, and see the deliverance of the Lord who is with you, o Judah and Jerusalem. Fear not nor be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you". Isn't that good news? You don't need to fight in this battle. "Take your position, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord". Now for a lot of years I thought our position was standing still. I thought, "Take your position, stand still," was what he was trying to say. But if you read this whole 2 Chronicles 20 in context, that's really not the position that he's talking about. And so we're gonna start over here in verse 1 and we're gonna learn some good lessons tonight out of 2 Chronicles chapter 20.
Verse 1, "After this, the Moabites, the Ammonites, and with them the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat to do battle". Have you ever noticed that there's a lot of "ites" in the Bible? And you know what? I've decided that we've all got our own little brand of ites. It may be the bad boss-ites, the grouchy neighbor-ites, the backache-ites, the not having enough money to pay our bill-ites, but we've all got ites that come after us. Things that want to upset us. "And it was told Jehoshaphat, a great multitude has come against you from beyond the Dead Sea, from Edom: and behold they are in Hazazon-Tamar, which is En-Gedi. Then Jehoshaphat feared".
And I want you to pay close attention to that because our first natural response to any kind of bad news or trouble is going to be a feeling of fear. Now what we do at that point is very important. The word fear actually means to take flight or to run away from. Now a lot of times, people don't wanna deal with their problems so they find some way to avoid them. Some people drink too much. Some people go out and spend money they don't have to spend just to not think about their problems. Some people go to bed. They just sleep. Sometimes people can just hide in drugs. I mean, there's all kinds of ways that people avoid their problems.
My mother avoided the problems that we had in our home and it ended up taking her mental health and she died last year, 87 years old, and was really a sweet woman but she never had a life. She really never lived and never had a life. And it's terrible when you see somebody ruin their life because they're afraid to confront or face anything in their life and I despise that because I saw what it did to her and I saw what it almost did to me and I saw what it did to my brother and even I saw what it did to my dad because she wouldn't confront him. He maybe could have gotten some help if she would have confronted him. We don't help ourselves when we run from our problems and when we avoid them. God has not given us any armor for our back side because he never expected us to be running. Every piece of armor that you read about in the Bible is something that helps you when you're confronting and facing the enemy.
And I love what the Bible says about the shepherd David who actually became a king. It says that when he was gonna fight with Goliath, he ran to the battle line. And I love that. He didn't run away when he saw Goliath. He ran toward Goliath. And you know what I think? I think sometimes we think our problems to death. We think about 'em to the point where they scare us so bad and a lot of times we need to just not think and just trust God. And I don't mean do stupid stuff but if you know what God wants you to do then just say, "I am not gonna be afraid of this. I am gonna take a step of faith and God is gonna be with me when I get to the battle line and he's gonna show me what to do," amen?
And I know some of you are probably putting up with stuff that you need to confront. Grown kids that are taking advantage of you. Not sure where that came from, but there, you can have it. Amen? We need to stand up to what God wants us to stand up to. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. So we need to deal with fear and not let it deal with us. So the minute that Jehoshaphat got bad news, he feared. "It was told to Jehoshaphat a great multitude has come against you". In verse 3, "Then Jehoshaphat feared". But look what he did next. I love this. "And so he set himself determinedly, as his vital need to seek the Lord: and he proclaimed a fast in all Judah". My goodness. How much difference there would be in our life and even how much more attractive would the church of Christ be to lost people if every time we had a problem and we felt fear, the very next thing that we did was set apart a little bit of time to seek God.
C'mon, is anybody home out there tonight? Don't go to the phone. Go to the throne. We don't need to call up somebody else, I always say all the time, that don't even know what they're doing and ask what we ought to do. Let's find out what God's battle plan is, what God's battle strategy is, in each battle that we have. We need to hear directly from God. One word from God is worth more than ten thousand words from people. You say, "Hear from God? Can we do that"? Absolutely. You can be led by the Holy Spirit. You can hear from God. And you may not hear words. I don't look for voices all the time but I'm telling you, when you seek God, you will instinctively know what you need to do. You'll be led by the spirit. And even if you don't know right that minute, as you continue to go forward, you will be led and know what you're supposed to do. The only way that I can do what I'm doing is because I've learned how to let God lead.
I always have a message when I come up here but, honestly, sometimes I preach it backwards. I say stuff that's not in it. There's stuff in it that I don't say. And sometimes we've got our lives so organized that there's no way for God to get in at all. So we need to learn how to hear from God. One word from God can literally change your life forever. One word from God can give you the courage to confront anything. Twenty-five years ago, I had breast cancer. And it was a very fast-growing type of cancer. The tumor was very small but, back then, they did more radical surgeries and so I had to have a very radical surgery right away because they said I would be playing Russian Roulette with my life if I didn't get it out of me. It was an estrogen-dependent tumor.
And so naturally, cancer is a frightening word. And I remember being so, so frightened, I would just... This fear would just overwhelm me and then I would confess the word and I'd feel stronger again. And I would trust God. And then here would come that fear again. About 3 o'clock one morning, I mean, I heard so clearly in my spirit, "I will take care of you. You can trust me: I'll take care of you". Now you know what? Five hundred other people had said that to me. I had said it to me. We need to talk to ourselves in times of trouble. It's good to get encouragement from other people but I'm just saying that when God said that to me, it was like then my faith rose up.
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Faith rises when you hear God. And I'm glad you're here to hear me tonight but, frankly, I hope you hear God through me or I hope something that I say will cause you to go home and seek God in that area for yourself because 1 word from God is worth 10,000 words from people. But we're not gonna hear from God if we won't set apart time to seek God. And I know that there's people here that you're in all different places in your walk with God and I can say to some of you, "Seek the Lord," and you know exactly what I'm talking about and some of you are like..." Well, I've just been watching you on television. I thought it would be fun to come and see what you look like". And, you know, you're not real clear what it means to seek God. Well, just go get somewhere and shut a door. If you really don't know how to seek God, he will meet you where you're at. You don't have to go find him where he's at.
C'mon, I need to say that again. I said if you really don't know how to hear from God, the good news about God is he'll come and meet you where you're at. All you gotta do is sit down somewhere and say, "God, I need you. I'm in trouble. I don't wanna just react in fear. I don't wanna just react emotionally. I don't know what to do. Speak to me and lead me and guide me". And then if you don't hear something right away, don't get all frustrated and upset. When your time is over, then just say, "Okay, God. I haven't heard a thing yet but I believe that you're gonna lead me and guide me as I start taking steps". I always say, "You can't drive a parked car". Some of you have gotta get your life out of park and start going somewhere for God to lead you anywhere. Right?
Joyce: Well, there's always going to be battles in life but the good news is you are more than a conqueror. And to me, that means that we know that we won before the battle ever even starts. Just keep in mind who your real enemy is and fight back using the scriptural weapons that God has given us. We have spiritual weapons that come straight from the Word of God. Today, Ginger's with us and has some of your questions on battles that you've been facing, and I pray that I'll be able to answer them.
Ginger: There are so many battles. We're always dealing with something it seems like. And so, we have a lot of questions about people's battles that they are currently facing. This one is from Persis, from Egypt, and they say, "I struggle with negativity because I've had a lot of tragic things happen to me. How can I let God fight this battle inside my mind"?
Joyce: Well, God will fight our battles for us, but he always gives us something to do. In the book that I wrote, I brought that out very clearly, that everybody gets excited when you say let God fight your battles, and he does, we can't win without him. And there's certainly a lot of things we can't do at all that God has to do, but we are partners with God and he gives us something to do too. I tell people, a lot of times when you pray, many times God doesn't just give you the answer to the problem, he gives you something to do. So, in overcoming negativity, first of all, realizing the problem is great. Repenting over it is great. It can become like an addiction and you can almost get to the point where you're afraid to believe anything good is going to happen because you don't want to be disappointed one more time when it doesn't. But I'll tell you it is a life-changer when you can become positive instead of negative.
Ginger: And you've seen that change in your life, right?
Joyce: Oh, yeah, I was so negative. I'd always say I couldn't think two positive thoughts in a row without my brain getting in a cramp. So, I totally sympathize and understand. But the thing that really helped me is to understand that I don't have to just think whatever falls in my head. You know, he could think good things on purpose, or she. I don't know if it's a man or woman, but they can think good things on purpose. And I love and feel very strongly about the principle of speaking the Word of God out loud. And so, I believe that if you're in a place where you can, and you have a negative thought pop in your head, why not just say, "No"! And then turn around and say, "God is working in my life and something good is going to happen to me". And if you keep it up long enough... See, the devil once he finds out he can't really bother you and upset you, then he'll go away for a while to wait for another opportunity. But we can overcome things and we do it through leaning on God and persistence. I think, sometimes we, you know, we'll try to do the right thing for a few days and if it's not working, we get weary and give up. But, I always say, if you gave the enemy 50 years to get in the mess you're in then don't get mad at God if you're not out of it in two weeks. Just keep at it, and keep at it, and keep at it.
Ginger: Keep fighting and God will keep fighting with you. Well, this is a question from Valencia and she says, "I constantly worry about my kids, my parents, my job, pretty much everything all the time. How do I stop from constantly worrying about things I can't handle or change"?
Joyce: Well, I guess in some ways, and I'm just saying some of the things that God has said to me to help me get over that. You know, people who want to be in control are always gonna worry because they want to control the outcome of every situation. And we're not in control, God is. And the more you trust him, the more relaxed that you're going to be. And worry, like anything else, I mean, it can become a habit. It's just useless. You know, I say it's like sitting in a rocking chair rocking all day, it keeps you busy, but it doesn't help anything.
Ginger: And it makes you miserable.
Joyce: Now, do I ever worry? Sometimes, I do. But, I think that, you know, I believe when the enemy first attacks us in an area that sometimes it does take a little bit of time to rationalize with ourselves and to say, "Look, this is just the devil. I've been through it over, and over, and over. I know I can't do anything about the problem, only God can". And so, I love Philippians 4:6, "Be anxious for nothing, but in all things by prayer and supplication," so I like to trade worry for prayer.
Ginger: Mmm... Yeah.
Joyce: And I mean, God is so good. He does answer prayer and he doesn't always answer them exactly when we want, or give us exactly what we want. But, even just in the past couple of years, I've been watching for it, but I've been seeing how many things that God does for us that we ask him to, and we just need to be more thankful. And so, remember, with worry, just like the negativity, you don't have to think every thought that falls into your head. And so, when, you know, one of the things that helps is when you start worrying about something just say, "You know, I've been there, done that a thousand times and it's never helped anything. So, God, I'm just gonna leave this one to you. If there's something you want me to do, show me, and if not, I'm gonna believe that you'll work it out".
Ginger: Yeah, that's good though. Seeing worry as a prompt to pray, instead of dwelling on the negative aspect of what could happen, give it to God.
Joyce: Another thing that God's said to me too, which I meant to say is, it's actually a prideful attitude.
Ginger: Worrying is?
Joyce: Because if you think about it, when you worry, you're only worried because you think you can do something about the problem. And so, until you know that you can't... I'm not smart enough to run my own life. You know, sometimes, God will anoint me to help somebody else, but I can't help myself. And that's really rather frustrating. And so, hopefully, those things will help.
Ginger: Alright, Emily, from Kansas City, Missouri asks, "I struggle with when to stay still and when to act to help solve my constant daily battles. Can you give me some guidance"?
Joyce: Well, you know, so much of knowing what you should do, when, is learned by trial-and-error. One great man of God, Dallas Willard, somebody asked him how he learned how to hear from God. And he said through making a lot of mistakes. And, I mean, that's just the truth. You know, if you feel that you've been waiting on God and you feel that God wants you to do something then if your heart's right and you've prayed about it and you really believe that God wants you to do something then take a step toward it and see what happens. You know, baby steps, just take a step, see if the door opens. Sometimes you can't really know what God wants you to do without stepping out and finding out. And of course, we know all the answers about being led by peace and you know, but those things are very important. You know, it's like, you know, I love dogs and my dog that I loved so much for 12 years, she passed away about 3 years ago. And so, I've tried a couple of other dogs and they didn't work out. And so, I get to the point where I'm almost afraid to try to get another dog. And then, sometimes, somebody will say, "Oh, I found the perfect dog for you". I mean, I had a lady that was gonna train it and the whole nine yards. And when I got right down to it, it was everything I had said I wanted but I just did not have peace. And I told my daughter, the other day, I said, "I know when the time is right, God will provide the perfect dog for me," because I don't really need a puppy. I'm not good at the potty-training thing.
Ginger: It's a lot of work.
Joyce: I did good with my kids, but I don't do good with dogs. And so, God knows what I need and the right timing and he'll bring it at the right time. But there again, I just, I don't know why. It's like, "Well, why can't I have a dog right now? Other people have dogs," you know. But it's just not the right thing for me right now for some reason. And I just, I get to trust that.
Ginger: So how hard is it then, to realize, in this thing that you want, you don't always get what you want...
Joyce: It's very hard.
Ginger: You have to trust in God's timing and in his goodness in your life.
Joyce: That's why I keep going through the same thing over and over. I'll try and I'll get something worked out that sounds like it's gonna be, and I can't tell you how many times I've, "Oh, this has gotta be God. I mean, you can see God just written all over this". But when it came down to actually saying, "Yes, I'll take the dog". I just did not have peace.
Ginger: And you have to trust that, when you have that.
Joyce: I have to trust that. I've been around long enough to know not to go against peace. Because if you do that, sometimes, you know, you do something that is not as easily undone. And so, you have to deal with the circumstances of that thing over a long period of time.
Ginger: I think that's a great answer for her. That's good for all of us. Alright, one more?
Ginger: Julie, from Florida, says, "I'm a planner. I am always trying to foresee the future problems and then have a plan to avoid them. How can I let go of trying to control tomorrow's outcome and give it to the Lord"?
Joyce: Well, maybe when she finds out, she could write me and let me know. You know, so many of these things, I remember going through exactly what she's going through. Any one of those questions, I remember going through exactly those things. But, experience with God is so valuable. And some of the things that people have questions about, it's like, I can say well this, and this, and this but, it's easy for me now because I've been through all that. And, I think sometimes, and I hope this is not misunderstood, I think sometimes you just have to do it your own way until you wear yourself out and you realize that you just can't make all these things happen in your life that God is in control and you're just trusting, part of trusting God is being happy with his decisions. And so, I understand, but give it time. Proverbs says, "We learn by the Word of God and by life's experiences". And I've learned so much from the word. But there's so much too that I've learned by experience. Just like, what I said earlier about I've got enough sense not to go against peace. Well, I do now, but for a lot of years I didn't. And so, I had many times, I did things I didn't have peace about and then I saw the mess it made. And so, experience with God will bring all of us to the place where we want to be. That's exactly why the enemy wants us to give up so we never get to that place of maturity.
Ginger: Yeah, well, thank you for your help with our battles.
Joyce: With our battles.
"Be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude: for the battle is not yours, but God's". Come on, I want you to take that tonight as a personal word from God. "Be not afraid or dismayed: for the battle is not yours, but God's". You take it to God, you seek him, you separate some time, you worship first, you present your need, you tell him that you can't solve your own problem, then you wait. Then, here comes the word from God. "You can just forget about it, honey, 'cause I got it taken care of. I've already got your breakthrough planned and it'll come through just at the exact right time".
Now, can I give you a piece of revelation? It is perfectly okay with God if you enjoy your life while you have a problem. I think people need to actually be given permission to do that. I think that we think we're being unspiritual if we don't sit around and worry and fret over everything that's going on in our life, and actually, we just play into the enemy's hands when we do that. "You shall not need to fight in this battle". Verse 16, "Tomorrow go down to them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of ziz, and you will find them at the end of the ravine before the wilderness of Jeruel. You shall not need to fight in this battle: take your positions, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord who is with you, o Judah and Jerusalem. Fear not nor be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you".
And here comes his position, "And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground". Our worship battle position is a position, I mean, our battle position is a position of worship. You know, we don't bring the quality of worship that we bring to our conferences because we wanna sing a few songs. We want you to learn to worship God. And tonight, we entered into worship. We worshiped God. What do you think it did to the atmosphere over this city? How much darkness do you think was pierced here tonight? When all these different people from all these different denominations come together and they sing songs like they did... What do you think happened when Christy was singing "Holy, holy, holy" and you were out there, everybody with their hands lifted up, some with tears streaming down their face, people with smiles on their face. I mean, you weren't just singing a song, you were worshiping God.
And let me tell you something, you did yourself a favor being here tonight because the first 30 minutes you were here, you did nothing but pure spiritual warfare. And you enjoyed yourself while you were doing it. This is called how to fight the devil and win. "And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem all fell down before the Lord, worshiping him. And some Levites of the Kohathites and Korahites stood up", please God, can we call 'em John, and Judy, and James? Now, I'm not being disrespectful. You know how it is. "And they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, hear me, o Judah, and all you inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God and you shall be established: believe and remain steadfast to his prophets and you will prosper".
So, he's reminding them the importance of just believing, just simple believing. When we just believe that God is doing something, even if we don't know what it is. I spent awhile this morning telling people, when you're waiting on God, just keep saying, "God is working. God is working. God is working in my life. God is working". Amen? "Well, God, I don't feel like you're working". No, you say, "God, I believe you are working". The Bible says, it's somewhere in the New Testament it said, "As long as we're believing, God is working". So, everybody say, "I believe". Now say, "God is working".
Okay, now verse 21, we're getting close to something major. "And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers to sing to the Lord and praise him in their holy priestly garments and they went out before the army, saying, o give thanks unto the Lord, for his mercy and loving-kindness endure forever"! So, here you got it if you could just get the picture. Sometimes I've done this and I've had a bunch of people up here with me, and one's been bowing down, and others have been singing, and others have been marching around shouting. It's quite a scene. So, just try to imagine this is what's going on. Here, the enemy's coming against them and this is what God has told 'em to do. This is God's great battle plan.
Okay, you're not gonna need to fight in this battle. The enemies that you've seen today, you'll never see again. Take your position. Come on. Make your requests to God and then don't live in fear after that. Just thank him that he's working. God, I thank you ahead of time. "We pray with thanksgiving," the Bible says in Philippians 4. With thanksgiving. So, just imagine all these people are walking around, "O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good for his mercy endures forever. O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good and his mercy endures forever". Now, what would happen if you tried this one day in your house instead of hanging on the phone all day complaining to all your friends? "O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good for his mercy endures forever".
Somebody calls up, "So, what are you doing about your problem"? "I'm not doing anything. I'm waiting for God to do something. I can't do anything. I don't know what to do, but I do know God, and I believe he's working". We talk ourselves right into a pit sometimes. Are you ready? I don't know if you're ready. Here it comes. "And when they began to sing," verse 22, "And praise, the Lord set Ambushments against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir who had come against Judah, and they were self-slaughtered". Their praise and worship got the devil so confused that the enemies turned on each other and they killed themselves. Come on, give God praise. Let God fight your battles. Take your position, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.
Now, you know, sometimes we just need to make a little noise. I actually know a woman that was set free from depression. Charlotte, a woman that has worked for us for over 20 years, and she had a huge problem with depression. Her and her friend were riding through our city one day and they were actually in downtown St. Louis. And she was talking about this depression that she'd had, and you know, how it was holding her back, and I mean, the spirit of God just came on her. She rolled down her window and she started shouting out the window, "Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord"! And she said she felt that depression break off of her and she was free from it. Sometimes we just don't make enough noise to scare the devil off. Once in awhile, you just gotta say, "Shut up! I don't wanna hear your lies anymore". Ha ha ha. Yeah, that's a good one too right there. That works. Jesus! Hallelujah.
And you know, I know probably some people turn the television on, and they're not used to me, and they probably think I'm a nutcase, but I'm telling you what, just listen. If what you're doing is not working and your life is falling apart, then before you decide I'm crazy, let me tell you about how much victory I've got in my life. And I don't tell anybody to do anything that I can't back up in scripture. "O clap your hands, all ye people. Shout unto God with a voice of triumph". But here's the thing, we don't have to just do this in church or when somebody's on the platform acting like a cheerleader. You can do some yelling at home. "Get behind me, satan! I'm not putting up with your nonsense anymore". Amen?
You know, I'm not a great singer, so I don't do a lot of singing, so I hum a lot. Humming is better when you don't sing. Thank God Dave doesn't sing much either, 'cause he's not any better at it than I am, but. I'm a person who likes quiet, and so I just feel like this would be good to share with you tonight. You know, all praise and worship does not just involve having to sing and use music all the time. That's one of the great ways that God uses and thank God for it. You should have a whole bunch of good worship music, and use it, and play it all the time in your car. It breaks the power of darkness. But praise, the word "Praise," means to tell a tale or an narrative.
And so, one of the main ways that we praise God is just by talking about how good he is. Just simply talking about the goodness of God. I went to lunch today, with Dave and I, and another couple, and another guy, and we had a little tiny bit of business to do, and that took maybe 10 minutes. And then, we spent most of the rest of the lunch talking about things that we knew that God had done lately for this person, and this person, and this person, just talking about how amazing God is. Now, that's a way to be a praiser and a worshiper. How much do you talk about the good things that God has done in your life, compared to how much you talk about your problems? Come on. It's so easy to forget what God has done. And you know, the Bible tells us over and over to remember, to recount, to recall, to write things down, to pass them on to our children.
In Deuteronomy 8, God spoke to the Israelites and he said, "You remember all the way that I've led you these 40 years in the wilderness to humble you and to prove you, and I took care of you, and I brought you into a good land". You remember it. Don't you forget it. A lot of times when they had victories, they would set up altars, some way of remembering this thing that God did for them. You know, the middle of last week, I hurt my back. It was my own fault. I tried to use a piece of exercise equipment I'd never used before and I won't go into it, but I hurt it pretty bad. And I've had back problems in the past, so I was standing against a little fear and saying, "I believe God's gonna take care of this. I believe God's gonna take care of it". And thank God, I'm okay now. Still just a little, tiny bit sore, but I'm okay.
And I'll tell you what, you know, I've been so thankful. It's amazing when you have problem with something that you previously have taken for granted, how quick you become to be grateful to God. But even then, I think we forget those things too fast. And I think we need to keep even a written record of the things that God has done. And boy, especially when you're having a tough time, you need to get it out and you need to remember. Remember. Dave and I talk often and we just remember all the years and what the things that God has done for us to get us from where we were to where we are now, how we started this in the basement of our home. The first employee we had, her desk was a cardboard box. And now we have 15 offices around the world, over 800 employees.
Let's go to Psalm 42:5-6 for just a minute. "Why are you cast down, o my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for him, for I shall yet praise him, my help and my God. O my God, my life is cast down upon me and I find the burden more than I can bear". Now, look at his answer. "Therefore will I earnestly remember you from the land of the Jordan and the summits of mount hermon, from the little mountain mizar". So, David said, "Look, I just feel like I'm going down the tubes here and I know what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna remember the things that you've done for me in my life".
Come on, I'm gonna remember. It's all over the Bible. The Bible says, "Remember the mercy of God. Remember the kindness of God. Remember the wonders of God". I'm gonna close with a story that I think is gonna really bless you and... I said I'm gonna close, I didn't say I'm closed. So, just park yourself. It's about Elijah. And the Bible says that Elijah was a man that was just like us. He had like passions like us. He was a human being. In other words, he wasn't perfect. And yet, he prayed for it not to rain and no rain fell on the earth for 3 years and 6 months. He did that at God's direction. He prayed in a drought. And then, when God's timing was right, God told him to pray that it would rain. And so, he prayed for rain and it didn't start raining right away, but he believed it was gonna rain.
See, when we pray, we need to start immediately believing God is working. We don't wait until we see something to say God is working, we believe that God is working. In God's economy, faith always comes before manifestation, amen? Let me get to this here if I can find it. Hopefully I won't fall of the platform in the process. You'll catch me? Okay, all right. All right, so, verse 41. I'm in 1 kings chapter 18, verse 41. "And Elijah said to Ahab". Ahab was a wicked king that Elijah had already been doing battle with. I won't go into that whole story, but, "Elijah said to Ahab, go up, and eat and drink, for there is the sound of an abundance of rain. So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel," and here we go again. He took his position. "He bowed himself down upon the earth and put his face between his knees and said to his servant, now you go up and look toward the sea. And he went up and looked and he came back and he said, there's nothing. And Elijah said to him, go again seven times".
He made him run back up the hill and look. He was not a guy that was gonna give up easy. And now, here's something that's gonna help you. And verse 44, "And at the seventh time the servant said, I see a cloud, but it's as small as a man's hand, arising up out of the sea". Now, just think about that. In the whole expanse of the sky and the whole ocean, one little cloud the size of a man's hand is not much to hang on to. And I wanna suggest to you tonight that you've all got some of those in your life, but you're ignoring 'em. And that little cloud the size of a man's hand is evidence that rain's coming. Your rain, your breakthrough is coming. "And at the seventh time," verse 44, "The servant said, a cloud as small as a man's hand is arising out of the sea. And Elijah said, go up".
He had not had any rain yet, and he said, "Go up and say to Ahab, hitch up your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you. In a little while, the heavens were black with wind-swept clouds, and there was a great rain. And Ahab went to Jezreel. And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah". I love this. "And he girded up his loins and he ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel nearly twenty miles". To me, it kinda went like this. I'm telling you, Ahab, it's gonna rain. Well, I don't see anything. Well, Elijah had seen the little tiny bit of evidence that God was working in his life and he believed. He said, "You better hitch up your chariot and you better head for town, 'cause I'm telling you it's gonna rain". And so, he hitched up his chariot and he started, and when it began to pour, the spirit of God came on Elijah. And I can see him, "Ha ha! I told you it was gonna rain"! And he's left him in the dust. Mike, come on and tell your little story please. I want you to hear a little story that brings this scripture in and I think it will encourage you in your own life.
Mike: Our youngest daughter is 24. She works for a cruise line. She came home about 3 months ago on a holiday and she contracted mononucleosis. So, you know, it takes awhile to get over that, however her mono went in a very bizarre direction. And actually, it went into her brain. She was in the hospital room for a short time, came home. The doctor's couldn't quite figure out exactly what was going on, but it debilitated her lower body. She didn't have any control over her legs at all. She couldn't speak right. She was slurred in her speech. She drooled. She couldn't help that. It was like a stroke kind of a reaction in her body. And she was nauseated. She couldn't even move her eyes from right to left without getting sick to her stomach. The neurologist said that, "This is like eight out of a million have some sort of weird reaction to mono, and I've never really seen it, so I really don't know exactly what to do," and sent her home. And Joyce called us and shared that scripture, and she challenged us to celebrate every little small cloud of victory. I remember a number of nights, Leah couldn't do anything. She was just laying in bed, so we would just sit in her bed with her and we'd pray, we'd cry, and we would say this, "This is gonna end good".
Mike and you know, Leah couldn't even speak at that point to be able to say that, but we would say that. Then a few days later, her speech would gain a little bit of ground and she could say it. "This is gonna end good, dad". And every little small cloud, we'd begin to celebrate it. And I remember the day when she could finally walk with a walker, and she began to walk with a walker, and we would celebrate that. And then the day she put the walker aside and she was gonna try to walk to the bathroom. She slammed against the wall a few times and she fell down, but she'd get back up and we'd say, "We're gonna celebrate that small cloud". I remember the day when she could finally read again. She couldn't read the Bible. She couldn't read without making her sick. And she started to read, and we said, "We're gonna celebrate that cloud". Then she began to speak a little bit more rapidly and began to gain her equilibrium. Then finally, she could walk and she wasn't falling at all. Then finally, I remember just a few weeks ago we got in the car and said, "Okay, we're gonna learn to drive again at 24". And we were driving down the road and said, "We're gonna celebrate this cloud". And we started taking that word and heeding that, and we just celebrated every single cloud along the way. They were small clouds. Sometimes it didn't seem very big. I remember the day she could finally watch tv again without getting sick. And so, just very, very small victories, but we were determined we're gonna celebrate every small cloud and it's gonna end good. Well, let me tell you the end of the story. This past week, she got medical clearance from her doctor. She's like 85%-90% healed now, walking on her own. You wouldn't even be able to tell any difference. She can speak well. She can walk well. She got ahold of the cruise line, they're having her back. She's gonna go back to work next Friday and live on the cruise ship. And so, we celebrate not only every small cloud, but rain is on the way!
Joyce: Yeah, amen! Rain is on the way. See, I'm challenging you to stop just looking at what God is not doing, and stop looking at what you don't have and the breakthroughs that aren't coming through, and go back and look at what God has done in your life. Amen?