Joyce Meyer - Living Courageously

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Well, I've written a book called "Living courageously". It's a wonderful book about how to overcome fear in your life. I opened chapter 1 with a letter to the spirit of fear telling him goodbye.

Dear fear! I only refer to you as “dear” because of our long-term, intimate relationship, and certainly not because you are dear to me in any way. In fact, you have been a tormenting influence from start to finish. You have told me lies and prevented me from doing the things I wanted to do and should have done. You are indeed a miserable, wretched companion and one that I no longer am willing to be involved with.

I am writing you this letter to let you know that from this point forward, I will not fear! Although I may feel your presence, I will not bow down to your demands. I have a friend whose name is Jesus, and He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me, but to be with me always. He is indeed a powerful friend and although you do have some power, His is by far much greater than yours. You can come against me, but Jesus lives in me, and the power of the one who is in me is greater than you are (see 1 John 4:4).

Although I cannot prevent you from coming to visit, I do want to give you notice that you will be ignored. I am far too busy now fellowshipping with my friend Jesus and developing an intimate relationship with Him to give you any of my time. The more time I spend with Jesus the more courageous I become. He is teaching me a new way to live, one that is exciting and adventurous—one that is fearless.

I also want to inform you that since I have so much experience with you and know how self-defeating it is to listen to you, I now intend to tell as many people as I can what a thief and a liar you are. The years I have wasted with you will be redeemed and I will bear much good fruit. Thank you for driving me to Jesus. You see, you made me so miserable that I sought a way to be free from you, and Jesus met me where I was and set me free.

Should you decide to waste your time and try to visit me even after my letter, I am letting you know ahead of time that you will be met by faith in God and a determination that I WILL NOT FEAR!

And, you know, if you're ever gonna overcome fear, the first thing you have to do is decide that you're gonna break up with fear, that you're gonna have an attitude toward yourself, "No fear lives here". The only acceptable attitude that a Christian should have is, "I will not fear". And, you know, king David, the psalmist David, he said that several times in the Psalms, "I will not fear. What can man do unto me? If God is for me, who can be against me"? And I love that, "I will not fear". He certainly wasn't saying, "I don't feel fear". He was making a decision that he was not going to let fear rule his life, and I think that's the first thing that we all have to do.

You know, sometimes you've had something for so long in your life that you just get miserably comfortable with it. You don't really like it, but you've had it for so long that you settle down and just think, "Well, I guess this is the way it is, or this is just the way I am, or this is the way life is," and you don't even believe that you can live any other way. You know, in my childhood, I was abused sexually by my dad for a lot of years and so my life was rooted in fear. My dad was angry man, and he drank a lot, and he would come home angry and get violent with my mom and rant and rave and yell, and then there was all the abuse. And I just remember growing up in fear. And so, it was challenging for me to learn to not live in that fear, and I had to learn one thing at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time, but I have learned a lot of things over the years and I believe you can benefit from some of the experiences that I've gone through. Some of them were very difficult, some were painful, but I believe that I can help you avoid some of that pain in your life if you will also learn to say, "I will not fear".

You know, God has not given us a spirit of fear. Fear is not from God. God has given us a spirit of power and love and a sound mind. When fear attacks us, it's the enemy, it's the devil, and he's always trying to get us or to keep us from making progress. Let's just say, for example, that you want to go back to college. Maybe you're in your 40s, and you never get a college degree, and you've decided you'd like to go to college and get a degree, well, probably the first thing that's gonna happen is you're gonna be afraid that maybe you're too old, or you're gonna be afraid that you can't learn at your age, or you're gonna be afraid that you won't get accepted into college.

One thing's for sure, if God's put a good idea in your heart, something that's gonna bless you and bless your family, something that's a desire of your heart, it's not God then putting that fear in there telling you not to do it, but it is the enemy because he doesn't want you to make progress. So, I'm asking you today if you will make a decision first and foremost, "I am not going to live in fear". Now, that doesn't mean that you will never feel fear, but it does mean that you can learn how to conquer it and overcome it, and we're gonna talk more about that on another one of these little mini teachings.

In order to live courageously, and living courageously means that, "I'm gonna learn to follow my heart, I'm gonna take risks, I'm gonna be bold, I'm gonna step out, and really work with the Holy Spirit to be, not just okay, not just average, not just ordinary, but to be somebody who really makes a difference in the world". How many of you want to, not just pass through here unnoticed, but you want to make a mark in the world and have people remember for a long time that you were here? Well, don't discount yourself and think, "Well, you know, that's only for the people on the platform or the people on television". It's for every single child of God. God has something for each of us to do. We have a part to play. You have something that nobody can do as good as you can do it, and if you don't do it, it's gonna hurt all the rest of us.

You never will be as excited as you will be if you are really in the middle of fulfilling your destiny. Nothing can ever make you as satisfied and fulfilled as knowing that you're chasing after God with your whole heart, amen? But fear is satan's tool, yes, it's from the devil. For God hath not given us a spirit of fear. Let's settle that. When you feel afraid, it's not God trying to tell you don't do that. That's not the way God works. "God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind, amen. So, when we feel fear, we can be pretty much assured that it's satan trying to keep us from doing what God would have us to do or what would be the best thing for us to do, or we may just be trying to make you miserable.

The Bible says that fear hath torment. Fear brings torment, and I've even discovered that dread, which I believe is a very close relative of fear, can also bring torment. I try to practice in my life, not even letting myself dread things. Don't dread going to the grocery store. Don't dread doing your dishes. Don't dread cutting the grass. Don't dread sitting down and paying your bills. Don't let that spirit of dread and fear get into your life. Know who you are in Christ, know that you can do whatever you need to do through the strength of God that is in you and live with your head held up high, your shoulders back, walk strong, and live courageously, amen? It's time for the body of Christ to stand up and be counted, and stop being wimpy and whiny and having a problem with everything.

There's so many different kinds of fears that it's unbelievable. I mean, if you look up phobias in an encyclopedia, my gosh, pages and pages and pages and pages of things that people are afraid of. One of the thinks that most people have a problem at some time or other in their life, can't say that everybody does, but I know I did and I think a lot of people do, is the fear of man. What are they gonna think? What are they gonna say? What are they gonna do? What are they not gonna do if I don't please them? Will they shut me out of their life? Will they reject me? Will I be lonely? And I believe that satan really uses the fear of man to not only bring torment, but to keep people from following their own heart.

You know, I don't think there's anything worse than feeling in your heart that you believe that you're supposed to be doing something, but cowering down to somebody else, and many times it's not even them trying to control you, it's just insecurity on our part that lets them control us because we want them to approve of everything that we do. Do you know that no matter what you do, 10% of the people are never gonna like you? I mean, that's just like a statistic from the experts. No matter what we do, some people are not gonna like us. Well, the Bible does tell us that we should fear God. A lot of people don't understand that. It's not a wrong kind of fear. It's not the kind of fear like satan tries to put on us about man. It's a reverential, loving, respectful type of fear, something totally different than the kind of fear that torments us. It's actually that kind of a fear is a fear that keeps us safe. It's like, "I trust God, I believe he loves me, he's certainly smarter than I am. I'm gonna love him, and respect him, and trust him enough to just do what he tells me to".

How many of you think your life would have turned out so much better if you would have just started practicing that a long time ago? "I'm just gonna do", I mean, you know, God's not, he's not a tyrant that just wants to control people. Everything that God tells us, or asks us to do or not to do, is for our benefit. It doesn't make him feel better if he can get everybody to follow him. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life". He's the way. Do things the way that Jesus did them.

Now, I want to show you a scripture that I hope really does something on the inside of your heart. I know it certainly does to me every time I look at it and it's Isaiah chapter 8, verse 13, "The Lord of hosts, regard him as holy and honor his holy name by regarding him as your only hope of safety," wow. I do not know what people in the world are doing today who don't have their hope in God. What kind of hope do you have if you can't put your hope in God? "And let him be your fear and let him be your dread lest you offend him by your fear of man and distrust of him" wow. So, it actually offends the Holy Spirit when instead of following him, respecting, loving, honoring him enough, having enough reverential fear and awe of God that I let a person misdirect me from what I feel like that I'm supposed to be doing with God because I'm so afraid of them, and what they're gonna think, what they're gonna say, and what they're gonna do, that I prefer to have their approval than God's approval, I prefer to have their friendship than God's friendship.

The Bible says that offends God, and I think that's something that we need to seriously consider tonight. It's not just a, "Well, you know, I just, I mean I'm just insecure. I mean, you know, I'm just fearful and I just don't want to be lonely. I don't want to lose my friends". No, let's get it, it offends God. It offends God if we cower to man. You have a destiny to fulfill. God wants to do wonderful, amazing things in your life, every one of you. Don't sit there and think, "She's not talking to me". And those of you watching by television, don't think I'm just talking to the people in this room. One of the main reasons why we're here in this building tonight is so we can record these messages to talk to you, amen?

And God does not want us to let people manipulate us and control us. And like I said, they're not even always trying to do that. I mean, if you're real insecure, you can just get around somebody that's got a strong personalty, and if you don't stand up for yourself, they will push you around, but they don't even really know half the time they're doing it. Let me tell you something, if you don't know what you want to do, I'll be happy to tell you what we're gonna do. If you have no plan of your own, I'll be happy to convince you that you should follow my plan. I'm just a motivated, leader, strong personality. I've got direction, I've got purpose, and people who won't stand up for themselves get run over and it's not always the other person's fault.

You say, "Well, can we actually offend God"? Well, in Ephesians chapter 4, verse 30, the Bible says, "Do not offend the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed". Now, in those verses before and after verse 30, it talks specifically about anger, and bad attitudes, and arguing, and strife, and fighting, and bickering saying that that offends the Holy Spirit. But here we have in Isaiah that our fear of man is offensive to the Holy Spirit, that doesn't mean that you lose your salvation, doesn't mean that God doesn't love you anymore. But let me tell you something: now, look at me and let me tell you something, the Holy Spirit lives in you, and if he's offended, you feel it.

You know, being a Christian doesn't just mean you go to church a couple times a week and sit in a chair and gawk at the preacher, that's not what it means to be a Christian. To be a Christian means that Christ is living in you. He's in you, and if he's grieved, you're gonna feel grieved. If he's sad, you're gonna feel sad. Likewise, if he's pleased, you're gonna feel that. We're in a relationship with God through Christ, a close, intimate, personal, yes, even a conversational relationship. He's your friend. Being a Christian is not about following a bunch of rules and regulations, and doing your duty, and hoping you get your checkmark on your little spiritual calendar in heaven. It's about relationship with God through Christ. To be a Christian means to be a Christ-ian or to be a follower of Christ. If you're not ready to follow Christ, then stop calling yourself a Christian and get the bumper sticker off our car. Amen?

We're so concerned about our silly reputation. "Well, what will people think? Well, what if I lose my friends"? You know, I can tell you something, and I don't mean to be negative or tell you something that's gonna scare you, but if you're gonna fully follow Jesus, you can pretty much figure on losing some of your friends. Matter of fact, you might lose a bunch of them. You could even lose all of them. And it's not even really that they think you're wrong because down deep inside, they know that you're not, but they're not ready to make the decision that you're ready to make, so it's easier to find something wrong with you than to admit that maybe they're lacking in something in their life. How many of you, when you made a decision to really, fully, follow God, or even to just follow God, maybe you haven't even gotten into the fully part yet. How many of you lost friends, or family rejected you because you made that decision? Well, you know what? There's some hands not up, but there's more hands up than aren't. You know, that's our first test right there. Are you gonna let the fear of man cause you to cower down?

You know, to be honest with you, nobody cares that much if you go to a church somewhere and claim some kind of denomination, and just go in and go out, doesn't change you much, you don't make any waves. That's kind of even socially acceptable. Well, when you get really saved, I mean when you're born again and you have that new life on the inside of you, and you don't want to do the things that you used to do, and you don't like what you used to like, and you found something that maybe other people aren't seeing. Now, you're about to make some major progress, and don't think the devil's gonna roll the red carpet out and say, "Oh". The Bible promises us that we will be persecuted for righteousness' sake, and it says, "Blessed are ye, blessed are ye".

So, I can say if you chose to follow Christ and your friends rejected you, blessed are you. You are blessed. You're in good company because they rejected Jesus, amen? You say, "Well, Joyce, I can't help the way I feel. I mean, I don't want to feel afraid, but I just, I just am". Who says we have to be comfortable or we get to be comfortable about everything that we do? When I decided to follow the call of God on my life, it was wonderful, but it was a nightmare because women didn't do that. I was in a church denomination where women certainly didn't do that. I got asked to leave my church, family members thought we were crazy. We literally lost all of our friends. It was a hard, hard, hard time for me, but I look back now and it actually frightens me to think where I might be today.

What have you already missed by letting the fear of man control you, and what might you miss in the future if you don't make a change? And, you know, maybe this isn't an issue for you right now, maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but this is a great message for everybody because sooner or later in your life, you're gonna know that God wants you to do something and somebody whose respect and love and approval that you want is going to be against it, and you're gonna have to make a decision about what you're gonna do. Making a decision doesn't always change your feelings. You may still feel afraid, but you can do it even if you have to do it afraid. The thing we have to understand about fear is the only way you can conquer it is to confront it. The only way you can conquer fear is to confront it. It will never go away unless you drive it back into hell where it came from and the only way you can do that is if you keep going forward while the devil is trying to drive you backwards. Fear is an evil spirit. "For God hath not given us a spirit of fear". God's given us power and love and a sound mind.

How concerned are you about your reputation? Go home and have a meeting with yourself. We're always meeting with everybody. Your calendar may be full of meetings after meetings after meetings. Well, why don't you cancel a couple of them and have a meeting with yourself? You'd be surprised what you can find out about yourself if you kind of get in a room by yourself and have a come to Jesus meeting. How concerned am I about my reputation? How many things do we do just to impress people that really don't even have that much to do with what God wants us to do? What do you do or what have you done in the past when people have not agreed with the direction that you're taking? Are you an approval addict? Some people are just addicted to approval. They just can't hardly do anything if they don't think everybody is like, "Oh yeah, that's ooh, yeah, ooh. Love your hairdo, love your outfit. Wow, that's great, mmm".

There's nothing more exciting than being the person that God created you to be. Strange as you might be, be yourself. Amen? I mean really, who wants to be just like everybody else? How ultimately boring is that? Galatians chapter 1, verse 10. I love these scriptures, these next couple of scriptures I'm gonna read you. The apostle Paul, "Now am I trying to win the favor of men or of God? Do I seek to please men? If I were seeking popularity with men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ the Messiah". Wow, if I would have not followed the call of God on my life in order to keep my friends, stay in my church, and be well thought of by people, oh my gosh. Oh Lord God, it's so scary to even think about it: and it's scary to think about how tempted we are.

Come on, I want you to take this serious tonight. How tempted we are. Sometimes you even think, "Well, you know, if they all think that, I mean if I'm the only one doing it, I mean they are right. Women don't do this". Let me tell ya something, you gotta shut your head off sometimes, and I'm not talking about just being ignorant and stupid, but I mean sometimes you gotta just shut your brain off and you've got to look in your heart. You gotta get away from the voices of people, get somewhere with God, and say, "What do you want me to do in this situation? What is your plan for my life? And help me, God, if people don't like it to follow you".

John 5:41, I really like this scripture. Look at this, "I receive not glory from men I crave no human honor, I look for no mortal fame". Now that's Jesus talking. I want you to focus on the word "Crave". I never really spotted that till I was meditating on this today. It's like there's nothing wrong with wanting people to like you. That's a pretty natural, normal emotion. I hope you like me, you know? I mean we all want, you know? I hope that you're pleased by what I say tonight. I hope I don't say anything that offends you. We all want to be well liked but I don't crave it. See, I don't have to have it. There was a time when I did and when you're like that, you look at people and if you're not getting their approval, then you start changing what you're doing. Come on. You'll change your haircut, you'll change your clothing style. How many preachers do you think there that don't really preach what they believe God is putting in their mouth because they're concerned if they do, they'll lose part of their congregation? Far too many and it offends God when we bow down to the fear of man rather than following God. Amen?

I don't want to offend anybody, but you know what? Jesus offended people all the time. It seemed to be his specialty actually. Matter of fact it was almost like he did it on purpose. You know, I think he purposely got in the middle of the pharisees and healed a man on the sabbath day just to get them all stirred up. Amen? So, you know, I'm still trying to figure out exactly what it is that God's trying to do with me but I think I'm just kind of unique enough and bold enough that well, you know, here I am. Deal with it or whatever you want to do but, you know, here it is. You know what? I don't think anything amazes me any more than the people that God uses. It just makes you want to laugh. Sometimes it makes you want to cry. Don't let the fear of man steal your destiny. Don't crave human honor. I love the scripture where it says that Jesus made himself of no reputation. Don't you like that? It was kind of like he just right out of the gate got that one over with.

I want you to think with me tonight, are you living to please God every day? That's what it means to be a Christian that we live for him, that we live for him. It doesn't mean we have a bumper sticker and hang a cross around our neck and join a denomination. It means that we follow him. Jesus said, "If anybody is gonna be my disciple, let him take up his cross and follow me". And maybe that cross is not being as popular with the world as you used to be. But you know what? If you lose ten friends, God will give you 10,000 back at some other time in your life. Colossians 1:10, "That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him and desiring to please him in all things".

Well, we can stop right there and do a four-part series. Do we desire to please God in all of our conversation? Do we desire to please God in all of our secret thought life? Do we desire to please God in the way we dress? You are kind of looking around like, just gonna let that one hang there for a minute. "Well, everybody does it". Look at me, you ain't everybody. And when you follow Christ, there's a lot of privileges that you get that everybody else won't get but there's also some sacrifices that we will need to make in order to fully please God and fully follow him. Amen? So I'll leave that with you for homework. I know I'm probably making you guys kind of nervous but, well, not really. You kind of knew what you'd get when you came. "That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him and desiring to please him in all things". 1 Thessalonians chapter 2, verse 4, "But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the glad tidings (the Gospel), so we speak not to please men but to please God".

I have to tell you that to the very best of my ability when I come up here, I do believe that I say whatever God puts in my mouth and probably sometimes that's why it's a bit like, see it's really kind of sad when you get right down to it that we could sit here tonight and say, "I know I'm doing things that doesn't please God". Aren't you glad you came tonight? Because you see here's the thing the reason why I'm bold enough to say this is because the more we please God, the happier we are. It's like, yes you may give up something on the fleshly side, but you get something in the spiritual side of your life, and I do believe that. I think the higher that we come up spiritually, there's always a little bit more of our flesh that has to go to the cross. And it is process. We're always making decisions. Our path gets narrower and narrower and narrower and for whatever God sent you for here tonight, tonight he's trying to narrow it up a little bit more. But it's not to take anything away from anybody. It's to give you what you've been asking for. "Where's my joy? I want more peace".

I know, man, been there, done that. Went around those mountains a million times. The fear of rejection, the fear of being rejected by people is a terrible thing. And to be honest with you, rejection is very painful. You know, I can stand here now and glibly say that I got asked to leave my church. I lost all my friends and even family members who did not, totally did not agree with our decision to leave the denomination that we were in. They just did not agree. You know, I'm not, I mean I would have been happy to have stayed but they put me out so it wasn't, you know, it wasn't really like leaving. It was like go or shut up and shutting up wasn't an option for me then and I probably didn't use the most wisdom in the world. You know sometimes when the fire of God hits you, you're don't act like the smartest block in the box but, you know, I think God rather have a little wildfire than no fire at all.

And so, you know, it took a while but I kind of got straightened out and got on the right track. And, you know, I look back now and think well, I probably shouldn't have said that. I probably shouldn't have done that. But my heart was right and certainly it wasn't worth everybody rejecting me. But let me tell ya, I can stand here and tell you now, well, I lost my friend. Hee, hee, hee, hee. But it was painful. I mean it was gut-wrenchingly painful. Rejection is painful. And to be honest, I look back now and I have to honestly say that I really don't know how I did it because back then I cared a lot about what people thought of me. It had to only be by the grace of God that I was able to do that. But I remember, I actually remember kneeling down in my kitchen floor and I had just listened to a teaching about righteousness and I mean I never heard anything like that. I'm righteous, I never heard that. All I ever heard was I was a terrible, miserable, rotten sinner. I'm right with God? I'm not wrong with God?

So I'd listened to a teaching on righteousness and I didn't even really understand it. My head didn't even really understand it. The teacher was teaching out of 2 Corinthians 5:21, "He that knew no sin became sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ. It's not when we say, "I'm righteous," it's not like I'm righteous in my own works. I do things wrong all the time but we've been given the righteousness of God and the Bible says we need to put it on and wear it like a robe. So if you're gonna put it on and wear it, you gotta claim it and you gotta know who you are in Christ and it's in Christ, in Christ it's not in us, but it's in Christ. But anyway, I had listened to this teaching and, man, something was happening in me. My head didn't even understand it but something was happening in me.

Now I had all these threats of loss and I had a decision to make. I had a decision to make. And I don't know if it's somebody watching by television or somebody in here but you know that God's trying to do something in your life. Perhaps you know that God has a call on your life. Perhaps you know that God is asking you to step out and do something that you know that people are not gonna understand. You're not even a hundred percent for sure that you're hearing from God but it just seems like he won't leave you alone. And we're gonna talk a lot more this weekend about fear of making mistakes. Let me tell ya something interesting, if you're never willing to be at risk, you will never mature spiritually.

I was very much at risk and very vulnerable and I say when I made that decision but really it was Dave and I together. And, you know, Dave doesn't really care much what people think so he had a plus on his side and I don't mean that in a bad way. He just doesn't. He's like, "Well, it's not my responsibility what they think". I wish that I had that but I've had to suffer it through with Jesus probably just so I could teach you. It's your fault. It's not mine. But I'm trying to make a point that this was hard for me to not just okay, I'll be quiet. "Sure yeah, I understand. Don't want to make any waves. I'll be quiet". But I made it through the middle and now I'm enjoying the end. Amen? I love that whole thought of making it through the middle.

So many great scriptures in the word of God. So many wonderful things. The devil uses rejection at every place of progress in your life to try to get you not to take the next step. How many of you sense that there's a next step coming up for you? Well, I hope that what you're hearing tonight, the word of God that you're hearing is helping you make a decision to live courageously and go ahead and step out and find out. And I'm not suggesting at all doing foolish things or silly things or crazy things. You know, if 20 spiritually mature people are telling you you're many making a mistake then maybe you better back off and pray a little bit more. But if it's just a bunch of people that aren't following God anyway and, you know? I mean you gotta look at the source of where your opposition is coming from.

I'm not advocating being rebellious and never listening to anybody, but I don't think there's anything worse than trying to live the life you think somebody else wants you to live, trying to be like they want you to be and like they want you to be and like they want you to be and like they want you to be. And pretty soon you've lost yourself. You don't even know what you're supposed to be. Doing hard things is good for us. It really is. Don't think that because something's hard that means you ain't supposed to do it. God purposely puts hard things in our path. And the Bible says in Isaiah 41, "I will harden you to difficulties". Let's look at Isaiah 41:10, you know, what does your baby want to chew on when they're cutting teeth? Something hard. What does your puppy want to chew on when they're cutting teeth? Well, we're cutting spiritual teeth and we have to do it on hard things, difficult things. Amen? Where'd I tell you to go? Isaiah 41:10. This is such a great piece of scripture. "Fear not there's nothing to fear, for I am with you".

You know, that's really the only reason God ever gives to not live in fear is I'm with you. "Don't look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties". I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties. You know what that means? Things that are really hard for you right now 5 years from now won't bother you at all. I mean they won't bother you at all, but they'll continue to bother you 5 years from now if you run away from them now. So it really depends, do you want to be the same as you are 5 years from now or do you want to go through with God, live at risk a little bit? You know why I say it's good for us to be at risk? Because it's the only way we can ever find out what God will do for us and what he won't. I put myself out there.

When I walked out of my job when I felt like God was telling me to go into this ministry, and by the way, I was 42 when I started this ministry and had 3 teenagers and a baby so please don't tell me you can't do anything for God because you're too old or you got too many kids or, you know? Let me tell you something, passion for God will drive you to do crazy stuff. Amen? But I found out that God would support me. I found out that God would open doors for me. I found out that God will replace those friends that I lost because I put myself at risk. I found that yes there was a possibility that I was wrong and maybe God wouldn't come through at all, but there's no place worse to live than in that gray area in the safe zone. Fear not, there's nothing to fear.

Now in closing this evening I'm gonna read you four scriptures. I'm actually not gonna read them to you. We're gonna look at them together and I'm trusting God as we look at these, something is gonna happen in your heart that's gonna help you make a decision that God is greater than any person that you know. And if God is for you, which he is, I said which he is. Yes, I'm talking to you. Yes, even you sinner, God is for you. To be honest with you, even the person who hasn't even committed your life to Christ yet, God is for you. He's calling you tonight. He's wooing you tonight. God is for you and if God be for me, who can be against me? If God is on my side, whom shall I fear?

Now patiently let's look at these, Romans 8:31 and 32. Now the word of God has power in it to set you free if you receive it in a spirit of meekness. "What then shall we say to all this? If God is for us, who can be against us? Who can be our foe, if God is on our side"? Psalm 118:6, "The Lord is on my side: I will not fear. What can man do unto me"? I mean really think about it. I mean I wrote down okay, what can man do? They can talk about me. They can think bad things about me. I mean people go around thinking bad stuff about you all the time anyway so, you know? They can reject me. They can say they don't want to be my friend. They can not invite me to the party. Maybe it's my boss that doesn't like me. He can not give me a promotion or not give me a raise.

You say, "Well, what if they hurt me? What if somebody even killed me"? You know, there's a scripture where God says you better not just fear the people who can kill your body, but you better fear the one who's in charge of eternity. Amen? We don't deal with that much here in this country, the thought of dying for your faith but it does go on all over the world. And I tell you the true, us in the western world, we better toughen up a little bit 'cause I think we're gonna have to take a stand here pretty soon. And we may just lose a few perks if we do. We gotta start making those decisions now.

Psalm 27:1, "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the refuge and the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid"? If I haven't pushed you over the edge yet, here comes the last one. Hebrews 13:6, "So we take comfort and we are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, the Lord is my helper: I will not be seized with alarm I will not fear or dread or be terrified. What can man do to me"? Amen? Come on, give God a big praise tonight. Hallelujah.

Fear is never gonna just go away. You can pray that you won't have fear until you turn blue in the face and that's not gonna do it. Fear is an evil spirit that tries to keep us from making progress and going forward and the variety of fears is just astounding, I mean the things that people are afraid of. But there are some fears that are pretty much generic that seem to affect almost all of us. And today we're gonna talk about the fear of making mistakes or the fear of being wrong, the fear of missing God, or the fear of failure. This also is a very huge thing because a lot of people just live in this gray area of never really making any decisions and, you know, even when you make a decision not to decide, you're still making a decision. And God wants us to be decisive. He wants us to pray, want to hear from him, make a spiritual effort to hear from him, wait on him but God's not gonna do everything for us and make all of our decisions. He gives us wisdom. He gives us peace.

He gives us, now listen what I'm gonna say, common sense. I mean if we're lacking anything in our society today it's just common sense. It's just like, "You did what? And you really thought that was gonna work? Hello? I mean how did you think if you spent more money than you made that you wouldn't end up in trouble? How did you think if you got involved with somebody else's husband that was gonna work and bring you peace"? It's like hello? Is anybody home in there, you know? And we need to start making better decisions for our lives because we reap what we sow and not only do we reap the fruit of our decisions, but the other people that are involved in our lives with us reap the fruit of our decisions. All of our children, at some time or another, have told us and most of them more than once, "Mom and dad, we so appreciate the choices that you've made in life because we are now reaping the benefit of those choices". The Bible says, "I set before you life and death, choose life that you and your descendants may live".

Your decision to be here today will affect your family. It's not just about you but it will affect your family because you prayerfully will behave more like Christ, they'll see that, that will be a witness and a testimony to them. Do you know that a change in a parent's behavior can determine whether or not that child is gonna follow God or not? It's not just a matter of just preaching to them and telling them what to do. We need to show them what to do. And so I think sometimes to be honest that we are so accustomed to letting fear rule us that we don't even really realize that's what's going on. You know, just because you feel afraid, that doesn't mean that you get to not do what God's asking you to do. Hello?

We have to learn how to confront fear. The biggest mistake that we can make is always being afraid that we're gonna make a mistake. Now did you hear me? The biggest mistake that we can make is always being afraid that we're going to make a mistake. What is this fear of failure rooted in? It's rooted in insecurity. We need to be right all the time to feel okay about ourselves. We think that being right all the time is what gives us great reputation with people. If I'm right all the time and I don't make mistakes, then I'm gonna impress people. You know, not one of us is ever really free until we're free from the need to impress other people, until you're free to live your life and not have to be overly concerned about what other people think of every decision that you make.

Now like I said last night, you know, only a fool wouldn't want anybody to like them. I mean, we want people to like us. We should want to please people but not at the cost of displeasing God or denying our own destiny. Insecurity is a psychological problem of epidemic proportions. There are so many insecure people in the world and so many people that lack confidence and they're all bumping into each other and giving each other problems. You know if I'm insecure, you're gonna be in relationship with me, then it has to be your job to make me feel good about myself all the time and it won't be long and that's just gonna wear you completely out. If I'm in relationship with somebody that's insecure and fearful, I have to walk on egg shells all the time to make sure that I say the right thing, don't say the wrong thing, don't look at them the wrong way, make sure I compliment them on every little thing that they do and pretty soon I feel like all my time is taking up in keeping this insecure person fixed.

Come on, how many fresh fixes do you need every day of compliments and handclaps... To feel good about yourself? You know, we all need to be encouraged but we need to not crave it. We need to not have to have it in order to get through the day. And I've kind of learned when I really feel like I need to be encouraged... I used to get mad at Dave if he wasn't encouraging me. I don't do that anymore. I go to God now and ask him to encourage me and to be honest, it's not just some supernatural thing. Whoo, I prayed and now I feel encouraged. God will work through somebody and he may work through Dave, but if I try to make it happen, then Dave feels manipulated and controlled and pretty soon he resents me. Come on, is anybody home out there today? But if I go to God and God puts it in his heart, then it's a real thing coming out of his Spirit and things begin to change. You need to be careful if you're always getting mad at other people because they're not making you feel good about yourself.

You say, "Well, shouldn't people encourage me"? Yeah, but I'm telling ya, you gotta go to God. God is insulted when we bypass him and try to make people give us what God wants us to get from him. God wants our security to be in him, in him, not in anything else. So Philippians chapter 3, verse 3, "For we Christians are the true circumcision, who worship God in Spirit and by the Spirit of God and we exult and glory and pride ourselves in Jesus Christ". Now he's already saying our total worth and value is in Christ. See, we have to realize that we're what I call everything nothings. We're everything in Christ and nothing without him. "And we put no confidence or dependence on what we are in the flesh and on outward privileges and physical advantages and external appearances".

Wow, you know, we could stay right there all day and not ever have to go on to anything else. How much confidence do we put in the way we look or don't look? "Oh, my gosh, I gained 3 ounces, I probably can't go out today". "I have a pimple, everybody's gonna see it". So we put a pound of makeup on it and then they sure enough see it. We're just too caught up in ourself. You know, there's a new thing happening today that I only just found out about about 6 weeks ago: selfies. I mean, I guess I'm behind times. See, you all know but 6 weeks ago I didn't even know what that was. And I was talking to a friend of mine and she said, "Yeah, there are 450 million selfies uploaded every day". Now a selfie is when you sit around, you take pictures of yourself and post them on Facebook. Pictures of yourself eating. I said, I'm confused. I have spent the last 37 years trying to die to self. Have I been doing it wrong? Now it seems like in our society today it's all about self again.

Now don't throw stones at me, I realize it's a social media thing but, you know, there is something behind some of this stuff also that I would even think that everybody out in the world wants to see what I'm doing all day or cares. And we have to be very confident, very careful in this media-driven society that we don't get too caught up in checking our Facebook every 5 minutes to see how many likes we've had. You better be careful if you start looking, you put a picture up and then 5 minutes later you're wanting to see how many people liked it and if not enough people liked it, now you're bummed out all day and feeling insecure.

Come on, how many of you know that this is becoming a problem with people? It really is. So I tell you the truth. You know what? Obviously we have Facebook at the ministry. I could not tell you how many people like me and don't on a daily basis. I could not tell you unless somebody happens to tell me at the office. I don't know how many people that we have. I'm not getting into all that because I'm not gonna let my worth and value by tied up in that. I know that I'm a child of God and I know that he can make anybody like me if he wants to but I can't make anybody like me, amen? And all the pictures you see of me out there, I didn't take them. Like I said, you know, don't get mad at me. You're like, "Well, I don't see anything wrong with it. I'm enjoying it, I'm having fun".

Well, all I'm asking you to do is just dig a little bit deeper, have all the fun you want if you can do it and not get your worth and value out of it and you can put all those pictures of yourself up on internet and you know that it's not pride based. I mean if you know that and your heart's right before God, upload all day long. But my job as a teacher of the word and a minister of the living God is to help people walk before him humbly, confidently knowing who they are in Christ and to not get caught up in everything that's going up and down the street out there because not everything going on out there is of God.

So Paul purposely said, "I put no confidence, no dependence on what I am in the flesh on outward privileges". What neighborhood I come from, what level of education I have, what school I went to, what position I have at work, what title I have at work. Doesn't really matter if you're a ditchdigger or a doctor. The only thing that matters is if you're in Christ. That's all that matters, amen? And then Paul goes through a big, long discourse here that I'm not gonna get into. But Philippians chapter 3 is a wonderful, wonderful chapter in the Bible that's worth everybody digging into and really getting some revelation on. Paul goes through here and he talks about all the privileges that he had, fleshly privileges. I mean he was educated, a pharisee of pharisees, you know, just, I mean, the cream of the crop in everything, respected, well thought of. And he said, "I consider it all to be dung, trash, compared to the privilege of knowing him as my Lord and Savior". And he said, "What I want is to be known and found in him, not having any righteousness of my own but only that righteousness".

You know the only reputation we really need to want is the one God gives us. God can take care of your reputation without you letting people control you and without you living under the tyranny of constantly being afraid that you're not gonna do everything just right because you won't and I won't either. And then, of course, one of the best things Paul ever said in verse 10, "For my determined purpose is to know him". Wow. "And the power of his resurrection that lifts me out from among the dead even while I'm in the body". There's such riches in those verses of scripture. Do you know how freeing it is to not have to need all that stuff anymore? He whom the Son has set free is free indeed.

Now to be insecure means to be unstable, uncertain, lacking confidence, unsure, shaky, and unsound. And a lot of this indecision and fear of making mistakes, fear of stepping out, comes from the fears that we have about ourselves. They come from looking too much at yourself and your own flaws and inabilities instead of looking at the one who loves you and has called you and has promised to always be with you. Let me tell ya something, you can do unbelievably amazing things if you'll just follow God, just follow God. Now let's look at numbers chapter 13 beginning in verse 27. You know, I started to say these are very familiar scriptures but to be honest, they're only familiar to people that have heard them. And I have to keep in mind that these auditoriums and the people watching from television, there's multiplied millions of them who have never heard anything like what we're talking about who are walking in darkness, and it's our job to shed light.

So numbers 13:27, "They told Moses, we came to the land to which you sent us: surely it flows with milk and honey and here's the fruit. But the people who dwell there are strong, the cities are fortified and very large: and moreover, there we saw the sons of Anak of great stature and courage. Amalek dwells in the land of the south (the Negeb): the Hittite, the Jebusites, the Amorites dwell in the hill country: the Canaanite". I always like to say, you know, we've all got our own ites. "Well, God, I know what your word says but there's the canaanites, and the jebusites, and the parasites, and the Hivites and the, you know, there's the backache-ites, and the grouchy boss-ites, and the little house-ites, and the not married-ites, and the no money-ites. So I know what you said, God, but I look around and I see all these giants".

Come on, we're not supposed to be afraid of giants. We're supposed to be giant killers. Stop acting like that everything is more than you. You're more than anything that comes against you with God on your side. "Well, but I'm afraid". You know what? The only way you're gonna get over it is to get some experience with God. You gotta get out in the boat. "Well, what if I sink"? Well, what if you do? You'll get picked up, get in the boat, get dried off and try again. Verse 30, two brave men. "Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, let's go up at once and possess the land because we are well-abled". Whoo, I love that kind of a spirit. "But his fellow scouts said, we're not able to go up against the people because they're stronger than we are. So they brought the Israelites an evil report of the land which they had scouted out, saying, the land through which we went to spy is a land that devours its inhabitants. And all the people that we saw there are men of great stature". Now here it comes. "There we saw the Nephilim or giants, the sons of Anak, who come from the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight".

You know, they didn't even refuse to go against the giants because the giants were big. It was the way they saw themselves. It wasn't seeing the giants. It was the way they saw themselves. What do you think of you? Do you like you? Do you have a good relationship with you? I taught a few weeks ago on loneliness and I said, "You know, there's so many lonely people in the world," but the truth is if you enjoy being with yourself, you don't ever have to be alone. If you don't have anybody to go shopping with, go with you. If you don't have anybody to eat with, eat with you. It's more than likely that you're one of the best people you'll ever know in your whole life, you just haven't figured it out yet. I get along quite well with myself. I don't argue with myself at all. Whatever I want to do, self says, "I'm for it".

Well, one of the chapters in "Living courageously" is called, "Right and wrong fears". Another one is about phobias, and we're gonna talk about those two today. How can we have a right fear? Well, obviously, it's healthy to be afraid to stick your hand in the fire. It's healthy to be afraid to jump out in the middle of water that's way over your head if you don't know how to swim. There's a lot of things that are healthy and it's healthy to have a reverential fear and awe of God. Actually, I believe that we don't hear enough about the fear of the Lord and that doesn't mean to be afraid of God. You don't have to be afraid of him. He's not an angry God, although he can get angry, he's not angry, and he loves you and he wants good things for you. And even when you make mistakes or you do things wrong, you don't have to be afraid of God, but that reverential fear and awe is more of a respectful fear that says God is God. He's all powerful, all knowing. He's completely good, and I want to respect him enough to do whatever he wants me to do and, yes, in a right way be afraid to not obey God, not because he's gonna beat you over the head if you don't, but just because you believe he's wise and he knows the best thing for your life, and he's trying to lead you into something that's gonna be good for you.

So, we want to have that healthy fear, that reverential fear of not obeying God. But then there's all kinds of wrong fears. If you look up "Phobias" in a dictionary or you look up "Phobias" on the internet, it is amazing the never-ending list of things that people are afraid of. I mean, heights, and water, and I mean the dark, the light, people. It's just it's amazing to me. Some of the things are just really, really, really unique. And we don't make fun of those people. We understand and we say, "If you've got a unique fear like that in your life, then by all means, we want to help you overcome that. The good news is, is you don't have to live trapped in some kind of phobia that doesn't even make any sense to you, you don't even know how you got it or how to get rid of it.

One of the things that I believe is the first steps that we can take is confessing right things out of our mouth. So, instead of continuing to say, "I'm afraid of this, I'm afraid of that, I'm afraid of this," start saying, "By faith in God, I will not fear. I'm not afraid of the this. I'm not afraid of that". You say, "Well Joyce, I am afraid of it". Well, you feel afraid, but you don't have to be afraid. You see, if we know who we are in Christ, then we can be who we are in him even though we might feel something that is fear or guilt. You know, I can feel guilty and yet know by the word of God that I'm not guilty. And so, when I feel guilty if I know that I've repented and I know that I've asked God to forgive me, then many times I say, "You know, I really don't care how I feel because I know that I'm forgiven". And you'd be amazed what'll happen in your life when you start taking some authority and you stop just bowing down to every little feeling that you have.

So, I really want to encourage you to get this book on living courageously. I really believe that no matter what kind of fear you have in your life, that you can get help from this book, "Living courageously". I may not discuss in detail the specific fear that you have, but fear is the principle that if you learn how to do things afraid and how to confront it. One thing is for sure, you never overcome fear by fearing. You never overcome fear by backing down or cowering under it. The only way you can ever conquer it is be going forward, facing it, and doing whatever you need to do even if you have to do it afraid.

You know how you learn how to hear from God? By experience. You know how you learn how to be led by the Spirit? You step out and find out. "Whoops, that wasn't God. Whoo, not gonna do that again". You know how I found out what I was called to do in ministry? I just started doing stuff. One of the first things I did was, I went on the streets of downtown st. Louis with a group from my church on Saturday morning with my three little kids at the time and Dave and passed out Gospel tracts and I hated it. Didn't want to do it, didn't like being cold, didn't enjoy the rejection I got from people. Then I tried working in the nursery. Well, that only took two weeks and me and the kids both knew I wasn't anointed for that. I tried cleaning my pastor's house, that wasn't cool either 'cause I wasn't all that big on cleaning my own. And then I had to face the fact that I was only trying to clean his to impress him and get into his good graces.

Come on, now. But then I started to teach. Man, I love telling other people what to do. That's just, I would say I'm only joking but really I'm totally not so, but see, if you are anointed to be a teacher, you are gonna enjoy giving other people direction. There's nothing wrong with that as long as you're not trying to control people. The only way we're gonna find out what God is saying is to step out. Can't be afraid to take a step. You can't be so afraid of making a mistake that you won't ever do anything. The worst thing in the world that can ever happen to you is not making a mistake and everybody knowing it. The best thing to do is just say nice and clear and boldly, "I made a mistake". It won't kill you. "I thought I was hearing from God, but I wasn't. I made a mistake. I was wrong. That was the wrong thing for me to do". And then use it as a life lesson to not do that again.

Well, I love Joshua chapter 1. First of all he starts out in verse 2 and he says to Joshua, who was gone be anointed to take Moses's place, "Moses is dead," which Joshua already knew because they'd already been mourning him for 30 days. But it was like a statement, things are about to change. "That's over, now we're gonna do this". But Joshua didn't know what the this was yet. "So now arise, get up". That's the first thing you gotta do if you're gonna do anything in life is get up. The first place you get up is on the inside. You get some holy ghost oomph and you get up on the inside and you have a conversation with yourself. "I'm not gonna lay around and be lazy and be a purposeless person all my life. God has got something for me to do and I am tired of other people running my life. I'm tired of being afraid. I'm gonna get up and I'm gonna confront this fear and I'm gonna live a life that's worth living".

And that is not something that anybody else can do for you. You have to do it for yourself. There's something down on the inside of every person that they will reach down and get hold of it, they can be an amazing success. But those people who will never reach down and take hold of it, there's nothing you can do to help them. "So now arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land which I am giving to them". And verse 3 is such a key verse here. "Every place upon which the sole of your foot shall tread, that have I given to you". Now watch this. God's saying, "Look, I've already told you that land is yours". God's already decided about you. God has a good plan for you. God's already decided he sent Christ who said, "The thief, the devil comes only to kill, steal and destroy". But Jesus said, "I came that you might have and enjoy your life and have it in abundance to the full until it overflows".

God has already decided. We're not waiting for God to decide what our future's gonna be. "I know the thoughts and plans I have for you, thoughts and plans for your welfare, to do you good in your final outcome". God wants us to be confident, to be bold, to not be afraid. So, God's part is already done. He said, "I've given you the land". Now he says, "Every place on which the sole of your foot shall tread". So, what's the message? It's all yours now go take it. "Well, I'm praying. I don't have anybody to help me. I have a broken past. I didn't get treated fairly in life". That's all just the devil just trying to keep you in that wimpy, pitiful, pathetic place where you just sit around being wounded all your life. And God's saying, "Get up. Get up on the inside. Get up on the outside. I've already paid for you to have an amazingly wonderful life, now you start taking steps in faith and every place on which the sole of your foot shall tread that's yours".

God is no respecter of persons. He has no favorites, but I think God gets pretty excited about bold people that will not be denied. Did you hear me? Bold people that say, "I am going to press in with the grace and the help of God and be all that God wants me to be. I am not gonna be held back by my past. I am not gonna let other people rule my life. I am not gonna let what you think of me determine what I think of me". I feel faith rising. You have any idea what would happen in this crazy world that we live in today if everybody who calls themselves a Christian would actually get up and act like one? I mean, we'd see our country turn around. It would be so fast, it would be amazing. People would start wanting what we have instead of laughing at us and thinking we're a big joke. Let me tell ya something, it's not wimpy. Being a Christian is not a crutch that you lean on. To be a real Christian in the world we live in today takes a lot of guts, and I'm not talking about just going and hiding on a church pew. I'm talking about living the life.

Verse 5, "No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you: I will not fail you or forsake you". You know, there's so many lessons in every one of these verses. I mean can you imagine how Joshua felt being told that he was gonna take Moses's place? I mean, that had to be just like, "You gotta be kidding, Moses? Moses"? God never told him to go be like Moses. He said, "As I was with Moses, so I will be with you". You get it? Sometimes I hear people say, "I'm gonna be the next Joyce Meyer". Well, I hope not. I really hope that that's not your goal is to be me or to be somebody else. If I can be a good example, I think that's great, but if you're gonna want to do anything at all, say, "I want to do more than she did". I love Jeremiah chapter 1, verse 4, "Then the word of the Lord came to me Jeremiah, saying". See, God talks to his people. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew and approved of you as my chosen instrument". Before he was even born, before he did anything right or wrong, God said, "You're my man". "And before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you: and I appointed you as a prophet to the nations".

You know if God has put his hand on you and separated you for something, you are wasting your time ever trying to do anything else in thinking you'll be happy doing it. "Then said i, ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I'm only a youth. But the Lord said to me, say not, I'm only a youth: for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, that you shall speak. Be not afraid of them their faces, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord". Jeremiah's having the same conversation with God that most people do. Moses had the same conversation with God. "You got the wrong man. I'm not eloquent. I stutter. The people aren't gonna believe me," on and on and on. God finally got mad at Moses and Moses finally got around to obeying. Jeremiah kept looking at himself. Look at verse 17, I love this. "But you Jeremiah, gird up your loins"!

Now we don't understand that phrase today because it's not something that we deal with but basically I mean, in the natural they wore long robes and so they meant to gather them all up and stick them all up here where it wasn't in your way. But the spiritual side of that is to get all the doubt, and the unbelief, and the indecision, and the fear out of your way and stand up and be the person that God has intended you to be. Gird up your loins. Make up your mind. Don't faint in your mind. If you need to make a decision and you've done the best that you can do to hear from God and you've waited on God and God is not saying anything, then it must mean that he wants you to do what's in your heart. Now, I know that scares some people silly. It's like, "Well, no, I have a word from God". I'm just almost finished with this book by Dallas Willard on hearing God and I don't think he would mind if I read a couple things out of his book so I want you to listen to this. "There will be many times in which God does not send a particular word. What then are we to do? In general it is God's will that we ourselves should have a great part in determining our path through life. If God is not saying anything to you, then he is saying, 'my will for you in this case is that you decide on your own.'"

See, you're even afraid to think that could be true. Now, you know, I learn a lot watching people. I see, and it's like... Is it possible that you'll make a mistake? Yeah, it could even be highly likely. But that's how we learn. That's how we learn. Learn to follow peace. Learn to follow wisdom. Use common sense. Know the word of God. Don't try to kick a door down. Press gently and see if it opens. Don't get into works of the flesh. If your frustrated about what you're trying to do, then maybe that's God saying, "My hand is not on this. Back off and wait". We're always waiting for angels to appear or trumpets to blast and somebody to come up and... You know, recently I was at this little function, and a lady said, "Oh, I just got invited to come to this two hours ago, and I'm here tonight because you're gonna have a word for me". I can't stand it when people do that to me. I don't have like this magic button, you know, that I can just, "Oh this is what God wants you to do".

And you know what? People who tell you that they do... Now I'm not saying that God doesn't give words to people through people, but you can't go around depending on that all your life. You don't want to be doing that. And even then any word that somebody does give you, test it, test the fruit of it. If it doesn't agree with your spirit, then say, "No, thank you. I'm not gonna go to Africa because you said I'm supposed to". My will for you in this case is that you decide on your own. Listen, God is preparing us for a life of initiative. How boring would it be if we cannot be involved in our own life, if we gotta wait all the time for somebody else, even if it's God, we gotta wait all the time. You know when kids are little, you tell them, "Don't do that. Don't do that. Do this. Do this. Don't do that. Don't do that". You know, that would wear me out if I had to do that with my grown children now. Come on, God wants us to know his heart and get about his business. You pray about everything. You keep your ways before God. You're ready to change anything that God tells you to change. You change plans. You change direction the moment that God tells you to. But if God isn't saying anything, which we all know is the case a lot of times.

How many of you just wish God would talk more than what he does, that he would just...? Listen, I remember the first time that I heard God say in my heart. I was like, "God, what do you want me to do? What do you want me to do? God, I don't know what to do. What do you want me to do"? And I literally heard in my spirit, "Do what you want to". I was like, "That can't be God. That cannot be God. God never just let you do what you want to". Well, let me ask ya, if he's given us his heart and put his spirit in us, then who's saying that what I really feel in my heart is not the heart of God? We have the mind of Christ. We do hold the feelings, thoughts, intents and purposes of his heart. We're connected, amen? That's what it means to be in union with God. We're hooked up on the inside, connected. We don't have to have a word all the time. We follow the spirit. We follow peace. We follow was wisdom.

And thank God for those special words and conversations and directions. I get that all the time, but there's a lot of times when I don't get it. Don't even think you're gonna be led by God if you don't know the word. I said, don't even think you're even remotely qualified to follow God and to think you can hear this voice if you don't know the word. This is our safety net right here, the word of God. But the word of God doesn't tell me what kind of car to buy. It doesn't tell me who to marry. It doesn't tell me if it's the right time to buy a new house. The word of God doesn't tell me these things. God lets me be involved in those things in my own life. He lets me make those decisions based on wisdom, based on common sense, based on whether or not I have peace. God wants you to be involved in your own life, stop being afraid to make decisions. Don't be double minded. Do everything you can to hear from God. Then if you need to decide and you still haven't heard, make a decision and do something lest you do nothing. Because in making a decision, you will either walk on water or sink.

Acts chapter 16, I want to show you how the apostles lived. "And Paul and Silas passed through the territory of Phrygia". I had to ask somebody smarter than me how to pronounce that today. Then I was still getting it wrong and he had to say, "No, think of refrigerator, Phrygia," 'cause I would have called it Phrygia, and look, God's using me. I'm not a scholar, but I got common sense. "So Paul and Silas passed through the territory of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the word in the province of Asia". Now, what does that mean? Does that mean that God told them not to go? No, I believe they tried to go and it didn't work. You're like, huh? "And when they had come opposite Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia," I'm probably crucifying all them, too, "But the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them".

They tried to go in and God didn't permit them. So, they tried to do something else, and God didn't permit them. And they tried to do something else, and the Holy Spirit blocked them. Do you see what I'm seeing here? They didn't just go sit somewhere and wait for an angel to appear and tell them what to do. They tried to do stuff and if God was anointing it, they did it and if he wasn't, they backed off. "So passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas". And I love this. "And there a vision appeared to Paul". And then he got specific instructions for what he was supposed to do. Get your life out of park. Let's get it in overdrive. Certainly get it out of reverse. If you're supposed to be looking behind you, you'd have eyes in the back of your head, not just the front. Get your life in overdrive and start saying, "I'm gonna confront these fears. I've done the best that I know how to do to hear from God. I've waited on him. I've asked for his direction and now I'm gonna take a step in the direction that I believe that I feel in my heart is right". And take a baby step.

You know, you don't have to go dive off the diving board into the deep end. Just get into some wading water first, you know? He says in this book that I'm reading, and I wholeheartedly agree with this and have been sharing this for years that, how do people learn how to hear from God? One way and one way only, by experience. You have to just try some stuff. They tried to go here, it didn't work. They tried to go there, and it didn't work. Looks like they tried like four different places and then whoops, all of a sudden, Paul ended up in the right place and got that specific word from God, knew exactly what his... Well, what if Paul would have stayed home on his couch? Are you with me? "Well, what you are you doing Paul"? "I'm waiting the hear from God". Don't be afraid anymore.

You know, I'm not saying be silly. Pray, think, get advice if you want to, but make sure if you're gonna ask somebody for advice that you ask somebody that's not doing already a lousy job running their own life. If you want to get counsel from somebody wise, you can do that but most people don't even know what they're doing, let alone be qualified to tell you what to do. So, let me just close with this, are you doing nothing in fear or something in

Don't let fear keep you from living the life God intended you to have. God gets really excited about bold who are determined to step out in faith and have his best in their life. You know, we always offer you the word because that's the only thing that is gonna change us. The word of God is food for our spirit and that helps us to walk in the Spirit and to do what the Spirit of God is asking us to do.
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