Joyce Meyer - Psalm 27
Well, thank you for joining us today on "Enjoying everyday life", something I think we all want to do. And, you know, all the principles found in God's word is really what helps us do that. Jesus said that he came that we might have and enjoy our life and have it in abundance to the full until it overflows. And so, today I want to teach you from Psalm 27. It's actually one of my favorite Psalms in the Bible. It had a real profound effect on my own life, and as you know, we've been being diligent to take time on a regular basis to study the word with you, not just read it, but study it, something I'm encouraging you to do on your own.
So, here we go, Psalm 27, "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear or dread"? Let's just take a little pause right there and think for a minute about dread. You know, I think a lot of times we don't think enough about how miserable dreading things makes us. You know, we hear a lot of teaching about fear but, other than my own, I've never heard any teaching on dread, that doesn't mean it's not out there, but dread is a very close relative of fear, and it's useless to dread something that you're gonna need to do anyway.
So, "I dread this, I dread that. I dread the traffic this morning", you know? And so, I think that, that's something that everybody needs to kinda realize that, that's not something that we need to be doing. Really, it's like a big energy drain, I think, when you just dread things. And part of what I've learned to do is when I know that I have something coming up, like a couple of weeks ago, I had a medical test that I needed to go take. Nothing wrong, it was just a thing I needed to do.
And it wasn't a pleasant test and so I can't tell you how many times it came up in my mind, and then I would just say, "You know what, I'm not gonna think about it. I'm just not gonna think about it till the time comes for me to do it", because the Bible teaches us that God always enables us to do what we need to do when we need to do it. But just like he gave the Israelites manna one day at a time, we may be looking today at something we have to do 10 days from now and we might feel overwhelmed by it because the grace is not there yet for us to do it. So, I wonder how many of you watching right now are dreading something, and so maybe just hearing that is gonna help you go ahead and enjoy the day that you have.
So, David not only said, "I will not fear", but he says, "I will not dread". "The Lord is the refuge and stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, and to make me, they stumbled and they fell. Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war arise against me, even then in this will I be confident". So, I just kind of wonder if David was talking about his experience or if he was making some good, positive confessions. I think it was a mixture of both.
And, you know, one thing if you're big on making confessions or confessing the word out loud, which you should be if you work for me because, you know, that's what I like to do. I really believe in the power of confessing the Word of God. I think it helps renew our mind and I think it helps us to be prepared for things ahead. So, maybe David was saying, "Look, I will not fear. I will not dread. Even when my enemies come against me, God will cause them to fall. I will not live in fear".
So, let's just take a moment and let's talk about some things concerning fear because fear really, if you get right down to it, fear just plain torments us. I mean, fear is just absolutely miserable. And actually, the fear that we have of a thing is often worse than actually going through the thing when it comes. So, we can just blow things so out of proportion in our own mind by dreading and fearing. And, of course, the one thing that gives us confidence, which David said, "I am confident", and keeps us from living in fear is knowing that God loves us. Really, if you do a thorough study on the Word of God and you get right down to it, the one main reason that God gives us for not fearing is because, "I am with you. Fear not, for I am with you. Fear not, for I am with you".
And so, keeping in mind that God's with us at all times is something I think we do need to keep in mind because when you can't see someone and in some ways, you know, we don't always think we feel God, but we need to keep in mind, God is with us all the time. And so, something that's a good habit to form, especially if you're going through a tough time, is just even several times a day, just take a little praise pause and say, "God is with me right now", right now. You know, I love something that I heard not too long ago is God is never more than one thought away.
And I love that because we can bring God right into our consciousness at anytime just by thinking God is with me. So, "There's no fear in love", 1 John 4:18, "Dread does not exist, but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and so he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love is not yet grown into complete perfection".
So, really, and none of us really like to hear this, but if we still have fear in our life, then we still have room to grow in having a deeper understanding of how much God loves us. You love your children, you're gonna take care of them to the best of your ability. Well, we're limited in what we can do, but God's not. So, any one of us, if our kids were in trouble and there was something we could do for them, we would absolutely do it. Well, that's because we love them, and we love them not because they do everything right or because they please us all the time, but they're just our kids. And so, God sees us that way. We're his kids and he's always going to take care of us. He may not do what we want him to do in the time-frame that we'd like him to do it, but God will always do what's right for us in every situation.
Joshua 1:9 I love, "Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go". Now, I could really get into a long thing on this 'cause it's one of my favorite things to talk about, but when he says, "Fear not", he's not saying don't feel fear. Fear is always gonna come against us because it's the one main thing the devil uses to stop us from going forward, whatever it might be. And so, he's not saying don't feel fear. Basically if you study this out, fear means to run, to take flight, to run away from. So, he's really saying, when you feel fear, don't run, keep going forward.
So, the only way to conquer fear is to confront it. You can't pray it away. See, we're like, "Oh God, you know, help me not to be afraid, help me not to be afraid". Well, nobody can promise you that you won't feel fear, but if you keep going forward, really, courage is forward motion in the presence of fear. Courage is not, not feeling fear, it's continuing to go forward while you feel the fear. I know a lady very well who was really, like, imprisoned by the fear of flying. Her husband has to fly all the time for business, their kids are grown. He really wanted her to go along, but she just would not do it. She would get on a plane and just get like panic attacks and whatever.
And I tried to talk her through it and I talked to her about do it afraid and it all sounded good and she wanted to do it. Well, you know what? She's completely free now and she goes with him all the time, yes, it involved some of the things we said, but the bottom line is is she had to come to the point where she actually took that step to do it. And she did it again. See, when we're afraid of something, and I'm not suggesting if you're afraid of swimming that you go jump off the deep end of a diving board just to prove you can. But if it's something you need to do or you really want to do, don't let fear imprison you and keep you from doing it.
Well, probably the first time she got on a plane, she might have still felt all that, but I guess the good news was she got where she was going and she was still alive. And so, then the next time, maybe it was just a teeny, tiny better. You know, I think we think sometimes deliverance is, "Boy, I had a big problem yesterday and now I don't have it at all". But really, God delivers us from our enemies, Deuteronomy 7:22 says, little by little. So, sometimes you just gotta keep pressing forward. So, probably don't have any more time to do any more of that. Verse 4, and here we go. This was a life-changing verse of scripture for me.
"One thing have I asked of the Lord, and that will I seek, inquire for, and insistently require: that I might dwell in the house of the Lord in his presence all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in his temple".
Well, in the usual style of the wonderful amplified Bible, which I use, there's lots of big words there. But David's basically saying, "One thing I have to have, I've gotta dwell in God's presence. I have to be in his presence". Now, you know, we hear the phrase sometimes, "Seek God's face, not his hand". And what we can really fall in the trap of doing as Christians is seeking God all the time for what he can do for us to meet our needs when we should be seeking him for who he is. In other words, "God, I would like you to do this for me, however, if you don't, I'll still be okay as long as I have you".
There's nothing that we have to have except God. And so, when we put him first, seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all the other things get added. So, we really defeat ourselves many times because we're seeking what God can do for us and really to tell you the truth, as a young Christian, as a baby Christian, I think we go through a phase of God just doing stuff for us. He's just proving he's a good daddy and that he loves us so he just, I mean if you ever need something, go get a baby Christian to pray for you 'cause their prayers get, you know, really answered.
And I'm not saying that God doesn't continue to want to do things for us, but if your experience is anything like mine, you will eventually reach kind of a turning point in your walk with God where if you keep just going to God for what he can do for you, you may be in for kind of a dry season with God because he wants us to make a transition and come to the point where we actually can say, "God, you know, there's a lot of things in my life I want, but I can do without them, however I cannot do without you".
And so, I love the phraseology that we are to require him as a vital necessity in our life, and you'll see that even a little bit further down in Psalm 27. And so, you know, when you go to the hospital when you're injured or you're hurt, the first thing they check is your vital signs because you gotta have a heartbeat. You gotta be breathing. You gotta have a pulse. And so, we need to realize, "What is vital in my life"? The most vital thing in my life is that I have God's presence, whether I feel it or not, that I have God's presence with me at all times because he said, "Don't fear because I am with you".
Now, there's another whole big story about how I kind of learned all that, that I don't have full time to get into, but he says, "For in the day of trouble, you will hide me in your shelter: in the secret place of your tent you will hide me: and set me high upon a rock. And now shall my head be lifted above my enemies round about me: and in your tent I will offer sacrifices and shouts", and the tent he's talking about is our flesh. "I will offer sacrifices and shouts of joy: I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord".
So, when is he gonna have this victory? When there's one thing that's more important than anything else and that's walking in God's presence, simply spending time with God just to be with him really almost kind of disciplining yourself to have some days or some time in your life where you don't ask God for anything other than just, "God, I need you. And I'm spending with you today just because I need you. You don't have to do anything for me. I just need you".
Now, please understand it's not wrong to ask for God anything. The Bible says, "You have not because you ask not, ask and keep on asking". But I am just saying that if it gets out of balance, then God will have to bring a little correction in our lives. I give an example if my husband had been on a long trip and I met him at the airport and I didn't look at his face at all, I just ran and grabbed his hands and said, "What did you bring me? What'd you bring me"? Well, he would be quite insulted. But if I looked into his eyes, "I'm so glad you're home", his hands would probably be open.
So, I think if we always seek God for who he is, we'll find out that his hands are always open to us to provide what we need. So, then he goes on and he says, "Hear, o Lord, when I cry aloud: have mercy upon me and be gracious to me! For you have said, seek my face inquire for and require my presence as your vital need". See, vital need. "My heart says to you, your face (your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require out of necessity and on the authority of your word. Hide not your face from me: turn not your servant away in anger, you who have been my help! Cast me not off, neither forsake me, o God of my salvation"! And now, verse 10, what a comforting verse of scripture. "Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up and adopt me as his own child".
Now really, if you get over into Galatians and some of the epistles, we're all adopted. We have the spirit of adoption and so, we, God has taken us as his own. But, you know, my mother and father didn't raise me right. Many of you had that experience, many, many people watching by TV today. Maybe your parents could not even keep you for some reason. You were adopted and maybe that's always been an issue for you, but I think that sometimes just looking at something in a proper way can really change the context of the whole thing.
You know, it's people may just get married and have kids, but to me it's like extra special if they go pick one out and say, "I don't have to have you, but I want you". And so, God has chosen us, the Bible says. He has picked us out for his very own. He has adopted us. And so, even though my mother and my father might forsake me or you, we belong to God. And I can tell you what, when you belong to God, that trumps everything else in your life. And so, then he goes on and he says, "Teach me your ways, o Lord, and lead me in a plain and even path because of my enemies those who lie in wait against me. Give me not up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me: they breathe out lies and cruelty". And so then, I love this part.
See, this is like one Psalm and it's got three or four major lessons in it. That's why I'm really trying to get people to study the word and take time, I would rather you take this one Psalm and I don't care if you spend a month on it. If you get out of this what God's trying to give you and it becomes a reality in your heart, that's better to me than reading all the Psalms in the whole Bible. That's why I think that we have to maybe move away from this mentality of just reading the word, and that's a great thing to do, but there's a difference in reading and studying.
You know, reading is like you just gloss over something real quick. And I think as Christians, we have a real bad habit of thinking that if we've read it, we know it. But that is absolutely not true. We don't know anything until we can see it working in our lives. And so, I told somebody just this morning that was having some problems in some areas and I was trying to help them, I said, "You know, I just felt like God wanted me to call you back and tell you there's lots of issues here, lots of things that need to be dealt with in your life, but you cannot deal with all of them at one time. Let's pick two and you stick with those two things. You pray about that, you study in that, you stay before God in those areas". And I said, "To be honest, I don't care if that takes you a whole year, if that's all you do for a whole year is just focus on anger, or not judging people, or whatever".
And I think sometimes we think we have to get it all right overnight and we don't. You know, God's not in nearly the hurry that we are. And so, take time with the Word of God. Take time to study the word and really get the most out of it that you can. And here we go, this is awesome. "What, what would have become of me had I not believed that I would see the Lord's goodness in the land of the living"! You know what? I am so glad that I don't have to wait until I get to heaven to see God's goodness. And I think so many people get caught in that trap, "Well, I'm just trying to make it through till I go to heaven". Well, you know, Jesus didn't die so we could just kind of try to tough it out, and make it through life, and just survive every day. He died so we could have and enjoy our life and have it in abundance to the full until it overflows.
Wait and hope for and expect the Lord. And when we talk about waiting on God, it's a subject that I think we need more teaching in. You see, the word "Wait", if you look up in the original language, what it really means is to look for, long for, and expect God to do something amazing in your life. Hope is the expectation that something good is going to happen to me at any moment. That allows us to live with some excitement. "Wait and hope for and expect the Lord: be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and strong. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord".
I want to end this teaching session today with a story that I think is really good. There was a set of twins, that means two of them, and one was very, very negative and one was very, very positive. And so, they were so different that the mom and dad got concerned and thought they would just take them to the doctor and see what the doctor had to say about it. So, they took them to the doctor that suggested a little test. "For their birthday this year, give the pessimist the best racing bicycle that money can buy. Give the optimist a box of manure". Well, when the day came, the pessimist was led to his bike and said, "Well, I'll probably crash it and break my leg".
See, that's the way sour people are. They find something wrong with everything. The optimist opened his box of manure and after a momentary shock, ran outside looking all around and said, "You can't fool me, where there's this much manure, there's gotta be a pony somewhere". Amen? So, what did we learn today? We learned that we don't have to live in fear or dread. We learned that putting God first, seeking him first, seeking his presence rather than what he can do for us is very, very important. We learned that we're adopted by God so no matter who rejects us, everything's gonna work out all right because honestly if we've got him, then we've got everything we need. And we learned that waiting on God means to expect that something good is gonna happen to you..
Now, today, I requested that we offer you a book that I've written quite a while ago, but thank God the word never gets old. And it's called, "Knowing God Intimately". And see, I think that people are not taught enough that, that's what it means to be a Christian. Jesus didn't die so we could all have a religion. He died so we have an intimate, personal, powerful relationship with God through him. You see, in and of ourselves, none of us has the right to go to God and ask for anything. That's why we go in Jesus' name. He opened up the way for us to have intimacy with God and to talk to him about absolutely anything.
And so, this book talks about having that intimate relationship with God, talks about some of the gifts of the spirit, the Fruit of the Spirit, and I just think it's a really outstanding book. And today, we're offering this to you for your gift to the ministry of any amount and whatever you give today is gonna go to our missions outreaches around the world. Any amount, all we ask is that you do your very best, and I believe that you will do that. And as we close today, remember that there is nothing that can separate us from God's love. God loves you and that's all there is to it, amen. Have a great rest of the day.