Joyce Meyer - Sensitivity To The Holy Spirit
So we've been teaching this weekend about the Holy Spirit and the present-day ministry of the Holy Spirit. And the more I teach along these lines, the more I feel really good about it and the more I feel that I probably need to do it even more and more and more. Jesus said, "If I go away, you're gonna be better off because I'm gonna send you a Comforter. I'm gonna send you the Holy Spirit". And the Holy Spirit has a lot of real practical ministries in our life on an everyday basis.
The Bible says that he's our Comforter. He comforts us when we're hurting. He's our Counselor. He counsels us when we don't know what to do and we need help. Don't run to people first. Always go to God first and ask for his wisdom. Don't get mad at somebody else because they're not giving you the comfort that you need. Go to the Comforter and then He'll use whoever he wants to to comfort you, but then it will be a holy word of comfort, not just something that really doesn't mean anything. He's our Helper. Well, we understand that. We all need help. Our Intercessor. He helps us pray when we don't know how to pray as we ought to. He knows the mind of God. He puts things on our heart to pray and he also prays through us and for us. He's our Advocate, our lawyer who stands before the bar of justice and pleads our case. Our Strengthener. My goodness, we all need strength. Our Standby. He stands there just in case there's an opening in our life so he can help us. He comes into close fellowship with us.
Jesus was with the disciples but he said, "I'm gonna send you a comforter who will be in you. And like I've been saying, with is good but in is better. You don't get any closer than in. Also the Bible teaches us that the Holy Spirit is the Teacher, that he guides us into all truth and that he even brings things to our remembrance when we need to know them. I don't know about you, but I need some Holy Ghost help with my memory on some days, and so I'm grateful that the Holy Spirit... and I trust God for that. I mean I believe that scripture. Not only in that but in spiritual recall when I'm ministering, and I need scriptures or examples and they come to me by the Holy Ghost.
Let me tell you something, hanging out with the Holy Ghost is a wonderful, wonderful adventure. We should be just completely filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 3:16 says that, "We can be strengthened with all might and power in the inner man and have spirit-filled personalities". I love that. And then it even goes so far as to say that we can know God in such a way that we can become just bodies, bodies, holy filled and flooded with him.
So now we've also found out that all though it's not something we probably would want to do if we really understood it and knew what we were doing, that we can grieve the Holy Spirit or we can also quench the Holy Spirit or hinder the Holy Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit is so amazingly valuable to us and the anointing that he provides, which is his enabling power and his presence in our life is so amazingly... how many of you are beginning to understand how valuable that is to you, how we must have the presence of the Holy Spirit? I'm telling you, one touch from God can keep you going for a month. I mean, just one little, special touch from God can just strengthen you and energize you in such an amazing way.
And if we take time to wait on God, we're gonna experience more of that. I believe that many of you, because you've taken time to be here at this conference, you have had a real touch from God and you are going to go home and you feel energized, you feel refreshed. And boy, it's like you stopped here and you got your tank filled up and now you're gonna go back. I mean, you're ready to face the world again. And so that's the Holy Spirit that is strengthening you. So since the Holy Spirit is so amazingly valuable, the third person of the Trinity actually God himself manifested as power, we do not want to grieve the Holy Spirit. We do not want to vex, sadden or offend the Holy Spirit. And Ephesians 4:30 says that we can do that through wrong talk, just foolish, silly, sinful corrupt, polluted talking. It grieves the Holy Spirit when we say unkind things about other people. Gossip grieves the Holy Spirit. Complaining and murmuring grieves the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that we can grieve the Holy Spirit through anger, through bitterness, through resentment, through rage and all kinds of poisonous, wrong attitudes.
I don't know if you know it or not but my attitude and your attitude is very important to God. Hello. Then it talks about in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 talks about hindering the Holy Spirit and there's ways that we do that, not helping people, not being thankful, different things like that. So we are to be led by the Spirit and if we are led by the Spirit, then we're not gonna grieve the Spirit, we're not gonna quench the Spirit because we're gonna be walking in obedience to God. Being led by the Spirit means walking in obedience to God.
Now under the Old Covenant, they were led by laws and rules and regulations and it was a hard life. And every time they broke one of those, they had to sacrifice some animal, sacrifice something, some kind of a sacrificial offering to not get rid of the awareness of those sins, but it covered their sins. And so we have a new system since Christ has come, called the new covenant. Our sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west. We remember them no more. They're not covered. They're washed completely, removed. And it's a continual process that goes on and on and on in our life. Aren't you glad that God's never gonna run out of forgiveness? That's oh, that's such good news, such good news.
So one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is he convicts us of sin. I'm grateful that the Holy Spirit lets me know when I'm doing something that God doesn't like because I'm a little dense sometimes and sometimes I could just be doing something and going along my merry way and not even be realizing that it was wrong. I spent years going to church and then going out with my friends after church on Sunday gossiping about the pastor. I didn't have any awareness that that was wrong. Now you laugh at me if you want to, but you've done the same thing. I know why you guys laugh. "Well, that sermon was this... And I wouldn't this and I wouldn't that..". So, and then, of course, we all think we would do it better if it was us.
And I had no awareness. Now this is sad, but I had no awareness that it was wrong. Why? Because I not really hooked into the Holy Spirit. I wasn't being led by the Holy Spirit. I was totally, completely carnal. Although I was saved and born again, I was completely carnal. Do you know that it is very possible to be born again but still walking in the flesh? Well, there is a result that comes from that and it is misery. We are miserable when we walk like that. There is another result, we are not a blessing or a benefit to anybody else, and we are a pathetic representation of what it means to be a Christian. Amen?
So after having a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit, really beginning to learn the word, now I mean, I don't have to be very far at all into a conversation that is not pleasing to God and I know it just like that. And I mean, I've had to stop more than once in the middle of something and say, "Wait a minute, I shouldn't be saying this. Just... I'm sorry. Forget it". And it's good for us to embarrass ourselves and do that from time to time. And honestly, when you fall deeply in love with Jesus enough, you will do anything in order to be obedient to him. He said in John 14, "If you love me, you will obey me".
Now, I think we can take that two ways, my level of obedience shows my level of love for God. But also loving him always equates into obedience. And so really sometimes if you're having trouble with your behavior, the way to fix it is to just go spend more time with God because the more you hang out with him, the more you're not gonna want to grieve him or vex or sadden him. Thank God there's an answer besides just trying and struggling with myself and trying to make myself do what's right. So he convicts us of sin and he convinces us of righteousness. We now don't have to follow laws and rules and regulations. There's no rule that says I have to pray one hour a day and I have to read so many chapters of the Bible every day, and I must do this and I must that and I must do this this, that that and something else.
We know, according to the guidelines of the word, that all those things are good for us prayer is good for us, but I can just pray till I'm finished. I can pray led by the Holy Spirit. One day I might pray 2 hours, the next day I might pray 5 minutes. One day I might early in the morning, the next day when I'm having my time with God, maybe I don't get into that much prayer and I find myself just praying my way through the day. Listen, when you hang out with the Holy Spirit, life never gets boring. Being a Christian does not get boring because everything is not the same thing day after day after day after day after day after day after day.
Now, romans 8:14 says a very important thing. It says, "All who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God". Now, sons represents maturity. You notice it doesn't say, "All that are led by the Spirit of God are the babies of God". They are the sons of God. So spiritual maturity means that I'm no longer walking my own way. I'm no longer doing my own thing. I'm no longer waking up every morning and just having my own plan and then just doing my own thing all day long. And every time something doesn't go my way, now I'm getting upset. I may get up with a plan, but I submit my plan to God and I say, "God, if this is not your plan, then change it. If I'm in your way, move me out of your way. Your will be done. Your will be done".
We must have an understanding that disobedience grieves the Holy Spirit. But I think it's even easier to understand this if we realize and accept the truth, and I want you to hear what I'm gonna say. Everything, everything that God in his word tells us to do or not to do is for our benefit and our good. We're never gonna do it if we don't believe that. I said, we are never gonna do it if we don't believe that. Everybody today wants to know, "What is the takeaway for my life? What am I gonna get out of this"? It's very hard to sell anything today if you can't tell people what they're gonna get out of it. Even to exercise, we want to know, "Well, what am I gonna get out of it". Well, you're gonna look better, feel better, live longer, good health, okay. "You know well, if I eat right, what am I gonna get out of it"? Well, you're gonna feel better on and on and on.
We all want a takeaway. So what is our takeaway from studying the word and living an obedient life? It's not just God being a mean ogre trying to boss us around all the time and not let us do the things we want to do. That's not what this is about. It's God saying, "Look, if you do this, your life is gonna be blessed and if you don't, things are not gonna work out right". God knows what works and what doesn't. God sees the end from the beginning. And we may be over here somewhere thinking boy, wow, this is the thing to do, but we haven't seen what that thing is gonna create. Right now, we may be emotional about it and that may be whoo-hoo, yeah, yeah.
Okay, let's just say we've got a lonely woman who's desperate to get married. Let's just say maybe she's about 45 now and so she's afraid she's gonna be alone all of her life. So mr. Good-looking so-and-so comes along, well, let's just even say he's maybe not quite as good looking as she would have hoped but now she's, you know, she's ready to compromise a little bit. And, you know, she started out wanting a spiritual giant, but, well, actually the truth is, he's not even really saved but, he likes her and she's just real sure if she can snag him that she can change him after they get married. Now, here's what happens, if that woman is really hooked in with the Holy Spirit, no matter what her emotions are like, no matter how much her thinking tries to drive it away, there's a little thing right down in here called the still, small voice of God. Just a little sick feeling, a little like just a little bitty, sicky, yucky, just... and you know what it is really? It's like you know you know that you shouldn't do it. You know that you shouldn't do it.
Okay, it's not God sitting up in heaven saying, "Well, I just want you to be miserable and lonely all your life so, you know, I don't want you marrying that guy". No, it's God saying, "You don't know what you're getting into. He's not gonna change after you marry him. He will change, he will act worse". And, of course, I'm not saying that nobody ever changes after you get married, but I'm saying that you gotta go by what's in here. You gotta go by the leading of the Holy Spirit. Well, you see God not only sees the fact here that you're emotional and lonely and want to get married, but he sees all these years in between and that's why he's over here knowing the end from the beginning and saying, "Don't do it. Please don't do it. Don't do it. Wait on me. Wait on me for the right situation".
So it's so important that we begin to trust the Holy Spirit. And you need to get to where you trust that discernment that you have in your spirit. I mean, some of you, you know, women sometimes get this thing on them where they get this ideal thing that they weren't to marry and boy, they ain't even talking to anybody that don't fit that standard. And you better just throw your life open to God and say, "Well, I've got some goals here, God, but I want to do what you want me to do". Come on. "I want to do what you want me to do". Because there's some amazing people out there that may not just tickle your fancy the moment you meet 'em, but they've got a lot of depth to them. And people who need to be loved, they need to be loved into wholeness, so we need to learn how to really be led by the Holy Spirit.
Now, we're gonna look at three scriptures that I think are gonna encourage you to believe that if you really will make this step of faith to be led by the Spirit, there is a great takeaway and that takeaway is you have a great life. Hallelujah. Do I have anybody here today that's been following the Holy Spirit long enough to know that God knows more than we do? And the takeaway from being led by the Spirit is joy and peace and righteousness and things just work and there's a flow and there's smoothness. Amen?
Deuteronomy 10:13, "To keep the commandments of the Lord and his statutes which I command you today for your good"? For your good. God says, "Everything that I tell you is for your good". Have you ever said that to one of your kids? "I know you don't understand why I'm not letting you do this, but it's for your good. I know you don't understand why I'm not gonna let you go out and play now, but it's for your good. No son, you can't go play out in the street in the middle of traffic". "No, little Janey, you can't put your hand in the fire, no. It's for your good". Let us trust God that is he is good and he only has our benefit in mind. God didn't create us and bring us here just so he could watch us all be miserable. He's got a good life planned for us and as we follow him, led by the Spirit.
Almost every day I pray, "God, keep me on the straight path that leads away to life and off the broad path that leads a way to destruction". And if you're a partner with this ministry, I'm praying that for you on a regular basis too. I pray that God will straighten out every crooked path in front of you and you'll stay on the narrow path that leads away to life.
Romans 8:8 and 9, "So then those who are living the life of the flesh catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to him". Why? Why is God not pleased? Because he knows it's gonna turn out bad for us. God's not angry because we're not doing everything he tell us to do just because he wants to be a big boss and tell everybody what to do. It grieves him and hurts him when we don't trust him enough to follow his instructions and believe that he knows best for us.
How many of you have gotten far enough along in your walk with God, at least to some degree, where you can pretty much kind of sort of tell when you're doing something God don't like? Okay, so then do I want to ask how many of you obey that and? "Well, I know I shouldn't eat this, but..." "I know I shouldn't put this on my charge account, but... I know I shouldn't say this, but... I know I shouldn't act like this, but..." we just need to stop saying, "Well, I know this, but. I know this, but". What are we saying? "I know that this is a stupid thing to do but I'm a do it anyway and hope I get by with it". Well, you won't. I mean, it's not that there's no mercy, but let me tell you something, we get a lot more mercy when we do something in ignorance than when we do something with our eyes wide open knowing that we're doing it. Every time that you come and hear the truth, you become a little more responsible to need to do what God is asking you to do.
Let's talk about this catering to the flesh for a minute. Have any of you ever been to a catered affair? They're fun, aren't they? We used to have some meetings many years ago where we would do them and have people at tables and have meals before the teaching sessions. And they were catered events. "I need water over here," and somebody'd run with it. "Can I have more coffee"? And somebody'd run with it. They brought the food to us. "I need another napkin," and somebody'd run with it. And it's so much fun. You know, it's fun, isn't it, to go to one of those restaurants where they got a couple of waiters and boy, everybody's just there attentive? And whoo, we like that. But the more you're catered to, the more it shows up in the bill. Now come on, there's a message here. So we can cater to the flesh but lo and behold, the bill will come. You know wisdom makes a hard choice now so it will have a future benefit. Let me say that again, wisdom makes a hard choice now so it will have a future benefit. Carnality does what feels good right now and doesn't care about later on but later on always comes.
Romans 8:9, "But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the Holy Spirit of God really dwells within you directs and controls you". So the only way to live the life of the Spirit is to be led, guided, directed and willingly controlled by the Holy Spirit. Now, how many of you are smart enough to realize that a large majority of believers don't do this and therefore that is why we have such a pathetic witness on the whole, not everybody, in the world? So many millions of people just March off to church and go home and just act however they want to all week and go back to church. And I believe that everybody should be plugged into a good, local church. But I tell ya what, being a Christian is about a lot more than just going to church.
Ephesians 2:10 is a wonderful scripture. In the amplified it's a little bit long, but it really makes a very good point. "For we are God's own handiwork His workmanship, recreated in Christ Jesus, born anew that we may do the good works which God predestined and planned ahead of time for us". So, we are born again, recreated in Christ, that we might do good works. "which he prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them," and watch the takeaway. "Living the good life which he prearranged and made ready for us to live". So, God equips me and enables me by giving me a new heart and a new spirit to want to do good things, then as I do those good things, they automatically turn into this good life that God wants me to live.
So, it's really very simple. The more specifically and radically that we obey God - especially I think we need to practice in little things, because one of the biggest mistakes that we make is we think the little stuff doesn't matter, but honestly, that's where we get our practice for the big things that only come along here and there in life. We need to practice obedience in little things, and I've got a lot of stories about that, but I definitely can't get into telling you them. But that's why I talk about things like putting your grocery cart back where it belongs and not taking home office supplies that don't belong to you, and you know. Don't have time for that today. Set your mind to obey God.
This morning, I set my mind to obey God. "God, your will be done in earth as it is in heaven". That's a very important part of what we call the Lord's prayer. "Your will be done in this hunk of earth. Not just everybody else out there, but in this hunk of earth, your will be done in me as it is in heaven. Here I am, God. I want to do your will today. Use me. Your plan, your will, your way". Setting our mind is extremely important. As a matter of fact, I think it's good to even stay in bed for a few minutes after you wake up and just set your mind in the direction that you want to go in that day, and then pray about it. "Lord, I want to really represent you today. I want to have a spirit-filled personality. I set my mind to obey you today". Setting your mind is the first thing you have to do to have good behavior. And you can set your mind about things that are even coming up way in the future.
Hebrews 10:5-7... "Hence, when he Christ entered into the world, he said, sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but instead you have made ready a body for me to offer". And can I just simply say to you that every day, we need to offer up our body as a living sacrifice to God? That's biblical, by the way. "Offer up your body and all your faculties as a living sacrifice unto God, holy, devoted, and well pleasing to God, which is a reasonable request". God says, "I'm not asking too much". The Holy Spirit lives in us and he wants to work through us. He wants to talk through you. He wants to touch through you. He wants to speak through you. He wants to comfort people through you. Yes, through you. Yes, through you. Through you. Not just the handful of people on the platform in your church, through you, in your neighborhood, where you work, in your schools. Through you. God wants to work through you.
Verse 7, "Then I said, behold," I love this, "Here I am, coming to do your will, o God... to fulfill what is written of me in the volume of the book". I love that. My gosh, just take a moment every morning, lift your hands to heaven, and say, "Here I am, God. Here I am, coming to do your will. Holy Spirit, help me. I can't do it without you. I can't do it without you, but my heart is to obey you. My heart is to do what you want me to do". You know, if you begin to do that every day, man, you're gonna get a mindset, and then when temptation comes, which it will come, you're gonna be able to say, "No, I've already set my mind I'm gonna obey God". And then that will take you through loneliness, it will take you through people judging you and criticizing you because you don't want to run with the crowd and do all the things that they want to do.Let me tell you something, we live in intense
times where the temptation and the deception around us is absolutely unbelievable. Unbelievable. And we have to be full of God's power, knowing the Word of God, because we cannot know the will of God if we don't know the Word of God. We must know the Word of God. One of my favorite things to do is to get up here and hold this Bible up. I absolutely love it. I love to just hold it up here and just let all these people all over the world see that this is where it's at right here, the Word of God. Now, the Bible says, "Faith without works is dead". So, if we have faith, then the natural result of faith is that we're gonna want to do what God wants us to do.
You know, David, the Psalmist David who became king David, is a pretty amazing man. Actually, do you know that there's only one person the Bible talks about more than David, and that's Jesus. And in acts 13:22, there's really an astounding scripture. It says, "And when he had deposed him, he raised up David to be their king: and of him he bore witness and said, I have found David the son of Jesse a man after my own heart, who will do all of my will and carry out my program fully". A man who will do all of my will and carry out my program fully. You know, some of us are willing to do the will of God until we get a little bit of judgment and criticism from our friends and we think maybe we're not gonna be part of the group anymore, then we start backing off.
You say, "Well wait a minute, David didn't do the whole will of God. I mean, he got into an adulterous affair, he had a woman's husband killed". Yes, David did some terrible things, things that someone who knew God like he did should have never done. And then he even covered it for a year, and wouldn't face it, and got into a deeper level of deception. So, how can God say, "Here's a man after my own heart who will do all of my will". Because of this - David had a heart that was passionate to do God's will. Even though he messed up and he failed on several occasions, his heart attitude was, "I want your will," and that's what I'm trying to get across to you today. To be honest, this is really the major thing that I want to deposit with you today is we have to start wanting God's will. Not just hoping that it falls on us or we happen to trip into it, but we want God's will. We pray for God's will and we are willing to do God's will, and then when we fail, we get right back up and start again.
I'll tell you another thing that made David a great man. You listen to me. Now, I want you to listen 'cause somebody's gonna get something from this. Here's one of the things that made David a great man and even a man that God could say, "This is a man after my own heart". He knew how to recover from failure. Well, a few of you are getting it, not all. Think about it. How hard would it be to recover if you did something like what David did? But he understood the power of forgiveness. He understood the power of cleansing. He understood the power of being renewed and restored by God. He understood that when God took care of it, it was taken care of, and he didn't have to keep wallowing in it and letting it ruin the rest of his life. I think it takes a great man or woman of God to be able to trust God enough to fully recover from sin. Amen?
So, you can wallow around in the flesh and just spend the rest of your life feeling guilty if you want to, but you don't have to. And if we really understand the character of God, we know that his mercy is from everlasting to everlasting. "David is a man who will do my will and carry out my program fully, even though he fell in a ditch a few times". Come on. Ooh, I think this is so good today. So good.
Now, James 2:17-18 talks about faith without works is dead. James said, "You cannot show me that you have real faith if you have no works or deeds of obedience to back it up". That's what works are, deeds of obedience. Works of the flesh is me working, hoping to get something from God. God doesn't want that. I don't go and do good works so now God owes me something or now I have favor with God. I get all that as a free gift. I do good works because of what God has done for me. We don't just work, we work the works of God. There's a difference in just getting into works and working the works of God. We want to do what God asks us to do, amen? And he said, "Faith without works," deeds of obedience, "Is dead".
So, let me just put this to you in very simple terms. Faith is just believing. It's believing what the word says enough that we really, truly put our confidence in it and step out on it. If I really, really, really believe that I have been made right with God through the blood of Christ and that my sins can be forgiven and cleansed - if I really believe that, then I will not waste my life living under condemnation. It's taking awhile, but you're getting there. But see, we almost think it's our obligation to feel guilty. That's like a mother who thinks she's obligated to worry about her kids. You cannot find any place in the Bible where it asks you to feel guilty. And see, that seems, like, ludicrous. Like, "Well, I don't know, Joyce. That just doesn't even sound right". You feel repentant. Repentance is one thing: guilt and condemnation is another. The Holy Ghost brings conviction: the devil brings condemnation. There's a huge difference.
And when the Holy Spirit convicts us, we should rejoice. That is a great thing. If we really, really, really believe that harboring unforgiveness, and bitterness, and resentment poisons our lives and that it grieves the Holy Spirit, then we won't do it. Hmm. "Well, yeah, but Joyce, you don't know what they did to me". It doesn't matter what they did. And I don't mean that like your pain doesn't matter, what I'm saying is your only way out is God's plan. There's no other method of recovery other than God's plan. We don't get the devil back by acting like the devil. Come on, now. But we overcome evil with good. It's one of the greatest secrets in the Word of God. One of the greatest secrets in the Word of God, 'cause nothing else works. God's way is the only way that works.
Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life". You know, the life that God offers us in here is not just to breathe, it's life as God has it. The word zoe, zoe life, is life as God has it. Jesus said, "I am the way: walk in this way. I am the truth: follow the truth. And I am the life that you're looking for". The life. If you really believe and I really believe that keeping commitments is important, that keeping our word is important, that doing what we tell people we're gonna do is important, then we'll do it. We'll swear to our own hurt and change not. That's what the Bible says. "Swear to your own hurt and change not". In other words, if you give your word on something, even if it hurts you, and is hard, and it costs you to keep your word, you don't back down and you don't back out.
And I'll tell you what, we live in a scary society today where keeping a commitment means nothing to the majority of people out there. I mean, absolutely nothing. Being obedient in little things. If we really believe how important these things are - when we really believe, then that turns into doing. And so I would just say, if you're having a hard time forgiving, then just go back to the word and start studying everything the word says about forgiveness and let the anointing that's on the word increase your believing, and then when your believing is strong enough, it won't be hard to do it. Our believing dictates our living. When we believe right, we're gonna live right. Are you with me?
Alright, now let's go in just another little direction here for a minute. Why do people find it so difficult to believe? Well, I had a hard heart. People who have been abused usually end up with a hard heart. You get calluses in your personality and on your heart because you're just fed up with being hurt, and pushed around, and manipulated, and used. A lot of rejection from people, people who won't accept you the way you are, who are always trying to make you something you're not, that can give you a hard heart. Come on, now. A lot of disappointment with God can give you a hard heart. And you know, if we get disappointed with God, it's not God's fault, it's because our expectations were weird. Ooh, Jesus!
Just being too involved in the world can give you a hard heart. You gotta be careful about watching too much excessive violence. I mean, I love good mysteries, but there's a lot of things that I have to turn off, look away from. You can't let your heart get hard. And oh, it's a dangerous thing to get a hard heart because we are to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and that's the title of my message today, being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. But see, when we have a hard heart, it's difficult for God to just barely touch us and us get it. Sometimes we have to just get in real trouble in our lives before we realize, "Something must be wrong. Oh, mabel, things aren't going right. What do you think is wrong"?
You know, the Israelites murmured and complained, and murmured and complained, and God kept warning 'em, and warning 'em, and warning 'em, and they murmured and complained, and wouldn't shut up, and wouldn't be thankful, and wouldn't listen to God. And God got tired of it, and a plague got into the camp that they let in, by the way, and 23,000 of 'em fell dead in one day. And then they said, "Oh, we have sinned". Well, what a lovely revelation. Twenty-three thousand people didn't have to die for them to get that. What's gonna have to happen in America before we get it that you're not gonna get rid of God? Come on, what all's gonna have to happen in our schools before we realize that you can't expel God from school? Come on, what all's gonna have to happen before we say, "Oh, we need to return to God".
But see, if we're sensitive to the Holy Spirit - come on now, it's so important to keep a tender heart toward God. If we're sensitive to the Holy Spirit, we get it right away. It's like, "Oop, wait a minute, God doesn't like that. Gonna back off from that". Then I don't have to go down the road of all these years of misery and messes in my life before I realize that God's not happy about what's going on. Come on, give God praise. Let's look at Ezekiel 11:19. Whoo hoo, I love it! "And I will give them one heart a new heart and I will put a new spirit within them: and I will take the stony unnaturally hardened heart out of their flesh, and I will give them a heart of flesh sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God".
Oh, I love that scripture. Wow. I don't have to have a hard heart because of all the junk I went through in my life. I don't have to live ignorant, going around mistreating people and not even knowing that I'm doing it. I did that for so many years. I was so harsh, and hard, and I would just run all over people and say hurtful things to people, and I didn't even know I was doing it. And people would say to me, "Why do you have to act like that"? And I'd think, "Act like what? What is your problem"? I mean, have any of you ever been like that, like, just that far out of it you just, like, didn't get it? It's like, "What is your problem"? But now, man, I know it when I hurt somebody. I know it when I'm starting to say things that I shouldn't say. And if I don't get it right while I'm doing it, man, it's not done 2 or 3 minutes and I'm like, "Oh my gosh". I used to be rude and disrespectful to my husband, didn't have a problem with it at all. Now, man, I feel it. Whoo, I feel it if I do that, and I know that God doesn't want me doing that. And you know what? I'm willing to do whatever God wants me to do in order to protect the anointing that's on my life.
You see, if we value this presence of God in our lives, this closeness of the Holy Spirit, this anointing that's on our life, we will do things that we don't want to do, that we don't think is fair, that we don't think is right, just because we trust God enough to know if that's what God says to do then that's what we need to do.
Okay, now you say, "Well, gosh, I think you nailed me. I think I've got a hard heart". And you know, I'm not talking about, do you cry easily? That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about, are you sensitive to the needs of people around you? When you see a need, can you just close your heart of compassion and just let somebody else do it? Or are we responding? Are we willing to sacrifice something we want or would like to have in order to help somebody else who's really in trouble. You say, "Well, okay, I just have to be honest Joyce. I'm obviously maybe not where I need to be," not that any of us are, so you say, "Well, okay, if I want to turn around here and get going in the right direction, what can I do"? Well, okay, the first thing Jesus says in Matthew 11, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am humble, gentle, meek, and lowly - I am not harsh, hard, sharp, and pressing".
Oh, I love it, love it, love it, love it, love it. He said, "Hang out with me and you're gonna learn what it's like to really get out in the world and have a meek, lowly, humble attitude, and really care about people. I'm not harsh, hard, sharp, and pressing". Jesus could not just walk by a need and not stop to meet it. If you want to get a real education, don't just study the steps of Jesus, study the stops of Jesus. Because he was always traveling somewhere, he always had a goal, he was going somewhere to do something, but he always had time to stop for hurting people.