Joyce Meyer - Facing New Challenges
Well, thank you for joining us today on, "Enjoying everyday life". You know, the Word of God is so powerful. When we speak the Word of God, it's different than just ordinary words because it's full of God's anointing which means his power and his presence. And, the Bible says that, "The anointing destroys the yoke". And so, I believe that in addition to just hearing a message, you can actually, experience a real breakthrough. Maybe, from something that was said, maybe just the right time in your life and you've been diligent to be spending time with God, and today, maybe the day that you'll get your answer or your breakthrough that you've been waiting for, for a long time.
What I want to share with you this morning is called, "Facing new challenges". I feel like that some of you are gonna be handed new opportunities. And, you know, when somebody gives you an opportunity to do something that you really never even thought that much about, maybe you totally discounted yourself, you didn't even think to think, that you might be able to do that. Or, maybe, it's something you have wanted to do, but it's a little bit scary when you step out into something that you have had no experience with. But I'll tell ya, the people who really succeed in life are the ones who have the courage to do that. And, one thing I'll say and this is probably one of the most important, you will never find out if you're right, if you're afraid of being wrong. Amen?
And, I think so many people are so afraid of being wrong, that they live these little tiny boring lives not because that's their destiny, but because they don't want to get out of the boat. You know, Peter walked on water and that was awesome. But, he had to get out of the boat. Imagine taking that first step outta that boat. Well, I got this message from a scripture in Joshua. Joshua 3:2-4, "At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, 'as soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it'". Everybody say, "Follow it".
So, the ark had the lead. And, the ark represented the presence of God. So, following the ark was equivalent to following the leadership of the Holy Spirit. And, it said, "'Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before'". And so, I think some of you are about to be required, or given an opportunity to pass a way that you've never passed before. For some, and I'm not trying to prophesy any kind of doom, but it could be the challenge of a trial that you just weren't expecting.
Have you ever noticed that every storm is not in the forecast. Sometimes, we're like, "Man, it wasn't supposed to rain today". But, it's raining. And see, Paul said, "I know how to be abased and I know how to abound. I know how to have plenty and I know how to have lack". And, isn't that or at least shouldn't that be the goal of every Christian, to be stable? So, you are the same in hard times as you are in good times. Otherwise, the devil can play games with us all of our life because he has access to our circumstances and if he thinks he can upset us... I always say, "The devil knows us better than we know our self," and he sets us up to get upset. He knows exactly the right buttons to push. And, "Then Joshua said to the people, 'Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you'".
So, let me just say to you, I believe that God is gonna do some very, very wonderful and amazing things in your lives. But, me believing it, won't make it happen. You need to believe it. God believes in you. And maybe, a lot of other people believe in you, but are you willing to believe in yourself, through Christ, of course? Even if we're doing something we've never done before, we will succeed if we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit like they followed the ark. Following the Holy Spirit requires number one: discernment. And, discernment is something that operates in your spirit. It's not head knowledge. It's based on a supernatural knowledge, that many times, you cannot even explain. You just don't know why, you don't have any idea, but you just don't feel right about getting involved with that person. Can't find any reason for it. Everybody else thinks they're great. But, you've just got a little, we call it, "A check".
Well, our first years with the Lord, we're in such a habit of following our head and our feelings that you may begin to get discernment about something but still push it out of the way because you're so accustomed to this old way of living. You know, Jesus offers us a brand-new way of living, but to be honest, it does take us a little while, sometimes a long while... well, I might as well go ahead and say it, all of our lives. I mean, I'm learning things everyday or getting refresher courses in things that I knew at sometime but kinda let go of. So, it requires discernment.
That's something I encourage you to pray for everyday. "God, grant me discernment. I want to be able to discern right from wrong". It requires stepping out, and I highly recommend baby steps. And, if you take one little step and then you wait to see if God blessed it, if it worked. "Am I still alive"? "Is everything still okay"? And then, you might be there for a period of time and then you'll sense God calling you again, or puttin' another opportunity in front of you. Only maybe, a bigger opportunity than you had before, and so, you take another baby step. You see, the people that get in trouble are the ones who just dive in head-first when they don't know how to swim.
So, baby steps. God does not give us a blueprint for our lives. He gives us one day at a time. And, he'll tell us what we need. And, let's just say this, with God, it's a need-to-know basis. And, a lot of times, we think we need to know, but he doesn't think we need to know. And, all you can do is, matter of fact, this was very helpful to me and maybe it'll help you. I don't try to hear from God. I trust God to speak to me. And see, there's a big difference in that because I know God well enough to know, if he has something to say to me, he knows how to make himself known. I may ignore a little feeling that I have. But then, maybe, I turn on a podcast and there it is again, and then, maybe, a friend says the same thing to me. So, God will just keep it up until you say, "Oh, I wonder if that's God"? Amen?
And so, baby steps. It also requires learning how to follow peace. And, if I get that far, we can talk about that a little bit more. And, it requires grace being present on the thing you're trying to do. And so, the Holy Spirit is the spirit of grace, and it basically means, if there's no grace on what we're doing, then it's going to be frustrating and hard. And, you won't just be making a godly effort, you'll be pressing in the flesh, trying to make something happen that just isn't happening. And, that's called, "Works of the flesh". You have grace, but then, the problem side of that is works of the flesh. And, that's my energy trying to do God's job.
So, you really have to learn how to sense grace on something. I mean, here's just a practical example. I've been getting physical therapy for quite a while. For a while, it was for my back. And then, being diligent, doing all of it and my back is good now. And then, I was having some problems with my feet and saw the podiatrist and blah, blah, you know, all that. Had a couple of treatments of this and that. And then, we finally decided, well, we'll do physical therapy for the foot. So, I've got, you know, already the 11 exercises that I do for my back, and now, I'm getting 10 more that I'm supposed to do for my foot. And, my foot's improved a lot. It's not a 100% but improved a lot.
And, you know, I started dreading going. I just didn't want to do it. And, before that, I was fine. And, I just told the girl, I said, "I just really feel like I need a break". And so, I said, "I want to take a few weeks and see how I do. I'll do the exercises at home, and I promise, if I'm still havin' problems, I'll come back and see you again". But, I just felt like the grace was up. And sometimes, that's God's way of telling you, "You're done with this. You don't need to do this anymore". Like one person said, tryin' to be funny, but it's true, "If the horse has been dead ten years, it's time to dismount". Amen? And so, I don't want anything to do with anything that God's grace is not on.
And, I could tell you story after story about that but don't have time for that. We can and should be led by the Holy Spirit because in 1 Samuel 10:6, listen to this, it says, "When the Spirit of the Lord rushes in upon you, you will prophesy with them and you will be turned into another man". So, what happens? When the Holy Spirit comes on you, you can do things that you could never do without him. When the Holy Spirit comes on you, you'll know and sense things that before you woulda been totally oblivious to. The Holy Spirit can enable you to do things that will just be amazing to you, and especially, amazing everybody else.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes God uses some really kind of, "Unique", individuals? You kinda noticed I put the emphasis where it needed to be? And, we think, "Oh, come on, God, why are you using them"? You know why? So, we'll know it's God and not the person. That's why God just uses plain, ordinary people. Now, he uses people that are highly gifted and highly intelligent and, you know, all these different things. But, if you're just kinda middle-of-the-road, all it takes is loving God. If you love God, if you love him and you want his will, God can do something amazing with you. You don't have to be amazing for God to do something amazing through you. And, when you know yourself and your weaknesses and your failures, then even, you know, it's God. So, you're not as tempted to get into pride and start taking God's credit for yourself.
You know, one of the greatest weaknesses that we have, is God's doing something great and we start taking the credit for it, not good. The Lord will do wonders with you. Ephesians 3:20, "Now unto him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think," God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond all that we could ever dare to hope, ask, or think. So, you can be just as bold as you want to in your praying. And, you can ask for things that you're not even sure God could come up with. Because, to be honest, sometimes you need to pray for things that your mind goes, "Tilt, tilt", you know. The Lord will do wonders among you.
I was a victim of sexual abuse, but I never call myself a victim, now. You know why? I'm a new creature in Christ and literally, that little girl that all that happened to, died with Christ when he died and was raised with him when he was raised. And so, that's like somebody I used to know a long time ago. And, I've forgotten far more about her than what I remember. And, God is now using those things. See, God can take your mess and make a miracle out of it. My mess has become my message. I believe that some of you are gonna move into new areas and I want you to be comfortable.
Remember, what I said, "You'll never find out if you're right, if you're not willing to be wrong". I think that's so important because sometimes we are wrong. But, at least, then, you know that's not something you want to do again. A lot of people want to know how to find God's will and I just say, "Start doing something". You'll find out pretty quick what fits you, what works for you, what you're good at. I don't believe God's gonna call you to do something you hate and despise all your life. It's gonna be something you'll enjoy. And, it's not really that hard to find out what God wants you to do. But most people aren't willing to step out until they have three prophecies, and two appearances of angels, and you know, all kinds of this, proof. And, God doesn't give us proof. He gives us a knowing in our spirit.
Some changes that are gonna come your way are ones you're gonna want and some are gonna be changes that you don't want. Some are gonna be things that God wants you to take hold of and others are going to be things that God wants you to let go of. And, you know, sometimes letting go of something is harder than taking hold of something new. 1 John 2:20, verse 20 and 27, "But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you," that means it lives, dwells, and remains and you. So, everybody say, "I am anointed by God". You oughta say that every day, sometime throughout the day, you oughta say that. Kinda helps remind the devil that you know who you are. "That anointing abides in you," and listen to this, "You have no need that anyone should teach you".
Now, that doesn't mean you don't need the gift of teacher in the body of Christ, or you don't need school teachers. It's not talkin' about that. But, it means, you don't need somebody else to tell you how to run your life. You know why? Because you can be led by the spirit, yourself. "His anointing will teach you about everything, and it is true, and it is no lie. Just as he has taught you, abide in him". You say, "Well, I hear you, joyce. You know, I wanna believe it, but man, I've got so many weaknesses. And, I've just been wrestling with many of them ever since I became a Christian, and I just can't seem to get rid of them".
Now, this may sound a little strange to you, but some weaknesses, I'm not talking about sinful things. But, some weaknesses God is never going to completely remove from your life because that's what makes you humble. Oh, how easy it is to judge everybody else's mistakes when we think we're not making any. Or, how 'bout this? How 'bout if something is really super easy for you, but it's really, really hard for somebody else. It's hard not to think, "Well, what is your problem? I mean, that's easy. That shouldn't take you that long. That's not hard to understand". And, that's because we forget that whatever we're good at, we're only good at it because God enabled us to be good at it. And, that we shouldn't judge and look down on other people who can't do what we do, but thank God for the gift that he's given us.
Most of you, I'm sure, know the story of Paul and his weakness. A messenger from satan brought a thorn in his flesh. And no, we don't know exactly what it was, but it's enough to know that it really bugged him. And, three times he asked God to remove it and three times God said, or... I dunno, maybe he only said it after the third time. "I'm not gonna remove it. But my strength will be made perfect through your weakness". And he said, "He allowed that thorn in the flesh to keep Paul from being excessively exalted because of the greatness of the revelations that have been shown to him".
I don't know how much plainer it can get than that. I mean, people have argued and argued about Paul's thorn, and to me, there is no argument. It's what are we to draw out of this? God can work through our weaknesses, maybe sometimes, better than he can work through our strengths. "But he said to me, 'my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so the power of Christ may rest upon me". Now, this is a good statement, so get this. Weakness is different than wickedness. See, a wicked person... Ah, that's another story. But, just to have weaknesses that you really despise yourself, and don't wanna have and wanna get rid of, now God can get in there and work with that. All over the Bible, it talks about the strength that we can have. "I can do all things through Christ who is my strength". Ephesians 3:16, "That according to the riches of his glory he might grant you to be strengthened with power through his spirit in the inner man".
Now, we would like to, right now, have in the bank, all the strength and ability that we're gonna need for the whole rest of our life. 'cause we just like to know that it's all taken care of there. But, God doesn't operate like that. All we have to do is take the example of the manna, when he was supernaturally feeding the people out in the wilderness when he called them out of Egypt. Isn't it interesting that God called them out of bondage into the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land? You know why? We don't learn so much on the mountain as we do in the valley. Amen? "The Lord said to Moses, 'behold, I'm about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, to see whether they'll walk in my commandments or not".
So, it was possible for them to gather more but he wanted to see if they would be obedient, and just be happy to trust him one day at a time. Looking too forward into the future opens the door for fear. Because as soon as you start trying to look at things that you don't know, you look out there and there's nothing there. But if we trust God one day at a time, give us this day our daily bread, amen. Do we mean that when we pray that? Give me what I need for today, Lord, and I trust you that you'll give me what I need for tomorrow. Here's a story that makes the point.
"One time, an old saint and a younger believer were being held together in prison, awaiting their execution, the next day when they would be burned at the stake. As the younger man struck a match to light a candle, he burned his finger. Yelling in pain, he began to weep in agony and doubt saying, 'if it hurts this much to burn my finger, how can I possibly stand to be burned at the stake tomorrow?' The old saint, filled with wisdom and experience from God, answered, 'Son, God didn't ask you to burn your finger, but he is asking you to die for his glory. In the morning, when it's time for you to face the fire, his grace will be there to see you through the test.'"
See, he wanted to know the night before that he was gonna be okay the next day. But God wanted him to really believe what? That he'll never let us down. He may not always do what we want him to, but he will always do the best thing for us. You know, there's that stepping out, and I'm gonna close with just that thought. You know, Peter had to step out of the boat. Moses had to stretch out his rod before the Red Sea parted. How foolish did he maybe feel? 'Cause I'm sure he thought, "Well, what if I do that in front of everybody and nothing happens"? Isn't that the way we think?
Noah had to build the ark and it had never rained. Nobody knew what rain was. So, what kind of a nut did they think he was? "I'm building this boat because God told me to because we're gonna have a flood". "Well, what's a flood"? "Well, it's more rain than the land can handle". "Well, what's rain"? Well, of course, they thought he was nutty. The priests carrying the ark had to put their foot in the Jordan before the waters parted. So, literally, some of you just need to put your foot in it. And, some of you maybe need to draw your foot back out because you're into something you don't need to be into.