Joyce Meyer - Hope
Merry Christmas! I'm sure, that's not the first time you've heard it today, but I wanted to make sure that I got to wish you a very merry Christmas. Today, we celebrate the birth of Christ, and all of our hope is in him. Christmas is a wonderful reminder that God loves us and that we are not alone. Hope can at times be fragile when life disappoints us, feelings of hopelessness and discouragement can easily take over. But the good news is, Jesus was born to bring us the hope of forgiveness and redemption. Watch this encouraging message and then I'll be back to answer some of your questions that you sent in. And, we're going to help you get your hopes up today.
I gonna start with a little story that I think is cute. There were two identical twins. And they were a like in every way but one. One was a hope-filled optimist who only saw the bright side of life in every situation. The other was a very dark-minded pessimist who only saw the downside in everything. The parents became worried about the extremes in the children of optimism and pessimism, and so they took them to the doctor. And the doctor suggested a plan. On their next birthday give the pessimist a shiny new bike but give the optimist only a pile of manure.
It seemed a fairly extreme thing to do after all the parents had always treated their boys equally. But in this instance, they decided that they would try the doctor's advice. So, when the twins birthday came around, the parents gave the pessimist the most expensive top-of-the-range racing bike a child had ever owned. And when he saw the bike, his first words were, "I'll probably crash and break my leg". To the optimist they gave a carefully wrapped box of manure. He opened it, looked puzzled for a moment, then ran outside screaming, "You can't fool me. Where there's this much manure, there's got to be a pony".
Now, let me just share with you that I was, for a large part of my life, an extremely negative person. I saw what was wrong with everything. And, I had been hurt a lot in my life. I'd had lots and lots of disappointments, and really to be honest, when I married Dave at the age of 23, I could not remember ever being really happy. And, that's sad when somebody grows up that way because sometimes the way you get started is the way you stay if you don't let Christ interrupt the mess in your life and give you a brand new beginning. I believe that people that have had a tough time in life, very often are afraid to expect anything good because they don't want to be disappointed. The pain of disappointment has been so prevalent in their lives that they just think, "Well, I'm not going to expect any good thing to happen because it's probably not going to anyway".
And I want to tell you if that's you, today you need to make a change. You need to make a change. It's amazing how good life can get if you'll just refuse to stop hoping. And I can tell you, if you hope for something good your whole life and never got it, you'd still be better off than if you hoped for nothing and got it. Because, when you're full of hope, you're happy. You're happy. And, the devil doesn't want us happy. The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy. He loves to steal our joy, but Jesus said, "I came that you might have and enjoy your life and have it in abundance, to the full until it overflows". Many of the attacks of the enemy against us are not after him getting our stuff for keeping us from getting this promotion or whatever, he's after our joy. Because, joy is energy. Joy is energy. After our joy. The Bible says, "The of joy the Lord is our strength," but I want to put it a different way. Joy is energy. I actually, feel physical energy flowing into my body when I have a good attitude, and I feel everything draining down when I have a bad attitude.
Now, let me tell you something. Your attitude is yours. And, nobody can make you have a good one if you don't want to. And nobody can make you have a bad one if you don't want to. I must say that again. Your attitude is yours. Nobody can make you have a good one if you don't want to. There's not enough good stuff that can happen to a negative person to keep them happy. And, nobody can make you have a bad attitude if you don't want to. We think because circumstances have been bad in our life that we have to have a bad attitude, that we're just obligated to have a bad attitude. I mean, that's the natural way of thinking. But, you don't have to do that as a believer in Christ. Because he gives you something on the inside that is greater than anything that's on the outside. "Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world". And the Bible teaches us that right in the midst of all kinds of tribulations, we are to cheer up and to do it on purpose. Amen?
I know some of you've probably had a really difficult year. Maybe some of you've had a difficult five years. Maybe some of you've had a difficult life. But, I want to tell you that you cannot assist the devil in destroying your life by getting down, and discouraged, and negative-minded, and becoming a pessimist, and refusing to believe that anything good is going to happen. We get what we believe for. "Be it unto you even as you believe". I say this all the time, I'd rather believe for a lot and get half of it than to believe for nothing and get all of it.
I think a lot of times we're not aggressive in hoping. We just kind of waiting to see what's going to happen. "I hope the meetings good this weekend". Well, you know, that is not Bible hope. That is not any different than wishing. Bible hope is a very close relative of faith. They hoped on in faith. Faith causes you to believe that good things are going to happen. You believe in the promises of God. You're expecting. Actually, the definition of hope is a confident, joyful, expectation that something good is going to happen. I love that.
Now, listen to me when I tell you this 'cause a lot of people think, "Well, I can't help it if I don't feel that way". We're not talking about how we feel. We're talking about what we decide to believe and what we decide to say. And, I know I keep saying it over and over this weekend, but get your mouth open and say something positive because what you say runs across your face, gets in your ears, drops back down into your spirit, and you literally can talk yourself into a better mood. I said you can talk yourself into a better mood. You can talk yourself out of a bad mood. You can talk yourself out of a pity party. And, you do it by using the word of God. Favorable and confident expectation, it has to do with the unseen and the future. Hope is the happy anticipation of something good.
I started in January this year, saying this in my own life on a real regular basis. I don't miss very many days, and I've been encouraging people everywhere I go, and it's been on TV. If I were you, before you even put your feet on the floor in the morning or certainly do it within a few minutes after you're up, open your mouth and say, when I say open your mouth, I mean speak it out loud, "Something good is going to happen to me today". And, don't stop there. Don't stop there. And, go on and make the enemy really mad and say, "Something good is going to happen through me today". Something good is going to happen to me and something good is going to happen through me because we are blessed to be a blessing. Don't stop at just wanting to be blessed. We're blessed to be a blessing. God told Abraham, "I will bless you and I will make you a blessing causing you to dispense good to others".
Hope is very simply a positive attitude and mindset. The hopeful the person absolutely refuses to be negative in any way. Although they recognize and deal with their problems, they remain hopeful in thought, attitude, and conversation all the way through to victory. They remain hopeful in thought, attitude, and conversation. Anybody can decide to be hopeful. If I can't get that across from you today than I'm pretty much wasting my time. Because if we're going to let our feelings and our circumstances determine whether our hope is up or down then the enemy's in control. We just turned over the keys to our life and said, "Here do what you want to". But, every person that's hearing my voice right now whether it's on TV or some other recorded device, that you're watching on social media, you're here in the room, you're listening by radio you can decide today to be full of hope.
Well, I hope that message on hope inspires you. Ginger joins me now with some of your questions. Well Ginger, we have questions about everything can't we.
Ginger: I tell ya, life is full of questions that is for sure. And when you talk about the importance of hope in life, it's something that there are many questions around because different things in life tend to batter hope down. And, we need to keep it stirred up, our hope in Christ. So, many great questions. This first one is from Heather from Annapolis, Maryland. And Heather says, "Hope seems so flimsy to me. What's the difference between hope and faith, and do we need them both"?
Joyce: Well, it's a very good question and I've come to the point where I believe that a lot of people are trying to have faith that have no hope. Because, hope, I've got the definition right here, it's a favorable and a confident expectation. It has to do with the unseen and the future. Hope is the happy anticipation of good. And, I love that. So, hope is a happy anticipation that something good is going to happen. Or, we might say that hope always has a positive attitude. Hope is never negative. So, if I'm trying to exercise my faith to trust and, or believe God to do something in my life or to change something in my life, but I have a negative doubtful attitude about it, then I'm really not in faith. So, maybe I need to go back and make sure that my attitude is full of hope before I pray. I told someone recently, for some reason it just hit him the right way, I said, "What's the point in praying if you don't believe your prayers are going to be answered"? And so, I think we really need to realize that when we pray in faith and prayer is useless without faith. When we pray in faith, we need to be sure that we're ready to believe. That God hears us and that he will answer our request, assuming that what we're asking for is his will. But, I definitely believe that you have to have hope before you have faith. They're similar, but they're not the same thing. And see, when she says hope is rather flimsy, it is from the world view. Because, hope from the world view is well, you know, "I hope, I hope..".
Ginger: "I hope I make it through this".
Joyce: "I hope something good happens". But, you can even hear in the tone of voice that it's kind of like a last-ditch effort. "I don't really believe it will, but I hope something happens". But, that's not Bible hope. Bible hope is that confident expectation that something good is going to happen. And, God tells us that no matter what kind of bad thing happens in our life that he can make good out of it if we trust him.
Ginger: And that makes so much sense because we can't even be saying the right words thinking that were speaking in faith, but without the hope behind it that we are really trusting, then they can be empty words. And, a lot of those situations that you were talking about are what people are asking about. So, here's another one from Sherry from Illinois. She says, "How can I have hope when I've been through so much hurt in my life"?
Joyce: Well, I know this is probably going to sound very like, overly simplistic, but you can have hope by deciding to. You can actually just make a decision that because of God, not because of my circumstances, but we serve a God who raises dead things back to life. And so, Paul prayed about that resurrection life and so that means that God gives life to dead things. In Romans 4:17, "It says we serve a God who speaks of those things that don't exist as if they already existed".
Ginger: So, nothing needs to be hopeless.
Joyce: Nothing. You know, we're born again. I love what Peter said, "We are born again into an ever living hope". That's the one of the greatest, the rarest privileges of a born-again person is that no matter how bad it is you can always choose to say, "God is greater".
Ginger: So, let's get real practical and just real with this, because some situations, a doctor can tell you it's helpless. It's not going to go the way that you wanted to go. The fact that God can do anything through it, how is that hope different? How does that work in a situation like that where the world says, "It is hopeless"?
Joyce: Okay, but see, as a believer in Jesus Christ, the doctor says, "You have a terminal illness," but Paul said, "To live is Christ, to die is gain". And that in Christ, we no longer have to be afraid of death. Now, nobody wants to die before they've lived a really wonderfully full life. But, even death is not the end for those of us that believe in Christ. There's still hope in the resurrection. And, the Bible tells us that we'll be with him and know him as he is, and see him face-to-face, and no more crying, and no more sorrow, and no more tears, and streets made out of gold. And so, on the other side if you don't believe in God then you would be pretty hopeless. But hey, I get it. You know, the fact that you have hope doesn't mean that you're not hurting. It doesn't mean that you're not grieving.
Ginger: That's important.
Joyce: you know, I've gone through things in my life, back pain that's lasted for a lot, lot longer than what I wanted it to. Different situations with people that have just continued to flare up, and flare up, and flare up. And sure, it's easy to let the devil talk you into giving up, or to tell you that it's never going to change. But, we have the choice, and the privilege of saying, "But, God". You know prayer that's full of faith interrupts the devil's plan. So, no matter what he says is going to happen, I mean, even the doctor doesn't have a final word. But, it's good to just... I think if you get a bad report from the doctor, that sounds terminal, it's still good to say, "Well, I know God can change that, but even if he doesn't, "I'm ready," you know.
Ginger: Well, talk about that prayer, Kimberly from Virginia says, "How can I keep holding on to hope for my prayers that have gone unanswered for many many years now"?
Joyce: Well, what I would suggest is that she look at the prayers that have been answered. You know, what we always do, we get into the what God hasn't done instead of what he has done. And so, I don't believe that she's been praying for years and God has never done anything in her life, you know. And whatever you focus on becomes the biggest thing in your life. And I know that even from like, having pain, or you know, you can you can focus on the one thing that hurts and forget about all the things in your body that works well.
Ginger: That's true.
Joyce: You know, you can get up in the morning and think, "Oh, my back hurts". But you know, "Hey, thank God I can walk. I can talk. I can see. I can..". You know, "There's a lot of things that I can do". And, I know when people are hurting sometimes these kind of answers sound kind of you know, "Oh, come on". You know, "Tell me something real". But, Ginger this is what I have to do when I'm going through hard times. I have to have the same conversation with myself. It's always a decision and even when you're dealing with somebody in a relationship, don't we normally focus on what we don't like about them?
Ginger: Too often.
Joyce: Yeah, and then all of a sudden that thing we don't like becomes this whole person. And so, but, if you think about the good things about them, the biggest majority of the time, the good things are going to outweigh the bad ones. So, focus. Fix your focus, and it can change a lot of things in your life.
Ginger: Well, you mentioned just for one final question, you mentioned that this is something that you have to do too. And Helena, from London says, "When you have felt hopeless, what has helped you the most to be productive? And, what thoughts, or lies from the enemy, or habits have caused you to be unproductive in that season? How've you dealt with it"?
Joyce: Well, we all have thoughts that bombard our minds. And, I think especially if you're really tired or, if you don't feel good, you know. I mean, even just being tired all the time. Like, some people just have constant fatigue. And man, it is so much harder to be "A Christian" on those days. I'm not talking about, you give up on God, but, to behave like a Christian, it's difficult to do that. And you know, things that help me are the same things that help everybody else, you know. First of all, I'm not big on giving up.
Ginger: But you've had some dark days.
Joyce: oh yeah, I've had breast cancer. I've had both hips replaced. I've had a back surgery. I've had a hysterectomy, you know. I mean, and all the time, I'm preaching, and working, and trying to help people and they don't know what I'm going through. You know, I have four children that have not all been perfect. And, we've had issues that we've had to deal with. Nobody's life is without some disappointments. And, that's one of the reasons, I think, why the Bible says that you know, there's a lot of other people suffering along with you. You're not the only one that suffers. And so, everybody goes through things and everybody comes out of things. And one of the things that's really helped me, especially over the last two or three years, is I've developed this habit of saying, "This will come to an end". And you know what? It always does. Now, something else may come along, but this will come to an end. This won't last forever. And the devil tries to tell us, "It'll last forever, you're never going to get beyond this," and so you start to think, "Well, I can't stand this. I can't do this the rest of my life. I can't live like this the rest of my life". You gotta be really careful when you start thinking like that, because you can get overwhelmed very quickly. But if you think, "This is going to come to an end. There will be a place where this will be over". And, I have a sign in my... onehis of my bathrooms, it says, "Never, never, never give up". And I can pretty much say that in my life, that has been my biggest friend. When my father was sexually abusing me, I was determined not to give up. I was determined to get out of there and make something out of my life. And just to not give up, you know. There's always hope in God.
Ginger: Well, I know that a lot of people are not only going through difficult circumstances in life, but sometimes are going through those circumstances alone. And, without the hope in Christ, there really is no hope. So, that's where we have to begin.
Joyce: Yeah, and I do want to talk to you about that because actually, if you don't have any hope and you feel alone, and you have not asked Jesus Christ into your life, you can do that right now and things can change for you. And, when I say things can change for you, I don't mean that all your circumstances are gonna immediately change. As a matter of fact, I'll tell you that they won't. But, what will happen, is you'll have someone with you, someone living in you. Because, when you invited Christ in your life, he comes to live in you, and he said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you". And so, at least whatever you go through, you won't go through it alone. And, you won't go through it without help, because the Holy Spirit comes to live in you also, and he is our helper. Imagine, just having a divine all-powerful helper. I mean, if you ask anybody, "Would you like to have somebody just hang out with you all the time that can help you with any problem, no matter what it is"? I mean, we'd all love that. Well, we have that. We have that in Christ. And so, if you've never committed your life to Christ, I'm going to ask you to pray this prayer. We call it the prayer of salvation, but it's really just saying, "I'm finished living my life by myself, trying to do everything myself, trying to fix everything myself. I don't want to live a sinful life. I'm sorry for my sins. I turn away from them and I invite Christ to come and live in me". If you want that, pray with me right now.
Father, God, I love you. I admit that I'm a sinner. That I'm weak and I cannot help myself. I ask you to forgive me. I turn away from sin. And I invite you to come into my life. I believe in Jesus. I believe he died for me. I believe he rose from the dead, that he is alive right now. I surrender my life to you, and I receive you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for loving me. Amen.
Now, you think, "Oh, it can't be that simple". Well, really, it's so simple that a lot of people miss it because they try to make it hard. You don't have to try to get yourself all fixed up before you receive Christ. Matter of fact, you can't and that's why you need him. We've got a free gift for you if you prayed that prayer, "A new way of living," a little booklet that we want to send to you. Tells you how to get your new life with Christ started off right. And, you can call the number on your screen to ask for the book, or you can visit our website and ask for it there. And, if you'd like to further boost your hope, I'd like for you to have my book, "Get your hopes up"! And, you can have that today for your gift to the ministry of any amount. And see, when you get the book called, "Get your hopes up"! And, you give a nice generous offering then that helps us to continue reaching out the other people who have no hope, and so you can help somebody else get their hope up. So, be a hopeful person. Continually hopeful in every circumstance, and don't you ever give up. Thank you for being with us today.