Joyce Meyer - Interrupted By God
This morning, I want to talk to you about being Interrupted by God. Yes, well, we can kind of see that everybody needs that, right? You know, most of us have some kind of a plan for the day. I mean, I know there are people who just kind of fly by the seat of their pants and they never know what they're gonna do but, you know, most of us have some kind of a plan. And how about if we start the day by lifting our plan up to God and say now, "This is what I have planned, but I just want you to know I'm available for you and if at anytime you need to interrupt my plan because you need me to do something else, then please help me hear you and be quick to obey". How many of you think that sounds good?
You know, I always say that if you want to be used by God, you don't need ability, you just need availability. You'd be amazed how many people think they can't do anything for God because they can't find any special talent they have, but God can give you the talent to do whatever he wants you do if you're just available. Interrupted by God, God rarely asks us to do anything when it's convenient. Actually when he calls, he seems to not care too much at all about what we're doing because whatever we're doing is not as important as what God wants us to do. I'mma say that one more time. Whatever we're doing is not nearly as important as what God wants us to do, amen?
So, Paul told Timothy to preach the Gospel in season or out, whether it was convenient or inconvenient. But there's a little something else I want you to see about 2 Timothy 4:2 because I think in some instances we've gotten a little bit off track and if we go to church and we hear anything other than something that just makes us feel good, then we don't like the sermon. But Paul told Timothy, "Preach the word, be ready in season and out, reprove," which means correct, "Rebuke," which means correct a little bit harder, "And exhort," which means to edify and make people feel good about themselves. But I tell ya if you go to a church where your behavior is never confronted and where you can always just be really comfortable, I think sometimes - well, I kind of enjoy making people squirm in their seats a little bit. You know, it's kind of - you can kind of tell when you're saying thing that people would really rather not hear. But, you know, it's the stuff that stuff that we would rather not hear that we need to hear.
And, you know, most people who teach or preach, they love it when people say, "Amen" or they're shaking their heads and Dave always tells me, "Don't be so concerned about everybody clapping and saying amen about everything you say". They clap for the stuff they already know and agree with. When they're quiet, you're saying something that's kind of like, "Uh-oh, am I understanding this right"? You know, a lot of times when God begins to deal with us about something that is gonna be a little bit uncomfortable for us, we tell God, "Oh no, not that. I I'm not ready for that yet". But whatever God wants to deal with us about, there's an anointing at that time for God to deal with us about that thing and many times, we want to wait for our own timing and then things can be really, really, really difficult.
You know, after we're born again our number-one job is to grow up, amen? And we need more mature Christians and mature Christians are stable. They're not up and down and all over the place based on what their circumstances are doing. And mature Christians are very prompt about obeying God because they know that God is smarter than they are and that his way is always best. Well, Felix was a man who'd been hearing about the Gospel and hearing about Paul in particular, and he wanted to learn more. And so, in Acts 24:25 it says, "And as he reasoned," Paul went to him and he says, "And he reasoned with him about righteousness," which I guess challenged Felix's behavior. "And about self-control, and he tried to talk to him about the upcoming judgment".
You see, I think we need to be reminded more often that the day will come for every one of us, not some of us, every one of us when we will stand before God and give an account of our life. The day will come for every one of us, and I think we need to think about that sometimes, when we will stand before God and give an account of our lives. Now obviously, if we're true believers in Jesus Christ, this judgment is not gonna be about whether or not we're gonna get into heaven, but I think for Christians, it's important what we do with our time. I think it's important how we treat people. How many of you think that how you treat people is important to God? Can I tell you something? I think it's the most important thing to God. I think the way we treat other people, especially people who can't do anything for us, especially people who can't do anything for us, I think it says more about our character than probably anything else. We need to get about the business of loving one another and not just talking about loving one another, amen?
So, I guess in a way today is a little bit about calling all of us to a higher level of obedience and obedience really is always a sacrifice. It's some kind of sacrifice. If God asks me to do something for somebody, it's going to take some of my time. It's gonna take some of my money. It's gonna take some of my effort. If I want to grow tomatoes, which I don't but if I did, and I had a package of tomato seeds, I could not ever have a garden full of tomatoes unless I sacrificed my seed. And so, seed, of course, can be money. It can be time, but I believe that every act of obedience or disobedience is a seed that we sow that will bring a harvest in our life. It'll either bring a harvest that we really like or it will bring a harvest that we don't like.
The word "Convenient," and let me just say that I think in our society we're pretty addicted to convenience and comfort. Most of us, you know, we're just not always very tough. You know, you go to some of these other places like third world countries or developing countries, and I mean the things that they don't have and many of them are happier than we are with all the stuff that we've got. Matter of fact, one of the things we complain about is all the stuff we have that we have to take care of, so. We need to get ready to obey God quickly and do whatever it is he wants us to do.
In Ecclesiastes 11:4 it says, "He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap". And really what that is basically saying is when God asks you to do something, if you won't do it unless all of your circumstances are perfect, then you'll never end up sowing and if you don't sow, you'll never end up reaping. So, we need to get the understanding that God purposely puts us in positions very often in life where we won't like it, and it's not convenient, and it's not comfortable. And even though we do not understand the purpose, there is a purpose for what God is doing and it's usually got something to do with our spiritual growth.
Now, I'll tell you a story. There was a great preacher around the turn of the century called Billy Sunday. Anybody ever hear of Billy Sunday? Okay, he was like the Billy Graham of that day. And he had been a professional baseball player and he heard the Gospel, got saved, and felt called to be an evangelist. And so, he just became a great, great, great man of God.
Now, leaving that there for a minute, there was a local pastor, pastor of a local church in Chicago, which is where Billy Sunday was also from. And one night he woke up in the middle of the night and felt like God was telling him to go down to the Chicago train station and preach in the middle of the night. Well, he thought, "That's silly" and rolled over and went back to sleep. And it wasn't very long and the same thing happened again. And he thought, "Well, that's ridiculous. What sense does that make"? Rolled over and went back to sleep and in a few minutes woke up and still felt the same thing.
I wonder how many times God gives us an opportunity to do something but because we think it's silly or it doesn't make any sense, we just kind of blow it off and don't do it. Well, I guess the man was mature enough to finally realize it was God talking to him and although it didn't make any sense at all, he gets up in the middle of the night, gets dressed, goes down do the train station, and he ends up actually one level below where the trains were running. And there was nobody down there, but he just preached a Gospel message, just a plain basic Gospel message. As far as he knew, he was not preaching to anybody, didn't see anybody, didn't hear anybody, went back home, went to bed, never had any idea why he was there or what was going on.
Well, years later, he went to a Billy Sunday meeting and Billy told how he was saved. And he said, "Yeah, one night in the middle of the night I was at the Chicago train station, and I heard somebody preaching. I couldn't see him, but I heard him preaching the Gospel and that's when I received Christ and God called me to be an evangelist".
So, I want you to remember that when you're out and about, you are the hands and feet of Jesus, and I can tell you the work that needs to be done in the world is not gonna be done by a handful of preachers on a platform. We have to train you up that you go out and do the work of the ministry. And so, I'd like you to really just make a decision today that you're gonna agree with God to be promptly obedient to what he tells you. And I'm not suggesting just doing stupid things without checking it out or, you know, if something sounds really weird, then I would pray about it more than once. But always remember just because it doesn't make any sense to you, doesn't mean that it's not God. Just because it doesn't make any sense to you, doesn't mean that it's not God. We try to apply our human understanding to what we sense in our heart that God wants, but God's thoughts are above our thoughts and his ways are above our ways.
I remember a time when I was going to lunch with a friend and I had another friend that I went to lunch with a lot. Her and I actually spent a lot of time together. And now I'm going to lunch with this other person but I kept feeling like I should invite this other friend to go. And in one way, I really kind of wanted to spend some private time with this other friend, but because I really felt like it was God I felt okay. So, I called her and I asked her, her name was Joan. I said, "Joan, would you like to go to lunch with me and so and so today"? She said, "Oh, I would love to. I appreciate you asking, but I'm spending the day with my mom".
Well, I was a younger believer then and so that kind of confused me and I said to God, "Well, you know, I felt so sure that you told me to ask her to lunch". He said, "I did, I didn't tell you she'd go. I just told you to ask her". Come on, is anybody ready to start obeying God even if it doesn't really make a lot of sense to you? See, I believe that life can and should be, and will be a real adventure if we really every day say to God, "I'm available for you, whatever you want". It could be smiling at someone. It could be telling somebody that the color they've got on looks good on them. I don't think we realize how many people out in the world are desperate just to believe that somebody sees them. So, we're gonna obey God, whether it's convenient or whether it's inconvenient.
Now, let's look at a few people that God called at very inconvenient times and see how they responded. Oh and by the way, do you know that as far as I can tell, every person that Jesus healed, he was on his way to do something else. Come on, I want you to understand that. He was headed to Jerusalem and blind Bartimaeus cried out, "Jesus thou Son of David, help me". And the Bible says, the amplified Bible says, "And Jesus stood still". Don't you love that? He's going somewhere and he stood still. I wonder how many times we're in a rush to get somewhere that's really not even all that important and we pass by the man lying on the side of the road bleeding because we've got our plan and we don't want to be inconvenienced. Wonder how many more people we would help if we were willing to make a little bit of a sacrifice to do it?
Matthew 4:18 through 22, "While walking by the sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers, Simon who's called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, follow me and I will make you fishers of men! Immediately they left their nets and followed him". And, you know, we read this stuff and I don't think that we think that much about it but if you really stop and think about this, how amazing is that? They didn't, I guess didn't know who Jesus was and maybe they'd heard about him, maybe they hadn't heard about him. And I don't know, maybe we could say, well, there must have been something really special about Jesus that people would do that. But whatever the case is, they had a plan. These people were businessmen. They had fishing businesses.
If we go on and read, verse 21 says, "And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John, his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets: and he called them. And immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him". They just walked off from everything like when God called Abram to leave, everything that he knew and what was comfortable with. "And go to a place that I will show you". He wouldn't even tell them where he was gonna send him. And if we get around to it, you'll see. I mean, Abraham basically just wandered around for years and years and, you know, he'd pitch a tent one place, and then pretty soon God'd tell him to move. And he'd pitch a tent somewhere else, and God would tell him to move. And, you know, he's doing all this stuff because God had told him, "If you'll do this, I'll bless you and I'll make you a blessing".
Well, how many of us are willing to wait for years? The test of faith. We don't get what we want the moment that we want it. God leads us the long, hard way because many times, we're not ready for the thing that God's got ready for us. God may have something really major for you to do but maybe you're not spiritually mature enough yet to handle it, so God has to take you a couple of trips in the wilderness. Come on. 'cause we don't grow up in our good times, we grow up in hard times. That's when we do our growing, when it's inconvenient, when it's uncomfortable, when people are not treating us nice and we love them anyway, when they keep hurting us over and over and because God said to, we forgive them even though we don't think it's right or fair and it doesn't feel good. We need to start doing things just because God said to do it, and we don't have to know why or when we're gonna get a breakthrough.
Not everything that God ask us to do is convenient, but everything God ask us to do, He does give us the grace to do it. I always say that God gives you the grace for the place. Even, like, if you're raising a special needs child, I believe that God will give you the grace to do that. I know a young woman that has two special needs children. They're twins, and then she has two other boys, and it's amazing what it takes for her to take care of all these kids. And you just, you look at people and you think, "I don't know how you do it. I just don't know how you do it". Well, people do whatever God wants them to do by the grace of God, which means he gives us the ability to do it.
Maybe right now you're in kind of a difficult marriage, but you believe God wants you to stick it out. Well, you know what? You don't have to be miserable and unhappy the whole time you're in that situation. If you're in the place God wants you to be in, then he'll give you the grace to be in that place. And that means that you can be in an uncomfortable place and still have joy. Come on, there's somebody that I'm tryin' to talk to this morning. Can you not be comfortable and still be happy? I see not too many heads going this way. You're kinda like... Yeah, well, I'm not perfect at it either. Remember, I got the revelation a few weeks ago that I don't like bein' uncomfortable. So, if you don't need this message, I'll preach to myself.
So, let's talk about Joseph for a minute because I find this to be very interesting. How many of you are someplace in life right now that just doesn't make any sense to you at all? Better than half of the people in here. Well, you know, you live life forward, but you understand it backwards. When you're going through stuff, you just don't get it, but later on you can look back. So many of the things that were so hard for me, I look back now and I realize how God had to let that happen. You know, sometimes God will even use people's weaknesses to help us grow spiritually. How can we ever learn to love the unlovely if everybody we're around is nice to us? That's not unconditional love. Don't expect every day of your life to be perfect. Now, I'm not saying you've gotta go around and believe for trouble all the time, but don't be shocked when things are inconvenient.
So, Joseph went from livin' a nice little life. He was the youngest, daddy's favorite, and, you know, the babies are always the favorite. He went from that to slavery to prison to being put in a position to save a nation. You notice, he had to leave comfort, go into misery to be in a position where he could save a nation. Come on, let's do it again. He went from comfort to unjust, unfair treatment, very uncomfortable. He had to go through that stage to grow him up enough to get him to the point where he could save a nation.
When God called me into ministry, well, first of all, I was not doin' anything special. I was making my bed, and I had three teenagers at the time, and basically, was just trying to survive life, you know? I loved God, and we went to church every week, but I didn't act like much of a Christian. I mean, I was very immature, and always mad and upset about somethin', and I would have been your least likely candidate probably to be called to preach, but God knows things about us. He not only sees where we're at, but he sees where we will be. And, you know, let me just throw in here that we need to be willing to look at more people that way, not just look at where they're at right now, but what their potential is if somebody will love them unconditionally, pray for them, and stick with them through some stuff. Amen?
You know, Dave was dating three girls when he met me, and he was prayin' for a wife. I always say Dave definitely believed that faith without works is dead, so. He was believin' for a wife, but he was datin' everything that moved, and so, when he met me, we had five dates and got married. I don't recommend it, but... I always say that he had to marry me before he found out what he was really getting, or it would have never worked. So, I mean, I was hard to deal with. I'd been abused and divorced and didn't trust anybody. I mean, I can actually tell you when I married Dave, I can never remember ever bein' really happy in my life, or ever feeling safe.
And so, I just had a lot of wounds and a lot of hurts, and, man, if he would've done things like so many people do today, if you're uncomfortable, it's inconvenient, you're incompatible. Who is compatible? I mean, who marries somebody and says, "Oh, I just like everything you do"? You know? I mean, that's just fantasy. And so, you know, you get along because you choose to get along, and you get along because you decide that you don't have to have your way all the time and that you're gonna do what God wants you to do, not what you feel like doing. And so, if Dave would've been more concerned about his comfort than doing what he felt like God wanted him to do, I probably wouldn't be here today doing what I'm doing, because somebody had to not just tell me about Jesus. Somebody had to be Jesus in my life.
And I'll tell ya, I didn't change overnight. It took some time, and so many things, when God called me into ministry, there was so many hard things that I went through. I mean, we lost all of our friends. We got asked to leave our church. We had to find different schools for our kids because they went to school at church, and people that I loved and trusted turned against me and talked about me. And, man, I didn't understand all that. I was just trying to be a good girl and do what I felt like God wanted me to do. You ever feel like that? "Well, I'm just trying to do what I think is right, and I feel like all hell's broken loose on me". Come on, do you ever feel that way?
Well, see, we expect that if we do what's right, that we should get rewarded right away. But that doesn't always happen that way. "Those who diligently seek God will receive a reward in due time, in due time". Well, now, I look back, I didn't understand. Ah, man, I did not understand. I mean, family members turned against us. It was a tough time. I tell Dave sometimes, "I don't really even..." other than the grace of God, I don't know how I even had the ability to keep saying, "Yes," to God with everything that I was losing. You have to understand, back when I started doin' this, I mean, women in ministry were just, like, very unpopular. There just wasn't that many people. But I look back now, and I was so dependent on people and what they thought of me. And I got my worth and my significance from people. And I'm telling you what, God had to kick every prop out from under me and teach me how to get rooted and grounded in him.
So, maybe you're someplace right now where it's not convenient. It's not comfortable. You don't wanna be there. Well, let me make a new suggestion to you. Instead of beggin' God to get you out of there, why don't you just say, "God, when you're ready to move me to another place, I trust that you will. But in the meantime, teach me whatever it is I need to learn while I'm here, and use me for your glory while I'm in this place". Do you know how much more you would enjoy? You can enjoy bein' in hard places if you have the right attitude. How many of you need to hear what I'm sayin' this morning? All right. 'Cause I'll quit if you don't wanna hear it. Well, probably I won't, but...
Okay, so now, Joseph has gone through all this stuff, and it's been really hard. He's in prison for 13 years for somethin' that he did not do. He helped the baker and the butler get out of prison, asked them to remember him. Of course, they forgot all about him, he stayed in prison. But, you know, when God has a plan for your life, no matter what people don't do for you... come on, now. When God is ready to make a move, nobody will stop him. And listen, part of satan's plan is to get us all messed up with bitterness and unforgiveness, so he arranges for people to hurt us, hoping we'll get all messed up inside so then we never end up getting what God wants us to have because now we're out of sorts with God. But if you can just continue doing what God tells you to do, when your time for promotion comes, no man on earth and no devil in hell can keep you from what God has for you.
So, we just need to stop blaming people and just secretly look at 'em and say under your breath, "No matter what you do to me, you cannot keep God from blessing me". God's got a plan for you. So, it's the end of the whole thing now. Joseph has gotten out of prison. He's gotten favor with Pharaoh because he interpreted a dream for him. And Pharaoh trusts him so much that he's put him in charge of all the food, and they'd already had two years of famine and were facing five more. And so, if anybody wanted anything to eat, they had to get it from Joseph. So, his father and his brothers, the brothers who sold him into slavery, they're livin' somewhere else now, not in Egypt, and they're hungry, and they hear that there's food there. So they went, got an appointment with Joseph, not knowing that he was the brother whom they had mistreated.
So, starting in Genesis 45, verse 1, it says: "Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. And he cried, 'make everyone go out from me.' So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. And Joseph said to his brothers, 'I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?' and his brothers could not even answer him, for they were dismayed," or you might say, "Afraid," "At his presence. They thought, "Well, now, we're gonna get what's comin' to us". "So Joseph said to his brothers, 'come near to me, please.' And they came near. And he said, 'I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.'" But now, watch this. "And now do not be distressed or angry with yourself because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life". So, he's basically sayin', "You thought you were sending me here, but the only reason you sent me here was because God wanted me here, and he had a purpose".
So, let me tell you somethin'. Even in some of the things that happened that seemed so unbelievably unfair and unjust, God can still have a purpose, and we need to remember, "God is in control of my life, not you". Verse 6: "'For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are five years yet to go where we will neither plow nor harvest. And God sent me...'" somebody say, "God sent me". Maybe you're at a job right now where you are the only believer, and people don't treat you right, and you know they're makin' fun of you and judgin' you, and you absolutely hate the place and can't wait to get out of there. Maybe what God's tryin' to say to you today is, "Stop it, I sent you there".
Come on, I hear somebody that's semi-happy. What makes us think that, "God couldn't possibly have sent me there if I'm not comfortable"? Yes, God wants to bless us, but there's other things he wants to do besides that. He wants to use us, and I just might as well tell ya, if you are going to be used by God, you are going to be persecuted. I said, "If you're going to be used by God, you are going to be persecuted". Not everybody's gonna clap and cheer because you wanna do some great thing for God. Well, I still got a few people smilin', that's good. "And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive many survivors. So that it was not you who sent me here, but God. And he made me a father to Pharaoh, and a lord of all of his house and a ruler over all the land of Egypt".
You know, I don't have time do this, so I won't get into it, but I could go back to my own story. I mean, I prayed for God to get me out of that situation, and he didn't. Now, I don't think God's an abuser, and I don't think he arranged for my father to abuse me, but he could've gotten me out of the situation much sooner than what he did. And God had a plan all along. He wanted to use me to expose what was goin' on behind closed doors in so many places. As far as I know, I was one of the first people to start really talking about incest and sexual abuse. And, you know, I've got this and I believe it is a gift from God. I mean, I am extremely open about my life, and usually, anybody else's life that has anything to do with me. So, people always say, "You just need to know if you're gonna hang out with Joyce, you're probably gonna get talked about in the pulpit". So, because I have this gift of being so honest, I was able to tell that story, and tell it in a way that set so many people free. So, the devil may think that he's got you somewhere where he's ruining you and destroying you, but little does he know, it's the springboard for your promotion in life. Amen?
Now, there's so many, many, many examples. There's two things that we all have. One of 'em is one of these. We wear that because we don't wanna be bothered. You know, "Don't bother me". And then we all have an excuse bag. We've all got one of these. So, if somebody gets past the, "Don't bother me," we've got an excuse ready for God. Let's see, I mean, we have just got so many. I got a bunch. "Well, God, I don't know how to do that". That's the first thing I said when he called me to teach. "I don't know how to teach". He said, "I know, but I do". If you just had any idea how dumb I was when I started this, you would spend the rest of the day rollin' around the floor laughing. I mean, I have no idea how I got from where I was to where I am, but here we are.
"Well, God, that's not what I had planned. I can't do that". "I'm not ready for this yet. Maybe another time". "I have too many personal problems of my own". Boy, that is a big one. You know, "Well, God, I'll increase my giving next time I get a raise". No, God doesn't want you to wait for a time where you can give it and not miss it. Maybe he wants your vacation money. "Well, I've been savin' that for three years. I've got a plan. God's not mean. Why would he take my vacation money"? Come on, if you're believin' for somethin' big, you might as well get ready to sow big, and you might as well get ready to sow sacrificially.
My gosh, do I admire people who will do what God tells them to do, even when it makes no sense at all to them. And what if you never, ever while you're breathin' make any sense out of it? It still is just good to obey God. "I don't know anybody who's ever done this before". This is the favorite: "Well, it's just too hard". "I have no experience". "I have nobody to help me". "I don't have any money". "I'm afraid". "I don't feel like it". Come on, you've got one of these. Maybe it's not like mine. I mean, you may not see it like you see mine, but how many of you know we've got excuses. You know? Is anybody getting this? 'Cause I'm about out of time. God uses your journey to prepare you for the assignment that he's given you.
You know, God called Abraham, I just happened to notice this, when he was 75. Well, I just had my 75th birthday, so I thought, "Well, Lord, is that your sneaky way of telling me I'm just beginning"? Come on, when I started this ministry, first of all, I didn't start teaching till I was 33. I taught a home Bible study for five years. Then I worked for somebody else for five years that was not always easy to work for. I started Joyce Meyer Ministries, Dave and I did, when I was 42. Had three teenagers and a baby. I didn't go on television till I was 50. And now I've been on TV for 25 years. Come on.
So, let me end with this, and then I will have been a good girl and stayed right on the clock. Stop making excuses. That's the message today: stop making excuses, and just do what God tells you to do. Can anybody say, "Amen"? All right.
Father, I pray in Jesus's name that you deal with all of us. We can all come up higher. I have so far to go, and I want you to deal with me. I want you to show me areas where I'm deceived or where I'm weak or where I'm being disobedient. And I pray that for everyone else here. And we know, Lord, that you never give us more than what we can bear, but with every temptation, you provide the way out. So, for those today that feel like they're kind of at the end of their rope and they're weary and tired of standin', I pray that you would revive them and re-strengthen them and just refuel them for them to know that however long it takes, they can do what they need to do. And I pray blessing over every one of them that they'll be blessed when they go in and blessed when they go out. And no matter how long they have to wait on their breakthrough, that they can stay happy all the way through, in Jesus's name, amen.