Joyce Meyer - Priorities

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Well, we're so glad that you joined us today for, "Enjoying everyday life". Who doesn't want to enjoy every day of their life? But we also have an enemy and he has many different ways of trying to make us not enjoy our lives. And one of the ways that he does that, one of the big ways that a lot of times people don't think about is simply getting us out of balance, or causing us to get our priorities all messed up. Actually, there is a scripture in the amplified Bible 1 Peter 5:8 that says, "Be well-balanced... for your adversary, the devil, roams about like a lion roaring in fierce hunger, seeking whom he may devour".

And so, that scripture's always meant a lot to me because it's in essence saying that if your life is out of balance it's going to be an open door for the enemy. And how many of you would say a big, "Amen," to it's a little bit challenging today with everything that seems be expected of us to keep balance in your life. So, people regularly ask me in interviews, how do I keep my priorities straight with all the things that I'm doing? And, I don't know what kind of answer I always gave, but a few years ago, God just put the right answer in my mouth and it is, "I'm always straightening them out".

See, I don't think you can ever just get your priorities straight and just keep 'em that way the whole rest of your life, no matter how disciplined you are. So, I do think it's very wise to occasionally, you know, at least a couple times a year to really think over what you do with your time, and is it really what you want to be doing with your time? And, if it's not, then what are you letting derail you and steal your time? And then, you have to readjust, and then, after a while we'll find that we're out of order again, and then, we have to readjust again. And, no matter what age you are this message applies. And so, all of you watching by home, and watching on your computers, or wherever it is that you're watching, this to me, is a very important message.

And so, first and foremost and always, God must be our first priority. And I can tell you, no matter what the rest of them are, if God's not first nothing in your life will work out. Now, I was a Christian for many, many years, went to church every week, did some church work, I loved God as much as I knew to but I have to say he was not my whole life. I prayed when I had emergencies. I said a little prayer every night before I went to sleep. And to be honest that was pretty much it. I didn't get up and start my day with God or really understand the importance of making him first in everything. And so, I did not have very much victory in my life.

Although, I was a Christian and I would have gone to heaven had I died. I really truly believe that I was saved by the grace of God. I didn't have any victory in my life. I had lots, and lots, and lots of problems from being abused growing up. And so, if anybody needed to have their priorities straight, I did. So, God is always first and then I have five other categories. But I want to say that I think I can't give 'em to you like, one, two, three, four, five, six because I think all the other five sometimes have to be adjusted within themselves. Like, one of the things in here is your friends. You know, you can't have good friendships without time.

So, if you don't dedicate some time to spending time with, or talking to, or communicating with somebody you call a friend then they won't be a friend for very long. But, you know, that might be a priority for you this week in a stronger way than what it might be next week because you might have something else come up that you have to pay attention to next week. So, I'm just gonna give you these six things, as things that I think are priorities in our life. And then, however, you need to arrange all the ones under keeping God first is up to you. But I'm gonna say a lots of times here, today, if that one is not always number one, then none of the rest is gonna work out.

So, I have start your day with God. Even if, for you, that means five minutes or ten minutes. If I were you, I would not go out of my house without spending some time talking to the Lord. "I need you today. Got a lot going on but I know I can't do any of it successfully without you. Help me. Keep me safe". Whatever it is you wanna say to him, but just acknowledge him. The Bible says if you, "Acknowledge him in all your ways, he will direct your path". And then, next, I have taking care of yourself. And that might sound like, "Well man, why would that be that far up on the list? You know, that sounds kind of selfish. I'm trying to forget myself".

Well, I'm not talking about doting on yourself, or trying to provide yourself with everything you want in life. I'm talking about, you need time to take care of you. You know, in addition to doing some things that you enjoy, you also need time to just be with you. Time to rest, time to think, you know, time to take care of yourself. I'm very big on getting some exercise into your life because sadly, I didn't start doing that until I was in my sixties. And, I know what it did for me after that so I can't imagine if I would have started when I was like, the age of some of you girls from mercy ministry. Now, we don't think that's a priority when we're in our twenties because you usually burn up everything you eat. You feel pretty good, you know, nothing has fallen down yet to your knees.

So, you know, you're okay. But I love where David said, "Once I was young and now I'm old". And I can just tell you, that will be your confession at some time in your life. You may be sittin' here all cute and 18 today... But someday, you will be 70 and 75, however long God decides to let you live. So, you have to take care of yourself. Our bodies are the temple of God, he lives in us. And so, you know, don't always have that attitude that you're at the bottom of your list and, "Oh, I don't need that".

You know, it's not right to always put other people before you. Here's the reason why you need to take care of yourself. If you don't, you can't really do any of these other things. You won't be decent in your career. You won't be good with your family. You won't even be good with your friends. People probably won't like you very much because people who don't take care of themselves usually end up being grouchy and feeling bad. So, I've got taking care of yourself pretty high up on the list. Next is family.

You know, there are warnings that God tries to give us that we don't pay any attention to. For example, if you're married, which I know some of you are and some of you aren't yet, but when you do get married if you hear your husband, or when you have kids, your kids saying, "I feel like I never see you," or, "I feel like we never have time to talk". That's not something to just kinda blow off. That's a warning bell, see?

I remember years and years ago when I first got in ministry, I mean, I had so many things to talk to all my girlfriends about, and all these things I was full of everyday. And Dave would go to work and come home, and I'd hang on the phone half the night talking to all of them. And, he finally, just said, he said, "You know, I feel like you're on that phone all the time, every night". Well, I don't know how I got so wise but I did listen. Which, I normally didn't listen to too much except what I wanted to do back then, but I knew that was a warning. I knew that, that was God letting me know that I needed to make a change.

So, if you'll start to listen, you know, to what your children say. Yes, kids want money, but they want your time even more than they want the money, no matter what they say. And so, I would just say don't even bother to have kids if you don't plan to make them a priority in your time because that's the thing that they're gonna need more than anything. And, it's a possibility, that some of the girls sitting in here today, that are in the mercy ministries home recovering from various issues in your life, maybe you didn't have parents that ever had time for you, and that could be one of the reasons why you ended up going in a wrong direction.

So, taking care of yourself, family, career, it has to be a priority if you're gonna be good at your career you have to put time into it. You may need to get additional education. You know, like, for me I don't just show up here and teach. There's a lot that goes into this before I ever get here. I mean, I've been looking at my notes to do this for a good eight days on and off. And so, you have to put time into your career. Your friends, we talked a little bit about that. And, then taking care of what God has blessed you with. I think it's very important that whatever God gives us that we respect it and that we take care of it. Which means, things like keeping your car clean. I mean, and I'm very serious when I say this, I think that we dishonor God when he blesses us with things and we don't respect them.

Now, that doesn't mean your car has to be spotless every day of your life. But I don't think it's a good example if I get in somebody's car and it's full of trash and it's dirty and you can tell that it hasn't been cleaned in a long, long time. Your home, your clothing, I think it's important how you look when you go out of your house. You know, to be honest, I look at some people and I think do you not have a mirror? You know? Or, do you just never bother to look in one or what? You know, you don't even have to have a lot of money to look nice when you go out. To be honest, you could have three black tops and two black skirts and one blue one, and if you got enough other things to put with it, you're a little bit creative you can look like you've got a lot of different outfits.

So, Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness," or the right way of being and doing. So, we need to want to do things right. We're not saved by the rightness of our deeds, but anyone who really recognizes what Jesus has done for them is going to want to please him. "Seek first the Kingdom of God," and here comes the promise, "And all these other things will be added unto you". So, really, I mean, what else do you need to say? What is it that you want? You say, "Oh, I want a boyfriend, I want to get married". Well, you know what? Seek God and trust him to bring the right guy into your life at the right time. Amen?

You say, "Well, I've got marriage problems, and my spouse needs to change, and I'm worried about two of my kids". Well, you can sit and spend an hour worrying or you could just spend ten minutes praying and get that situation taken care of, and go ahead and enjoy your life while God is working on your problem. 1 John 5:21, in the amplified, says, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols (false Gods)," and right away most of us would think, "Well, I get an a+ on that. I don't worship idols". But do you know that anything can become an idol in your life? I'd have to say at one time, I was a little out of balance in the way that I felt about the ministry. God told me one time, "You're so proud of yourself because you work for me, but the problem is you're not spending any time with me".

See? And to be honest, many people in full-time ministry that have a lot of responsibilities, one of the biggest problems among that group of people is they're doing all these things for God, but they don't have much of a personal relationship with him. "Keep yourself from idols (false Gods)-from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart that is due to God, from any sort of substitute for him that would take first place in your life". You know, I heard somebody say and I thought this was great, "You know, God is never more than a thought away".

So, anytime you want to spend time with God, it's not like you gotta find a certain place to be in and a certain posture. I mean, you can spend time with God anywhere, anytime. And, it doesn't even have to be long and lengthy just, "I love you, Lord. Please help me with this. Thank you for your presence in my life". And so, I always say we need to learn to pray our way through the day, not just have a prayer time, which is good, but to let God be involved in everything that we do. Now, the Bible tells us to seek God, and seek is a very strong word and to be honest, it's only used in reference to a handful of things.

The Bible says to seek God, to seek peace, to seek holiness. And, there's a couple of other things but it never tells us to seek money, never tells us to seek promotion, never tells us to, you know, seek a bigger house. It always just says to seek God in the things that are important to God. But, that word seek means to pursue and go after in a very strong way: t0 pursue and go after in a very strong way. Now, Jeremiah 2:13, also, another one of my favorites, "For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and they have dug for themselves wells that have no water in them".

I love that because that's basically, saying that, you know, instead of seeking me, you're busy doing all these things that you think are gonna make you happy, or that are gonna get you what you want, but then, when you get them you find out it's really not satisfying to you. See, the thing is that we have to understand is if God is not kept in first place in your life, he will purposely see to it that you don't enjoy much else, not because he's like, you know, all into himself and wants everybody's attention, but he knows that you cannot function well if he's not first in your life. He's more important than your friends, more important than your family, more important than anything that you want to do.

Now, I'm not trying to be legalistic. If you, one morning, can't spend some time with God, he's not gonna be there, "Well, I'm just not gonna help you today because you didn't spend any time with me," but I'm talking about habits. And so, I'm just gonna ask: do you have the habit, have you formed the discipline of spending time with God... I'm going to say every morning, but if you hit it 90% of the time I'd be happy. Is that your habit in life? Or do you jump out of bed and just start trying to do all the things that you think that you have to do, and ten minutes after you're up, you're frazzled, and all mad at everybody, and frustrated and... Well, I just told you why. You got to seek God first and all these other things will be added unto you.

Now, when we say to seek God first that also means that we have spiritual priorities. So, let's just say for example, that you know, you're a great person and you go to church on a regular basis, but you have got a really bad temper. At home, behind closed doors, your Christian friends wouldn't recognize you. Well, so that needs to be a spiritual priority in your life, is to seek God to help you with that particular situation. I remember when my brother, who is now deceased, but when he lived with Dave and I for several years. And, he didn't know much about the word. He'd had a problem with drugs and alcohol most of his life, but I remember when he got the point, through some of my teaching that it's not just randomly reading the word that helps you, but the word is like medicine and you can apply it to whatever ails you.

For example, if you've got a really bad temper, studying on how to be promoted in life is pretty useless. So, we need to be honest, let God show us the things that are not the way that he wants them. Not under condemnation, but so we can cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and study in that area. I say very often, "If you have a headache you don't put a band-aid on your head". Right? And if you have a cut on your arm, you don't stick an aspirin in it. So, we're smart enough to know, at least to some degree, what to take for our bodies. So, we need to get smart enough to know what part of the word to take for what ails our soul. The Word of God is literally, medicine for your soul. That's why if you have a wounded soul, only God and his word can get to you in those places where nobody else can get to. Amen?

Now, one of the things that I've found that God does is... You know, we all have things that we like. We all have some things that we really like. We have some things that we love. And maybe, this hasn't happened to you, but it happens to me, has God ever asked you to give away your, "Favorite". Mmm, some of you haven't had that experience yet, well...

Couple years ago, I bought a cape. Oh, I loved it. It was so pretty. It had fur that was just right around here and went all down the front, and it just swung the right way, you know, when you turned, it was just, I mean, I got so many compliments on that. And, I had it about two weeks and I was in a store. I know the woman there, but I wouldn't say that we're like, you know, friends. She's an acquaintance, somebody that I know that I respect. And she said, "Oh my gosh, where did you get that"? And, I told her where I got it. And, she checked right away and well, they didn't have any more. That was the last one. She said, "Oh, I wanted to get one of those so bad".

Well, you already know where this story goes. And so, you know, right where I was standing, right there, I felt in my heart that God wanted me to give it to her. Well, I didn't want to give it to her. So, I went home to sit on it for a little bit. Well, you know, sometimes we kinda hope we sit on it long enough to forget about it. And I've found that if God really does want me to do something then he doesn't let me forget about it. You know, it'll be there the next day, and the next.

So, it took me a couple days and I just thought, "I ain't going through this anymore". I just took her the cape 'cause I've learned over the years that you're much better off to obey God, even if what he's asking you to do is a sacrifice for you, than to go around all the time knowing that you disobeyed God. And so, I will tell you another story. This is a rhinestone bracelet. I know you probably can't see it good enough, but the way it connects, at the connection, it makes a little bow. And somebody had given it to me, and I just really like this. And, I really enjoyed wearing it.

So, we have conferences all the time, and one of the girls that was on the worship team just kept admiring this bracelet. Sometimes, I wish people would not just keep admiring my stuff. You know? It's like, like it, but don't like it every ten minutes. And she'd say, "That is so pretty". So, of course, I felt like God was wanting me to give it to her and I didn't want to, so I made up some of the silliest excuses. She was a real thin girl, and I told God, I said, "I think that might fall off her arm. I'm not sure that would stay on her arm," which, of course, that was no concern of mine.

All I had to do was do what God told me to do with it, even if I gave it to her and she gave it to somebody else. Which, that's really a flesh burner, when you give something to somebody else that was hard for you to let go of and then they turn around and give it to somebody else. It's like, it was gut-wrenching for you and then you kinda feel like, "Well, didn't mean anything to them".

And so, then I decided she didn't look good in silver, that she looked better in gold. So, it took me just a little while and I finally gave it to her. And, you know, what we do, "Oh, God told me to give you this. And it's been really hard for me 'cause it's my favorite". And, you know, so, she would wear it, and every time I would say, "Boy, I sure miss that. I hope you're enjoying it. You know, that was so hard for me to give that up".

So, a couple months went by and she came in and she said, "You know, Joyce, I felt like God told me to give this back to you". And, I thought... Well, I tried to think I was being blessed, but I kinda felt like maybe I guilted her into it, you know? But here's the interesting thing I learned. I got this back, but do you know I realized I never wore it after that? It just laid in my drawer, and every time I'd pick it up, I mean, I would actually think, "I don't even like that anymore". And you know what God taught me out of that? Once he puts his finger on something, it's no longer yours. And if you try to keep it, you'll never enjoy it after that. You may have it but you'll never enjoy it.

So, when God asks you to do something sacrificially, he's never trying to take something away from you. He's always trying to put you in a position where he can get something else to you that will make your life better. And so, we're really out of time today, sadly, because the subject on priorities could just go on, and on, and on, and be never-ending. But I think your all intelligent enough to know what we're trying to do here, today. Keep God first, and then make sure that your other priorities are in the place that they need to be. And when you spend time with God on a regular basis that will happen without you having to put too much effort into it.
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