Joyce Meyer - The Invisible Kingdom
The invisible kingdom, learning to see into the unseen. You know, Paul talked about that all the time. And he said, with all the troubles and tribulations that he had, the reason why they didn't upset him was because he, "Looked not at what was seen but at what was unseen". See, every time you have a problem, instead of just looking at the problem, you could think about and see with your spiritual eyes what God is in the process of doing about your problem. We are so accustomed to only believing what we see, that if we don't see God doing anything then we assume he's not doing anything. But when you see what God has done, it's only the result of what he's been doing all along, and now all of a sudden, you get to see it.
Something that has really helped me over the last number of years is, if I start to get discouraged because I've had a problem too long or it seems like I've been praying a prayer for way too long and don't have an answer, instead of getting all down in the dumps, I've learned to say and I try to say it out loud, "God is working". See, if you can believe, tonight, that God is working, even if you don't see it or feel it: the Bible says as long as we believe God keeps working. So, everybody say, "God is working in my life". Now, say this, "God is working on my problem. God is working on my unsaved loved ones".
Come on. If you want to have a steady flow of joy in your life, and peace that doesn't even make any sense, you have to learn how to believe what you can't see more than you believe what you can see. We have that privilege. 2 kings, chapter 6, verses 15 through 17. "When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots surrounded the city. 'oh no, my Lord! What are we going to do?' the servant asked. He said, 'don't be afraid,' the prophet answered. 'don't be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' And Elisha prayed, 'open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.' then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha".
Now, see, this room tonight's full of angels. But, anything that we don't bring into our consciousness we miss. So, I'm glad that God put it on my heart to teach this message because it has really been helping me, just since I've been studying it because I'm taking time on a regular basis to think about what's going on that I can't see.
See, if you look too much at the bad stuff, you just keep going down, down, down, down. I mean, I look at the news every morning just to see if anything's happened that I need to know. But, if it's important enough that I need to know it, it's gonna be on the first or second, I look on my phone, and I don't wanna go past that. 'Cause it just goes all downhill from there. It's just really, it's so bad that it's just, well, I won't say anything else. It's just so bad. It's not even considered worthy of print if it's not negative. But, see, we can look beyond what we see and realize, "Man, there are good things going on". For one thing, Jesus said, "I go before you to prepare a place for you that where I am, there you may be also".
So, while you're sitting here, enjoying yourself tonight, Jesus is decorating your mansion. And he knows your taste specifically and perfectly. Amen? God's doing so many things in all of our lives. If you're a believer and you're praying and talking to God, he is doing so many things in your life. And just because you haven't seen the final outcome yet, doesn't mean that God's not doing things. And I really feel like, God wanted me to make an effort to get that across to people tonight, so you can stop just living by what you see and what you feel. You get downright excited when you realize that angels are with you everywhere you go.
And you know what? God's angels are not little fat babies with wings on their back. It's pitiful sometimes how people in the world try to weaken the things of God. We don't have little, fat, baby angels with little, tiny wings on their back flipping around. I mean, these angels of God would probably scare a normal person half out of their wits. Jesus is here tonight. Because he said, "Where two or three are gathered, there I am in the midst of them".
So, he's walking up and down these aisles. And God, the Father's here. And the Holy Spirit is here. And some of you probably came thinking, "Oh, I wish I could talk to Joyce". Well, you know what? You can talk to somebody so much better than me. You can talk to the Holy Spirit. And he's here to minister to every single one of you, tonight. He knows exactly what your situation is and no matter what I preach, he can draw something out of it that will minister to you if you stay in faith and keep an open heart. Don't just sit out there in these meetings and wait to see what I'm gonna do. Release your faith and believe God to do something great. Amen?
I just wonder what God's up to in your life. You know, when my kids were little I prayed for all of them, all the time, that they would all grow up and marry born-again, spirit-filled mates, and that we would all serve God together. And that's true today, in our life. My kids married great, have two son-in-laws, two daughter-in-laws, everybody's serving God. Our 11 grandchildren all are born again. And the one on the way, will be. It's a promise. And so, the things that you pray early in your children's lives, you may not see them come to pass. It may look like, that a kid's going in the exact opposite direction. But don't stop believing because you're not getting an answer as quick as you would like it. Amen?
Just make your mind up, "I'm gonna keep believing. I don't care how long it takes. I'm gonna keep believing. I don't care how long it takes". I said, "We're going to keep believing..." Believing doesn't cost you anything. And you're a lot happier believing than if you're not believing. Amen? The first thing that Jesus said in his public ministry was, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". When he sent his disciples out to preach, he said, "Go saying, 'the kingdom of heaven is at hand'". Well, they thought, the same way most of us do, they thought in physical terms not spiritual terms.
And so, they believed that Jesus was going to set up an earthly kingdom, get a palace, and a throne, and they were gonna be the 12 big guys that hung out with him and give the orders. And that wasn't what he was talking about at all. You know, it's interesting when you're trying to talk to somebody in a spiritual way and you can tell they just don't get it. Amen? They just don't have a clue what you're talkin' about. Paul said he prayed for the church. In Ephesians 1:17-20, he said, "I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of glory, might give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your heart enlightened".
So, you have eyes in your face, here, with which you see this stuff, but you have eyes in your heart, well which you can see into the unseen realm. We have a mind of the flesh, which is normal, carnal kind of thinking that everybody does but we also have a mind of the spirit which means we can look at things in a totally different way than the way ordinary people... Do you understand that as a Christian, you just operate by a different set of guidelines? Maybe, not so much.
Well, that's why we're doing this, tonight. The kingdom of heaven is at hand. There's an actual kingdom that lives among us but it's invisible to our natural eye. However, it's not invisible to our spiritual eye. You see, it goes beyond believing. I know that Jesus died for me. And I know that he rose from the dead and that he is now seated at the right hand of God. I know that. I've never seen it but I'm giving my whole life, my whole life, the only one I've got. I'll never get it back. And I'm giving my whole life to that belief about something that I can't see with my natural eyes but I see it so clearly in my heart because I know what God has done in my life.
Come on. So, when you get all down in the dumps, think about what God's done in your life. Maybe he hasn't done everything you'd like him to do yet, but he's done some things. And the more you think about those things the more faith you build, the stronger your faith gets, and the more faith you can release for the other things that you expect God to do.
In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Paul said, "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day". You know what that's a formula for? How to age without getting old. Amen? How to be 75 and still young at heart. How to be 65 and start a brand-new ministry. I didn't go on television till I was 52. You're not too old to start something. And you're not too young to start something. We don't have to operate according to natural laws. "All things are possible with God". And that's not just a happy scripture that's a fact, "All things are possible with God". What is impossible with man, is possible with God.
Then Paul goes on to say, "For this light momentary affliction..." I mean, the guy's beaten, he's in prison, he's going hungry, and he says, "Oh, this light momentary affliction". And you know what? Here's another really big, I think, problem that we have. We don't think enough about eternity and how long that's gonna be. And so, really, whatever problem you have now is a momentary thing compared to how long... I mean, how long is forever? I don't know but it sounds like a really, really long time. And those of you that are born-again believers, you are going to live forever in a good place. Everybody's gonna live forever, but not everybody's gonna be living in the right place. Our bodies will turn to ashes and dust and be no more but there's a part of us that's gonna go on forever, our spirit and our soul.
And we need to spend our now time preparing for there 'cause we're gonna be there a lot longer than we're gonna be here. Do you hear me? That's why it's important to invest in the Kingdom of God because what you invest in the kingdom, whether it's time, or money, or hard work, or whatever it is, that's always going to pay big dividends in your life. "This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comParison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient," now, hang onto that word, "But the things that are unseen are eternal".
Do you know that the problem you have right now is currently on its way out of your life? It'll end. It will come to an end. And I've learned how to do that and it's really helped me when I'm having an issue and it just seems like it's going on way too long. And it's, you know, it's confusing if you think about it too much, to know that God could do something, and not to understand why he's not. That's why, to be honest, sometimes you think too much and you get yourself in trouble.
I'm serious. Sometimes you just need to turn your mind off and say, "What's in my heart"? "Well, I don't understand why I keep having these problems. I don't understand why God hasn't healed me from this physical affliction yet, but I know he loves me. I know I'm saved. I know I'm going to heaven". See, let's think about what we do know and not get confused about what we don't know. And the devil loves to come along and get us thinking about things, that the more we think about 'em, the more they're gonna confuse us. I'll give you an example.
I was reading the Bible the other day and I came across... I started a new Bible, so just started in Genesis. And I came across, Adam and Eve had two children, one named Cain, one named Abel. Cain rose up and killed Abel, and he ran off to a land called, "Nod," and married a wife. Well, the first thought you have is, "Yeah, well where'd he get that wife"? Now, I'm telling you, there's a world full of people that would get that far and throw it out in the trash because they couldn't understand mentally, "Where did his wife come from"?
So, I did a little bit of research just to look at some commentaries. And one guy had a great answer. He said, "There's nothing that says how old Cain and Abel was, when Cain killed Abel". Adam lived over 900 years. I mean, they could have been 700 years old. And this guy did enough math to figure out by then, there's no telling how many kids Adam and Eve had. Just 'cause God didn't mention 'em, they had 'em. And they said, "There could have been thirty-two thousand people on the earth by then". So, we don't need to, "Well, don't understand that". "Well, the Bible just says one thing one place and one thing some place, something else".
Quit thinking about the stuff you don't understand and hang onto what you do know. And the things you don't understand, just trust God with it. You know, just, I mean, I'm not giving up my faith. That's all I've got and I'm not giving it up over something that I don't understand. I mean, you can get yourself really confused even watching nature shows if you don't know who you are. And I mean, I just, I'll just usually say, "It's too bad Lord, they don't see what I see". 'Cause I know that I'm not the result of a germ that crawled out of somewhere and evolved over millions of years. And you know, I'm sorry but my relative is not an ape. It's no wonder people are messed up. I mean, if you think you were an accident... Just kind of a big bang, and whoops, there you are millions of years later, then it gives you no value but if you know you're created by the hand of God and that he has a purpose and a plan for you.
You say, "Well yeah, but they can prove evolution, you can't prove God". No, evolution is a theory. And they call it a theory. And I'll tell you what, I might not be the smartest person in the world, but I'd rather be a fool for Christ than a genius for the devil. I believe. Don't care whether it makes any sense or not, I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe. If God said it, I believe it. You know, even thoughts operate in that spiritual realm. The things that you think, you can't see them, but they affect your whole life. Words are spiritual, you can hear them, but you can't see them. And the words that we speak greatly affect our life and our future.
I was thinking about that the other day. That's something that, I hope I never get tired of doing a teaching every now and then on the power of words because no matter how many times we've heard it, our mouth is probably still our biggest problem. Amen? Now, "'Unless a man is born again,'" John 3:3, "'truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.'" You can't see it. If you're gonna pray for an unbeliever, the best way to pray is, "God, open the eyes of their understanding," because they are just deceived, they don't see it. They don't get it because satan has blinded the eyes of the unbelievers that they may not see the Kingdom of God. So, the only way you can even see the kingdom is to be born again.
So, the biggest, biggest, biggest, biggest problem that we have as Christians and the biggest problem that the world has with Christians is those who talk the talk and don't walk the walk. And that's because of not having made that decision that you're walking away from that old life. You cannot just take Jesus, tack him on your old life, and expect him to go along and fix all your problems while you still live the same way that you lived before. Amen? There's no person that could be truly born again and never change. It is not possible.
In 1 John 3:9 the Bible says, in the amplified Bible, that, "Anyone who is born again cannot habitually, purposely continue in sin". Doesn't say he never sins but he says, "He cannot habitually, purposely, knowingly live in sin because the seed of God lives in him". Do you know what that means? When you are born again, you become pregnant with everything that God is. But it comes into our spirit in the form of seed. And that's why the word is called the water of the word. Every time you hear the word, you're watering the seed of God that's on the inside of you and it helps you grow. I'm not getting too far here. We only enjoy the Kingdom of God through the principles of the kingdom.
For example, Jesus said over and over if you want this, then do this. Maybe I'm odd but I like that system. I like somebody to tell me if you want this you can do this. You know, my mistake was for a lot of years, I tried to do it on my own without humbling myself and asking for God's help so I didn't get very far. But now, that I've learned to say, "Well I want to do that, but I can't do that if you don't help me," then I make a lot more progress. Matthew 7:12 says, "So whatever you wish others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets".
Now, in the Old Testament it said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". If somebody does you dirty then you do them dirty back. We get another whole set of spiritual laws. Thank God that Old Testament law is done away with but we still do have spiritual principles. Are you understanding me? You can't be a Christian and live like the world. You can't be a Christian and live like the world. I didn't say you couldn't enjoy things in the world. But some of the worldly things you can't enjoy because they wouldn't be proper and they wouldn't be appropriate.
I like to watch TV in the evenings when I rest, but I usually watch it with the remote control in my hand. And I can tell when the bad stuff is on its way before it gets there. And I just fast forward past it. You know what? You don't need all that junk for something to still be good. And I've got different editing things and edited movies and you know, I don't want to fill myself full of junk. Come on, don't make me work so hard. But now, we have this new thing in the kingdom, you don't do to others what they've done to you, you do to them what you would like them to do to you.
"Well, that's pretty upside-down. Well, what if I treat them good and then they still don't treat me good back". Well, guess what? You're still obeying God, and you'll still be happy, and you'll still have a reward coming. Payday is coming. Did you hear me? Payday is coming. I'm giving my life to this and I don't plan on missing my rewards. Now, all of this would just be fine and work pretty easy if it wasn't for the devil. But see, it's a fact that when you want to do good, evil always comes. Paul said that. When you want to do good, evil always comes. It is hilarious the things that happen to us just trying to do these conferences. I mean, it's just gotten to be, we keep a record and at the end of the year my assistant reads it and it's like, the devil just never seems to get it, that we now get him and we know what he's doing, and we're not laying down because he makes it a little inconvenient.
I mean, we had team members that had flights canceled and I mean, all kinds of problems. You know, and then it gets everybody all stressed out. And if you get here at all, the devil wants you to get here all stressed out. And even, those of you that are coming. I wonder how many things happened at your home, right while you were trying to leave? That just got you like probably, a large majority of you. There probably weren't too many that just made a plan and strolled around came with no problem.
How many of you, somebody was supposed to come with you and they backed out? Almost everybody. You know why? Because they weren't wise enough to realize what satan was trying to steal from them. The devil is a liar. To deceive, he's the great deceiver and it means to cheat, to cheat. He only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. "That which gives a false impression, whether by appearance, statement, or influence". Riches are said to be deceitful. The world is said to be deceitful. Sin is said to be deceitful.
So, let me just talk to you for a few minutes about the world because we live in it, but we're not supposed to be of it. And I want to make it clear. I believe God wants to bless us and I believe that he wants us to have nice things. And I think it's fine for you to have an abundance of things as long as you're generous with what you have. But it can also really draw you away from your relationship with God if you're not mature enough to really handle it. Sounds like one little group, out here in the middle, got that.
See, we don't realize that we're just passing through here. This is not your home. Did you ever wonder why no matter what you have, or how many good things happen, you just never are 100% content? Well, was like that and I got tired of it. I'm like, "Come on, God. I'm trying to serve you with my whole life and I have no reason to be discontent. Why do I always feel like there's something I'm missing"? And he just said, "Because you're not home yet". I'd be more concerned if you could get 100% comfortable and content here than if you told me, "I just feel like a little something is missing".
Well, God has written eternity in our hearts, and there's no place like home. It's nice to go for a visit but there's no place like home. Amen? "As for what is sown among thorns, this is the person who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful". So, let's just say that somebody is born again and God wants to bless 'em and he gives 'em favor and they get a promotion at work. And then, all of a sudden, here comes this temptation: if you want to really climb the ladder of success, you're gonna have to compromise a little bit. "I mean, yeah, you can be a Christian but let's don't be one of those radical, yeah, yeah, you know, go to church, but you don't have to talk about it all the time. Don't have to sit and study your Bible on your lunch hour. Just don't be so hyper-religious, you know"?
And there is some value to some of that. But I'm telling you that the more you have, the closer you better stay to God. Because money and things and success, nothing can draw you away from God quicker than those things. That's why it's not wise to want anything that God doesn't want you to have. 'cause even if you think you can handle it, God knows whether or not you really can handle it. And I pray that. "God, don't give me anything that I can't handle and still keep you first in my life".
I don't want it. I'll be done with this in a few more years here. Let me tell ya. You feel different about things when you get a little bit older. Things that used to be so important to ya. I mean, I used to love to shop. Oh, my gosh. Shopping was like entertainment. Come on, I mean, just go out and roam around the malls and go in and out of the same stores, and then go to the next mall, and go do it the next day, and the next day. And now, I just, I mean, it's like, "Really"?
I have one place where I buy most of my clothes and I enjoy going there. The woman's a friend of mine. I've been buying clothes from her for over 30 years. It's not that I don't like pretty things, but I don't crave 'em or have to have 'em like I once did. I mean, if you have 50 pair of shoes, do you really need another pair? And if you are gonna bring one in, then have a guideline: when something comes in, something goes out. Amen? I'm kind of okay with that, but at least if you're gonna bring more in... the world is so deceptive.
How about this one? Buy this new car today and no payments for one year. Well, that sounds good. Only problem is, is a year from now when the payments start, the car don't look that much different than the one you turned in to get the new one. Only since you really couldn't afford it, you had to take the long payment plan. So now, this car that's a year old, you've gotta pay on for another seven years. I bought a piece of Jewelry one time at a Jewelry store. And when I got it home, I thought, "This don't look like it did in the store". Have you ever noticed that?
And I realized it was the lights in the Jewelry case. And I actually took it back. I just said, "I don't". I mean, I'm all for pretty things, and you know, I've got more shoes than I can wear, more earrings than I can wear, but I do try to be generous with what I have and give all the time. But you cannot let those things mean more to you than Jesus does. And don't let your relationship with him be all about trying to get him to give you what you want. Don't seek him for his presents, P-R-E-S-E-N-T-S, but for his presence.
Can I have those two packages, Matt? I'm gonna give you an example of how the world is and how our flesh is. Now, I got these two packages here. And one of 'em is just wrapped in brown paper. Boy, that one's pretty, ain't it? Now, there's always somebody that would do it right. But most of you, if I said, "Which one of these do you want"? You'd pick this one in a heartbeat. So, this is the way the world is. It looks so pretty. "Oh, it's gotta be wonderful". But guess what? Nothing in there. Now, this one doesn't look all that inviting. "Eh, probably just kinda feels like a book. The everyday life Bible"! Now, this is the greatest treasure that anybody could ever give you because the kingdom is in here. All these upside-down principles that are really right-side up, that's what this is full of.
I saw a movie, one time, about a grandson who thought he was gonna inherit his grandfather's estate, which was a sizable amount of money. And for the reading of the will, he got a Bible and he was so ticked off. I mean, he was not happy at all. And so, for years, he was bitter and angry about what his grandfather had done and he wouldn't open the thing or read it. But several years went by and he was having a rough time and he got it out and he started reading it, and reading it. Kinda read it in succession and he got about to the middle of it and found a note about what his real inheritance was and where he could get it.
See, his grandfather had left him the entire estate, but he didn't want him to have the money without having the kingdom. Don't compromise your moral values to get a man, to get a woman, to get a promotion at work, to get friends because if you have to buy your friends, they don't like you anyway. Did you hear me? Seeing into the unseen realm. 1 John 2:16 and 17, "For all that is in the world: the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes and the pride of life, is not from the father but it is from the world". And now, listen to this. I really want you get this. "And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever". The world is currently, passing away.
Now, I firmly believe that in order to really live in the kingdom, according to the kingdom principles and serve God properly, that there are gonna be sacrifices. Not a real popular word today. Now what I mean by that is there's gonna be some things that you just can't do. You can, but it's not gonna be good for you. And many of those things you can do, it won't cause you to lose your salvation, but it will cause you the loss of the joy of the kingdom that you can live in here on earth. Paul prayed that, "I might know you and the power of your resurrection that lifts me out from among the dead even while I'm in the body". So, he was saying, "Okay, there's a realm I can get into that even while I'm going through things, I can be lifted out above it".
We can be like the eagles who take advantage of the storm, and we actually, fly above the storm and look down at 'em. But when you make sacrifices, to do the right thing... Is anybody hearing what I'm saying? If you would take a chance on losing your job rather than compromising your morals to keep the job, if you would choose to be alone rather than to enter into an immoral relationship... and don't turn your television set off. Just 'cause you don't like what I'm saying, doesn't mean you don't need to hear it. See, God's got something better for you than sin but sometimes you gotta wait on it. And sometimes you gotta get to the point where you, "I would rather have no friends than to have wrong friends. I'd rather never be married than be married to the wrong person". Amen?
And I was thinking about Dave. See, when you make sacrifices, God rewards you. I mean, he just does, that's all there is to it. And one of the things that happens is he gives you a lot of favor. And favor is just flat-out fun. I mean, it is just fun when you have the favor of God on your life because these things happen to you that really, shouldn't happen and it doesn't make any sense to anybody else, but you know why. It's just a little wink from God saying, "I got you". Come on. So, as we got into ministry, you know, first, I got into ministry and Dave initially, didn't want much to do with it, but God quickly dealt with him and just in a few weeks he realized that... he's a fast learner. Not like me, I learn kinda slow. But he said God just showed him, "She's anointed to teach and you back her up and don't try to do something that you're not anointed to do and you'll always have joy".
One of the things that Dave had to give up is when we started to travel because every meeting that I've ever done except the ones that I did during the day when he was still working in the engineering field, but since he quit that job, every meeting I've ever done except maybe two, he's been right where he's at, right there. I don't know he can laugh at my same jokes all the time, but he says he likes it, but one of the things... He was in a little golf league. Dave loves his golf and he was in a golf league. And I remember when he had to give that up in order to do what God had called us to do. And I remember it being a little bit difficult for him. It was hard. You know, it's hard to give up things that you really enjoy. But just recently, Dave played golf with Jack Nicklaus. Okay, now listen. A boy from Fenton doesn't do that but God... Come on. Do you hear me?
So, when you step over into that unseen realm... And that's what Dave was doing when he quit his job and he gave things up. I mean, we had a dream, we weren't seeing anything yet. You should have seen us in the early days. I mean, we had a car and a little bubble-trailer. And there was me, and Dave, and a worship leader. And our one daughter and son-in-law drove the resources, took their kids with 'em. By the time my daughter got two babies, she cried for a year, and the road was no place for her. But so many people sacrificed for us to be able to help the amount of people that we help today. So many people sacrificed. And if you want something real and valuable, something that will really warm your heart and make a difference in your life and bring reward then be willing to sacrifice the non-essentials for the things that are essential.