Joyce Meyer - The Talents
Alright, we are talking today, I started, this morning, in the first service about the three parables that are found in Matthew chapter 25. And they are the parable of the ten virgins: the five wise and the five foolish. We found out this morning that the five that were foolish were foolish because they didn't do anything extra. The wise ones took their lamps, but they took extra oil just in case they had to wait a little longer than they thought they would. Made a couple of good points about even why people are late. They plan for perfection, they don't plan for anything to happen that could delay them. And so, we need to be prepared. We need to be planned.
And we're living in very difficult times right now, where we need to, the Bible says, "Watch and pray". And that really means to live carefully. Be careful how you live. "The devil roams about like a lion roaring and fierce hunger seeking whom he may devour", but you don't have to let it be you. But that doesn't mean that there's absolutely nothing for you to do. We're partners with God. It's just about learning how to hear from God and doing the right thing at the right time.
Lisa talked about praise and worship. Sometimes that's all God wants you to do when you're in a battle. You've done everything you can do, now he just wants you to praise and worship him. Maybe there's something that you need to take care of in your life that's got a door open to the enemy. Maybe there's some bitterness, or you know, sometimes you can have an offense in your heart and it's been there so long that you don't even really know it's there, and it's bothering you. But God can show us things like that. So, I always believe in asking God, "What's wrong? Is there something that you want me to do, or do you want me just to wait on you and just praise you"? We can win our battles if we know how to fight like a Christian. Amen?
And so, the message really in these three talents is kind of all the same. It's about doing what you should do when you should be doing it, and not putting things off and losing your reward. Now, we don't earn our way into heaven. We don't earn salvation. It's a free gift given completely by the grace of God, and it's offered to all. Jesus has already paid for your salvation. So, if you haven't received Christ yet, there's a free gift waiting for you today, that you can have for the asking. You don't have to go out and try to make yourself better in order to deserve it. It's just a free gift waiting for you. But once a person is born-again, they receive a new nature. We receive the nature of God. We receive the Spirit of God. And we receive the heart of God.
In Ezekiel, the Bible says that, "He takes the stony, hard, cold heart out of us and gives us a heart of flesh, one that is sensitive to the touch of God". And so, I believe that anybody who is truly born-again, and that doesn't mean you just go to church on Sunday, that means that your life is all about God now. You've turned away from sin, turned away from being in love with the world, and you want what God wants for your life. And so, there are good works to consider. James said, "Faith without works is dead". We don't work for our salvation. But if we are truly saved, you cannot have the heart of God and not want to do good things. Amen?
So, if you think you're saved but you just don't care anything about other people, then you better back up and do some checking. Because it's not just a matter of saying a certain prayer at certain time and joining a church and going to church once a week. This is about receiving Christ and letting him change us from glory to glory and continuing to grow spiritually. I'm still growing spiritually. I'm learning all the time. And that's what we need to have, the attitude that we wanna do. But the devil wants to stop us. In case you haven't figured it out, he hates you. Just to put is as plain as I know how to put it. And anytime that you try to do something good, Paul said, "When I wanna do good, evil always comes". So, there's a little bit of a fighting the devil, so to speak. But we have already won, we just need to know how to fight right.
And these parables, all three of them, teach us that it's very important to use what God has given us. The ten virgins was the first parable and the next one is the parable of the talents, and the third one is the parable of the sheep and the goats. And we're gonna get through these last two in this service. We all received from God what we're able to handle. We don't all get what somebody else has got. Maybe you're jealous of somebody who's got a lot more money than you and you just don't understand it. But there is a possibility, that no matter what you think, that if you had what they have, it would be more than you could handle and it could take you away from God. Do you know that? Eh, you don't wanna know that, do you?
Let me tell you something. Money has power. Position has power. There's a lot of people, worldly people, whose lives are ruined by becoming famous or becoming rich. And so, you might finagle around in the world and get more than you really can handle, and it end up just ruining your life. But as God's child, if you're trusting God to give you what's right for you, it may not always, well, let's just say, it won't always be the same as what somebody else has. Everybody gets something. But nobody gets everything. So, it's kind of silly to be jealous of what somebody else has because if that's what God wanted you to have then you would have that.
So, we need to be glad for other people. And let's don't just pray for what we want, let's ask God to give us what we can handle and still keep him first in our lives. Could I say that again? Let's ask God to give us what we can handle and still keep him number one in our lives. I think sometimes about Rachel and Leah, two women in the Bible that were sisters. And Jacob loved Rachel. She was a beautiful woman, and he loved her, and he worked for his uncle Laban for seven years to get her as a bride. And she had a sister Leah. And the Bible says of Rachel that she was beautiful to behold, and of Leah, it says she had weak, dull eyes.
Now, I guess that means she wasn't very pretty. It's just kind of a nice way of saying she was not the good-lookin' sister. But the thing that's interesting is Rachel had a difficult time becoming pregnant and bearing children. But Leah could just have 'em one after the other, one after the other. And so, back in those things, they did things a little different. And he worked for seven years for Rachel, and then he got tricked and deceived, and on the wedding night, they got him drunk and he woke up the next morning and had Leah, the weak-eyed, dull-eyed Leah. But Leah could give Jacob sons and daughters right away.
He worked another seven years and got Rachel, but it was many, many, many years before Rachel ever had a child. And then she finally had Joseph and then she had Benjamin. And I get a lot out of that because I look at it like, nobody gets everything. But we all get something. And our job is to find out what our something is and put it to good use in our life without comparing what we have to what somebody else has. That's a big thing. Because here's the thing. It doesn't matter if what you have, or can do, seems big or little to you or to the world. The only thing that God holds us accountable for, is to do the most we can with what he's given to us. And if we do that, the janitor in the building gets the same reward as the CEO of the company. God never expects us to do anything he hasn't given us the ability to do.
So maybe, a few of you could just calm down today, and stop comparing yourself with other people, and tormenting yourself, wishing that you were something you're not or that you have something you don't. And I'm not gonna stop till you clap on that 'cause that was good. "Well, I wish I looked like you". You know, it's hard to look at Lisa up here and not wish you had her waist. It's like, "My goodness. I think the top of my leg's bigger than her waist is". But you know what? I've learned a long time ago that it's just a total waste of time to be jealous of what somebody else has. That's never gonna help you get what they've got.
So, the parable of the talents Matthew 25:14, "Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them". And this is exactly what God has done with us. I don't know if you know it, or not, but Jesus has entrusted us with his reputation. Think of that responsibility. Do you know, you may be the only Jesus that your neighbors will ever see? So, what kind of a Jesus are they seeing? Are they seeing somebody with a bumper sticker on their car, or are they seeing somebody that's got the good Fruit of the Spirit being displayed in your life? We're not owners of anything, we're stewards. Everything that we have is a gift from God. And what he gives us we need to invest, take good care of, and give him a good return.
From the beginning of Genesis, the Bible says, "Be fruitful and multiply". "Don't just give me back what I've given you, go out there and put my gift to work". God gave me a mouth and I have a gift of communication. That is my gift. I am a good communicator. I seem to be able to make my point fairly easy, in a practical way that people can understand. Now, I'll be honest with you, I'm not extremely intelligent. I'd say I've got average intelligence. I'm not dumb, but I'm intelligent, somewhat intelligent. Like, you know who Chris Caine is? Alright, Chris, she is brilliant. She is very smart. Always got real high grades in school. Well, I wasn't like that. But I got to give the high school graduation speech.
See, I could always talk. And so, I talk. And I let other people do what they can do. And you know, I used to sit out there and I'd be jealous of somebody who had a great voice. "I wish I could sing like that. I wish I had hair like that. I wish, I wish, I wish". And really, God puts gifts in other people for us to enjoy them, not to be jealous of them. Because if we're jealous of somebody else's gift... See, you're enjoying my gift this weekend, but it's making me tired. I mean, by the time I go home, you'll go home, "Whow, ah, boy, was that ever good". And I'm gonna go, "Jesus, am I still alive"? So, it's silly to be jealous of other people. The gift that's in them is for you to enjoy.
So, "To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one", and I love this, in verse 15, "Each according to his ability". And you don't have to feel bad about yourself because your ability is not what somebody else's is. You're not responsible for anything except what God has given you to be responsible for. Amen? If a pastor's watching this by TV, and you've pastored a church that's got a hundred and fifty people and you've been pastoring it for 40 years, and here you look at this church on TV, Joel Osteen's church, and you know, he didn't even wanna preach and God just pushed it on him. And the church just grew like crazy. And now, he's got this big arena, seats sixteen thousand people and they have multiple services on the weekend.
Well, how easy would it be to think, "Well, God, what's wrong with me? Why do I have to just deal with these same hundred and fifty people year, after year, after year"? You know what? Because that's what God has assigned to you. And this is what God has assigned to Joel. And the thing is, is if you try to do what Joel's doing, all it's gonna do is make you unhappy. And he couldn't do what you're doing if he tried because God's got a different anointing on him.
You know, this is why Dave and I get along good in this relationship that we have, even though, normally, the situation would be reversed, where he'd be up here and I'd be down there. And he had a conversation with God about this in the beginning because he really didn't want to be in ministry. And he really didn't understand why God chose me to teach and not him. But Dave's smart, he gets things quick. And he's big on being happy and being peaceful. How many of you are big on being happy and being peaceful? Well, so, Dave likes it so much that he'll make whatever change and adjustment, he needs to make really quick to keep it.
So, the things that were happening in him, we're not making him happy. And God told him, "If you will do what you're responsible for, you'll always have joy. This is what I've called her to do. This is what I've called you to do. You'll both be happy if you both do what you're supposed to do". And you know, really the bottom line is, it's none of our business why God chooses one for one thing and another for somebody else. All we need to do is be sweet, little sheep, which we're gonna learn about today: the sheep and the goats, and just do the part that God has given you.
Do you see how you can relax if you stop trying to be something you're not? Just think about it. "It's okay. It's just okay". If you scrub floors your whole life, you can be happy scrubbing floors if that's what God's called you to do. Amen? I mean, I actually know this woman she loves to clean. I'm like, how could you love to clean? Darlene Zschech said to me one day, "Don't you just love to cook in your time off"? I said, "No". "What? You don't love to cook"? I said, "No. I don't love to cook". I love to have somebody cook and I'll eat it. Alright.
Now, "The man who received five bags of gold went at once", there you go. He's not the procrastinator we talked about this morning. "He went at once and put his money to work and he gained five more bags. So also, the one who had two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money". God entrusts us with talents, abilities, wealth, his reputation. And unbelievers and skeptics look at us to see if the claims about Jesus are real. He gives each according to his ability. And I'll tell you what people want, more than anything in this world, they want peace and they want joy. And that's the main thing that they should see consistent in any believer's life is peace, even in the midst of a storm, and joy that doesn't make any sense.
See, you don't have to have a lot of something to be happy. Money doesn't make you happy. Sometimes it can make you very unhappy. Do you know that everything you own is somethin' else you gotta take care of? Yeah, well, God won't give us more than we can handle and we should never be jealous of somebody else who has more, we think they have more than what we do. Whatever God has given you, whether it's a blessing or a challenge, or a responsibility, God is giving you the ability to handle it. God always gives you grace for your place. If you have a special needs child, I'm sure, that challenges your life. But God will give you grace for that place. If you're in a marriage that's not yet what you want it to be, and it's hard and challenging, and you're married to an unbeliever or somebody that was a believer and fell away from God, but you believe that it's what God has assigned you...
What if Dave wouldn't have married me? I wouldn't be here doing what I'm doing because I didn't need somebody to preach to me, I needed somebody to live Jesus in front of me. And that's what he did, and eventually, it changed me. So, God will give you the grace for your place. So, it's pretty obvious to see why he gave the first man five bags of gold and the last man only one because the guy that got the most, did the most with it. And God already knew that he would be like that. So, do the most you can with what God has given you and stop being jealous of people that you think have more than you do. Because really, you both just have what you can handle and that's the thing that's important.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Ginger: Joyce, we have a question for you today, this is a video question so, let's take a look and see what you have to say. "I have a son who's in a lot of trouble, and I don't know how to release the guilt from him. I'm looking for answers on how to release the guilt of not being a good enough father".
Joyce: Okay. So, how to release the guilt of not being a good parent. Well, I went through a little bit of that you know, 'cause I had some issues when my kids were little, especially, the couple of oldest ones.
Ginger: I think every parent will.
Joyce: And I remember, my son, one time, saying, "Well, I wouldn't be this way if you wouldn't have done thus-and-so". And so, boy, right away I started feeling guilty. But you know what God has taught me? Is that, first of all, there are no perfect lives. There's no perfect parents. Every child is gonna end up going through something. You know, and if it's not from their parents it's gonna be at school or somewhere else. And so, the only thing that can change any damage that's ever been done to anybody is certainly not guilt, it's God. And so, prayer is so powerful. And I believe, sometimes, I think we've heard the word prayer so much that we over spiritualize it. But truly, you can take anything to God and he can repair anything in anybody's life if they will just let them. And so, whether this man has been a bad parent or not, just because your kids get in trouble that doesn't necessarily mean that you've been a bad parent.
I was actually, talking to my daughter this morning, who was at my house when I was getting ready to come here, and I was talking about a couple of things that I wish that I would have done different when they were growing up. And she said, "I don't think that would have made a difference". She said, "You know what"? She has four children of her own, and she said, "I think we all do the best we can for where we're at, at that time in life". And it just doesn't... Guilt is probably one of the most useless things in the world. So, the long and short of what I would say is, is no matter what you've done, you have two choices: you can feel guilty, or you can trust God to fix it. And there's nothing that he can't repair.
And God tests our faithfulness. He starts by giving us something small and if we're faithful to use that properly then he'll promote us. And then, we'll stay there for a while, and we'll be tested on that level. I can look at my ministry, the first two and a half years, I taught a home Bible study. Twenty-five people, in my living room floor, every Tuesday night, two and a half years. I quit a full-time job to study. Every month we had to have a miracle just to pay our bills. I remember buying my kids shoes at garage sales, and we had some very tough, lean years. And then, after a while, somebody asked me to teach another Bible study in their home. And so, for two and a half years, I taught two Bible studies.
So, first five years of my ministry was just teaching these home Bible studies. And I would study six, seven hours for each message that I got back then because I didn't know anything. I just knew that I was a mess and Jesus loved me, and I was learning and just trying it out on everybody else to see if it would work for them, like it was me. It's a good thing that, you know, and to be honest, I could preach back then, pretty much, like I can now. And I didn't understand why God kept me confined to that small amount of people. But I can remember watching other preachers on television thinking, "I don't know why you're on TV. I could preach circles around you".
Okay, that's why I was still in my living room floor. It wasn't because of what I could do, it was because of a wrong attitude that needed to be worked out of me. And so, instead of being jealous of what other people have, maybe we should do an attitude check. Come on. Maybe you're a goat and not a sheep. We're gonna talk about them in a few minutes. Goats are more intelligent than sheep, but sheep are sweeter. I wish sometimes that I could accurately sit somebody down and make them understand what the early days were like. Dave and I talk all the time about driving to places to speak, and not even having money to stay in a hotel at night, having to pull over and sleep in a McDonald's parking lot till he could wake up and drive a little bit more. That's why it's so dumb to be jealous of what somebody's got. Especially, if you don't wanna do what they did to get it. Amen?
So, "After a long time the master returned and settled accounts", I love that. He's coming back to settle accounts. "The man who had received five bags of gold brought the master the other five. And he said, 'you entrusted me with five bags of gold. Here, I've gained five more'". I'm in Matthew 25:21, "And his master replied, 'well done, good and faithful servant! You've been faithful with a few things: I will put you in charge of many things'". But here's the exciting part. "'Come and share your master's happiness'"! See, that's much more important than the fact that he got natural rewards. Share in your master's happiness. The second man, with the two bags of gold, the exact same thing. "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. You handled a little bit well, I'll give you more. Come and enter into your master's happiness".
You know what? Really, what we want is to be happy. Everybody that's out shopping today, is just trying to buy a little happiness. Truly. And we're only gonna be happy if we're doing the part that God has given us to do to the best of our ability, and not being concerned about everybody else. Amen? C'mon, some of you single girls wish you were married. Some of you married women wish you were single. You know, being married has its benefits but being single has its benefits. You know, if you're single and you wanna go out to that resource table and buy everything on it, you don't have to call home and get somebody's permission to do it. You can do what you want to. So maybe, you don't have it as bad as you think you do. Come on.
After a long time, the master returned. That was the same way with the ten virgins. After a long time the master returned. And our job is to just keep doing what's right, keep doing what's right, keep doing what's right until he finally shows up. The man, who took his bag of gold and buried it, he immediately, was afraid and he took it and he hid it. But when the master came back in Matthew 25:26, says, "Master replied, 'you wicked, lazy, idle servant'". Wicked, called him wicked because he hadn't done anything with what he had.
You know what? I don't wanna make anybody mad, but I'm leaving and I won't be back for six months, so I can take a chance. If all you're doing is coming and sitting in church a couple times a month, and you're not really doing anything with your gifts and talents, you're not doing anything to make anybody else's life better, you never have time for anybody else, you don't encourage other people, you're not the one to help when somebody needs to move. You know, if you're not doing anything for anybody else then should I say to you what Jesus said to that man? You wicked, lazy... And you know what? You won't be happy.
A lot of people wonder why they're not happy. Sometimes, I wonder how so many Christians can be so unhappy. But I know because God had to teach it to me. He said, "You are unhappy because you are selfish. What you care about is Joyce Meyer, and until you get Joyce Meyer off your mind, and you start paying attention to what you can do for other people to make them happy". See, the only way you're gonna be happy is to try to make other people happy. Come on, you gotta get this quick 'cause, as usual, I've taken too much time on the first half, and... He says, "Well, then"... See, he had a wrong idea about God. He said, "I was afraid of you. I thought you were a hard master".
If you know God, you know that you don't have to be afraid. You can step out and try, and if you fail, you're normal. That was our message last night. Anybody here last night? Did you come last night? See, some of you are just being little piggies this weekend, you're gettin' everything you can get. That's good. There's so many people that are hurting and so many people that need help. And I'll tell you what, the best kind of spiritual warfare to do is the warfare of love. Two of the most important things the Bible says is: faith and love. Continue strong in faith and walk in love. And in Psalm 37, it's talking about evil people and that you don't need to fret about all the evil in the world. And in verse three, it says, "Trust in the Lord and do good".
And if you just concentrate on that, you're gonna have a good life. You don't have to get up every day and worry about everything that's goin' on in the world. You don't have to be jealous of what other people have. You don't have to be all wrought up about whether you're married or you're not married, or you have this, or you don't have that. You just need to get up every day, trust God, and do good. C'mon, this is Christianity 101, made easy. "Joyce, what's wrong with my life? No matter what, I seem to be unhappy. What's wrong? Why can't I be content"? Well, get your mind off yourself and start seeing what you can do for other people. Sheep and goats.
By the way, the guy who buried his talent, the master took it away from him and gave it to the guy who had the most. So, the message is use it or lose it. Amen? Alright, the sheep and the goats. Now, to me, this has a deep, deep meaning that is so beautiful, if we can just grasp this. "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels are with him, he will sit on his throne. And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left".
In the Bible, the right hand is always the side of power. Jesus is seated at the right hand of God in heavenly places. "Then the king will say to those on the right, 'come, you who are blessed by my Father: take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger, you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me'. Then the righteous will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you?' and the king will reply, 'truly I say unto you, whatever you did for one of the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you did it for me'".
Oh, my God. People say, "I'd love to see God". Well, look in the eyes of the person next to you. God's in people. And please get what I'm gonna say. He is very picky about how we treat people. And I can tell you, that I believe from my own personal experience, that nothing grieves God more than when we, as Christians, mistreat other people: belittle them, are rude to them, have no time for them. You wanna ministry? Most of you, it's not gonna be a platform ministry, but you can have a ministry that's even more important than what I'm doing up here, right now.
My daughter, thankfully, we've taught our kids this, and we see them doing it. My daughter said the other day, she said, "I don't know what it is with me lately", but she said, "I seem to be, God seems to have assigned me to talk to all the elderly". And she told me how she was coming out of the grocery store and this older gentleman was coming out, and he just started talking to her and talking to her, and tellin' her all about his cat, and his this, and that, and something else. And she said, "You know, I really wanted to get my groceries in the car and get home". But she said, "I knew God wanted me to just stand there and listen to that man". Now, you wanna put a smile on God's face? That's the way to do it.
I remember, a long time ago, I was in ministry, had my bumper sticker, had my rhinestone Jesus pin. I was on as staff at the church, had my own parking place with my name on it, had a seat in the church with my name on it. I want you to understand, I was important. I knew the right people. I was on the staff. One day, I was in the doctor's office and an old man was trying to talk to me about his leg and why he was there, and he kept going on, and on, and on, and on about this leg, and the snow, and on, and on. I had my Bible and I had my plan, and I actually, said, "Lord, will you please shut him up, so, I can pray and read my Bible". I wanted to sit there and be religious.
Oh, how religious I would have looked in the doctor's office reading my Bible and being spiritual. And I'll tell ya, the Lord got me. He said, "Let me ask you a question. If that was Billy Graham, would you take time to listen to him"? Ew... Yes, why? Because he could have maybe done something for me. This old man couldn't do anything for me, so I had no interest in him. Come on, now. This is how I've learned stuff, the hard way. I don't give you anything to eat that I haven't had to eat myself. Are you understanding this?
Oh, you have a ministry. Every one of you has a ministry. There's not a person in here that doesn't have a ministry. But maybe, you're so intent on having a ministry where you can be noticed and seen, and have a title, and be well thought of that you're totally missing the joy of the Lord. You're missing the happiness of the Lord because you won't just give yourself to those little things in secret that God would have you do and maybe never tell anybody. C'mon. Oh, I believe those things that we do are some of the most important.
You know, then he turns this around and I don't have time to sit here and read it all. But he says, "And if you have not done it to the least of these, my brethren, then you have not done it unto me". So, it seems to me that God takes it very personally how we treat people. And I can tell you, if you just go outta here today and spend the rest of your life trusting God and doing good, not to earn salvation, we don't do good to earn anything from God. We want to do good because of what he has done for us. If you wanna put a smile on God's face, put a smile on somebody else's face.
Now, sheep and goats are very different in nature. Goats are more intelligent, but sheep are sweeter. And you know, I always say I'd rather have... I love low maintenance employees. You know, people who don't always want and need something else to keep 'em on the team. And I'd say, "I'd rather have somebody that's not quite as talented but has a really good heart than somebody who is brilliant with a stinky attitude". Amen? And I believe God feels the same way. Let's just put it like this. Goats are stubborn. And they head-butt their way through life. Come on, you can always be head-butting somethin'. I always say, "Goats say, 'but, but, but, but' and sheep just say, 'bah, bah, bah'".
How 'bout if we make a decision today that we're going to give ourselves to just doing more good works, not to get something from God. He's already given us everything he can give us. I don't do, what I do, for God to give me something, I wanna give something back. And the thing he's asked me to do is treat other people good, especially, the ones that are hurting. Amen?
Father, I pray for everybody here, including myself, that we would walk in love, in a greater way. And that we would really care about things that most of the world don't care аbout: listening to somebody that maybe doesn't interest us at all, taking time to do something for somebody that we really don't wanna take the time to do. Father, I pray that we would follow your guidance and your leadership instead of our own will. I ask it, in Jesus' name.
Now, if you're here today, and you've never surrendered your life to God, you wanna receive Christ today, you wanna be a Christian, you say, "I wanna be a follower of Christ", we want to pray with you. God's already done everything that needs to be done. All you need to do today, is just receive it. You don't need to do anything except just receive it. You say, "But, I'm such a mess". You know what? You're never gonna get yourself changed without God in your life. Don't wait to try to change, thinking you have to change for God to have you. He wants to take you just the way you are today. Amen?
Now, please listen, and not so much moving around, you know? Somebody's soul here, may depend on you being still for a few minutes. If you're here today, and you say, "I've never received Christ as my Savior, but I'm ready to surrender my life and receive him", or if you say, "I was serving God at one time, but I've walked away from God, fell back into sin, and I want to renew and rededicate myself to God", or maybe you're here today, and you say, "Joyce, I just don't know if I'm born-again. I go to church, but I don't really know that I'm saved. I'm one of those people that just go to church, but I can't really say that I'm doing much for anybody else". I wanna pray with you, if that's you today.
So, if you'd just slip your hand up nice and high and let me see where it's at. None of these little down here's. Let's see you out there. Okay, I see lots of hands now. I'm gonna ask you, if you mean it, I'm just gonna ask you to stand up right where you're at. Not gonna bring you down to the front, but just stand up. You say, "Oh, I don't want anybody to see me". Well, why not? Come on. Come on. Very good. Come on, take a stand for Jesus. Amen. Come on, if you won't take a stand in here, you'll never go out there and take one. Alright, remain standing. This is good for you. It may be a little hard, but it's so good for you. So many people up in the balconies and the upper areas. Now, let's all pray this prayer with them.
Father, God, I love you. Jesus, I do believe in you. I believe that you died for me. You took the punishment I deserved. You paid for my sin. And I am a sinner. And I'm sorry for my sins. I'm sorry for the way I've lived. But I wanna turn around. I repent. I wanna follow you with my life, now. Jesus, I receive you, into my heart, as my Savior and my Lord. I believe I'm forgiven. I believe you love me. I know there's work to be done in my life. But I believe you'll do it. I surrender myself to you. Take me just the way I am. And make me what you want me to be. Now, I believe I'm saved. I'm a child of God. And God loves me. Amen.