Joyce Meyer - Walking By Faith
Well, I've been working on a series starting last night, called "Sit, stand, walk and run". Sit - enter the rest of God. Stand - strong in faith when you're waiting for your breakthrough, stand strong against the enemy because he hates you, and he does not want you to make progress in any area of your life. Walk with God, walk out in the world, the things that you learn in here in the church. It's so important that we don't just go to church, and then go out and act like we've never been there. There's a wonderful scripture that says, "We are ambassadors for Christ", but I love the amplified, it says "We are God's personal representatives". Think about that. You are God's personal representative, and then it goes on to say that God is making his appeal to the world through you. What a responsibility and what a privilege.
And so the biggest job we have, after we're born again, is to learn what the Bible says, because that's the will of God, that's direction for our life, and then get out in the world and live it out. Just a bumper sticker and a cross around your neck is not enough, we have to get out in the world and walk it out. So, this afternoon we're going to talk about our walk with God, and in particular we're going to talk about walking by faith, because that's the only way, that we can really remain in the rest of God. I don't know if you realize how important the rest of God is, but I can tell you, I have been a frustrated Christian, and I have been one that is peaceful and enjoys my days. And I'll take peace any time over frustration and aggravation.
Maybe you walked in here today and you're frustrated with yourself, you've tried so hard to be what you think you're supposed to be, and you just fail every time. Well, let me tell you something: today's message is for you. Maybe you're frustrated with your family, maybe you're frustrated with your teenagers, maybe you're frustrated with your finances - God doesn't call us to be frustrated, he calls us to enter his rest. And the only way we can stay in the rest of God, and I'm talking about internally, no matter what kind of storms are going on around us, if we have peace inside, then we can still enjoy life. And the only way that we can maintain that rest is through simply believing God.
When Mary and Martha came to Jesus about Lazarus, and him being dead, the Bible says that he waited two more days even after he knew he was sick, before he went to help him. It actually says, "And he loved Mary and Martha so he waited two more days". Sometimes God loves us so much, that he won't deliver us exactly when we want to be, because he wants our problem to get bad enough, that when we get a breakthrough we are so thankful. Amen? And he said, "Did I not tell you, if you would only believe, you would see the glory of God". What are believers supposed to do? Believe. We believe what we don't see, that's what faith is. Faith is a substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. Once you see then you don't need faith anymore. Faith means you have it in your heart, before you have it in your circumstance. But it really can be just as good as having it if you really trust and believe God.
Now, under the old covenant, the covenant of law, they had an opportunity to enter the rest of God when they were in the Wilderness, but very few, almost none of them did and the Bible says it was because of their unbelief. So, there remains still Hebrews 4 says, still today, right now today, if you have never had the blessing of really entering the rest of God, today that promise still is available to you. Those of you who came in here frustrated, you can leave in the rest of God. And if you can understand by the power of the spirit what I'm trying to share today, you can come to a place where you never really have to live frustrated.
Now we get upset and we get frustrated, but I tell you what: we don't have to stay that way, because once you realize that you've gotten out of the rest of God, you can get back in just as quick as you got out. By simply making a decision, "I am not gonna worry about this, I'm trusting God. I'm not gonna stay mad at you, I'm gonna forgive you, and I'm gonna trust God for vindication in my life". Come on, I wonder how many people are here today are mad at somebody? God is our vindicator, oh my gosh, how many years did I hate my father for abusing me when I was growing up? It didn't do me any good, and it didn't hurt him. Do you know all the people you're mad at, you being mad at them it's not hurting them? They're probably out having a good time and don't even care. You're the one that it's hurting. So when God tells us to forgive people, it's a favor for us. You can't live in the rest of God if you're angry, you can't live in the rest of God if you're worried and frustrated all the time, and trying to make things happen that only God can make happen in your life.
Come on, what's your pet project right now? Who are you working on? Who do you have on the potter's wheel, that would love it if you had let them off? I used somebody with my project all the time, most of the time it was Dave, but my kids do, I mean I had kids that about I thought we're driving me crazy, I mean I have four grown kids and they're all involved with us now and my two sons basically run the ministry, and all the logistics of the ministry and two of our son in law's work for us and my one daughter, that I thought would drive me absolutely nutty when she was growing up, she was so sloppy and so disorganized and so messy, and I'm sure that you've heard the speech "If you are gonna live in my house". Come on, did you give your kids that speech? "If you're gonna live in my house, you are not going to do that". And then they do it anyway, right?
And she was just so messy, well, now she takes care of me. She manages and helps manage our finances for us and she helps just in all kinds of ways. She keeps me organized, and when she was growing up I'm surprised she could even find herself every morning. And so all these things that you're frustrated about, if you will just trust God, going the only way that you can enjoy your life, is to trust God. And let me tell you something, if you trust God, you'll age much slower than you will if you don't. If you don't trust God, when you're 40 you're going to look like you're 60, but if you trust God you can be 70 and look like you're 50, amen?
Dave is going to be 80 in July, and it looks like he's maybe 65. He don't worry about nothing. Do you like Dave? That's fine. If you don't like Dave - that's fine. He likes himself, just as happy as he can be. Honestly and truly, the more you worry, the the sooner you start to show age on your body and your face. I am praying this afternoon, that somebody, a bunch of somebodies will go out of here and you will get this, and you will say, "That's it, I am not living my life frustrated and miserable and upset anymore. I am going to enter the rest of God".
Hebrews says, those who have believed do enter the rest of God. Under the old covenant, when the high priests were going to the holy of holies once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people, he had also atone for his own sins. And he had little bells and pomegranates sewn on the bottom of the hem of his garment, and there was a purpose in that, because the covenant that he lived under, was a covenant of works, and so the whole time he was in the holy of holies doing all these rituals and things that he did to atone for their sins, you know, sprinkling blood and doing all these different things, all these special washings, the people outside could hear those bells tinkling on the bottom of his robe. And there was a rope tied to his ankle...
I'm not making this up, this is true. There was a rope tied to his ankle, and the people outside had the other end of the rope, and if the bells stopped tinkling they knew, he'd made a mistake and had died, and they couldn't go in after him because only the high priest could go in there and then only once a year, and they would pull him out. There was no chair in the holy of holies, there was no place to rest under the old covenant, because it was all works, works, works, works, works, works.
My gosh, what Jesus has done for us. Lord, have mercy. What good news it should have been to the Jews, when he said it is finished on that cross. It is done it, is finished. I said in one of the messages, Christianity doesn't begin with a do, it begins with a done. We have to know who we are in the Christ. Adam's first day on earth was not a day of work, it was a day of rest. He was created on the sixth day and the seventh day was a day of rest. God blessed the seventh day and he rested on that day. So, I think it's interesting that Adam began in rest, he didn't begin in work. And we need to realize that too, that God didn't call us to work real hard to change ourselves, so he could be real good. He wants us to have a relationship with him, and then wanting to do the right thing we'll come out of the overflow of that relationship with him. It's not going to come because we try really hard to be good or try really hard to change ourselves.
Well, Jesus is our high priest, and he doesn't have to atone for his sins because he never sinned. However he came in the form of a human, so he knows everything that we go through. "We have a high priest", Hebrews 4 says, "That understands our weaknesses and our infirmities, because he's been tempted in all points just like we have, yet without sinning". So, he knows every temptation that we go through, he experienced all the same things that we do, but yet he never sinned. So, he made the final sacrifice, and the Bible says that when he ascended on high, now get this, he sat down.
And I started getting interested in why it says so often in the Bible, that he sat down. To him, who is seated on the throne. Well, that said a lot more to the Jewish people than it even does to us, but they didn't understand. I can explain this to you today and say, under that old covenant there was no chair in the holy of holies, there was no place for them to rest, no way to rest, but now Jesus sits. When the Bible says he sat down, I mean that should have been like... We should have been doing the hallelujah song before, "Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah. He sat down, it's over, hallelujah, hallelujah, I can't enjoy being a Christian".
Now, I'm not a singer, so that's why they didn't give me a microphone up here, but the better news, even the better news is done in Hebrews 2:6 where it says, "And we are seated in Christ with him in heavenly places". Do you realize, that being in Christ, that everything he got you get? Now we can live our lives from a vantage point of being seated in Christ, which means we can do everything we do, having entered the rest of God. The rest that God offers us is a supernatural rest. And it's not a rest from work, but a rest in work.
In other words, now you know, this is my third time to do this since starting at 7 o'clock last night, and so my body will be tired, but my inner man is renewed, because of what's... See, I'm full of life inside, even though my outer man is getting a little bit tired, and I'll be tired by the time I get home. By the time I eat my dinner, I'll be like... But inside, come on, church if you got it inside, if you got that life inside, if possible Paul said, "My outer man perishes day by day, but my inner man is renewed", amen? I'll be seventy-seven in four months, and I just feel so alive inside, amen? Inside, it's what you got going for you, inside. We worrying so much about everything that's going on outside: your finances, and your kids, and your neighbors... What do you have going on inside? Christ is in me. "The same power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in me. I can do whatever I need to do through Christ, who strengthens me". But everything has to be done from the standpoint of being seated.
Mike, if you come up just real quick. I used to do this myself, but I'm done with this kind of stuff now, I'm... Lay down brother. Do you see what power I have? Now, every person who comes to Christ, comes in that condition. "I'm done, I can't fix anything in my life, I can't do anything. Jesus, if you can do anything with me, here I am". Well, if we could just stay that way, we'd be better off. I don't mean like in that condition, but I mean having that attitude, "God, I can't do it, but if you can, here I am". Now, if you think about a baby, they start that way. And baby Christians start that way, and that is not a problem, but if you've been in the kingdom thirty years and you're still laying down, there's a problem.
So the first thing a child learns how to do is to sit. So, pastor Mike would you sit? All right. Now, aren't babies so proud of themselves when they learn how to sit? I mean it's a big thing. And so the Christians first order of business is to learn how to be seated in Christ. Come on, somebody get this today, don't look at me like... Then, once you learn how to sit, you can stand. So, now you can stand against the enemy, you can stand strong when you have trials and tribulations, you can stand in faith, but you can't go from laying to standing, it's not possible - you got to learn first how to sit.
And let's just say that you're walking as a Christian, (walk a little bit first), you're walking as a Christian, now let's just say that boy, you mess up, you sin and you fall down. Okay, now guess what? He can't get back up, unless he goes first to being seated again. Come on, get this. So what that means is, when you mess up and you sin, before you can get back up and resume your walk with God, you've got to enter back into the rest of God again. Come on, come on, and that means, you can't stay mad at yourself all the time, because you're not the perfect specimen of Christianity. Okay, you can walk, now run your race brother.
So, I love that thought, that even as you start to walk as a believer, and you're doing things for God, and you're representing him out in the earth, and you're walking in faith, and you're walking in love, and you're walking as Christ walked, and you're no longer walking as the heathen walk, that you're still going to make mistakes. And this may not sound like something a preacher should say, but it's okay, because God understands. You aren't sure if you should clap or not when I said, "It is okay".
See, I'm not telling you to go do dumb stuff on purpose, but I'm saying that when you do make mistakes, all you really have to do is say, "I'm sorry, admit what you did, help me God". Don't promise God you'll never do it again, because you will do it again. Don't even waste your time with that stuff, "Oh, God, if you'll just forgive me, I promise I'll never do it again". Yes, you will, you just say, "God, please forgive me, and I pray that I'll never do it again, but I probably will, and if I do, thank God that you love me and you'll stick with me until this is over". See, God is never going to give up on you.
I grew up being abused and so I always thought something was wrong with me. What's wrong with me? What's wrong with me? What's wrong with me? I thought it was my fault. I wonder, if there's anybody else here today that was sexually abused in your childhood, and you always thought: what's wrong with me? What's wrong with me? Anybody? Well, there wasn't something wrong with you, there was something wrong with the person who did that to you. But as a child you don't know that, so you begin to carry that burden of "Something's wrong with me", and then even when you receive Christ, until you really get your mind renewed, and you know who you are in him, every time you do the tiniest little thing wrong, then you feel guilty and condemned, sometimes for days and weeks on in.
I felt guilty when I didn't feel guilty, and I'm serious about that. I mean I had a big problem with this guilt and condemnation thing. I carried it like a invisible burden on my back everywhere that I went. And I was already trying to teach the word and follow the call of God on my life, but I had a real struggle with that. How many of you struggle with guilt and condemnation? Come on, I don't want to... Don't make... I want to see you, you stood and... You've been a believer for a long time, but the Bible says, "If any man be", where? "In Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away and all things become brand new", that's 2 Corinthians 5:17. 2nd Corinthians 5:21 says, "He that knew no sin became sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God", where? "In Christ".
So when he's seated and I'm seated in him, even when I make mistakes, God still views me, the amplified Bible says, as being right with him. Even though I make mistakes, because my heart is right, and I want to do the right thing, and I sorry that I made mistakes, God still views me as being right with him. We are justified in Christ. You know what that means? We are made just, as if we never sinned. Come on, I'm tired of you being mad at yourself - no more, give yourself a break. Jesus made the final sacrifice, there's no more sacrifice that's ever needed, no more, he doesn't need your guilt as your way of paying for your sins. Come on, I want somebody to get set free today. If just one person will get set free today, I can go home happy. But I hope it's more than one.
So I remember one incident in particular, I had gone shopping and I haven't had my usual sack of guilt and I parked way out in the back of the parking lot, so I could walk slowly and pathetically to the store. You know, if you're gonna feel bad about yourself, you might as well really beat on yourself. And I heard the Holy Spirit say, "Joyce, how do you plan to get over this sin"? Well, I knew the answer, I said, "Oh, I'll just receive the sacrifice that Jesus made when he died for me". And the next thing I heard from the Holy Spirit is, "And when did you plan to do that"?
How many of you know that Jesus died for your sins? How many of you believe he paid the price for your sins? All right, so when are you going to receive it and forgive yourself? Come on, somebody needs to get free today. Some of you are still carrying stuff around for ten years, you feel bad about stuff that you did 10 years ago. That's not helping you and it's not helping God, amen. So, you know what he said to me? "You know, Joyce, if you don't mind, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, would you just go ahead and receive my sacrificing now? Because, I have need of you and in that condition you're no good to me". See, we're in that all, "I'm terrible person, nobody's as bad as me, nobody messes up as much as I do, I'm just a mess, I do everything wrong". Until you get rid of that and you start to say, "Look, I do wrong things, I'm sorry for them, I want to do what's right, but I know, God loves me and I know that through the blood of Jesus I'm right with him". I'll tell you what, if you want to make the devil mad, I mean really man, you start knowing who you are in Christ.
Now, I'm not in any way suggesting that we should not have grief over our sins, but it's one thing to have grief over your sin and to repent and to receive that forgiveness, that's one thing, but living a whole life of grieving, because you can't do everything perfect all the time. Listen, he who has begun a good work in you is well able to complete it and bring it to its finish. And the Bible says, that he'll be doing it right up until the day that Jesus comes back. So, that's why I know that I'm gonna make mistakes, and you're gonna make mistakes, and I don't worry about mine anymore, I honestly, really truly don't. I almost never feel guilty about anything anymore. And for somebody who suffered with it as much as I did...
Now see, some of you if you've got a religious streak on you, you may think, "Well, that's pretty haughty to say you never feel guilty". Well, according to the word I'm not supposed to. There's no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. I'm sorry for my sin, I may grieve over my sin, I may even weep over my sin, but I'm not gonna feel guilty and condemned and withdraw from God, the very person that I need to press into. You know why? I hate to tell you this, but God's not surprised by your behavior. My Bible says, that he knew everything we were going to do, before we ever did it. What'd you tell Jeremiah? "Before I formed you in your mother's womb I knew you". And let me tell you what, when God says I knew you, that's not like he kind of knew your name, he knew you. "And I made you my chosen instruments". With everything that we do wrong, God chooses us and he uses us, and the Bible says he does it to confound those who think they're wise and usable and really need humility. God actually uses the trash, what the world would consider trash, and throw away is useless, God uses.
You just don't understand how ridiculous it is, that I'm doing what I'm doing. I mean, abused for 15 years, married the first guy that came along because I thought nobody would ever want me, that was another five years of torment and torture. I would have liked to have gone to college, but I couldn't go because I wanted to just get out of my father's house, I wanted to get a job and just get out and be able to take care of myself, so nobody could push me around again. And my teachers recognized that I had a gift for writing, and they really wanted me to try to get a journalism scholarship. Well, guess what? I didn't get to go get that education to write, and I've written 135 books. Guess what? I came close to failing English, I did, I'm serious, I came close to failing English, because I didn't care if it was a noun or a pronoun or a verb or an adverb, I just wanted to talk.
And so now I get to talk to people all over the world, I didn't take a foreign language, but I speak 132 languages, and I mean by my message is being translated, they're translated into... Come on, my messages are being translated, this what we're doing here today, this will be seen around the world, now in 132 languages. So, I'm trying to get you to understand, that everything the devil tried to take away from me, God has given me back multiplied many times over and he will do the same thing for you, amen? Hallelujah. But, I want you to understand, that I was going nowhere fast until I got over that condemnation.
Please hear me today. "I can't help the way I feel". Well, that's true, but you can help what you say. And I'll tell you what, I had to say probably a million times, "I am the righteousness of God in Christ", and I still say it every day, "I am the righteousness of God in Christ". And I would even say, "I don't care that I feel guilty, I know that I'm not guilty". Sometimes you got to talk to your feelings and tell them, "You're not going to rule me, you're not going to boss me around. I don't live by how I feel, I don't live by what I see, I'm a faith person and I walk according to the Word of God". See, no matter how you feel, the Bible says God loves you, so God loves you. No matter what you think, the Bible says God's got a good plan for your life, so God it's got a good plan for your life. Come on, bring your mouth into agreement with God, stop agreeing with the devil, and you just might see some great things happen in your life. It's so wonderful to do everything from that vantage point of resting in God, but you're not going to rest in any other area of your life until you learn how to rest in God about you.
I wonder how many people in here today don't like yourself. "Man, I didn't like my personality, I thought I was too sassy and brassy and I didn't like my voice", I do too, now, but you know still, I can call anywhere and they're gonna say, "Yes, sir". I don't care where, where I call, they're gonna say "Yes, sir". And see, when I was insecure about myself, then that made me feel bad, but now I think it's funny. I called a spa one time to get a facial, and the lady said, "Do you have any facial hair"? And I thought, and I'm not tracking with her and I'm thinking, "Well", I'm thinking about this little peach fuzz you have, you know, so I said, "Well, yeah I guess a little". I said, "I'm not really sure what you're saying"? She said, "Well do you have a beard or a mustache"?
See, isn't it wonderful when you can laugh about stuff like that, instead of going off and feeling bad and condemned? And I think it's kind of funny that God's given me the voice that I have, because a lot of men wouldn't listen to a squeaky woman. I mean if I was up here and I was easy, "Well, bless the Lord, praise Jesus, hallelujah". I've got a powerful voice. Well, I mean I've had some stuff, I mean we parked in a parking lot one night of a church where I was going to speak in Chicago, and this motorcycle guy came up beside of us on his big Harley hog, and he had ponytail on the beard and got all of his leathers on, and he recognized me and he said, "Hey", he said, "I got a funny story to tell you", he said, "I listened to you for six months before I knew you were a woman". That was when I was on the radio. "I would have never listened to a woman. Tell me anything, but by the time I figured out you're a woman, my life had changed so much I couldn't deny".
Let me tell you something: some of the things that you despise about yourself the most are the things, that God wants to use, if you'll just let him, amen. "I don't like my thighs anymore" - make peace with your thighs, they're yours. You know, I'm not fighting with myself anymore, I'm happy to have God change anything about me he wants to change. God knows that, he knows your heart, he knows my heart, he knows I love him, I'd be very happy to do everything perfect to walk just like Jesus did and never make any mistake at all, but you know what? I already know, that's not gonna happen, because if I was that good, I would be so full of myself, that God couldn't use me. God leaves a few weaknesses in us to keep us humble, and so far I've not preached one word of my message, but I guess we're doing okay, I don't know.
I just want you to put an end to the war, that you've had with yourself. And don't think the devil won't try to come back, oh, because he will. But in Christ in Christ, in Christ, in Christ, where everything nothing, everything in Christ nothing in ourselves, as long as you remember that God can do great and mighty things through you. Come on, I think that, I mean we're going to go back cheer somewhere the word in a minute, but if you need to enter the rest of God concerning yourself, I want you to stand up I'm going to pray for you. Well, see, this is beautiful, because it's about 80% of the church. Oh, this is so good, so good.
Father, I pray over all these beautiful people that you sent your son to die for. You paid the price for them, so that they can know who they are in you. We're all a big mess in ourselves, but in you we can do great things. I rebuke the demon spirit of guilt and condemnation, and self-hatred, self-dislike, self-doubt, and I pray that each and every one of these people will walk out of here having entered your rest, concerning who they are and where they're at in their walk with you. And that they will enjoy where they're at on the way to where they're going. We go from glory to glory, to glory, and I pray that they will enjoy the glory they're in, while they're moving on to the next one. I pray a blessing over you, that you will have peace concerning who you are and where you are in your walk with God, in Jesus name, amen.
All right, you can be seated. Well, I just feel so good, I had the right message, didn't? Our walk with God: you sit, you stand, you walk, and then finally you can run your race, amen. I'm running my race right now, but I couldn't do that if I didn't know how to be seated, how to be seated in Christ. What does the Bible tell us about our walk? Walk in faith, 2nd Corinthians 5:7, "For we walk by faith, we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man's relation to God and divine things. We don't walk by sight or appearance".
I intend to decide more about faith, but I don't know if I want to get that far, but we're to walk in love. And I'll be honest, as far as I'm concerned those first two things are the most important of all of them, I mean the apostle even said, back in one of the epistles, that the whole purpose of everything that we're doing here is to get you to walk in faith and stay in love, because faith only works by love, Galatians 5:6 says. No matter how much faith we have, if we don't know that God loves us, that faith will never be strong enough to carry us through. And walking in love with other people is so important. Please, forgive people that have hurt you and be kind to people, be merciful to people, be good to people, believe the best of people. Help people that are in need. Spend your life being a blessing, rather than spending your life praying to be blessed.
Walk as Christ walked, walk to please God, 1 Thessalonians 4:1 says. Colossians 3:6-7 says, "Don't walk as the heathen do". Maybe we could just stop there for just a second and just say, you know, we're in the world, but we're not supposed to be of it. It's time for us to step up, come on, it's time for us to choose to be excellent and stop behaving like the rest of the world. The Bible says, "Come ye out from among them and be separate". Now, that doesn't mean that we have a snooty attitude that we're better than everybody else, or that we won't have anything to do with an unbeliever. We should not be close intimate friends with unbelievers, but we should befriend them and we should show them love, because if we don't - we're not showing them Christ. But we can't become like them.
What I always say is: you can hang out with unbelievers as long as you're effecting them and they're not infecting you. Amen? I mean, if we ignore and avoid all unbelievers and just stay in our little Christian huggy groups, then what's going to happen to the world? You know, if you work in a place and there's two other Christians and the three of you just hang out together all the time, you're not going to help any the rest of them, and all they're gonna do is just think, "Yeah, you think you're better than us", and that's we don't want to come across like that in the world. And so, we need to know how to be in the world, but not of it.
Let me let me just act like your mother for a few minutes: you can't dress like the world dresses. Can I just be real plain here for a minute? Ladies, we don't need to see your... I started to say it, but I won't. And your skirt doesn't need to be so short, than when you sit down we can see everything under it. And your pants don't need to be so tight, that there's no imagination to what's there. Well, I'm sorry, but some people have to be told how to dress, they don't get it. "Well that's what's in style". No, we're to dress like godly women, and that doesn't mean that you can't have any color or anything pretty, you can be fashionable and not be a temptation to all the other men around you. Come on, somebody needs to say it. We could be beautiful women of God, but we don't have to try to be sexy.
Well, I'm old enough to say whatever I want to. Hey, I'm going for it, you know, when you've made it this long, you take a few liberties. We don't get to have the same entertainment the world does. You can't go to every movie they go to. And I have to be honest with you I'm really surprised that some of the movies that Christians tell me out to go see. Okay, I won't go there anymore. You don't get to behave the way the world behaves, you don't get to act like them. "Come ye out among them, don't walk as the heathen walks. Walk in the light, and Ephesians 15 says, "Walk carefully".
Now, let me say this as we begin to close, and I'm not closing yet, so that's not an invitation to run to the parking lot to get your car. I swear, every time that the church thinks you're about to close, there's a evacuation. Our walk with God is made up of steps, and each step represents a choice, that we make. "I set before you life and death, choose life, that you and your descendants may live". Our children have told us, and it really makes me proud, "Thank you, mom and dad, for making the sacrifices and the choices that you made, because we know that our lives are blessed, because you paid the price". Choose life, that you and your descendants may live. Your choices don't just affect you, they affect the people around you. And Joshua said, "You choose for yourself, whom you will serve, but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord".
I just finished a book on proverbs, and when it comes out I hope you'll get it, because proverbs is just an amazing, amazing, amazing book. And I just sat down in faith and started, and I more or less did it chapter by chapter, there's so many things in proverbs, I thought, "How am I ever going to talk about all of them"? But you know, one of the things I found out that's very interesting to me: proverbs is full of repetition. One chapter would have maybe seven verses on the mouth, and the next chapter would have maybe six verses on the mouth. And so, I realized after studying proverbs, we have to hear stuff over and over and over and over and over again, because we don't always get it the first time we hear it. But the message that comes through loud and clear in proverbs is: you can be wise or you can be foolish.
The wise man has a reverential fear of God. And you know what that means? That means, not to be afraid of God, but you know that God means business. And if he says, "Do this and you'll be blessed", if you do that - you'll be blessed. And if he says, "Do this and you're going to have trouble in your life", then you do that and you're gonna have trouble in your life. It's just that simple.
Maybe somebody needs to make a decision today about how you're going to continue on in your walk with God, not as a compromiser, not as a phony, not as somebody who goes to church on Sunday and then follows the world the rest of the week. But I mean, if we're going to do this, let's just be the real deal, amen. Let's get out in the world and act like believers, so somebody else can be affected by our lives. Every choice you make is a seed you sow, and every seed you sow brings a harvest in your life of good or bad.
Let me encourage you today: be an investor, not a gambler. Amen? An investor makes a decision to do the right thing, even if he's not yet getting the right result. You may have to love somebody else for a long time before you see them change, but love never fails. A gambler, and I saw this so clear in proverbs, a gambler will do the foolish thing, hoping they'll get by with it and still get a good result. And I can tell you what, you just won't. You just won't. If you're being tempted right now in your life, maybe at the office where you work or something, you're married and you're being tempted to get involved with somebody else, man, just go read proverbs. I mean adultery just messes your life up, it just tears you up, amen.
Tell the truth, be honest be disciplined, do what you know you should do, even if it's challenging to do it at the time. God loves you so much and he's got such a great blessed, wonderful life for you, but we got to quit playing games, amen? Come on, give God a big praise. Okay, listen, I went three minutes over, I hope I'm forgiven. All right, listen, I'm going to invite pastor Lisa to come, and she's going to give you an opportunity to receive Christ as your Savior. Please don't start trying to exit the building. The altar call might be the most important thing to God, so let's be still, while we do what's important to him. I'm so glad you have been here, I'll see you the first week in July, and we'll have some more fun men, love you.