Joyce Meyer - God Is in Control
Well, thank you for joining us today on, "Enjoying Everyday Life". And some of you may think, "Well, I don't know how I could enjoy my life with everything that's going on in the world right now". Well, you know, if we remember that God is in control, which is what I'm gonna be teaching on today, then we can go ahead and enjoy our lives. You know, worry is useless because it never does any good, and God is in control whether we feel like he is or not. And he is good, and he does love you, and I believe that I have enough scripture today to prove to you that God is going to take care of you.
So, 2 Corinthians 2:14, and I love this scripture. It says, "But thanks be to God", now, I want you to listen to this, "Thanks be to God, who in Christ always", not sometimes, but, "Always leads us in triumph and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere". Well, what does that mean? It means while you're going through a difficult time, if you keep your faith in God and you believe that God is in control, then your attitude, you being strong in faith, actually speaks to other people. And so, really, at the same time that you're being strong in faith, you're advertising Jesus to the world.
And you know, when times are the worst in the world, those are the best times for us to be a witness to other people because people are looking for something to help them with their problems. And I'm sure, a lot of you right now, you're looking for something to help you with your problems. And the Word of God actually, is so powerful and so strong that it ministers faith to you and it helps you believe that God is going to take care of you. I can tell you, you stick with us to the very end today, just this half-hour program is gonna stir your faith up and you're gonna feel so much better. Why? Just because you heard the Word of God.
2 Corinthians 4, 8 and 9, Paul said, "We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed". Now, I want you to listen to these, "buts". "We're hard-pressed on every side, BUT we're not crushed: we're perplexed, BUT we're not in despair: we're persecuted, BUT we're not abandoned: we're struck down, BUT not destroyed". So, see he's saying, "Look, we've got some very difficult situations going on in our life", and probably, if all they looked at was their situation, they would have just been ready to throw in the towel and give up. But I know what Paul was doing, he was remembering the other times in his life when he had seen God deliver him.
You know, a lot of times, we only think about our problems, and we fail to think about all the good things that God has done in our life. That's why it's good to start everyday with thanksgiving. Thinking about things that you can be thankful for. This morning, I was looking through one of my old journals. I write usually something every morning. And it was during a time when I was having some pretty serious health problems, and I remember how bad I felt, and I compared it with how I felt now, and I thought, "My gosh, God has done so much for me". Well, you see, if you don't think about the good things that God has done, then all that you can think about is all of your problems.
So, let me ask you, what have you been thinking about? You know, if you're depressed and discouraged it doesn't take very long to find the source, all you have to do is think about what you have been thinking about. And so, here's an example that I wanna show you. This is a bottle of salad dressing. And you know, salad dressing, especially, this vinegar and oil type, all the good stuff always sinks to the bottom. Now, if I were to open this up and just pour this on a salad the way it is, it wouldn't be good. All I would get would be like oily, no taste, no flavor. It actually, could ruin the taste of the salad. But if I shake it up, I get the good stuff coming up with the bad stuff, and then all together, it tastes really good.
Well, you see, I think that's what we do with our lives. I think we let all the good stuff sink to the bottom, and all we've got on our mind, or you might say, the top of our life, is all the problems, the problems, the problems, the problems, the problems. But Paul is telling us here, that we can have all kinds of problems, and yet, not be in despair, not be crushed, not be abandoned, not be destroyed. Despair means to be without a way. But you know what? Jesus said he is the way. You're never without a way. You may not know what the way is and I may not know what it is, but God knows the way. It means to be at a loss and without resources, and to have no hope, or to give up.
Wow. That's such a sour, sad, definition. And here's what I think the devil likes to do. I think he kinda starts with something that's disappointing, something happens that disappointed me. And then if I let that go, pretty soon, I'll become discouraged. And then, maybe the next level would be depression. And then, maybe after that, despair. And remember, despair is the worst because it means to be without a way. So, when you get into despair, you actually feel like, "Well, there's just no way". So, you just kinda give up. And sometimes you even stop believing God. So, in 1 Peter, chapter 5, verse 8, the Bible says that we are to, "Resist the devil at his on-set", that's Amplified translation.
Now, I want you to think about that, resist the devil at his on-set. That means, don't wait until you're so deeply mired in this negative thinking, and all about your problem that you try to do something about it. What we should do is immediately, when the enemy begins to lie to us, if we know the Word of God, then we can say, "No, devil, you're a liar, and I believe that God is gonna take care of me. I believe that there is a way". And you know what? I have a feeling that there are people watching today, that you could make a decision today, that you're gonna change the way you think and change your attitude. Your attitude belongs to you and nobody can make you have a bad one, if you don't want to.
I love Philippians 4:6, one of my favorite scriptures. I think about it a lot. "Be anxious for nothing, but in all things", all things, that means my thing, your thing. "Be anxious for nothing, but in all things by prayer and supplication", and here comes the important part, "With thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God: and the peace that passes understanding shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus". You know, the with thanksgiving, is probably, the most important part of that verse. I remember, one time, God putting on my heart, "If you're already murmuring and complaining about what you've got, why should I give you more to complain and murmur about"?
That's one of the ways that we keep our faith stirred up in our life is by, "Okay, I've got a problem, God, and I'm praying about the problem, but thank you for when you delivered me from this". Or, "Thank you when you delivered me from that". Or you know, "Maybe I'm sick, but thank you that I don't have financial problems". Or, "Maybe I have financial problems, but thank you that I'm not sick, that I feel good". "I may have a problem on my job. I may have somebody at my job that doesn't like me, and they talk about me behind my back. But thank God that I've got a good family that loves me".
You know, just a few days ago, three of my children came by and I just thought, "I'm so glad that my children love me". You know, if you have children that love you, it's something that you should be thankful for, on a regular basis. Jesus is the way. You know, when we get anxious - today, there's so much anxiety in the world. And you know, when we get anxious, when we use today trying to solve tomorrow's problem, when you spend your time today trying to figure out what you're gonna do tomorrow or the next day.
You know, I heard a story one time that I still remember, and I like. There was two Christian men in prison and they were gonna be burned at the stake the next day. One of 'em was an older, more mature, experienced man of God, and one of 'em was a real young man that had not had much experience with God, yet. And the young man was really frightened and the older man just seemed to be at peace. And the young boy struck a match to light a candle, and in doing so he burned his finger. And he got all upset and he's saying to the older gentleman, "If this hurts this bad, how can God expect me to go to the stake tomorrow? There's no way that I can do it". And the older gentleman said something that was just absolutely, wonderful. He said, "God didn't ask you to burn your finger, but if he asked you to be burned at the stake tomorrow, then the grace you need to do it, will come at the time that you need it".
And see, I think a lot of times we want tomorrow's answers today, but that's not trust. Why doesn't God show us everything and tell us everything? Because then, we wouldn't have to trust him and he wants us to trust him day-by-day, one moment at a time. You know, learn how to live your life one day at a time, and if need be, one moment at a time because whatever you have to handle, God will give you the grace when you need it. I like to say, "God will always give you grace for your place". He's not ever going to put something in your path that's impossible for you to do because the Bible says, "All things are possible with God". They may not be possible with man, but they're possible with God.
And oh, I love this scripture, somebody needs this today. "God never allows more to come on you than what you can bear, but with every temptation, he also provides the way out". There's somebody listening, that's for you. You need to take that as your own. No matter how hard it seems now, and no matter how much you think you can't do it, God will never allow more to come on you than what you can bear, but with every temptation he also provides the way out. You know, prayer has become even more important to me the last two or three years than ever before.
And really, if you watch God a little more closely, you'll see how often he answers prayers. Something happened the other day with one of my children, and it took me probably a couple of hours after it happened until I realized, it was an answer to a prayer that I had prayed months and months before. You know, we pray and then sometimes, we forget it, but God doesn't forget it. When you pray and you've asked God to do something in your life or to help you with something, even after you've forgotten about it, God is still working on it. And always remember, when you're praying something concerning other people, they have free will. And so, it's not just a matter of you asking God in faith and immediately they change. God has to have time to deal with them, and to turn them in another direction. You keep believing and God will keep working.
I wrote down, "Be a first responder". You know, we often hear about the first responders, the people who show up first at an accident site, or a fire, or where there's some kind of a tragedy. And we need to be first responders in prayer. In other words, the minute that you have a problem, pray. The minute that somebody else has a problem, pray. You don't have to be in a certain place, in a certain posture to pray. You can pray anywhere, anytime. You can pray verbally or you can pray silently, but let's become first responders in prayer.
And why don't you start keeping a journal of the things that you've prayed about that God has answered for you. And then, on those days when you're getting weary of waiting for God to come through and do something he told you he would do: you can get out that prayer journal and you can look at all those things that God has done for you in the past. And you know what? You're shaking it up again.
Now, all of a sudden, all the good stuff is not just in the bottom, it's come to the top, and you can believe for the things that you want to do now. You know, if we don't pray, God won't work. Now, some people might not believe that, but the Bible says, "You have not because you ask not". So, I believe that if I'm not praying then God's got somebody praying for me, because he partners with man here on the earth.
Now, don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that God can't work, or that he never does. God is sovereign, and he can do anything he wants to, anytime he wants to, in anybody's life. But the normal way that God operates, is we pray. Somebody needs to release their faith. And so, 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, God never allows more to come on us than what we can bear. But then, we also, need to not be saying, "Oh, I can't stand this. This is too much for me. I'm gonna fall apart. If this last one more day, I won't be able to stand it". We need to learn scriptures like this and when we feel like we're gonna fall apart say, "God will not allow more to come on me than what I can bear, but with every temptation he is also going to provide the way out".
Oh, have I got some good news for you right now. I want you to get excited because I'm gonna tell you something that you need to hear. We don't have to have all the answers. Wow. Somebody called me yesterday, and matter of fact, she called me four times. And she called that many times because she was having a problem with something that she just couldn't seem to shake. And I knew at the first phone call what the answer was but I didn't know if she was ready to hear it yet. And so, finally, the fourth time she called and said, "What do you think I should do"? She said, "You know, I've got this thing on my mind and I just can't figure out what to do". And I said, "Okay, here's your problem. You're overthinking the situation". She said, "You're right. That's exactly what I'm doing".
You know, sometimes all we have to do when we have a problem is think about what we would tell somebody else if they had a problem. And this is a woman that's in ministry, and she said, "I know, that's exactly what I would tell somebody else. If they called me with my problem, that's exactly what I would tell 'em". Well, see, you're smarter than maybe you think you are. And in many instances, you do know what to do, it's just a matter of doing it. And so, we really need to be careful about just overthinking stuff. "Why, God, why? When, God, when? How, God, how"? All we need to know is that God is in control, put our faith in him, and believe that God is good.
Nahum 1:7 says, "The Lord is good, he is a strength and a stronghold in the day of trouble: he knows those who trust him". God's goodness is available for you, if you'll step out in faith and trust him. Trust God for everything that you need, and always go to God before you go to people. If you go to God and he wants you to go to people he can put that on your heart, but always show God the honor of going to him first. Proverbs 3:5-8, many people's favorites and I meditate on this often, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and mind and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will, he will direct your path. Do not be wise in your own eyes".
And I like that because that's telling me, "Come on, Joyce, don't even think that you are able to solve your own problems. Don't get full of yourself, you need God". But hey, here's the part that's really good. "Fear God and turn away from evil and it will be health to your nerves". Wow. I don't know about you, but some days my nerves could use some health and some help. A lot of problems today with anxiety, and stress related issues, and nerve issues, and he's telling us here that one of the problems is, is that we just try to figure too many things out. We're overthinking everything, and what we need to do, is if you know something to do, then do it.
If God's leading you to do something, by all means, do it. But if you don't know what to do, then trust God to lead you and guide you. You know what? Sometimes God is guiding us and we don't even really realize that he is. God doesn't always deliver us on our timetable. He's not late, he won't be one moment late. But he's usually not early either. I've found out that God sometimes, and very often, does make us wait till the last second. Why? Because he's stretching our faith.
In Acts 16, we see Paul and Silas in prison, and midnight... Is it a midnight hour in your life? And I'm not talkin' about midnight on the clock, I'm talking about is it like, maybe one of the hardest, loneliest times that you've ever been through? And at midnight, they were still singing and praising God. Are you still singing and praising God? Are you still thanking God even though you have lots of problems? And then, the Bible says, "And suddenly! The prison doors were opened". You know what? You've got a suddenly coming in your life. I always say, "You don't always see God coming, but you sure know when he's been there". You can go to bed at night with a huge problem, and by noon tomorrow that problem can be gone. Because you know, when God decides to move everything else might as well get out of his way because he's going to do what needs to be done.
C'mon, I want you to believe that today. You have a suddenly coming in your life. It could be any moment at all. "Why, God, why? When, God, when"? Sometimes, God delivers us from something, and we all like that. But at other times, we have to go through something to get beyond it. You know, we all like the easy option. "Oh God, just make this go away. That would be so nice". But maybe, God's gonna decide to take you through it. That won't be the easy way for you, but it could be the best thing for you, in the long run. And you know, if God decides you have to go through, then go through you will, because many times the only way out is through.
The Psalmist David said, in Psalm 23, "Yea, though, I go through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil". We all wanna avoid things. We all wanna not have to deal with things. And you know, even sometimes, maybe I'm praying about something and God's wanting me to go deal with it. You know, sometimes, we're praying for God to do something for somebody else. I recall, one time when the Lord put on my heart, "Stop praying about things, stop asking me to do things for people that you could easily do and just don't wanna do". And there's so much truth to that. Sometimes we use prayer as an excuse to not be active.
I love Mark 4:35 through chapter 5, verse 1. And actually, the very first recorded, back then, it was a cassette message that I ever heard was based on these scriptures. And it talks about how Jesus got into a boat with his disciples. And he said, "Let us go over to the other side". But then the Bible says that, "A storm of hurricane proportions arose". You know, not every storm is in the forecast. Sometimes you get some you're not expecting. And guess what? Jesus was asleep. He had laid down somewhere in the boat and was asleep. Do you feel like that Jesus is asleep in your life, right now? Well, they began to cry out in fright. And they woke Jesus up, "Don't you care about us? Why aren't you doing anything"?
You know what? Don't ever say that to God. Don't ever say, "Don't you care about me"? Because there's never one moment in your life when God doesn't love you. And Jesus did still the storm. And I love chapter 5 verse 1, it says, "And they arrived on the other side". See, I like that. Jesus got in the boat, and he said, "Let us go to the other side". And then, they had all this opposition that came against them in the meantime. But the ultimate answer was they did arrive on the other side.
And I can tell you that whatever God has promised you, it's going to come to pass. I can't tell you how long it will be. I can't tell you if it'll be easy or hard to get there. But I do know this, from the Word of God and from experience, our God is faithful and he will not leave us alone with no answers. "Let us go to the other side". You know, many times we have tests in our life. And we're tested when we have to wait on things. And so, don't be surprised if things don't happen exactly the way that you want them to. Our part is to pass the test not figure out why we've got it. I'mma say that one more time. Our part is to pass the test not to try to figure out why we have it.
Now, I would really like you to have more information on trusting God. Because you know what? Trusting God is what makes your life so pleasant. Just, when you trust God you don't have to worry, you don't have to be afraid, you don't have to figure things out. And I've written a devotional called, "Trusting God Day by Day". And I'm sure you know what devotionals are, it's 365 different, short, little encouragements from the scripture that will help you trust God everyday. And we're offering that to you today for your gift of any amount to the ministry. We trust that you will do your absolute best. And you know, maybe, you know someone that needs this devotional and you can get it for them. Thank you for joining us today, and we will see you again very soon. God bless you.