Joyce Meyer - Learning To Receive
We're talking about the subject of joy and enjoyment, in case this is your first session. Jesus said he came that we might have and enjoy our lives. Everybody say, "Enjoy my life". In abundance, to the full, until it overflows. So, we hear a lot about joy, "The joy of the Lord is my strength", "I've lost my joy, I need more joy", but I said this morning, that we have joy. Jesus is in us, and we have whatever Jesus has, he's in us. All the Fruit of the Spirit, so many good things are in us, Jesus left us his peace.
So, it's not a matter of trying to get things that we already have, it's a matter of learning what's blocking those things from coming forth in our lives. And so, we have joy, but also something I think that we miss, is that God wants us to enjoy our lives, enjoy your life. Now, everything can't be a party or vacation, or a special day, most of life is pretty ordinary. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, woo, it's the weekend, thank God, Saturday, Sunday... Oh, but there's Monday again. Happens to all of us. I'm gonna maximize, I'm gonna get the most I can out of every single day that I have, but you shouldn't wait until you're in your seventies to start that.
Start at whatever age you are right now, and get as much joy out of every day as you possibly can get. Because I'll tell ya something, your life is over in a minute. It's amazing how fast time goes by, so, you don't wanna waste any of it. Amen? Say, "I'm finished wasting my time". So, we wanna enjoy life, and I believe that through Christ, we can enjoy ordinary, everyday life and that we can enjoy everything that we do. Now, you think, "Oh, come on lady. Nobody can enjoy, ya know, doing laundry... Driving in traffic..." Well, yes you can.
And we learned last night the secret to that, how many remember what the secret is? Shout it out. Thanksgiving, right? Being grateful, find something to be grateful for all the time, and you will find a great release of joy and enjoyment in your life. John 16:24 says, "Ask and receive, and your joy will be full". Now, I want you to think about that word, RECEIVE. Because what we do most of the time is try to get something, and that puts us into a mode of works, and effort, and struggle, and many times, frustration. But receiving means to act as a receptacle, and take in what's being offered.
Now, I'm gonna prove to you today, scripturally, that God never tells us to get anything, he tells us to receive everything that we need, from him. And I think that we're better at receiving from the devil, than we are at receiving from God. It doesn't take the devil long to talk to you into receiving condemnation, or guilt, or self-pity, or jealousy, or anything like that. But sometimes we just don't know how to receive freely from God, because we have this idea that we don't deserve all the good things he wants to do for us. Amen? "We don't deserve that", or, "This can't be real, God couldn't possibly do that for me, not the way I am". But let's make a decision to start believing what the Word of God says instead of trying to figure it out, let's just believe it.
You might remember the story of the little boy that was born blind, and Jesus healed him. And when the pharisees came along, they just couldn't believe that the boy had been blind. And so, they grilled him, you know, "Well, how did he heal you"? And "What did he do? Are you sure you were blind"? And then they went to the parents, "Now, was he really blind"? And "How did this happen"? They said, "We know he's our son, but we don't know how". And then they kept grilling the little boy again, and he said, "Look, all I know is, I was blind, and now I see". And he just received it, and we need to stop feeling like we have to understand everything that God does, just believe what he says, and become like what? A little child... "Unless you become like a little child, you shall in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven".
Now, that doesn't mean you can't be saved. I believe, what that's talking about is, you won't live the kingdom life, you won't really enter into it in fullness and enjoy the real benefits of the kingdom, and that makes me sad. I think there's so many people that love God, but yet they live miserable lives, because they don't know how to really receive from God. They don't know how to really believe the word. And if you look in a dictionary, the word believe means to receive, and the word receive means to believe. So, believing God brings us into his rest, and receiving from God brings us into his rest. And there is nothing more wonderful than being in the rest of God.
Do you know how great it is, for somebody like me to be able to stand up here and do this, and actually say that I am not the least bit worried about what you think of me? Now, I didn't start out like that. I mean, if I was teaching and somebody got up and left, man, I was just torn apart for the day. We let our imaginations go wild when we've got insecurity. One time, a woman came and she was there like, maybe, five minutes into my preaching and she got up and left, and it just tore me up. I mean, I was bothered the rest of the day, and a lady came and told me she said, "Oh, there was a lady here that had to leave five minutes after you started preaching, but she wanted you to know that she had to go to work, but you are so important to her, that it was worth it to her to come just for the five minutes she could be here".
So, you see how quick we are to make something negative out of something that actually, was something good? So, if we're gonna imagine things, why not imagine something good, instead of imagining something bad. Don't ruin your life worrying about what everybody thinks of you. It's not what people think of you that makes one bit of difference, it's what God thinks of you that matters. So, live to please God, be a God-pleaser, not a people-pleaser, and you're gonna be a very happy person. Amen?
Now, we wanna take a look at how good you are at receiving. And in the time we have here this afternoon, I want you to go outta here ready to receive from God what you know you don't deserve, which actually knowing you don't deserve it, makes it even better. It's like, "Well, God, I don't deserve that, but I am not gonna turn it down, because you're good and I believe your word, and so I receive". And I'd really like you to start saying that more in your prayers and throughout the day, when you do something wrong, and you ask God to forgive you, don't just say, "Lord, please, forgive me", after you ask, wait just a moment and say, "I receive the forgiveness, right now, in Jesus' name".
And then, just stay in the presence of God for a moment and let that sink in, that God has forgiven you, and he promises to move your sins as far as the east are from the west and to remember them no more. "I receive it, in Jesus' name". How many of you think that would help you, if you just take a little more time? Not one of these, "Oh, God, forgive me, please forgive me, oh God, if you'll just forgive me, just this one more time, I promise I'll never do it again". Yes, you will. I'm not trying to be negative, but it's useless to promise God you'll never be bad again, because you will. And you know what, if you really love God and your heart's right, he'll forgive you again and again, and again, and again, but it does no good to ask for it, if you're not not gonna stop and take the time to say, "I receive, from you".
How 'bout the mercy of God? How about receiving God's mercy, amen? Our baby, he's gonna have his 40th birthday this December, which that seems so weird, that your baby's 40 years old. There's a story that I like to tell about him when I'm teaching on mercy, because in Luke chapter 12, there's a story about how Jesus' disciples were walking through the fields of standing grain and they were hungry, and it was on the sabbath and they started picking off the grain and eating it. And the pharisees, of course, ya know, the religious pharisees, they're always watching, the legalistic devil is always watching, if you make a mistake, say, "Ah ha"! And so sure enough, they said, "Now, why are your disciples doing what's illegal on the sabbath? They're not supposed to be doing that".
And so, Jesus referred them back to something from the old covenant, "Have you never read what the Levitical priests did when they were hungry, and they went in to the temple and they ate the showbread even though it wasn't something they were supposed to do, so they broke the law, and yet they were guiltless". Well, my legalistic brain just used to go, "How can you break the law and be guiltless"? I didn't get it. You see there are times when your need overrides you having kept all the law perfectly.
God give me a good example to explain what I mean. When our boy, Danny, was little, he wasn't the most disciplined guy on the planet, and we were trying to teach him that he had to work, as well as, play. And so, he had a list of chores, feed the dog, do this, do that, you know, wasn't huge, but he had a list of chores that he was supposed to do on a daily basis. And when he did 'em, we'd put a little check Mark, and when he got enough check Marks, he got a star, and he got enough stars, then he got a present. We're trying to motivate him.
Now, thankfully God doesn't work like that with us, you're not on a check-mark, stars system with God, because you don't earn what God gives you, you receive it by faith, knowing that you don't deserve it. Come on. And matter of fact, if you think you you deserve it, you got a bigger problem than if you know, you don't deserve it. You know why? Because it's the humble that get the help, not the proud. God lifts up the humble, but he brings down the proud and the haughty. And so, God brought this example back to my mind when I was trying to understand these scriptures, he says, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice". Well, what God is saying is, "I would rather when you're in trouble, give you mercy then have you try to sacrifice to make up for what you did wrong".
Well, what I did was, I sacrificed enjoying my life, because I thought that I didn't deserve to enjoy my life. And we already took a little show of hands this morning, and asked how many people really didn't feel like that you thoroughly enjoyed your life, because you have a problem with feeling like you don't deserve it, and there was lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, of hands that went up. And a lot of times we have problems like this, and unless somebody brings it out in the open, we don't even know that's our problem. Amen?
And so, God brought this example back to me, he said, "Now when Danny's outside playing", and we had a neighborhood bully, who was always after him, and sometimes if the bully would take his ball, throw it down the sewer or something, our house was made where you could, we had a front door, but the kids used the garage, and we always left it open, and the garage door came in through the kitchen and then right around the corner was the family room. And usually, if Dave was home and wasn't cutting grass or working on something else, he'd be sitting there in that family room, maybe watching a football game or something like that.
And so, I remembered times when Danny would come, you could hear him before he got there, "Daddy"! And boy, when you heard that yelling, Dave would get off that couch so fast, it would be amazing, get to that door, "What's wrong"? And you know, Dave would tear out that door, and go help him. And when God hears you cry, you know, I didn't say, "Now Dave, wait a minute, let me get Danny's list of chores. I wanna check and make sure he's done his chores, and got all of his check Marks, and if he has, you can help him, if not, too bad for him".
C'mon. So, if we're not like that as parents, what in the world would ever make us think that God is like that as a divine parent? He loves you more than you would ever know how to love your children, and if you love him, when you're in trouble even if you've been bad, when you cry out to him, he will come and help you. Now, that doesn't mean that he won't deal with you about the things you did wrong, but God deals with us out of his love, not out of anger and rejection. Come on, give God a praise.
Here's the point I want you to get today: stop being so uptight about your relationship with God. The sooner you get this, the sooner I'll let you go. Stop being so uptight about your relationship with God, and learn how to relax and enjoy him, and let him enjoy you. Now ,you know, we want to reverence God, the Bible tells us that we need to have the reverential fear and awe of God, and that doesn't mean to be afraid of him, but it does mean that you would rather do anything than offend him. So, we wanna have that, but we also want you to be able to be with God all day, hang out with him, know that his promise to be with you all the time is a true promise, and to enjoy that, not to feel like that everything you do has to be some kind of work, and some producing of something, and ya know, certain kind of prayer all day, and so many Bible readings, and so many right confessions, and so many good works. I suppose none of you have these problems, do ya? I'm just wasting my breath.
Let me tell you somethin', when you've been bad, God doesn't check how many stars you got, before he decides whether to help you or not. Anytime that you need God's help, you cry out to him and he is going to help you. In James it says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of the giving God who gives to all men liberally and ungrudgingly, and it will be given unto him". In other words, you get yourself in trouble, but if you cry out to God, even if you haven't been good, he'll give you the wisdom to know how to get out of trouble, and he won't even begrudge doing it.
Come on, God is my thing, that's my life, and I've gotta enjoy God, I can't be hangin' out with somebody all the time, that I'm afraid of, or I think is mad at me. I'm comfortable with God. I want it to be like I've got on my favorite jammies and my fuzzy house shoes, and I'm in my most comfortable chair, with the fireplace on, and a little cover, and is just, "God, you're awesome, I love you". And I spent so many years feeling like God was mad at me all the time, I didn't even know what about. I was guilty, and if I didn't feel guilty, I felt guilty because I didn't feel guilty. Is anybody home out there today?
God is not a man that he should lie, and the Bible says that, "His mercy is new every morning, everyday". And I guess he whips up a new batch every night, because we use all of yesterday's. How many of you used up all the mercy yesterday that God would give you, and you're gonna need more today? You know what? You think you know what you do wrong, we do so many things wrong, we don't even see half of what we do wrong. I mean, who can measure up to God's holiness? Not one of us.
Well, you know the Bible says that the same way that you received Christ, say the the word, "Received". The same way that you received Christ, that's the same way you should live your life. Now, what kind of condition were you in when you received Christ? You had come to the end of yourself. You had come to the end of your doing, the end of your ability to be good, or to earn anything by your own good works. And basically, you just said, "Well, here I am God, a big mess, but if you want me, you can have me, I surrender, amen".
And all you could do at that point, was receive Jesus. Mmm, wow. My goodness. What a transition in our lives. And you know, even right at this moment, there may be people in here who have not yet surrendered your life to Christ. And I'm not gonna let this moment pass by, because I feel an anointing here, and I just wanna say, if there's anybody in here that you have not surrendered your life to Christ, I am gonna pray a prayer right now, and this is your moment to give up and let him take over. Everybody say this with me:
Father God, I love you, I'm sorry for my sins, I cannot do anything without you, I surrender.
Now, just take a moment and just do that, just let it all go.
I surrender, take me just the way I am. I receive you, Jesus. all that you are, I receive, and all that I am, and all that I'm not, I give to you. Now, help me be the person you want me to be. I believe I'm saved, I'm born again, I'm forgiven. I'm on my way to heaven, and I'm going to enjoy the journey.
Come on, everybody give God a big praise. Whoo, hallelujah!
There's something I do sometimes, I'm not gonna do it today, but you're just gonna to have to use your use your imagination. If I brought ten children up here, on the stage, don't know 'em, but I started handing out money, there would not be one of them that would refuse to take it. They wouldn't be suspicious. Not one would tell me they don't deserve it. Are you there? And they would receive it, and I've watched 'em do it, they receive it with joy. Amen? And I believe that we would live a more excited life, and enjoy our lives more, if we learn how to receive from God, on a daily basis, everything that he's trying to give us. Is anybody home in the house today?
Oh, my goodness, receive the goodness of God. Ask him, "God, be good to me, today". And tell him, "I know I don't deserve it". And that's the really good part, "I don't deserve it, I could never deserve it, but you are good". When Jehoshaphat was in the battle and all of these different enemies were coming against him, and he did not know what to do, and he actually said to God, "We don't know what to do, and even if we did, we're not strong enough to do it, but God, our eyes are on you". You don't have to know what to do, you just need to know the one who knows what to do. And they stood, and they waited on God. And what does the word wait mean? To wait expectantly, expecting something good to happen at any moment.
And as they waited, God spoke, "The battle's not yours, but mine". And then, he told them what to do, "Go out take your position, stand still, see the salvation of the Lord which he will work for you today". Well, Jehoshaphat's position was to bow down, put his face on the ground, and worship. But while he did that he sent out singers to sing and what they sang was, "Oh, give thanks unto the Lord for he is good, for his mercy endures forever! Oh, give thanks unto the Lord for he is good, for his mercy endures forever, oh, give thanks unto the Lord for he is good, for his mercy endures forever".
They were expecting God to do something, they were expecting God to deliver them from their enemies, and they weren't particularly worried about whether or not they deserved it, they just wanted to be delivered. And guess what? The enemy got so confused, that the Bible says, they killed each other. Come on, you want to confuse the devil? Just go ahead and be happy when you have no reason to be. Just go ahead and enjoy your life while you have a problem that God's working on. You can't solve your problems, but God can, and whatever your problem is, he's working on it right now. While you're in here having a good time, God is busy working on your problem. To receive, to act as a receptacle, and just take in what's being offered.
"God, I receive your favor, today". Favor is so much fun. Favor is getting the best table in the restaurant, favor is a clerk pulling out a coupon that you didn't know existed, that gives you $20 off your purchase. They didn't have to do that, but God gave you a little wink and said, "I'll give you favor". Come on. Stuff like that can happen to you all the time, and that's what becomes the fun part of your relationship with God. It's not about just thees and thous, and thous, and ya know, trying to sound religious when you pray, making sure you follow all the laws, and rules, and regulations. Ugh!
I love it when somebody, you know, when they start to pray, they become a totally different person. "Oh, Thou holy"... And I'm not makin' fun of anybody, but I'm just sayin', just be who you are. Ephesians 2:8 and 9, are so amazing. "For it is by free grace (God's unmerited favor)". What does unmerited mean? Undeserved. "That you're saved (delivered from judgment and made a partaker of Christ's salvation) through your faith". So, it's by grace, through faith, grace provides and faith is the hand that receives. C'mon. You don't buy anything from God with your faith, everything that God does for us was purchased with the blood of Christ, and it comes to us as a free gift to be received through faith in God.
"And this salvation is not of yourselves, it's not of your own doing, it came not through your own striving, but it is the gift of God: not because of works not the fulfillment of the law's demands lest any man should boast. It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself".
Now, salvation is a totally free gift, offered to people that God knew had no ability to help themselves, but thankfully he was not gonna leave us in that pitiful, pathetic condition, but he sent his only son to suffer and die, and to shed his blood for our freedom and our salvation. And your name is written in the lamb's book of life, and you are on your way to heaven, but you need to start enjoying the trip. C'mon, how many of you need this today? It's time to enter the rest of God.
And in Hebrews 4, Paul said that the Israelites never entered the rest of God, because they never believed. They would believe for a little while, but then they'd give up. They didn't remember the great things that God had done for them, and they would go back to serving their enemies. Then, they'd repent, and God would forgive 'em, and they start all over again. Then they'd go back to the same kind of stupidity they had before, and they just kept going around, and around, and around, the same mountains all the time. It's time for change. You just gotta rest.
"Oh, God, I was such a mess yesterday, God. I had a bad attitude, said a bunch of stuff I shouldn't have said, I'm so sorry. God, forgive me. I receive it. And what's more devil, I'm not gonna waste today, feeling bad about yesterday". C'mon, stop wasting today feeling bad about yesterday. Yesterday's over, all you can do is learn from your mistakes and be sorry that you made them, but go on now, and give the devil a black eye by enjoying this day. Wow, we're having too much fun.
Okay now, this is something big: you cannot give away what you don't have. "What do you mean by that"? Alright, if you don't know how to receive God's mercy, you're not gonna know how to give mercy to other people who need it. If you're hard on yourself, you're gonna be hard on other people. Do you hear me? That's a word from God. If you're hard on yourself, you're gonna be hard on other people. Jesus said, "Freely you have received, freely give".
A good receiver becomes a good giver. Amen? And you especially, like to give to people that really don't deserve it, because that's a way you can show them the love of God. That's why loving your enemies is so confusing to them and the devil. Jesus said, "It's easy to love somebody who's good and loves you back, but I tell you, love your enemies, love those who have abused you, and used you, and by doing so, you're heaping coals of burning fire on their head". And before you get excited about that, that is not like some bad thing you're doing to 'em, those heaping coals of burning fire is the love of God.
Jesus said, "You will be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire". And that fire, is the fire of his love. Love conquers all. Love always wins every battle. We must learn to receive from God the things he freely provides by his grace, otherwise, we spend our life struggling and being frustrated.
How many years did I struggle trying to change myself? Every time I went to church it was just another something to add to my already long guilt list. Because I would hear good sermons, but whatever the pastor preached on, I had a problem with it, didn't matter what it was. And I agreed with him, and I'd go home and I was gonna change. But I left out something, I left God out of the equation, "I", was going to do it. C'mon, are you with me? And we don't know how to change ourselves, because we go from one extreme to the other extreme. I'd hear the pastor preach on talking too much, need to think before you talk, and of course, I was convicted right away, because my mouth never shut up.
So, then, I would decide, "That's it, from now on, I'm gonna be quiet". So, then, I'd go home, and I wouldn't say anything. C'mon, anybody with me out there? And then, pretty soon Dave would say, "What's wrong with you? Well, that's the way it is... Can't ever do anything right... If you talk a lot, they don't like it, don't talk at all, they don't like it". Come on, you know, you've been there, done that. God's not gonna let you change yourself, he wants you to receive from him, and say, "God, I agree with what I heard. I am guilty, and I am sorry, and I wanna change, but I cannot change, unless you change me". I mean, we can do a certain amount, but you can't, you know, true change comes from the inside out. "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the entire renewal of your mind". C'mon, we make Christianity hard, and it doesn't have to be, not if you believe what the word says. It almost seems like it's too good to be true, doesn't it?
Alright, great story coming up here, 2 Samuel chapter 9, beginning in verse one: "David asked, 'is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake'"? Now, David and Jonathan had a covenant relationship, just like we have a covenant relationship with Jesus. Now, stick with me. And David took the initiative and he went and said, "Is there anybody still left". They called it the household of Saul, because Saul was Jonathan's father, and they always thought and spoke generationally. "Is there anybody still left of the household of Saul, or 'Jonathan,' to whom I might show kindness for Jonathan's sake"?
Well, what we should be saying is, "Father, is there anybody that I can show kindness to today, for Jesus' sake"? Same scenario. Not is there somebody deserving, he didn't say, "Is there anybody deserving my kindness"? He just, blanket statement, "Is there anybody I can help and be kind to, for Jonathan's sake"? If you're always looking, if you wanna help somebody, but the only way you'll help 'em is if they deserve it, you're missing the whole point.
"Now, there was one servant of Saul household named Ziba. And they told him to come before David, and the king said, 'are you Ziba?' he said, 'at your service,' the king asked, 'is there no one still alive from the house of Saul, with whom, I can show God's kindness?' Ziba answered, 'well, there is sill a son of Jonathan, but he is lame in both feet'". Well, who's not? Come on, get this, let it sink down. In other words, Ziba was kinda sayin', "Well, there is one kid left, but you may not wanna help him, because he's lame in both feet. This guy has problems". Right away, David said, "'where is he'? And Ziba answered, 'he is at the house of Makir, the son of Ammiel in Lo Debar'".
And that's where people like that lived, looooo Debar. Like, real low... Debar. "So king David had him brought from Lo Debar", doesn't that sound like an awful place? "From house of Makir, the son of Ammiel. And when Mephibosheth saw Jonathan, the son of Saul, he came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. And David said, 'Mephibosheth!' 'at your service,' he replied. 'don't be afraid of me,' David said to him, 'for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan'".
And God wants to say to you, today, "If you believe in Jesus, I will show you kindness, not because you deserve it, but I will do it for Jesus". C'mon, come on, come on... "I will do it for Jesus"! You know what it means to pray in Jesus' name? The amplified Bible says, "When you pray in Jesus' name, you're presenting to the father all that Jesus is". You're not saying, "Hear and answer my prayer because I've been good, you're saying, do it for Jesus". "'Don't be afraid,' David said to him, 'for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you'", hallelujah.
God wants to restore to you, all the devil has stolen. "'I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat always at my table'". But here's the problem. "Mephibosheth bowed down and said, 'what is your servant that you should notice a dead dog like me'"? Here was his problem: it was what he thought of himself. And he thought that, what he thought of himself, was what David would think about him. "Why would you help somebody like me"?
"Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul's steward, and said to him, 'I have given your master's grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and your servants are to farm land for him, bring in the crops, so your master's grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table'. (Now Ziba had 15 sons and twenty servants)". Now, listen to this, "Then Ziba said to the king, 'your servant will do whatever my Lord the king commands his servant to do.' So, Mephibosheth ate at David's table just like one of the king's sons. And Mephibosheth had a son named Mika, and all the members of Ziba's household were servants of Mephibosheth".
Don't lose me, here it comes: "And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem because he always ate at the king's table: even though he was lame in both feet". Come on, did you get it? You don't have to crawl around under the table picking up the crumbs, anymore. You can just get up and get your little bottom in the chair, and you can sit there just like royalty, even though you know that you're a mess and you got so many problems you can't count 'em. All you gotta do is be honest with God.
"I know that I'm a sinner. I know I make mistakes, God. I want to be good, I want to do better, help me. You are my only help, it's on you that I lean and rely. I can do nothing apart from you, but I can do everything with you. I receive your mercy. I receive your goodness. I receive everything that you want to do for me and it's so good, because I know that I don't deserve it". And I'll tell ya, truly, if you're not happy now, I don't know what else to do for ya.
Let me close with this scripture, everybody just go ahead and stand up. Romans 8:32, "He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things"? Oh, you got a reason to be happy. You are on your way to heaven and you're gonna enjoy the journey. Amen! Lift your hands up.
Father, in Jesus' name, I bless these people, I do it in your name, and what you bless cannot be cursed. I bless them and I break the power of every curse that's ever been spoken over them, every generational curse, every bloodline curse. I take authority over all wickedness that has come against them, and I bless them in your mighty name, Jesus. And I say they are blessed when they go in, and blessed when they come out, and they have favor everywhere that they go, in Jesus' name, amen. Love you!