Joyce Meyer - My Favorite Scriptures - Part 1
I've just had it in my heart to do a series of teachings on my favorite scriptures in the Bible and why and kind of share with you maybe what was going on in my life at the time God revealed these scriptures to me. And I think that probably you're gonna relate to every single one of them. But some of them are probably gonna really touch home with you, maybe in an area that you're in right now in your life. So, today's message is not about one subject. It could be about ten subjects before we get done. Every time I sit down and go over this, I keep adding scriptures and so I finally just had to close it and say, "I'd better not add anything else". And so I know I'm not gonna get through all of 'em but I'm gonna just keep at this until I feel like I get out of me what's rolling around in me.
How many of you have some favorite scriptures, things that just really mean a lot to you? And, you know, they're probably something that God showed you or revealed to you at a time when you really desperately needed it. I think that most of us who've been walking with God for any length of time, you have some scriptures that you could say, really, just turned things around for you. And I really want people to study the word. Not just read the Bible, but study the word. And so part of this I'm doing because I really hope it's gonna help you see the real power that's in the Word of God. There's power in God's word.
So, I was a Christian for a long time before I ever started studying the word. So I talk about when I became a serious Christian. Because, you see, you can be a Christian and, if you really believe in Jesus, really truly believe in Jesus, I believe that your name is written in the lamb's book of life and you'll go to heaven. But I don't believe that anybody can ever enjoy their life or be of any value to God unless they study the word and really learn to live like a Christian. Being a Christian and living like a Christian is two different things. And in order to live like a Christian, we need to know the word and then we need to choose with God's grace and help, to do the word in every situation in our life.
So, back in 1976 when I got on my serious journey with God, one of the first scriptures that I remember really meaning much to me was John 8:31 and 32. So let's take a look at that first. "So Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, if you abide in my word". Now, the word abide means to live, dwell, stay, and remain. So to abide in the word is certainly different than reading the Bible, amen? So "If you abide in my word [hold fast to my teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly my disciples. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free," amen.
Now, the reason why that was important to me was because I just had so much bondage in my life. I'd been sexually abused by my dad, and my mother didn't know how to help me so she just didn't. And then I married the first guy that came along after that and he mistreated me for another 5 years, ran around with other women, and ended up going to prison and, you know, you can't live like that for the first 23 years of your life and not be damaged. And many of you know exactly what I'm talking about. You did not get a good start in life but that does not mean that you can not have a good finish. And so being set free sounded really good to me. "You will know the truth, and the truth," if you learn to live by that, "Will make you free".
So I needed the hope of freedom. You know, we have to have hope if we're gonna press in and continue day, after day, after day, doing the right thing. And so I want you to know today that no matter how much trouble you're in, no matter how many things you've done wrong in the past, no matter what has been done to you, there is hope for you of freedom and enjoying a life that really appears to be not ever damaged at all because when you're in Christ, you're a new creature. Old things pass away and all things become brand new. Everybody shout out, "Free"! All right. Now, it's a journey. I'm still being set free from things. And one of the things that I love about my walk with God is that it is a journey. He that hath begun a good work in me will complete it and bring it to its finish. You're not where you need to be, but thank God you're not where you used to be. You're okay and you're on your way. Today is a good day.
Now, the next thing that I can remember that God really impressed on me and some of these things, to be honest, took maybe 2 or 3 years for them to become revelation to me. And you need to know that, that just liking a scripture doesn't mean that it's working in your life. Just because you've got it underlined in your Bible doesn't mean it's working in your life. And so, sometimes it will take you maybe even years to get a full revelation on something.
See, we don't need just information. We need revelation. There's a difference. So don't ever be skittish about hearing the same thing over, and over, and over or even going in your own Bible and reading and re-reading and pondering the same scriptures over and over. Now, God had to teach me that he loved me. And that he loved me unconditionally. And I wanna stay with that for just a few moments this morning because that really, truly, is the bottom line of our problem. We want to know that we're okay. Deep down inside of us, we wanna know that we're accepted and that we're accepted as we are. That doesn't mean that we don't need to change and get better, but God loves us unconditionally. We don't understand that. I don't understand unconditionally. I've been trying for 40 years to understand it. I still don't totally get it every day of my life. But God loves us totally apart from what we do. And as we receive that love, that unconditional love, then it actually gives us the "Want to" to do the right thing.
So if we're trying to do the right thing to get God to love us, then it becomes works of the flesh and we're living under the law because we're trying to buy something that's actually a free gift. But if we receive his love, receive his love, receive his love, then we'll find that now we are loving him because he loves us and, out of that love, we're gonna want to do the right thing and we're gonna do everything we can to do the right thing and we're gonna be really sorry when we don't do the right thing just because of this love thing that's going on between us and God. Love is what heals a broken heart. Love is what heals a wounded soul.
And God doesn't want his love for us just to be like a theory or a teaching that we hear. And this was where I think it got really life-changing for me. I didn't come across anything. God led me to, yeah! Oh yeah, I just came across... 1 John 4:16. You know, it's interesting, you can read scriptures and read scriptures and read scriptures and they don't necessarily, I mean, they're good, but they don't mean all that much to you. Then how many of you know sometime, one day, you can read it and to you it's, like, you never saw it before in your whole life? And see, that's the exciting part about the Word of God.
And so, here's 1 John 4:16, "And we know", and I love the Amplified Bible. I've taught out of it for 40 years and, you know, I'm not a student of Greek and so this kinda expands some of the words that I might not ever go and understand. You might not like it as much just for reading, but it's great, great for study. "And we know (we understand, we recognize, and we are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and we believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love that God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him". You say, "Okay, well, what was so important to you about that"? Two words. Go back to verse 16. You see the word conscious? "We're conscious of and we observe". Those two words just, like, jumped off the pages at me.
And so, what God began to teach me was to... Now, remember, I'm kind of letting you into my personal life, how this worked for me. What God began to teach me was to watch for him to love me in my everyday life. Watch for it, notice it, make a big deal out of it. Be conscious of it. Do you know, there can be all kinds of things going on around you and you just be totally unconscious of it. It's amazing how many miracles we miss that God's doing in our life because our head's off somewhere else and we just don't pay any attention.
So I'm gonna give you one little example that happened to me just since I got in this town. And this kind of stuff goes on all the time. And if you'll start paying attention to these things in your life, it actually will really enhance your walk with God. Okay, last week, I started wanting coconut cream pie. Now, I haven't eaten coconut cream pie in I don't know how long. But I wanted coconut cream pie. And so, I usually eat dessert once a week. That's my treat. And so I plan it. I want everything quiet when I eat it. I don't wanna talk to anybody while I eat it. I don't wanna get phone calls while I eat it. I wanna know that I'm eating it. I wanna taste it. I wanna enjoy it, okay?
And so I started thinking where can I get coconut cream pie? And so I'm even online looking, "Best pies in st. Louis," "Best cream pies in st. Louis". Well, I couldn't find anything. So we got to this town and we get here on Thursday afternoon and I cannot even tell you how long it's been since I've eaten at a capital grille. But we decided to go eat at capital grille. Well, we get a nice table by the window and, lo and behold, we're not sitting there very long and the waitress comes out to the table next to us with this little pie. And I kept looking at that and Mike was looking at it and finally Mike said to the lady, "What is that"? She said, "Coconut cream pie". I went, "Ah"! Ah! That's God! God's getting me my pie.
Now, see, to me, that was just, like, the coolest thing. God cared that I wanted coconut cream pie. And see, these are the kinds of things that if you're not looking for it, you miss it. How many of you agree with what I'm saying? And so, you know, the Bible says, "Unless you come like a little child you shall in no wise enter in". And some of you might think, "Well, that's just downright silly". Well, it's really not, you know. And I actually even keep a book of remembrance where I write things down like that. And I dunno, when I die I guess somebody will find it and look at it and say, "Man, she got excited over a piece of coconut pie"?
Well, you know what? I think that that's what enhances our personal walk and relationship with God. And I want you to know that God cares about you and the Bible says that if we will delight ourselves in him, he will give us the secret petitions and desires of our heart. So I want you to start being on the lookout every day for God's love in your life. Let's be conscious and aware of God's love, not unconscious and unaware of God's love, amen. I like that scripture.
Candid conversations with Joyce
Ginger: Joyce, for some reason, we all love the idea of changing the people around us. We want to change our kids. We want to change our co-workers. We definitely want to change our spouses. So, let's talk today about accepting people the way they are. Is that even something we can do? Is it possible?
Joyce: Well, first of all, it's interesting. We wanna make everybody the way we are and...
Ginger: That's really true.
Joyce: God gives us all certain gifts, but we all have certain weaknesses. And he did that on purpose, of course, God knows what he's doing. He does it on purpose because that way we need each other. And so, most people, let's say, in a marriage relationship, they're married to somebody that's really, pretty much, totally the opposite of them. That's not always the case, but often it is.
Ginger: It's true in yours and in mine.
Joyce: And many, many other people I know that are like that also. And so, you have a tendency to want people to be strong where you are, and God put you with people are not like you, so you fill up each other's weaknesses. And Dave and I spent a lot of years... Well, I did it more than he did. I was trying to change him, change him change him. And for example, you know, he's a little more laid-back, and I'm, "Lets you know, go get them. Let's go," you know, type-a aggressive. He's a little more chilled-out. And I remember, I was nagging at him one day about, "You need to be more aggressive: you need to be this, you need to be that". And he said, "You better be thankful that I am the way I am or you sure wouldn't be doing what you're doing". And so, that's exactly right. And we finally came to terms with we're different and God did that on purpose, and it took years, but hopefully, we can save some people some time.
Ginger: How'd you come to terms with it?
Joyce: Well, actually, one day, we finally just shook hands and I said, "I agree to stop trying to change you," and he said, "I agree to stop trying to change you".
Ginger: I love that. You actually shook on it.
Joyce: Yeah, we actually made a... See, the thing is, is people can't change people. All you can really do is you can give them a bunch of laws and rules and tell them, "If you don't do this, then I won't stay with you," and, "If you don't do that, then you're not gonna be my friend," and, "If you don't do this"... Well, if that's not a person's temperament, no matter how much you want them to do that. Let's just say somebody that moves real slow. You know, I don't know if you've ever noticed but somebody that moves real slow, if you try to get them to hurry, they slow down because it puts pressure on them, and they go slower.
Ginger: Yeah, it throws them off.
Joyce: Well, usually, somebody who's a little slower moving invariably will be married to somebody that's like...
Ginger: And that person probably needs to slow down.
Joyce: Right. Well, usually that's what it is. It's like, you can use each other as an example. Like, I finally, realized Dave was so peaceful, well, finally, he became an example to me of the peace that I could have. And people get divorces is over this. It's a big mistake to marry somebody thinking, "I'll change you once we're married," because people resist people trying to put them into a mold. The Bible says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the entire renewal of your mind". So, transformation comes from the inside out, conformation comes from somebody trying to stick you into a box that you don't fit into.
Ginger: And that's really painful, when somebody always makes you feel like you're not right.
Joyce: Yeah, it makes you feel rejected all the time. If you have any insecurities, which most people do have some, that just increases them all the more. And it's amazing how we forget what we loved about the person to start with. You know, the thing that drew you to them probably was the fact that they were strong where you were weak, you just didn't really realize what it was.
Ginger: Were there things that Dave could have been that way with you, but instead, he let you be you?
Joyce: Well, that's the thing that, you know, Dave and I have been married 54 years now. And we are not only married, and of course, live together, but we work together. And so, we are together.
Ginger: Together a lot.
Joyce: I mean, together. But Dave really, the thing that I appreciate about him probably more than anything else and there's a lot of things, but he lets me be me. Now, if I get a little too feisty, he won't let me be disrespectful, you know, if he feels real strongly about something, no matter how much I don't like it, he will do it anyway. But for example, I need time by myself. And sometimes, I'll go away for as much as two weeks to write, by myself. Well, somebody could say, "Well, why can't you write at home"? You know, but we all have different needs, and you need to be willing to meet the other person's needs instead of expecting them to always meet your needs. And I came to what I would call like, a crisis point, where I either was going to accept Dave the way he was, love him the way he was, or I was gonna have to get out of the relationship. And, obviously, I didn't want to do that. I loved him, and we were in ministry together, and I didn't want to hurt other people. And I basically, made a decision that I was going to not focus on the one or two things that I didn't like, and I was gonna focus on all the many wonderful things about him. And I know somebody right now, that's in the process talking about getting a divorce for this very same reason. They're different, and they keep trying to change each other, and you just can't do that. Now, in saying that, let me say this. We have a God-given temperament and that's what you can't change. Our personality is a little different than our temperament. Our personality is a combination of our God-given temperament plus the things that happen to you as you're growing up. Like, God gave me a temperament that I will always be aggressive. I'll always be a quick decision maker. I'll probably, always talk a little more than maybe, is the best thing in the world. But then, being abused as a child, perverted some of those character traits. And so, I became not just a strong personality, but a rebellious personality. When I say we gotta accept each other the way we are, I don't mean that you accept the sinful part of people, and just say, "Well, that's okay". You know, "I realize that you're an alcoholic and is just fine," you know?
Ginger: Right. So, you're saying there are things we do not accept.
Joyce: Yeah, there are things that you do not accept, and you may have to tell the person, "You either have to get some help, or you know, I can't stay with you". I don't think you should let somebody disrespect you, and mistreat you, and abuse you. Like, my mother let my dad slap her around, and talk down to her, and in the process, she let him do a lot of things to me that she should have protected me from. That's not the kind of thing I'm talking about. I'm talking about accepting the God-given parts of people that maybe, are very different than you, but that doesn't make them not valuable.
Ginger: It's very much the same with our children, as well, right? We have children with very different temperaments and personalities, and we have to let them be them, but at the same time, guide them and see what God does with them. So, that's hard too, sometimes.
Joyce: And you have to be willing to have different relationships with your children as they grow and mature. You know, when you have adult children, one of the things that ruins relationships with adult children, is not realizing that they are now, adult. They are your children, but they're not little kids that you still tell what to do all the time. And you have to learn, this is just a blunt way to say it, you have to learn how to keep your nose out of their business, unless they invite you into it. Now, you know, I have four grown children, and some of them are just fine if I give them my opinion, and some of them aren't so fine. So, you have to learn how to meet people where they're at. Instead of expecting everybody to meet you where you're at, you have to learn that God gives people permission to be who they are. Even God won't try to control people. Control is a form of witchcraft. You know, and so, God won't try to control us. He'll suggest things to us, but he doesn't push it off on us, and make us do things the way that he wants us to do them. And so, if we can see the beauty in the differences that we have rather than thinking, "Well, there's something wrong with you because you're not like me," because really, the differences that we have are beautiful and it's what makes the world work, you know? Can you imagine if everybody in the world was just like me, or just like you, or just like...?
Ginger: It would not be good.
Joyce: It wouldn't be good. And we really wouldn't want to be married to somebody that was just exactly like you. It would be super boring. I remember, one girl telling me, one time, her and her husband were both real strong, what you would call, phlegmatic, easy-going, laid-back people. And she said, "We never fight, but we don't get anything done, either". And so, you know, or if you have two really strong type-a's, I'm not saying it can't work, but you have to really know how to give each other space, and how to respect that personality. And I think one of the things that really needs to be looked at before you get married, and if you haven't done it, you really need to get some information, read some information, read some books about the God-given different temperaments...
Ginger: It is so helpful.
Joyce: And how they are, because that was a lifesaver for me. When I read those books, and learned that everybody just is different, and that it's God's will, and that it was very offensive, even to God, for me to keep trying to change everybody. It's such a point of pride to think that you're the one that's right about everything, and everybody should be like you and so.
Ginger: You're right. It is a great suggestion, and I think seeing you and Dave walking through this, teaches us really a lot, that it's possible. We can put that pride down, we can accept people the way that they are, and see God work through it. Bring good things into both of our lives.
Ginger: Thank you, Joyce.
Joyce: And so that can heal relationships today.