Joyce Meyer - Faith - Part 1
Well, welcome to, "Enjoying Everyday Life". And I am so glad that you're with us today because I love teaching the word, and I love to know that there are people there listening, who also love to hear the word. I'm gonna be teaching today about faith. Actually, I'm gonna be teaching on faith for the next 3 days: today and then two more days, because faith is something that is really, really important. And although we may think we know what it is, sometimes we just get a little bit lazy about releasing our faith or using our faith.
So, I think that this is gonna be very beneficial to all of us. I've enjoyed studying for it and I hope that you enjoy hearing it. I wanna start with the scriptures in Romans about Abraham. And his story is really so amazing, I wanna make sure that we realize how amazing it actually is. Romans 4:17-21 says, and this is Paul writing this, "As it is written, 'i have made you a father of many nations'". Now, this is God speaking to Abraham and he says, "I have made you a father of many nations". Well, the thing that's very interesting about that is that Abraham had no children. And not only did Abraham not have any children, he was too old to have any children, he was a hundred years old. And the Bible says that, "Sarah had a deadened womb". They were both past childbearing years.
So, what do we do when God speaks something to us, or promises us something that sounds absolutely impossible? I'm wondering how many people right now that are watching feel like you have a promise from God that's impossible, you don't see how it could work? But you have to remember that what's impossible with man, is possible with God. You know, when I think about even the ministry that I'm in now, and where I was at when God spoke to me, and what I was like, and what my life was like: I mean, I look back and think, "There's no way that this is possible, except that God did it". The thing that's interesting that I really want you to get and not miss is that God is willing to do a lot of things in our life, but he needs us to agree with him.
You see, we're partners with God. God doesn't just come along and do things. He wants us to pray and ask for things, or if he promises us something, he wants us to believe it. How can, "Two walk together, unless they be agreed"? So, then he goes on, remember he says, "I have made you the father of many nations. He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed", Abraham, they believed was the father of faith, "In whom he believed, the God". Now, listen to this, "Who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not". Now, other translations say it a little bit differently. The Amplified Bible says, "He calls those things that be not as if they already were". I love that.
So, when God intends to do something, he talks about it as if it's already done. And that's what faith really is. If we're going to be people of faith, then we need to, let's just say that we have a problem, you have a problem. Ah, maybe let's just say you have a child that's unsaved. And so, you're praying for that child to be saved, you're trusting God, you believe that's going to happen. Well, then you don't want to go to lunch with your friends and talk about him as if he's not saved and never will be. Now, we don't need to lie or feel like we're misrepresenting things. We can say, "Look I know where he's at right now, but I have a promise from God, and I believe he's gonna be saved. I'm calling him saved by faith. I believe that God is working right now, even though I don't see it".
You see, that's what faith is. Faith believes that God is at work, doing things in the unseen, that we may not see right now, but we will see later on. You know, when God spoke to me about this ministry, and I use that as an example, but you can apply this to anything. When God spoke to me about this ministry, he gave me the faith to believe what he was saying. Because to be honest, it didn't make any sense at all. I felt that God said, "You're gonna have a large teaching ministry and you're gonna go all over the world and teach the word".
Well, I was in my bedroom makin' my bed when God spoke that to me, and I didn't have any of the qualifications. Now, listen to me, I had none of the qualifications to do what I felt God was putting in my heart that I would do. Well, obviously it didn't just happen the next day. It's developed over a period of 45 years.
So, faith and patience work together. We believe what we don't see. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things that we do not see". But they're real to us. They're in the spiritual realm. And when we talk about them in a positive way, agreeing with God, it helps bring those things out of the spiritual realm where they cannot be seen, into this natural realm where they can be seen. It's amazing to me that Abraham believed God. And you know, that's what made him right with God. He, "Believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness". Wow, "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so he became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, 'so shall your offspring be'".
You see, I love that. Verse 17 tells us what God is saying to him, which seems impossible. But verse 18 says, it happened. Hope. What is hope? Hope is expecting something wonderful and amazing to happen in your life. And you know what? If the devil can't steal your hope, then he can't defeat you. No matter how long you've had your problem, or what's goin' on in your life right now, don't you stop hoping. And Bible hope is not like a wishy-washy, "Well, I hope this happens, but I'm not sure that it will". No, hope says, "Something good is going to happen in my life". Hope says, "God can do the impossible". Hope says, "What God does is not based on who I am, it's based on who he is". "Without weakening in his faith," talking about Abraham again, "Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact", and I love this. He didn't ignore the circumstances he was in.
Faith doesn't have to ignore the circumstances that it's in, it just has to believe that God is greater. You see, you might have a fact in your life, but truth is God's word, and truth, when we're dealing with spiritual things, is greater than facts. The fact was Abraham was a hundred years old. Sarah's womb was dead. He was impotent, she was past childbearing age. And yet God comes along and says, "You're gonna be the father of many nations". Well, he believed God. It was something impossible, but God did something impossible in his life, because Abraham believed God. And he continued to hope, no matter what things looked like, he wouldn't give up his hope. "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and he became the father of many nations". "Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead".
See, that's what gets us in trouble, doesn't it? It's like, we believe God said this, and then we look at our circumstances. And boy if you stare at those circumstances too long, God says, "I'll meet all your needs according to my riches in glory by Christ". Well, if you stare at your checkbook for too long, that has no money in it, sometimes it gets hard to believe what God says. So, we have to be careful about spending more time looking at our circumstances than we do the promises in the Word of God. "He faced the fact that his body was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old) and that Sarah's womb was also dead". Love this, "Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promises of God, but was strengthened in his faith as he gave praise and glory to God".
Now, you know, one of the things that you can do when you're trusting God to do something in your life and it looks like it's impossible, is you can remember other things that God has done in the past. I like to write things down. I like to keep a journal and write down the amazing things that God has done in my life, because sometimes we have a tendency to forget 'em. And maybe right now your current circumstances, it seems like their just crashing in on you, and all you can think about what's happening right now. Well, maybe you could take a little time when this program's over, and if you need to get out a pen and some paper and ask God to help you, to remind you of things that he's done in the past. And that will help increase your faith. "He didn't waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but he was strengthened in his faith as he gave glory to God". As he praised God for the other things that he had done, it strengthened him to believe that God could do something right now.
I want some people today, watching this program, I want you to be encouraged that all things are possible with God. And you have to be careful that you don't believe the lies of the devil. Sometimes, it's easier, seems like for us, to believe the lies of Satan than to believe the promises of God. But the devil's a liar, he is the father of lies. And sometimes, we just have to say, "Devil you're a liar. And I know it looks impossible, but God is the God of the impossible, and I'm gonna continue to put my faith in him". "Being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised".
Let me ask you a question. Do you believe that God has the power, to do anything that needs to be done in your life? See, you have to make your mind up to whether you believe that or not. Otherwise, you might as well not even pray. I was thinking this morning, "How would we pray, if we really believed that every prayer we prayed, according to the will of God, would be answered"? I think we'd have a little different attitude. Well, let's talk about faith. Who has it, and what is it? Well, unto, "Every man is given the measure of faith," Romans 12 says.
So, you're part of the every man, every woman, every child. Everybody has faith. Actually, you wouldn't even sit in a chair, if you didn't have the faith that it was gonna hold you up. You wouldn't get up and go to work every day, if you didn't have the faith that you were gonna get a paycheck on payday. We have a natural kind of faith. But then God gives us a supernatural kind of faith, that enables us to believe for things that don't even make any sense to our natural mind. Romans 12:3 says, "For by the grace given unto me I say to every one of you: don't think of yourself more highly than you ought to, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the faith that God has distributed to each one of you".
Now, in other words, this is saying, "Listen, when you see something amazing happening through you, when you have a talent or a capability, don't start thinking highly of yourself and especially don't think you're better than somebody else". You know, what if you can do something really well, that somebody else can't do at all? Well, don't start thinking, "Oh man, I'm really, you know, I can do this and this, and you're not so important because you can't do this".
God gives us different abilities, and different talents, and capabilities. Like I'm a good communicator, and that's a gift that God's given me. But you don't wanna hear me sing. You would not wanna hear me play a musical instrument. And then I look at other people who have such amazing talents in the area of music and instead of being jealous of them because they can do something I can't do, or instead of me thinking more highly of myself than I should because I can do something they can't do, God wants us to realize that it's him. Come on, it's him.
See, we take the credit way too often, for things that only God can do. Paul said, "I am what I am by the grace of God". Where you place your faith is the key. God gives faith to everybody, but where do you put your faith? Do you put it in yourself? Well, if you do, you're gonna be disappointed. Do you put it in other people? If you do, you're gonna be disappointed. I'm not being negative. There's a lot of great people but there is no person, you are not ever gonna have a relationship with anybody for any length of time, that eventually won't disappoint you in some way, shape, or form. You'll have some kind of an expectation that they won't meet or they'll do something that you just did not expect them to do.
Do you have your faith in your money? Well, not to be scary or negative, but you know, your money could disappear overnight. What about 1929 when the stock market crashed? And I mean, just like all of a sudden, people got up in one condition on that morning, and they went to bed in a totally different condition on that night. We have some very unstable circumstances in our world, right now. And we don't know for sure what's gonna happen in the financial realm. So, don't put your faith in your money. I mean, save money for the future, invest money, do all the things that are wise, but don't put your faith in that money. Keep your faith in God. "All things are possible with God".
Jeremiah 17 verses 5 and 7, I've always really appreciated it. It says, "This is what the Lord says: 'cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. But most blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose confidence is in him'". He's saying, "If you put your trust in anything other than God", and I'm not saying that we don't trust people. I trust my husband. I trust my friends. I trust my children. I trust my bank. There's a lot of people that I trust, but there is a trust that belongs only to God. And when we start giving that trust to people, that's when we get in trouble.
If you wanna have a miserable, disappointing life, put your faith in all kinds of stuff in the world. But if you wanna have a great life, a blessed life, put your trust in God. Our faith must be in God alone, the one true God, God Almighty. Not just any God, because there's only one true God: God the Father, Jesus the son, who is also God, and God the Holy Spirit. We serve one God who manifests himself in three different persons. No, your mind can't grab that so don't even try, it can only be taken by the heart. He's the first and the last, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. Matter fact, God has no beginning and he has no end, he just is, and always has been, and always will be. He's the owner and the possessor of all things. Matter fact, I love what Hebrews 1 verse 3, it says that he, "Upholds and maintains the universe by the word of his power".
Come on, we're talking about the greatness of God today, I love to think about that. When you have your problem or I have my little, I'm gonna call it a "Puny problem", although it may be a big problem to me. And I don't say that to make fun of anybody's problem. But I mean, we're talking about God! The God who keeps the sun from fallin' down to the earth and burning everybody up? Who keeps the stars and all the planets in the sky? Who causes the earth to rotate perfectly on its axis, where if it tilted just a little bit, everything would be destroyed? God is the one who, "Upholds and maintains the universe with just the word of his power".
You know the time that you spend listening to the word is some of the most valuable time that you spend, because the word is the truth, and it is very powerful. It has inherent power in it. And our faith must be in God, and God alone. Faith is the, "Leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in his power, his wisdom, and his goodness". I love that. That definition is found in the Amplified Bible in a couple different places. It's leaning all of yourself on God. Putting all your, "Confidence in his power wisdom and goodness". What does that mean? He has the power to do it, he knows how to do it, and he's good, so, he wants to do it.
Hebrews 11:6, "Without faith it's impossible to please God". Wow. "Because anyone who comes to God must believe that God is", number one. Do you believe that God is? You know, I don't know, people who say they don't believe in God, I'm sorry, but I just don't understand that kind of person. I don't know how you can look around you, and not believe in God. I don't know how you can watch the birth of a baby, and not believe in God. I don't know how you can look at all the sun, the moon, the stars, the planet, and think about how the earth operates, and not believe in God. I just don't get it. And I pray for you, that your heart will be softened, and you'll be able, you know, being able to believe.
Recently I've just been thanking God that I can believe. I don't have to understand it to believe it. I believe it because God said it. "Without faith it's impossible to please God". That's the one thing that pleases God. And what does he want us to believe? "That he is", and I love this, "That he is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him". God is a good God. The time that you put into relationship with God, the time you put into seeking God, the time you put into studying the Word of God, there's rewards for that. There were disciples, John talks about this. And they said, "What must we do," to please God? "What are the works that God requires of us"? And I love this answer, "This is the work that God requires of you: that you believe in the one whom he has sent".
There's only one thing that makes us right with God, and that's not doing everything right, it's having faith in God. Abraham was considered a righteous man because he believed God. He believed the impossible. He believed God. Jesus answered, "This is the work that God requires of you: that you believe in the one whom he has sent". Paul said in Galatians 2:20, "I've been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me".
Now, what did he mean, "I no longer live"? Of course, he was still alive, he was breathing. But he meant that he had died to self, to what he wanted. He wanted what God wanted. And I do believe that we can come to a place in our walk with God, where even though there are things we want, we want what God wants for us, more than we want what we want. Paul said, "It's no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me. And the life that I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God". He lived by faith. "The just and the righteous man", Habakkuk says, "Shall live by faith". It's in Habakkuk 2:4, "Look at the proud: his soul is not straight or right within him, but the [rigidly] just and [uncompromisingly] righteous man shall live by his faith and out of his faithfulness".
Romans 1:17 says, "In the word there's a righteousness revealed, that leads us from faith to faith to faith". And that's what God wants. I'm gonna end today with that thought. We don't live from faith to doubt, to unbelief, and then maybe, a little faith again. You don't just wanna exercise your faith whenever you need a financial breakthrough, or you want a promotion at work. You live by faith. Everything you do is done in faith. And Romans 14:23 says, "Whatever is not of faith is sin". We'll talk about that some more tomorrow.
Well, today we're offering you a couple of teachings, "What Is Faith and How Does It Work?" It sure is important, so I think these would be good resources for you to get. Those are two teachings and also a booklet that we've put together especially for this called, "Building your faith". Yes, God wants you to live by faith, to walk by faith, to believe for the impossible, to come into agreement with him, and to say, "I agree with you". And we're offering this to you today, for your gift to the ministry of any amount. We trust you to do your best, don't send in the least you can, send them the best you can, and do it by faith. Thank you for being with us today and God bless you.