Joyce Meyer - Faith - Part 2
Well, thank you for joining us today on, "Enjoying Everyday Life". I love the word. It has changed my life, keeps me strong. And I believe that you love the word too or you would not be taking this time to listen to the word. We're talking about faith again today, started yesterday talking about faith. Shared about Abraham and how God told him that he was going to be the father of many nations, and he didn't have one child at all. And he was too old to have children, his wife was too old to have children and yet he believed God. Because he believed God, the Bible says, "It was counted to him as righteousness," and he's considered to be the father of faith.
Great scripture in John chapter 6, "They asked, 'what must we do to please God'"? I think that's a question that we all have, we wanna please God, if you love God, you wanna please him. What must we do to please God? And if you don't know what the Bible says, the devil will give you a whole big, long, laundry list of things that he will tell you that you have to do to please God, including being perfect and never making a mistake. Well, you know, if we could be perfect and never make mistakes then we wouldn't need Jesus.
So, we all have strengths but we also all, every one of us, also have weaknesses. We all make mistakes, we all need forgiveness. And thank God it's always available to us, God's mercy is new every single day, every day. And if you have got some sin on your conscience right now, something that you're holding against yourself, or something that you're hangin' on to guilt about, God wants you to reach out to him, repent of that sin, talk to him about it, confess it, tell him all about it. He knows anyway. I don't know why we ever think we're just gonna keep some secret from God, he knows everything. And to repent means to be willing to turn away from it and go in a new direction. Get rid of that thing today, don't just keep dragging it around with you.
Today's a new day, and God's got new things for you. Paul said the one thing that was the most important to him was to let go of all the things that were behind, and to press into the things that were ahead. So, "Without faith it's impossible to please God". Those that come to him must believe some things. Hebrews 11:6 says, "We believe that God is". You're never anywhere where God isn't, he is everywhere all the time. And you believe, "That he is a rewarder". Oh, I'm so glad that God is a rewarder. That he's good. "That he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him". Those who do just what you're doing right now. You're spending time, studying, listening to the Word of God. That's part of seeking God.
Prayer is part of seeking God. Wanting to know God's will is part of seeking God. So, you believe that he is a rewarder, he'll reward you, because you spend time seeking him. Our faith must be in God alone, not in ourselves, not in other people, not in our money, not in the bank. We use all those things, we trust those things, but our faith alone must be in God. Well, what exactly is it that God wants us to believe? Well, we've already talked about a couple of things: believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him. God wants us to believe that he's good. And you say, "Well, you know, if God is good, then why do bad things happen to good people"? Well, you know, there's many different answers to that question, and yet there's really no answer to that question.
There are good people who get sick, good people who die, good people who have accidents. There are bad people that seem to be blessed, sometimes way beyond what they should be. All I know is that I gave up trying to figure everything out a long time ago. Proverbs 3 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and mind, and lean not to your own understanding". Don't think that you're even smart enough to figure all those things out. Job tried to figure a whole lot of things out that were happening to him, and he asked God, "Why"? Many times. And you know the interesting thing is, God never did answer him. He just kind of took him to task and said, "Well, if you think you're so smart then let me ask you a few questions". And so, he asked things like, "Where do you keep the lightning? Where do you keep the rain? Did you create the earth"? I mean, all I know is that God loves us and he takes care of us, and that, "All things work together for good to those who love him, and are called according to his purpose".
I cannot promise you that if you serve God, you're never gonna have anything happen that you're not gonna like, or that's gonna seem unfair. But I can promise you, that God will take that thing and he'll work it out for your good, if you trust him to do that. Always believe that God is good. No matter what happens, even if it's a bad thing, or sad thing, no matter what happens always, always, always believe that God is good. One of the things that Satan wants to make us believe is that God doesn't love us, and that he's not good. So, God wants us to believe that he's good. Ephesians 2:10 is a great scripture and I really love this. It says, "For we are God's own handiwork".
Think about that. God created you with his own hands in your mother's womb. You're not an accident. Somebody else didn't just decide to have you. You're here because God wanted you. And even if somebody else didn't want you, God wants you. "We're God's own handiwork (his workmanship)". We've been, "Recreated in Christ Jesus," and I like that. You know, the original creation that we were intended to be, sin messed us up. But in Christ, we become new creatures. Says we're, "Recreated in Christ Jesus, born again that we may do the good works which God predestined and (planned beforehand) for us".
So, God has a good plan for you, he has good works planned for you. Things that he, "Predestined (planned beforehand) taking paths which he prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them". And I love this, "Living the good life which he prearranged and made ready for us to live". You know what? God's got a good plan for you, he's got a good life for you. A good life however, doesn't mean that there might not ever be anything hard. I remember hearing a woman speak who had just had some really, well, they were just bad things, just had some really bad things happen to her, some things that just seemed really unfair, and her life was hard. She'd had an accident, and was in a wheelchair, and was crippled, and so pretty much everything that she did was hard. But she said, "She had a good, hard life".
I love that. I wouldn't say that my life's been easy, but my life has been good. And I was abused sexually by my father as a starter in life for the first, up until I was 18. My first marriage was an absolute disaster, and he ran around with other women all the time, and wouldn't work, didn't take care of me. And I had breast cancer 35 years ago. And I mean, I've had some hard things happen in my life. But when I look at my life, I've had a good life. You know why? Because God is good and because he takes everything and works it out for good to those who continue to love him. You gotta love God through the hard times, you can't just love him on the mountaintops, you gotta love him just as much when you're in the valley.
In Deuteronomy 8, God told the Israelites that he led them, all the way, "He led them in the wilderness, for 40 years to humble them, and to test them, to prove them, to see if they would keep his word or not". There was a much shorter route. Actually, it was only 11 days from Egypt to the Promised Land. But it took 'em 40 years, and there was a much shorter way. Even when they ran into the Red Sea which seemed like an impossible situation, there was a much shorter way that he could've taken them. But he didn't take 'em the short way, he took 'em the long, hard way.
Maybe I'm talkin' to somebody right now, and you feel like that you've been taking the long hard way? Well, if you really wanna make the devil mad, just say everyday about 20 times, "God is good, God is good". Because the devil doesn't want you to think God is good. He wants you to look at every disappointing, unfair thing that's ever happened to you and say, "Well, you know, if God loved me, then these wouldn't be happening". No don't ever say, "If God loves me". God loves you! And I'm telling you that right now, no matter what is going on in your circumstances, God loves you. And he has a good plan for your life.
You say, "Well, I'll be glad when I run into it". Well, you're on your way, just don't quit and don't give up. God wants you to believe that he's kind, and that he's merciful, and that he's forgiving. Oh, my goodness how wonderful is forgiveness. There's no sin that you can commit that God won't forgive you for, except the one sin the Bible talks, which is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. And if you're watching this program today, you don't have to be concerned, you haven't committed it. Because the only kind of person that can commit that unforgivable sin, is someone who has had a really close, tight, good, strong, relationship with God, and then purposefully turned away, says, "I don't wanna have anything to do with God anymore".
Well, that's not you, because here you are seeking God. We've all sinned. We've all come short of the glory of God. But listen to Romans 3:23 and 24, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all", I love that word "All". "And all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ". Do you know what it means to be redeemed? It means to be bought back from. Jesus bought us with his blood. He bought back the original plan that God had for his creation, that the enemy stole when he lied to Adam and Eve and they believed him. What does it mean to be justified? It means to be made just as if you never sinned.
You don't have to live with guilt and condemnation all the time, and always being afraid that you've disappointed God. Matter fact, I can tell you that God is pleased with you. And you might say, "No, no, no, Joyce. You don't know what I've done, there's no way God could be pleased with me". I didn't say God's pleased with everything that you've done, but he's pleased with you. You know how I know that? Because you're watching this program. If you didn't care anything about God, you would've turned me off a long time ago. And some of you boy, you watch it every day. And then you really get dangerous, you read your Bible on top of that. And you may turn around and go to church this week once, maybe even twice.
Don't let the devil lie to you and tell you that God's not pleased with you. God is not mad at you. And any sin that you repent of, any sin that you confess, bring it out in the open and you're willing to turn away from. You say, "Yeah, Joyce, but I've done the same stupid thing 20 times". Well, you know what? I have too, but God sees your heart. And God knows that you don't wanna do those things. And one of our biggest problems is we keep trying to change ourselves when we need to say, "God, I can't change myself, I trust you to change me". Quit trying to overcome your weaknesses by yourself, and lean on God, trust him to change you and make you strong in the areas where you're weak.
I prayed that this morning, "God make me strong in the areas where I'm weak". I've got a couple a areas in my life that are left over from my childhood. Things that I have to stand against all the time. And they're weak areas for me. And I pray all the time, not just when I've made a mistake, but, "God, strengthen me in that area where I'm weak". I love that. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God," therefore, all are justified, made right with God. Believe that God has done a good work in you. Believe that you are not an accident, that you're valuable, that you have a purpose, that God has a plan for you. Believe that you're talented, that God has put gifts in you and abilities, things that nobody could do as good as you could do them.
Now, you know, faith is a powerful force. I mean, faith changes things. Like, I said yesterday, God wants to do a lot of great things in your life, but he's not gonna do them if you don't get into agreement with him. And so, when God spoke to my heart that he wanted to send me around the world to preach the Gospel, I mean, it was like something that was so impossible. I mean, you don't know what a mess I was when God told me he wanted to use me. And I believe that God actually gave me the gift of faith to believe him. There's faith that we live by, but then one of the gifts of the spirit is the gift of faith. And sometimes God will give you an extraordinary faith to believe something that just, you couldn't possibly believe, if it wasn't God giving you the faith to believe it.
And I actually believed that it would happen and then when I would really start looking at myself and listening to other people, I'd think, "No, it can't happen". But I couldn't get rid of it. It was there, I felt like God was going to do it. And sure enough, he did. But I had to agree with God. What is it that God is wanting to do in your life? What is it that God has promised you and it's so wonderful that you just say, "I just can't believe that"? Well, get into agreement with God. If God says it in his word, then it's true, and if it's true for anybody, it can be true for you. Let me say that again, if God said it in his word, then it's true, and if it could be true for anybody, it can be true for you. Faith is a powerful force, it changes things. It allows God to work in our lives, it allows God to work in other people's lives. When you pray for somebody else, it gives God an open door to work in their life.
Now, he's not gonna make them do the right thing, but it gives him an opportunity to work in their life. There's somebody I'm praying for right now that God will soften their heart. They just have a hard heart. They've gotten hard-hearted because of some difficult things that's happened in their life. And you know, if you let your heart get too hard, then you get to the point where you can't even believe in God. And I believe that God will soften this person's heart. When you pray, believe, agree with God. Release your faith. Don't just say you got faith, but prove that you have faith by your actions.
Here's a cute little story, the story of the tightrope walker. Well, one daredevil, who was billed as, "The Great Blondin," startled crowds with his death-defying stunts over Niagara Falls. Pointing to the tightrope suspended over one area of Niagara Falls, this brave fellow would taunt the crowds that had gathered by saying, "Who believes I can push this cart over the falls on this rope"? Hands shot up all over the place, "Yes, we believe, we believe, we believe". Well, the man pointed at one hand that was lifted up and challenge him, he said, "Well, if you really believe, then come and get in my cart". Well, you know what? There were no takers.
God says to, "Get in, if we really mean business". Accept him as Savior and begin a walk of faith with him. You know, Peter and the disciples, the other 11 disciples, were in a boat out in the middle of the sea, and Jesus came walking toward them on the water. And boy Peter, he was a brave soul, he wanted to walk on the water too. And he said, "Lord, bid me come to you on the water". And Jesus said, "Come". And Peter got out of the boat and sure enough he walked on the water, till he started looking at his circumstances and got afraid and began to sink, and then Jesus had to save him.
Well, you know, there were 12 men there, why'd only one walk on the water? Because only one was willing to get out of the boat. Maybe you've been sittin' back waitin' for God to do it all, and there's something he wants you to do. Maybe you have to take that step, maybe you're the one that's got to get in the cart. I heard another cute little story about a man who'd fallen off of a mountain or a high hill, and on his way down, he grabbed a hold of a branch that was sticking out of the rocks. And so, he was hangin' on to this branch and he was crying out, "Is anybody up there? Is anybody up there"? And God said, "I'm up here". "Oh God, help me, save me". And God said, "Let go". The man said, "Is anybody else up there"?
Well, that's the way we are sometimes, you know? It's like, we ask God to help us but we don't like the part that he gives us to do. You know, you gotta let go and let God be God. You can't change people you gotta turn 'em over to God and let God change 'em. You can't even really change yourself. I mean, there's certain things you can do through discipline, but you have to cry out to God, "Help me, God, strengthen me, you're the only one that can do what needs to be done in my life". You release your faith. And I like to say, "That we release our faith through praying, through saying, and through action". You don't wanna pray one thing, and then turn around and say something else. And then like I said, sometimes you gotta be the person to get out of the boat.
Let's just talk about giving for a second. In Luke 6:38 the Bible says, "Give, and it will be given unto you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will men give back into your bosom". Well, we all get, I mean who wouldn't get excited about that? "Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will God give you," but you can't forget the first part, give, you give. And I like a couple of the things that Paul said in some of his letters that he wrote to people. He said, "That they had committed to give, and now they needed to follow through and do what they had committed to do".
And how often do we do that? We make a commitment even in our heart, "Well next year I'm gonna increase my giving". Well, next year comes around, and it's not a convenient time, so, we don't increase our giving. Or we commit to tithe and then when things get tight, we back down. Or we commit to partner with a ministry that has really helped us and we really believe in, or we commit to support a missionary monthly that we think's really doing a good job. You know, God wants you to prosper. You say, "I've got my faith up for prosperity". But are you giving? Are you doing the part that God wants you to do? Are you giving? God doesn't need your money, but it shows faith when you give it. Keep your commitments, keep your word, do the things that you tell God that you're gonna do.
What shall we do with our faith? What is it for? Is it only just to get the things that we want and need? Oh, my goodness, no. For how many years did I use my faith just to pray for silly things that I wanted and needed. "Oh, God, give me this, give me more of this, give me more of that". You know, one time, the Lord spoke to my heart, because I had a big problem with condemnation. I'd picked that up as a child because of my dad sexually abusing me. Somehow or another I felt like it was my fault, which it wasn't, I was a child. But I felt guilty because of what he did to me and the secret that I always had to keep.
And so, even years and years after I was away from my father, and I was a Christian and I was even in ministry, I still had a real bad problem with condemnation. And when I started learning about faith, and let me tell you that I went to church for a lot of years before I learned that faith was more than just believing in Jesus. But that faith is also a force that God puts in you by his grace, that you can release that will allow you to do great things that God wants you to do. And so, I was believing for a bunch of stuff I didn't even need, "Just give me more of this and more of that, make my ministry grow". The Lord said, "You know, if you wanna use your faith for something really challenging, use it to live free from condemnation". Wow, wow.
Well, I wonder how many of you need that word today. Because you know what? When you do something wrong and you ask God to forgive you, even though you can believe that he forgives you, many times if you don't really understand the word, you'll still feel guilty for days and weeks and sometimes years after you've repented. But we need to believe and understand that once we repent of our sins and ask God to forgive us, there's no more condemnation. Romans 8:1 says it. "There's no condemnation for those who are in Christ". "For the law of the spirit of life in Christ has set us free from the law of sin and death".
Well, we're gonna talk about faith again tomorrow, so, you wanna be sure and tune in because I've still got some great things to share with you. But today, we're offering you two teachings on cd called, "What Is Faith and How Does It Work?" Wow. This faith thing, this is big. You need to be refreshed in knowing what faith is. And then, a booklet we put together for this called, "Building your faith". You can have little faith, you can have great faith. Learn how to build your faith. Learn how to have strong faith in God and believe for things that are way beyond what you could even hope, think, or imagine. I'm so glad you joined me today. Please join us again tomorrow. We love you and care about you. And God has got a good plan for your life.