Joyce Meyer - God's Arithmetic - Part 1
Well, thank you for joining us today on, "Enjoying Everyday Life". And you know, I don't know what you might be going through right now. I'm sure that some of you are having an awesome day, and some of you are probably having a difficult day. But I pray that if you are one of the ones that's having a difficult day that after you watch the show today, and hear the Word of God, that you will be built up, and edified, and encouraged, and your day will be much better because you spent this time with us.
Today I wanna talk to you about what I'm calling, "God's Arithmetic," or, "The Math of Grace". You know, we tend to like logic and reason. It's pretty amazing how much time we all spend trying to figure things out. And I can actually say that there was a time in my life, probably many years, when I would say that I was actually addicted to reasoning. And what I mean by that was, when I had a problem, I could not settle down and have any peace, until I thought I had it all figured out. And many times, I found out later, that I thought I had it figured out, but I didn't have it figured out after all. And the Bible tells us to lean not to your own understanding.
So, whatever it is that you might be trying to figure out, if there is anything, I wanna remind you of Proverbs 3, that says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and mind," that's the Amplified. We can't say we're trusting God, if we're worrying and reasoning and getting all confused because we can't find the answers to things. You know, I always say that, "In order to have trust, there's always gonna be unanswered questions". And we have to get comfortable with not knowing. We tend to like logic and reason. We want things to make sense to us mentally. But the grace of God, which I'll tell you in a minute what that is, in case you don't know. But the grace of God is totally illogical and unreasonable.
You say, "What do you mean, it's unreasonable"? I mean it's so good, that there's no way you can figure it out. Because grace is God doing good, wonderful, amazing things for people who don't deserve it. They say that, "Grace is God's riches at Christ's expense". And that is absolutely true. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we get the benefit of everything that he earned. Grace is ability, it's power, it's God helping us do the things that we need to do. And I often like to say, "That when you have the grace to do something, that grace makes what would have been very hard or even impossible, actually easy". The grace of God is absolutely wonderful, but it is pretty unreasonable.
In Ephesians 2:7, the Bible says, "He did this that he might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable". Immeasurable cannot be measured, so great, it cannot be measured. "(limitless, surpassing) riches of his free grace (his unmerited favor) in his kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus". You know, I've been thinking some this week, how we Christians, people that are used to thinking about the cross, or hearing about the cross, we say, "Well, you know, Jesus died on the cross, and he paid for all of our sins," and we can get so accustomed to just saying things like that, that maybe we don't always really stop and realize how totally and completely amazing that is.
I heard somebody put it like this, this week and I thought that's really good, he said, "When Christ was on the cross, he actually absorbed all the sin of the whole world, of every person that ever did live, or ever would live". If you think about putting a dry sponge in water, that sponge absorbs all that water and takes it away. And Jesus, actually the Bible says, "Became sin," he didn't just take on our sin, he became sin. And when you think about his holiness, and that spotless Lamb of God, and how awful that must've been for him. And he didn't have to do that. When he was in the Garden of Gethsemane, and he was suffering so much, and the Bible says that he actually sweat great drops of blood as he was praying through his decision. And he said, "Father if possible, take this cup from me: nevertheless, your will be done and not mine".
He could've called for angels. He told Peter, "I could have called for angels, thousands of angels, and they would have delivered me from this". He didn't have to do it, but he chose to do it because of his love for the father, and because of his love for you, and for me. And if you're watching this program today, and you've not yet given your life to Christ, you've not yet received him as your Lord and Savior, you have not believed on Jesus, the Bible says that all you have to do to be saved is, "Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth". I don't think you can believe this with your head.
I don't think that there's any way to reason out what Christ did and say, "Oh, yeah, I understand it". But if you want to be saved, God will give you the grace to believe. We're saved by grace through faith. The grace is there, the job's been done, all you need to do is not check your head, but check your heart and say, "I believe that". But remember, you can't make any sense out of it. Grace cannot be understood with the mind, and that is exactly why it's often referred to as, "Amazing grace". Let's just think about a few things, like 1 Corinthians chapter 1, starting in about verse 27, when God's looking for people to use the Bible says that, "He chooses," on purpose, "the weak and the foolish things of the world". Things that the world or people that the world would totally discount, throw away as trash, and say there's no way God could ever use you. And those are the people that he chooses to use to show his glory through, because it confounds those who think they're so smart and know all the answers.
I'm sure that God's using many of you in a powerful way. And you know, maybe a few of you are qualified. But in the natural, I was not at all qualified to do what I'm doing. And yet God has given me the grace, the ability to do it. I loved him. That was all I can say. I didn't have the training: I didn't have the education. People told me I didn't even have the personality or the right voice. But here I am 45 years later and God's still using me. Well, you know that causes people who think they're, "Super smart," to shake their head and not be able to figure that out. Grace is just so totally unreasonable, but it is a free gift, and you can receive it not only for salvation, but for every single day of your life. The Bible says that the same way we were saved, is the same way we should live, by grace through faith.
Here's another one that can leave you shaking your head. The Bible says that God made everything that we see out of nothing. Well, let me ask you a question, "How do you make something out of nothing"? There's not one of us, not one human being has ever been able to make anything out of nothing. We had to have something to start with. But God made everything that we see out of nothing. He began with nothing. He has no beginning: he has no end. Where did God even come from? Well, he just is. That's one of the things that can make your relationship with God so amazing and so wonderful and so rich, is if you realized that his ways are so far above your ways and his thoughts so far above your thoughts.
The Bible says in Isaiah, I believe it is 55:8 and 9, "'for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth'", and that's pretty far, "'As far as the heaven is from the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and so are my thoughts higher than your thoughts'". We can have a plan, but God's got a better plan. We can think we know all the answers, but God knows so many things that we don't know. And I don't know about you, but to me that's exciting. I'm excited to know that I have been allowed to come into a personal, intimate, relationship with God through Christ. Whose power can't be measured. Whose wisdom can't be measured. He knows everything. He knows my thoughts before I think them. He knows my words before I speak them. And when I have a problem, I may not know the answer, but God knows the answer.
And maybe right now you have a problem, and you don't know the answer. But God knows the answer, and God has a plan, and God loves you. Yes, even though you don't deserve it, and I don't deserve it. God loves you and he loves you unconditionally. And he's not asking you to be perfect, he's asking you to believe in his son, Jesus Christ. You know, in our world, two minus one, equals one. For example, I have this cup of water here. Well, if somebody here in the studio said, "Can I have that"? If I gave it to 'em, it would leave me with none. Wouldn't it? Nobody would dispute that. But in God's economy, his math, "God's arithmetic," "The math of grace," doesn't work like that. Because God says, two minus one can equal 30, or 60, or 100. The Bible says that, "The first will be last and the last will be first".
Well, then in our way of thinking, I mean, the first are first. If you're first, you're first. But God says the first can be last. In other words, those who push, and shove, and connive, and cheat, and lie to be first, to be on top, to be promoted, people may be surprised in the end to find out that those were the ones that were last. And yet those who were willing to humble themselves and be last, unless God promoted them, they will be the ones that will actually end up being first. Matthew 20:16 and Matthew 19:30, "So the last will be first, and the first will be last". "But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first".
This scripture reminds me of another one, Matthew 23:12: "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted". What does that mean? What does it mean to exalt yourself? It means to think more highly of yourself than you ought to, and to think you're better than other people, and to try to put yourself forward. The Bible says those people who do that will end up being humbled. But if you humble yourself, the Bible says, "Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and in due time he will exalt you". And I've had enough experience to know that God gives me an opportunity to humble myself. But if I won't, and I don't, he will do it for me.
And let me tell you it is much more comfortable to do it on your own, than it is to have God do it for you. The word, "Humble," means low lying. It means trusting God. I remember in the beginning of our ministry, just a few years after I was in ministry. And I would, oh, I so much wanted to do bigger things, and have speaking engagements, and I wasn't on television. I was just doing a little bit of traveling, and really taking anything, any opportunity that came along. And a "Promoter," a professional promoter, came to me, I was in California doing a speaking engagement. And he said, "If you'll sign on with me, if you'll sign a contract with me, I can make you world famous. I can get you all kinds of speaking engagements. I can get you all these opportunities".
Well, I knew in the pit of my gut it was wrong. I knew that true promotion comes from God. But oh, my goodness, I was so tempted to take that man's offer. And I remember Dave had gone somewhere that afternoon. And I remember laying across the bed in my hotel room, and just praying, and crying, and telling God, "You know how bad I want an opportunity to get to preach to more people. But I'm not gonna do this. I'm not gonna go the world's way. If you don't promote me, then I will never be promoted".
Well, you know what? It worked, I waited on God. And when God's time was right, he did what only God could do. And I'm encouraging you, don't compromise your morals to get ahead in life. Maybe you work somewhere at a company and you wanna be promoted, and you wanna have that office with your name on the door. You wanna be well-known. Maybe you're in the acting business, or the movie business, or the music industry, and you wanna be promoted, you wanna be well-known. And somebody tells you, "Well, if you'll do this and that I can help you". But what they want you to do, is not a right thing according to the Word of God. Well, you know what? Don't even be tempted. Because it may appear for a little while like that's gonna be a good thing and work out, but in the end... And you know what? The end always comes.
The Bible says in Romans 14 that, "The time is gonna come when we're gonna give an account of ourselves to God". And I tell you in our world today, in our society today, there is so much compromise. There are so many Christians who have let their light get dim. And we have a job to do for God. He said, "Be bright stars shining out in a dark world". You're the light that's supposed to shine out in the darkness. We need to put our trust in God and let him promote us, because only he can really do it right.
Let me talk to you for a minute about what the Bible says about giving: about giving your money, about giving your time, about helping other people, about serving other people, giving into offerings, supporting missionaries, giving to the poor. You know, first of all, we have to realize that giving is just part of the lifestyle of a Christian. That's just what we do. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only". He didn't just give what was left over, he gave his only and he gave his best, so that we might be saved. And God wants us to be givers, not because he needs our money, or he needs what we can give, but because something wonderful happens inside of you when you give. Little, narrow, selfie, self-centered, people who only have themselves on their mind, that can only live for themselves, are the most miserable people on the planet. As far as I'm concerned, generosity is one of the greatest things that you can develop in your life. Don't live to get, live to give.
Now remember God's math is different than the world's math. In the world if you give, you lose. But in God's kingdom if you give, with a right heart attitude, because you love God and you wanna help somebody, then you're gonna end up with more than you had, before you gave. See unreasonable, doesn't make any sense, but boy, does it work? Malachi 3:10, "Bring the full tithe into the storehouse". A tithe is 10 percent of all your increase. "That there might be food in my house". So, where do you bring your tithe? You bring it to the house of God. "That there might be food in my house". You bring it to the places where you go to be fed, and where other people can go to be fed. "And thereby put me to the test". That's very interesting. There's not too many places in the Bible where God says, "Go ahead, I dare you, test me and see if it doesn't work". "And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open", my gosh, listen to this, "If I will not open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing so great that you cannot contain it".
What does that mean that you can't contain it? It means you mentally cannot take it in. You cannot believe how good God is to you. You cannot believe what he's doing in your life. Please understand, God doesn't need your money. And the devil will try to give you every kind of excuse imaginable not to give, "Well, those preachers what are they doing with your money? Well, you know that preacher he drives a better car than you do, why should you give"? Well, you're not giving to the preacher, you're not even really giving to the church, you're giving to God. And you should do your best to make sure that the places that you're giving through are honest, and that they're doing a good work, and doing good things with your money. And one of the things they need to be doing is reaching out to other people, and especially helping the poor, and the needy, and the oppressed, and the sick, and the infirm.
Jesus didn't come for those that were well and healthy, he came for the sick. And our world is full of people that are sick spiritually, mentally, physically, and in every other way imaginable. As far as I'm concerned, and I want you to listen to this, giving is the smartest thing that you can do. And not to be rude, but I think people who won't give, are just not very intelligent. Because I'm telling you God's math doesn't work like other people's.
And some people say, "Well, tithing is Old Testament, it's not in the New Testament". Well, you know what? I'm not gonna argue the point, I'll just say this, even if you're right, which I don't necessarily believe that you are, but even if you are, if they could tithe 10 percent of their income under the law, what should we do by grace? My goodness, when you realize how amazing grace is, and what God has done for you, how could you not want to help other people?
Mark 12:41-44, "And he sat down opposite the treasury and he watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow", I love this, "A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make up a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, 'truly, I tell you this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing in the offering box'".
Well, once again, we see that math doesn't make any sense. No, those rich people they put in all these huge amounts of money, this lady, she only gave a penny, how can that be more than them? Because God doesn't just look at how much you give, he looks at the sacrifice that it took for you to give it. My, my, this woman is still being talked about in the Bible today. People still preach about this poor widow who gave one penny.
Luke 6:38 says, "Give, and it will be given unto you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you again".
Proverbs 11:24: "One person gives freely, yet grows all the richer: another withholds what he should give, and he only suffers want". There's God's math again.
Acts 20:35, "In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'it is more blessed to give than it is to receive'".
Can I be very, kind of, get in your business for a minute and just say, "What are you doing to help other people"? "Are you just all caught up in your own problems, and that's all you think about, and all you talk to God about, and all you talk to your friends about, is your problems"? You know what? One of the best ways to solve your problem is while you're hurting, reach out and be a blessing to other people. Yes, I said, "While you're hurting, reach out and be a blessing to other people". It's not just all about money, if you don't have money to give, you can encourage somebody. You can call somebody and tell them how important they are. You can give some time. But be sure that you don't let the devil deceive you into being selfish and self-centered. God's math doesn't work the way the world's math works.
And I can tell you the more you give of yourself, the more you give of your time, the more you give of your finances to be a blessing and to help other people, the more you're gonna have. The world says you'll have less, but God says you'll have more. Now I'm gonna continue this tomorrow and I've got some of the parables that I'm gonna share with you that show this principle of how grace just absolutely is so amazing, that it just doesn't make any sense. And I want you to be sure and join us because I think this is really gonna be good, and it's something that's going to help you. You don't have to live in your mind trying to figure everything out. You can trust God and know that he is able to handle any problem that you have.
Today, we're offering you four CDs called, "Amazing Grace", learn more about the grace of God. And a book called, "Knowing God Intimately". I love this book. I wrote the book, and I don't just love it because I wrote it, but I love it because knowing God intimately is one of the most wonderful things that can happen to you. So, you call and get these resources or let us answer any questions you have. And I'm so glad that you spent this time with us today. And I pray that I said something that made a difference in your life. Thank you for spending this time with us. God bless you.