Joyce Meyer - How to Live a Godly Life - Part 2
Come on. That's where you gotta be so careful with the deception that the enemy doesn't draw you in. "Well, I just started going to the bar with 'em twice a week because I was trying to lead 'em to Jesus". Is this, all right? I wanna help you. I want you to remember some of this if the devil comes after you. And let me tell you, when he comes after you with deception, you gotta know some stuff. You gotta not just have a few things underlined, you got to know some stuff. You need to be in church on a regular basis but not just to get check Marks on your church calendar, but to learn, and to grow and everything you hear, you need to be ready to go out and do it. Amen?
Romans 14:12. Well, 11 and 12: "As it is written: 'as surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me: every tongue will knowledge God'. And each of us will give an account of ourselves to God". Whoo. God's not gonna ask you about somebody else. Only gonna ask you, about you. So, no matter what they're doing, that doesn't mean you can do it. I don't care if a hundred Christians you know are compromising, that doesn't mean that you can. And to compromise means to go just a little tiny bit below what you know to be right. Mmm... I wish this was funnier, I'm sorry. Just a little, just a little bit below, what you know, to be right. God gives us his very own righteousness through Christ. But he gives us righteousness so we can go out in the world and do what's right. Amen? "Be ye holy even as I am holy".
I want you to look at this. It's a good thing, this is only one night. That's all my notes on How To Be Godly In An Ungodly World. And we are on page two. You know, God wants his goodness to lead men to repentance. That's what the Bible says. "It is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance". But I think if he has to scare the hell out of them, that he will and I would be willing to help him, if need be. God is love and he's filled with mercy, but he's also just. And eventually, people will reap what they have sown and that's what scares me for them. That's why we have to tell 'em. Todd, Julie, we have to tell 'em. We have to tell 'em. People have to be told. Well, what are some things that can deceive? Well, riches can deceive. Mark 4:19 says, "But the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful".
We all like nice things. I like pretty things. I like nice things. But they can be deceptive. They can make you think that they can make you happy, but they really can't. Things have no ability to keep you happy. The only thing that can keep you happy is being right with God. Amen? Have all the things you wanna have, and give away as much as you can, 'cuz there's nothing better than helping somebody else. But I don't think we should have a lot of anything if we're not willing to share it, and give it, be a blessing to other people. Story: I used to work for a seafood company. And this was many, many years ago. Dave and I had not even bought our first home yet. And I had went to work so we could buy a home. And we only had one car, and the job that I had was in the area where he worked was in downtown St. Louis. I was able to ride with him, so that was the job I wanted to keep. And I had just committed to about $1.200 worth of work on my teeth. Which today would probably be like $50.000.
And they had already kinda started the work, so, it wasn't a good time to be quitting it. And I was the bookkeeper. And somebody overpaid their bill, they paid an invoice twice. And he always looked at all the invoices at the end of the month, before I sent them out. And he brought that one out to me and he wanted me to put a debit on the account against that credit so they would not realize that we owed them money. Which in effect meant that he was gonna steal their money. And he wanted me to help him. Well, I mean, I didn't know hardly anything then. I mean, I was still in a denominational church and didn't know that much of the word, but I knew enough to know that was wrong. How many of you know we're not as dumb as we like to pretend like we are sometimes? I mean, I knew that was wrong. I didn't need a sermon preached to me. I didn't need an angel to appear to me. I didn't need a word of confirmation. I knew it was wrong.
Well, I was so afraid that if I told him that I couldn't do it, because I was a Christian, that I would get fired. So, I waited all day, and I went home, and I was miserable all night. I mean, like, you know, I really didn't want to lose this job. I was making good money, "Riches" were involved. Getting my teeth worked on. Didn't have two cars. You know, I had all my reasons. How many of you know anything about reasons? Alright. And so, finally I thought, "I got to obey God". You know, there's nothing more miserable than not obeying God. And so, I went to work real early the next morning 'cuz he got there early, and I went into his office, and I was shaking. And I said, "I just need to tell you that I can't put the debit on this account. I'm a Christian and I believe it would be wrong for me to do that. I feel like I would be stealing their money," which in effect, I was telling him he was a thief. "And I don't want to lose my job. I hope you don't get angry, but I just can't do it". And he said, "Well, just get back out there and go to work".
So, I went out to my desk and went to work and all, all day long, all day long, I expected him to come out and tell me not to bother coming back. But at the end of the day, he came out, and he put that statement on my desk and he said, "Well, just send 'em a check". Okay, now, I'm gonna tell you something, and you may believe me, and you may not. But if I would not have done that, 40 years ago, I'm not positive, I would be standing here telling you the story tonight. See, there are many, many tests that God gives us on our little journey. And a lot of where you're at five years from now, ten years from now, two years from now, twenty years from now is gonna be dependent on what you're doing now. Come on, what I'm saying to you right now, may be one of the most important things you've ever heard. Amen? And yes, God forgives sin, but sin still has consequences. We don't like to hear that part. I mean, a man can commit murder and he can be forgiven but he can still go to prison. Sin has consequences.
Now, there are times when God, in his mercy, delivers us from those consequences, but not always. Another thing that can be very deceiving is reasoning. You know what reasoning is? It's when God says something, and we reason out that "It can't be God because"... Another story. Maybe you've heard me tell this if you watch TV, but to me, this is just so indicative of what we do. I mean, even us, good Christians, do this kind of stuff. I bought a dress. It was red. I liked it so much, I bought it, it was one size too big for me, but the way it was made, it didn't really make that much difference 'cuz it had dropped shoulders and it was full and had a belt. So, they put the nice, little clear plastic bag on it. I bought some red and silver earrings that they had with it, you know, on the counter, matched it. Took it home, put in my closet.
For some reason, every time I went to wear the dress, I just thought, "Nah, I'll wait". And so, one day, I was in my closet praying for a girl that volunteered at our meetings, back then, her name was Ruth Ann Pacewic. And, "Oh God, thank you for Ruth Ann. God, what can I do to bless Ruth Ann"? Don't ever ask God... When you're in your closet. Come on, ladies. This is just a piece of fashion advice. Do not ask God, what you can do for some other woman when you're in your closet. Got it? And right away, I heard, "Give her the red dress". Now, here's how fast this happens. I mean, this took probably less than a minute. And I thought, "That can't be God. That can't be God, because that dress is new. I haven't even worn the dress yet. It can't be God". And I mean, just that quick, I forgot about the red dress. I forgot about Ruth Ann. Went right on to the meeting where Ruth Ann was volunteering, and prayed that God would bless her.
Come on, you spiritual thing, you. We're always blessing, "I bless you. I bless you". Well, what if God wants you to bless somebody? Come on. God told me, it may be two or three years ago, he said, "Stop asking me to do things for people that you could easily do and just don't want to". See, we wanna be so giving until we have to give something that we like. I wouldn't have minded if it would have been an old dress that I was tired of. But the new red dress. So, I forgot about it. About a month later, I'm back in the closet. God, just is very persistent. I'm back in the closet. I'm praying for Ruth Ann. "Oh God, what can I do to bless Ruth Ann"? Bad mistake. I look right at the red dress. So, I thought, "Might as well just give it to her, I guess". I said to God, this was dumb, but I said to God, "But I've got those pretty red and silver earrings that match it". And he said, "I was gonna let you keep the earrings, but if it's a problem just give those to her, too".
Yes, a little thing. But did it affect my future? I think so. You know? I think that when we do what God tells us to, it brings future blessings into our life. And when we don't, it doesn't mean, I could have kept the dress and gone to heaven. I could have probably sent the invoice out with a zero balance and gone to heaven. Our salvation is not purchased with the things that we do or don't do. But I'll tell you, they matter to God and they have a lot to do with the anointing on our life. And the anointing on our life is so precious. We should protect it and guard it because it's the power of God that goes through you and comes off of you to be a blessing to other people. And that's something else we need to hear more about, is the anointing, and how to protect it, how to honor it, how to keep it. Amen?
You know, we had a little partner event here. Ten of our beautiful partners, who support our ministry, and we were just talking about how amazing it is to give. And one of the men said, "I am so grateful that I was taught to give". And see, I came from the era where it wasn't uncommon when a pastor was receiving an offering to preach for 20 minutes on giving. But today, if you did that people would get mad and think you're just another one of those preachers trying to get their money. But we need to be taught to give. Jesus said more about money than he did heaven or hell. Did you know that? Don't get mad at your spiritual leaders when they teach you things that are in the Bible. Just because, maybe, you don't want to do it. So, Ruth Ann got the red dress and she came to work for us full-time. And she wore it for a long time, and she finally gave it back to me. And I wish that you can see that dress on me, now. It does still fit me. And it is the goofiest looking thing you have ever seen. Why I ever would have liked that dress is beyond me. But, of course, is just so out of style, now, you know, it's just pathetic.
We've all got our stories, but Jesus told parables. He had to tell stories about other people. I rarely ever have to get beyond me or Dave. I told Dave if I wasn't married to him, I don't know if I could preach because I always have Dave stories. However, he's been pretty good lately, so, i... Don't have a Dave story tonight. I'm sorry. I told him he needs to act up a little bit. James 1:22: "But be doers of the word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the truth]". Do you see that? That's exactly what I did. I deceived myself through reasoning that God couldn't possibly want me to give that dress away because it was new. Anybody ever done anything like that? Oh, five of you? Please. See, the problem is, is we do it and half the time we don't even know that we're doing it. I mean, nobody says, "Well, I'm just going to disobey God. That's what I'm gonna do. I know that God said that, but I'm just gonna disobey him". We don't say that. We come up with other stuff.
Well, "The truth will make you free". There's facts and then there's truth. And there's a lot of things that are facts. It's a fact that my father sexually abused me. It's a fact that my mother did nothing about it because she was weak and fearful. And it's a fact that it went on long enough, that it really, really messed me up. And I had so many problems. But I was deceived. I didn't know I had problems. I thought something was wrong with everybody else. They used to have a basket in the grocery store, where I shopped, when my kids were real little. They don't do this anymore. But it had dented cans in it and cans with no labels. And you could buy any can for ten cents. So, if you got one that was dented, you tried to get one that had the smallest dent. And if you got one with no label, I mean, I can remember hoping I got peaches or applesauce or something like that, we could eat.
Occasionally, I got something okay. But there was a time when I got dog food, and I didn't have a dog, and that didn't help me. You know, people are kinda like that. We come with dents. And we try to pick out the ones that have the smallest dents. And most people come with no label, but you really don't know for sure what you're getting. And Dave, for sure, didn't know what he was getting. Poor guy, prayed for somebody that needed help. And he got his prayer answered. We had five dates and he asked me to marry him. I always tell him, "You had to take me really quick," because I had been on my good behavior about as long as I could stand. It was about to get really nasty. And, oh, God has done so much for me. And it has been so hard. But so wonderful.
The fact was that I had all those things happen to me, and I believed the devil's lies. I let him deceive me. I believed I could never recover, that I would always have a second-rate life. But I learned the truth. That Jesus would give me, "Beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness". That he would change me, and use me, and that he would use what I went through in my childhood to help other hurting people. And that's what he wants to do with every single one of you. For, "All things work together for good". Do you hear me? "All things work together for good to those who love God, and want his will". Whatever the devil has managed to do to you in the past, you can turn it around and use it against him. It's a time for us to all come up a little bit higher. Has anybody made a decision tonight to come up just a little bit higher? Amen?