Matt Hagee - Diet And Exercise
Psalm 78 is a very difficult passage to navigate, because there's not a lot of good news in it. Most of the time when we open up the Bible, and we want to be encouraged, we like to be encouraged with things that tell us what we want to hear. "You'll be the head and not the tail. You'll be above only and not beneath". "You're going to get houses you didn't build, wells you didn't dig, vineyards you didn't plant". If you can't say, "Amen" to that, well... But when you open up a chapter in the Bible, and you read these words, "While the meat was in their mouth, he killed them," it's hard to go, "Well praise the Lord. Just come on somebody".
And one of the natural things that men like to think is, well why did God give them something that would kill them? "He gave them their own desire". And when they got what they were craving, while the meat was in their mouth, he killed them. Could you imagine that dinner party? "Would you like to try the quail? It's to die for". How come they could not see that what they were taking in was destroying them? Because the most powerful type of deception is self-deception. You see, when you're being deceived by someone outside of you, then someone else can come and speak truth to you, and you get to make a choice. That's what's happening in this room right now. I'm speaking the truth of God's word.
And many of you in this room have deception in one hand, and you're going to get truth in the other. And when this service is over, you get to make a choice. But then there's a group of people in every situation that are not being deceived by the outside: they're being deceived by the inside. And the problem with that is that when you are deceiving yourself, nobody can speak truth to you, because you think you're right. You have believed your own lie. And when you read Psalm 78, and you begin to look through the things that the children of Israel were doing, here's what it says in verse 18. It says: and they tested God in their heart by asking for the food of their fancy. And they spoke against God, saying, "Can God..." Say that with me. "Can God"? That's a question. "Can God prepare a table in the wilderness"? You follow it to verse 22. It says, "Therefore, the Lord heard this and was furious".
Now how many of you know it's not good when God is furious? And the reason that he was furious is because they did not believe in God, verse 22, and they did not trust in his salvation. You see the thing that caused the children of Israel to have this problem is they were self-deceived. They had lied to themselves. And in lying to themselves, they couldn't realize all of the truth that was around them. And therefore, they craved something that would kill them. And when they got what they craved, they died. So the question is not, "What are you craving"? The question is, "Where did the craving come from"? It came from what they looked at. It came from what they heard. And it came from what they felt. And every craving in your life comes from the same things, what you look at, what you hear, and what you feel. It creates your appetite. And then once you have the appetite, you begin to focus on that appetite until you fulfill it.
How many of you have ever been sitting at home, and you were not hungry, but then that hamburger commercial came on, and you said, "I think I want a hamburger"? It's the same in your spiritual life. What you see, what you hear, what you feel creates your craving. Your craving creates your appetite. Your appetite determines what you bring in. What you bring in determines what you do. And it is all a matter of diet and exercise.
How many people have such a pessimistic, poor attitude about the world that we live in, because all they're listening to, and all they're looking at, and all they're hearing from are people who complain about everything? How many of you know people who have the gift of complain? They complain about what they want. They complain about what they don't want. They complain about what you did. They complain about what you didn't do. They complain what you said and what you didn't say. They complain about everything! And because that's all you're taking in, all you're putting out is doubt, and fear, and worry, and negativity. Because you are not looking at the great things that God is doing in the world around you, you have a diet of doubt!
So what's the problem with the children of Israel? How did they get in this situation? The problem is this: they did not want to take personal responsibility for themselves. You see, for 400 years, they wanted out of Egypt. But when they got out of Egypt, they couldn't get Egypt out of them. For 400 years, Pharaoh dominated them. There was no need for diet and exercise, because Pharaoh told them what to eat. There was no need for figuring out what your function was. Pharaoh told them what to do. There was no need to figure out your housing. Pharaoh told them where to live. There was no need to figure out your health care. If you had a child and it was a boy, it went in the river. I mean if you look at the way that Pharaoh treated the children of Israel, it was almost like a government that says, "Hey, don't worry about anything: we'll take care of everything".
And for 400 years, the children of Israel lived in those dire circumstances, and they wanted freedom. They cried out for freedom. They begged God for freedom. They wanted to get away from the shackles, and the chains, and the bondage of Pharaoh. So God sent his power in a person named Moses with a rod in his hand, and he decimated Egypt. He did not deliver the children of Israel. First, he decimated Egypt, and then he delivered them. Everything that the Egyptians worshipped, one at a time, God took it out. They worshiped the Nile: he turned it to blood. They worshiped the sun: he shut it off. They worshiped cobras: Moses' cobra ate their cobra. They worshiped crocodiles. They used to say that never would a frog croak in Egypt because of the mighty crocodile.
So what did God do? He sent so many frogs: the Egyptians thought that the crocodiles went extinct. A plague of frogs bouncing through your house, God's saying your crocodiles ain't enough. They prided themselves on the economy that they had built selling grain to the world. That grain deal was something that Joseph, a Jew, put them in contact with. And they took it and they used it for their own prideful arrogance. So what did God do? He sent locusts and he wiped out the economy, because there was no grain in the field. And when he had decimated Egypt, he used Moses to deliver Israel. And walking through the Red Sea, watching the water part left and right, going through on dry ground, and seeing Pharaoh drown in the water: they'd been in the wilderness three days, and they start this story: "Can God"? Say that with me. "Can God"?
Do you hear the problem with that? Can God what? He just turned the Nile to blood. You can't do that. He just shut the sun off. You can't do that. He just sent the death angel, and everywhere that there was the blood of the lamb over the door, no one was harmed. But everywhere there wasn't, one was killed. You can't do that. So why on earth are you asking God, considering all that he's done, "Can you"? The first thing he said was, "Can you bring water in the desert"? He split a rock and two million people got to drink. Now you would think they'd wipe their mouth and suddenly say something like, "Oh, praise the Lord. What's for dinner"? Instead they said, "Can you send bread"? And so he rained manna. Now we consider manna to be something pretty simple. But manna was absolutely celestial.
You say, "Well how do you know"? Well consider what the Bible has to say about it. Go look in Psalm 78. It says, "He rained down manna on them to eat, and had given them", verse 24, "The bread of heaven". What did they call manna? "The bread of heaven". Say it again. "The bread of heaven". And then if you didn't think that that was clear enough, the next verse says, "Men ate angel's food". Think about that. First, it blesses me out of my mind, because what I understand when I read that verse is if angels eat... You got me. If the angel, getting un taco, then when I get in my heavenly body, I can have a tortilla. Praise the Lord. But when it says that men ate angel's food, it literally says that God went to the table where the angels eat. And he said, "Guys, I need this". And he gave it to the children of Israel. Now how good and how perfect was the food? It was so good and it was so perfect that the Bible says there wasn't one sick, and there wasn't one feeble among them. They literally ate their way to health. Could you imagine that?
Listen, I've been around places, trying to find out information about how to lose weight. I can prove to you I have st more hours in the program than jenny Craig herself. I am to diets what an auditor is to your taxes. I know what you've been hiding because I hid it too. I'm a part of a tribe. There's two tribes in this world. The first is the eat-to-live tribe. The only time that they ever want to eat is whenever they think it's necessary to live. I'm not in that tribe. I'm in a tribe that says, "Live to eat". Food is fun. It's wonderful. It's social. It's tasty. It's flavorful. It's memorable. The greatest moments of my life are centered around meals. I have no good stories that start with, "Well we were working out". No. But see here's the deal: I recognize that what I put in my mouth has an impact on what I have to do with my body later.
Right now, right here, I know where the good donuts are in this church. I've known where the donuts are in this church since I was born. And when this service is over, I'm going to walk by that box of donuts, and they're going to talk to me. They're going to say personal things like, "It's been a while. It's nice to see you". And I'm going to look at those donuts, and I'm going to say, "I need some space. It's not you: it's me. And as much as I want to there will be a void, because I'd love a donut. And a donut loves me". But here's the deal: if I eat the donut, I realize that that's something that's going to have to be addressed later.
You see diet leads to exercise. And if I eat that donut, I'm going to have to spend another 15 or 20 minutes on the treadmill. And let me tell you something as clearly as I can: I hate treadmills! And so what I balance out is my hatred for the treadmill and my love for the donut. And I walk by the donut, because I want to avoid the treadmill. And there's a lot of you, who have not connected that what you do and don't eat determines what you have to do later. There are a lot of you stuck on a treadmill in your life. You're stuck on a financial treadmill. You're working as hard as you can work, and you're going nowhere. Why? Because you're not changing your diet. "Give and it shall be given unto you," that's what the Bible says about how you should manage your finances. "God is not mocked". "What a man sows, so shall he reap".
That's what the Bible says about what you should do with your income. But you're on a treadmill because you say, "I just can't afford to do that. I can't afford to trust God. I can't afford to give". And you're eating bad things, and you're doing all the work, and you're not satisfied. You're on a treadmill emotionally. You want to let go of past offenses. You want to let go and allow God to change your heart, and change your life, and change your attitude. And you're sitting there going, "But you just don't know what they did. And you just don't know what they said. And you just don't know how I feel". It really doesn't matter where you want to apply it. If what you're doing is not getting you where you want to go, the thing that needs to change isn't the world around you: it's you! And I know this because of diet and exercise.
You see the first time I really wanted to lose weight, I went to an expert on weight loss, and I said, "I need help". And he said, "Okay: here it comes". Y'all were there: I guess. Go ahead. You can say it. I'm getting a second opinion. You're nuts. I went over here and I asked another expert. Some genius in a white coat had "Dr" next to his name. I said, "I'm very interested in weight loss". He said, "Okay", he said, "Let's talk about something". I'm going to do this on my own. Because obviously, these experts have lost their mind. Forget that they're 50 and fit: what do they know? They've never been fat. So I went and stood on a scale. And I said, "We are not going to talk again until you tell the truth". Liar. And it really didn't matter where I looked. Everything that I realized is that the world around me wasn't wrong: I just was sabotaging myself because I didn't understand how to get my diet and exercise to compliment one another.
And so the children of Israel are on their way through the wilderness. Say that word. Through the wilderness. It was always God's intention to take them through the wilderness, not to it: through it. And he wanted them through it in about 14 days. And they stayed on a treadmill for 40 years, because they couldn't figure out the principles of changing themselves with diet and exercise. God gave them water. And rather than saying "Thank you" for the water, they said, "Can he give bread"? And they gave them bread. And instead of saying "Thank you" for the bread, they said, "Can he give meat"? And God said, that's it. I'm going to give you what you want.
Church, be careful when you get what you want, because it might just be the thing that kills you. You may be fighting and struggling with your own strength, trying to accomplish your will. And if it's not God's will, when you get it, don't bite it. People say, "Well what's the big deal with meat"? You read Exodus 16. And what the Bible says in Exodus 16 is that they remembered the flesh pots of Egypt. How they could sit by the flesh pot and eat meat and bread till their fill. Have you ever known somebody, who had a great memory of a bad past? So the meat pot that they were so fond of, it was where the slaves of Egypt were fed. And what it was, was a huge caldron that was full of meat. And what they say is that the slaves were fed the boiled carcasses of the animals that the Egyptians slaughtered.
Now how many of you would like to stand in line at dinner on the grounds for a handful of that? But because they could see it every day, there's my meat pot. Because they could hear the water boiling every day, that's the dinner bell because they could smell it, because it was familiar, when they got into an environment where they couldn't see where provision was coming from, and they couldn't see where the answer was coming from, and they didn't know what to do, when they got to a place where they had to exercise faith, they didn't have anything inside of them that would allow them to believe God could. And so they said, "Could we go back to that meat pot"? You know why? Home cooking. How many of you love a home-cooked meal? You know what's funny about home-cooked meals is they're pretty simple.
People say crazy things about home-cooked meals. My mom makes the best meatloaf. And somebody else goes, "Oh, no, no, no: my mom makes the best meatloaf". And then they have a taste test, and then they can no longer be friends. Because the first person spent their whole life eating mom's meatloaf and it is the best. But when their friend tries it, they go, "Um. You know that camino". And all of a sudden like somebody from the other room, "Hey don't be talking about the camino: okay. Vaminos paya". Because you don't talk about somebody other's mother's cooking. That's a war of words waiting to happen. But the reason that you crave home cooking is because every time you got in trouble, ever time you got stressed, every time you got sick, every time you got hurt, you knew where you could get fixed. And it had nothing to do with the chicken soup, and it had nothing to do with the meatloaf, and it had nothing to do with the enchiladas, or the tacos, or whatever it was. It had to do with where you felt safe.
And when the children of Israel got into the wilderness, and all of a sudden they needed a drink, rather than thank the God who had just saved them from Pharaoh, they turned around and said, can I go back here where I feel safe? And there are some of you in this place today that every time you're walking in this life that you have in Christ, every time you get stressed, rather than press into his promise, you want to retreat to your past life. I've had a bad day at work. Open up the living water of his word, or head to the bar. I've had trouble in my marriage. Open up the book and do what he said for marriage, or go to the courtroom. I've got trouble with my kids. Well just ignore them. Give them wi-fi, and they'll figure it out. Or train up a child in the way he should go, and when he's old, he'll not depart from it.
Here's what I'm telling you: there are some of you that come to church every day, and you say, "God, can you? God can you? Can you fix my marriage? Can you heal my body? Can you bring me finances? Can you heal my wounded heart? Can you make this all go away"? Shame on you. Knowing how good he's already been, don't you ever let the words, or the thoughts, or the idea that he can't do it again ever enter your mind. So here's what we're going to do. I want you to stand, as we close this service. If you want God to move in your life, if you want to change the "Can you"? To "Thank you," then I want you to lift your hands right where you are, and just open your mouth, and start telling God how thankful you are.
The children of Israel weren't thankful for their salvation, but here at Cornerstone, Lord, these people are lifting their hands, and saying, thank you, God, for setting me free. Thank you, God, for defeating powers and principalities. Thank you, God, for breaking the shackles of shame off of my life. Thank you, God, for letting me use the powerful name of Jesus Christ to pull down strongholds and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. Thank you for forgiving me of all of my transgressions. Thank you for being patient with me when I doubted you. Thank you for being merciful with me when I transgressed you. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for all that you've done, and all that you are doing, for every battle that you brought me through, for every mountain that you've helped me to climb, for every day that you've given me the joy of the Lord that makes rich and adds no sorrow, for the peace that you've poured out that surpasses all understanding.
Child of God, whatever it is that you know you need to thank God for, I don't want you to leave this place without letting heaven hear you say that God, we are thankful. And now I want you to tell the Lord, "Lord, I thank you..." and then fill in the blank with your request.
I thank you that my business is going to be blessed. I thank you that my marriage is going to be healed. I thank you that my children are going to return to the throne of God and walk into this church, and surrender their life to Jesus Christ. I thank you, Heavenly Father, that all of the impossibilities that I've heard about me is going to go away, because nothing is impossible with those who believe. I don't care what the doubters say. I'm looking to God today. I don't care what those who are haters say. I believe that God will make a way where there seems to be no way.
Child of God, I believe that my God is able. I believe that my God is faithful. I believe that my God's plan is perfect, and he will complete the good work in you. So if you believe that, I want you to clap your hands and shout to God with a voice of triumph: for the Lord is good, and his mercies endure forever! Give the Lord a handclap of praise!