The sermon "How Can My Struggles Help Me?" - Joyce Meyer (online).
How Can My Struggles Help Me? - Joyce MeyerGinger: did you know that God can take our struggles to teach us something? Yeah, I know, it doesn't make it feel any better at the time, but if we're going to go through something difficult, we might as well get something from it, right? As we walk through each new day, we all have questions, they're just part of life. But did you know there are answers for you? God says when we look, we'll find him. He's not trying to hide anything. So together, we are discovering life's everyday answers.
Ginger: I love the book of James, it's just so rich. And in chapter 1, verse 2, it says this, "count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds." That's a hard one. You know, I love my bible so much, but sometimes I really feel like arguing with it. And when I read scriptures like that, I just have to remember to trust his word more than my feelings. I don't feel so great, I don't feel like celebrating and counting it joy when I'm having various trials. But when I trust God even when I don't understand or like what scripture is saying, it's what I need to know. And that works--it's worked my entire life, and I guarantee you it will work for you. Here's a question from twitter. This question is from maryanne, and she says, "why does God hate me? I have been a christian for many years, and nothing is going right." Maryanne, I promise you God does not hate you. He loves you so much, but I appreciate your honesty. And when life is hard, sometimes we do feel like nothing is going right. But maryanne, for you and for everybody else, there is something good that can come out of our struggles. And Joyce Meyer will explain as she answers the question, how can my struggles help me?
Joyce Meyer: now, let me say that trials are not evidence of God's displeasure and anger. When you're already having a trial, the last thing you need is condemnation heaped on top of you that you have some big sin in your life that has now caused this problem. And isn't that the first place our minds go sometimes? I was ministering to a woman sometime over the past year, and she had an autistic son. And actually, God just gave me a word of wisdom in a meeting. I didn't know the woman, but I saw a child about 9 years old with brown hair, and I knew that his mother felt guilty, like it was her fault that he was autistic. And so, I just shared that, and sure enough, within 24 hours, the woman got ahold of mike and said, "well, here's my 9-year-old son with the brown hair, and that was exactly right. I have felt guilty ever since he was born, like maybe I did something wrong, and it was my fault." The devil loves to load us down with guilt and condemnation about everything, but God loves to help us. And see, the thing you're going to read in a few minutes is even if, through our own stupidity, we did get ourselves in trouble, which is the case a lot of times, God still will help us if we ask him to. Now, who could get upset about a deal like that? So, just a few things that--ways that trials can help you because I know you want to know how they can help you, right? They train us and they force us to use our faith. And eventually, we become stable during the storms of life. Number two, they humble us. There's nothing that will humble you quicker than to have something that you absolutely cannot handle, and have to go to somebody else and ask for help. 2 corinthians 12:7, one biblical example. The apostle paul, who was having such tremendous revelations from God, was actually taken up to the third heaven and saw things that he didn't even know how to describe. And yet, the bible say in 2 corinthians 12:7, "and to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness of these revelations, there was given me a thorn (a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of satan, to rack and buffet and harass me to keep me from being excessively exalted." Now, there has been so much conversation about what paul's thorn was, and I frankly don't care. The point was he didn't like it, and he begged God to get rid of it, and God said, "no, my grace is sufficient for you because of all these wonderful things that are happening through you, and all these things that I'm showing you." We've got to have a little bit of abasing here to keep things in balance. And you know, over in philippians, paul said, "I've learned how to be content whether I'm abased or abounding." And years ago, as I studied that, I thought, "what was it that he learned?" He said, "I've learned how to be content." What was it that he learned that kept him that stable and that much the same, whether he liked his circumstances or he didn't? And isn't that where we want to be? You don't want to have a lousy circumstance come along and ruin your week, do you? You don't want to have somebody else do something that you couldn't control, and now have to give up your joy because they decided to have a bad day. That's not what Jesus died for us to have. He wants us to have peace, and joy, and to be stable, and to have it all the time no matter what's going on in our circumstances, amen? Satan is the God of this world, and he can mess around with our circumstances. But if we trust God, he will use every one of them to our good. They will help us grow spiritually. And as we stay strong in him, then we will see additional blessings in our life according to what God knows that we can handle. And so, paul said, "I've learned, I've learned how to be content, satisfied to the point where I'm not disturbed." Being content doesn't mean you never want to see any change in your life. There's all kinds of things that I want to see change, and all kinds of people that I want to see change, but thankfully I've come to the point where I'm not upset about it now, I'm not losing my joy. You know why? I'm really well aware that only God can change it. And me being upset about it is not going to get him to move any faster. And so, he said, "I've learned how to be content whether I'm abased or abounding." And he said that because he trusted God so much that he knew that, if he was going through a time of difficulty, that there was a reason for it even if he didn't understand it. He trusted God to work it out for his good. Can we believe that all things work together for our good if we trust God? All things. But let's be able to believe that while we're in it. See, a lot of times, we can go through very difficult things, and 3, 4 years down the road, we can look back and say, "oh yeah, yeah. I see how God used that in my life, it worked out for good." Can any of you think of stuff like that right now? I see how God used that in my life, it worked out good. But God wants us to get it on this side, see. The israelites danced and sang, but they did it on the wrong side of the red sea. They wait till they got through the red sea, and then they had a party. God wanted them to dance on this side when they were facing it. Amen? They remind us to be totally dependent on God. They help us develop character. And we give glory to God. Revelation 12:11 says, "we overcome him," him being satan, "by the blood of the lamb and by the utterance of our testimony." Well, you can't have a testimony without a test. Testimony. What we have to make sure of is that when we're done, we don't just have the moanies and still don't have a testimony. Because in God's economy, if you don't pass the test, you get to take it again. Now, patience. Patience, patience, patience. Well, we had a piece of property we needed to sell. Well, i'll put it like this, I wanted to sell it. I don't know--i don't know if need is the right word, but I wanted to sell it. So, three and a half years, we didn't even get an offer. And three and a half years is a long time for me to wait. Now, dave couldn't have cared less if we sold it in 2 days or 10 years, you know, because he's just like, "it'll sell at the right time. God will sell it at the right time." You know, sometimes if you need to grow in patience, and you're around somebody that's really patient, aren't they annoying?
Joyce Meyer: don't you just want to, like, rip their hair out once in a while? Say, "could you just have a good fit so I don't feel so bad?" And so, okay, I mean, I'm praying about this piece of property. I'm getting people to agree with me about selling this piece of property. I'm rebuking the devil because I'm not getting any offers on my property. I'm confessing that my property is sold in Jesus' name. And one morning, I started to talk to the Lord again about the property, and he said, "will you forget that property? Would you just forget that property and let me take care of it?" Now, don't miss the second half of what I said. "will you forget about it?" See, some of you have issues, and you've just been camped on top of them so long that God couldn't get a chance to help you if he tried.
Joyce Meyer: you almost got to get to the point where you just flat out don't care, and it's like, "it's up to you." "will you forget about that?" Now, as God is my witness, I'm telling the absolute truth, in 2 weeks, it sold. Now, it would come back to my mind, and I would just say, "nope, God's taking care of that." Now, you know, I'm not saying that you can't pray about things for a long time, but I will be honest and say I think there comes a time where we don't need to pray about something anymore. Maybe if it comes to your mind, you can say, "thank you, God, you're taking care of that." That's a type of prayer too, you know? But we don't have to just keep asking for the same thing over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. Now, when a man is fully patient, james says, they're perfect and entire, lacking nothing. Now, that's an amazing scripture. And you know what that basically means if I can just give it to you in the short way of what I think? I think it means when we become fully patient, we so trust God for his timing, his way that we know that God will take care of it, we know that God will do what we've asked if indeed that is his will. And to be honest, I believe the church worldwide needs to grow spiritually to the point where we really, truly don't want anything that's not God's will. Because we can't be happy with anything that's not God's will. I don't care how much I want it, if it's not right for me, then instead of trying to finagle around and figure out a way to get it, amen? You know, there's a scripture in psalms, I think it's in 106, where when the israelites got tired of manna, they got tired of their miracle bread, they wanted meat. "give us meat, give us meat, give us meat." And so, the bible says that God was unable to restrain their insistent desires, they just kept it up, and kept it up, and kept it up. And so he said, "okay, you want meat? I'm going to give you meat." And he gave them meat, and they had meat to eat until it was running out their nostrils. And then it says, "but he sent leanness into their souls." So see, I may crab around enough to get what I want. God may even sometimes give us what we demand to show us it's not really what we want. Amen? "oh, you think this is what you want? Okay, here." But then if we have leanness in our souls, if we're not happy inside and we're not content inside. Some of you think you'd just be happy if you had more money. And I'm not at all against having more money. I mean, money's a comfortable thing to have, but the world is full of people that have gazoodles of money, and they are so miserable. So, we have to see things for what they are.
Ginger: you know, one of the best things I have ever done is spending time in God's word every day. That way, when I hit those hard times, I'm ready, I've got God's word in my spirit because I've been studying his word before it. And when I'm in those hard times, I can't even tell you how much God's word just helps ease some of the pain, and helps you understand how he is there for you. So, we have an offer today that will help you in your devotional time. This is Joyce Meyer's devotional called "closer to God each day." And what this says is 365 devotions for everyday living. That's what it's all about, it's getting through all of those days, taking whatever comes, and doing it with God's help. And so, every day just open this book up and let God's word speak to you. Then we also have this little booklet, it's called "growing in wisdom." And this is a whole lot of little scriptures that will be there when you need them, so this is a handy thing to keep in your car, keep in your purse, keep in your backpack, and have God's word at your fingertips when you need it. These are available to you right now. Go to the website, joycemeyer.org, or give us a call and pick these up. What do you say we check out your voice now? What do you have to say?
Ginger: okay, we asked you to share the most challenging thing God has asked you to do, and here's what you told us. Joy said, "God wants me to stay at home and be a housewife and mother to my children. This is very challenging, especially on our finances. He wants my family and me to hold onto him, to put our hope in him because he is God, a God who provides for all our needs." Stacye from st. Louis says, "the most challenging thing God asked me to do was to ask forgiveness from a coworker. I held back tears the entire time I was apologizing, but I'm glad I did it. That apology not only saved me, but it blessed her as well, and that was 18 years ago." Morgan says, "the most challenging God has ever asked me to do was to be single. He's given me the grace to live a happier life than I maybe would have had with a husband. I have a loving family and good friends, and I've learned that there's more than just romantic love, and I've grown in so many ways." Let's do one more. Melissa from illinois says, "God has challenged me to not be negative and grumble at work." Oh melissa, that's a good one. "he says, 'i never asked you to like your job, but I need you to do your job with a joyful heart so I can love people through you.'" Well, I bet that a lot of you listening have related to some of these, whether it's a job that you're not absolutely loving, or a life condition that maybe you at one time wish was different, but God has really blessed you in it. And there is nothing better than being exactly where God wants you to be. So today, along with what melissa was saying, we want you to describe the worst job you've ever had, and what life lesson, if any, did you learn from that experience? I can tell you mine was working in the college dorm, the cafeteria, scraping the plates off. Not a pleasant job at all, but it taught me to work hard, it taught me that things are much more important than what something smells like. It was not a real pleasant experience, but it was good for me. Tell me about your experience on facebook, on twitter. Use hashtag #ea and make sure that you share these things that God is teaching you. Well, one of the more well-known scriptures in the bible is proverbs 3:6, "acknowledge God in all your ways and he will direct your path." Did you know there's something else that helps us to? Joyce Meyer will explain as she answers the question, why is it important to acknowledge God?
Joyce Meyer: James 4:13, "come now, you who say, 'today or tomorrow we're going to go into such and such a city and spend a year there and carry on our business and make money.' Yet you don't know [the least thing] about what might happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You're [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air]." I really like when I share this scripture to bring a can of hairspray and just go pfft, "there I go."
Joyce Meyer: you know what we need to hear a lot more of? We need to hear a lot more of, "if God wills, i'll do that. If God approves." I'm serious, we need to get more of that into our conversation, even our conversation with each other. Let's just stop declaring what we're going to do all the time because we're not going to do anything if God doesn't enable us to do it and bless us to do it. I think we've moved too far away from, "if it be thy will." First time that I can remember God confronting me with this scripture was I was actually in georgia. It was a lot of years ago, and dave and I had worked so hard. And I mean, everything we did then was just little, tiny. And I mean, I did so many meetings all the time, it was just, like, ridiculous. And you know, i'd teach 10 people here, and 40 there, and 12 somewhere else, and 9 somewhere else. And we were just running and going and doing stuff all the time. And we were just completely worn out, and we didn't have much money to do anything, but we had managed to save some money to go on a vacation at a resort in georgia. And we drove the whole way, which was about 12 hours. And it was just--i was thinking about it this morning just how beautiful it was and full of flowers. And you know, we were driving around the grounds, and it was just so pretty, I just wanted to cry because I was so tired and I was just so happy to be there. And i'd only been there about a day and I started making plans to come back the next year and bring my whole--"we're going to come back next year, and we're going to bring all the kids," and I'm planning all this stuff. And the Lord just stopped me, he said, "you might say you'll do that if it's my will." Come on, I'm trying to help you today. If it's God's will, you'll do that. It's healthy for us to get that kind of a mental and a spiritual dependence on God. Proverbs 3 says, "acknowledge him in all your ways." We don't have to have a prayer meeting about every decision we make, but we do need to acknowledge God at least. Even if you say, "Lord, this is the direction I'm going to go in, but if you don't like it, you stop me." Often, i'll say that to God, "this is what I've got planned for today. I'm going to get busy with it, but if there's any of it you don't like or you don't approve of, just put your foot in it and I'm happy to quit because I only want to do what you want me to do." How many of you want what God wants more than you want what you want?
Joyce Meyer: "you ought instead to say," verse 15, "if the Lord is willing, if the Lord is willing, we shall live and we do this or that [thing]." I have a plan to go buy a pair of shoes when I leave here today, and I sure hope the Lord is willing. How many of you think he is? I believe it's God's will, amen? "but as it is, you boast [falsely] in your presumption and your self-conceit. All such boasting is wrong." You know, all these scriptures are gearing toward lean on God, lean on God, lean on God, lean on God. Put him first in your life, keep him first in your life, know that you're nothing without him. "for any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin." Let me give you a few biblical examples of presumption. In Numbers 14, Verses 40 through 45, it says, "and they rose up early in the morning and went up to the top of the mountain, saying, 'behold, we are here, and we intend to go up to the place which the Lord has promised, for we have sinned.'" This is what we're going to do. "but moses said, 'why now do you transgress the command of the Lord [to turn back by way of the red sea], since it will not succeed? Go not up, for the Lord is not among you, that you be not struck down before your enemies. For the amalekites and the canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword. Because you have turned away from following after the Lord, therefore the Lord will not be with you.' But they presumed to go up to the heights of the hill country; however, neither the ark of the covenant nor the Lord nor moses departed out of the camp. Then the amalekites came down and the canaanites who dwelt in that hill country and they smote the israelites and beat them back, even as far as hormah." So, they said, "we're going to go up." You know, there was a time when they could have gone up and they didn't obey God. Let me tell you something, when God tells us to do something, there's an anointing on it for that time. And a lot of times, we like to put it off and wait till it's convenient for us. And I've found out that what I could have done easily a month ago I may not be able to do at all now a month later because God was with me then, but--i mean, he's always with us, but he's not anointing that particular thing for now.
Joyce Meyer: presumption. A few more instances in the bible of presumption. When the disciples rebuked the little children and told them to leave Jesus alone, Jesus corrected them. When peter rebuked Jesus, telling him he must not go to jerusalem and suffer and die, Jesus said, "get thee behind me, satan." When peter cut off the ear of the high priest and Jesus had to put it back on. Let's just be people who realize what we're not without God, which is absolutely nothing. Totally useless without God. God, I need you. If you have a job, don't expect to have handed to you what it took somebody else 30 years to earn. And can I tell you something? Just 'cause you got a college degree, that still doesn't mean that you don't need to prove yourself. Just because you've got a degree still doesn't tell anybody you know anything. We need experience, don't we? Be willing to put a little time in. Be willing to prove yourself faithful, and let God promote you.
Joyce Meyer: you may sing better than the worship leader in your church, but don't get mad 'cause they didn't give you the job. Trust God if that's where he wants you that he'll put you there.
Ginger: don't forget to pick up this devotional from Joyce Meyer, "closer to God each day," some great little tidbits, scriptures that will just encourage you throughout every day of your life, and this little book called "growing in wisdom," a tiny little book that will be really packed with powerful scripture that will help you. Just go to our website, joycemeyer.org, give us a call, and pick these up right now. And if you have a question for Joyce Meyer, ask it. We love so much hearing from you, and Joyce Meyer is really great at taking these challenges, digging into God's word, and seeing what they say. So, if you ask it using twitter, use hashtag #askJoyce Meyer. And as we say goodbye today, here's a look at what's happening next time on "everyday answers."
Joyce Meyer: you know, every day is not a great day. There's good days and then there's not so good days. But even the not so good days sometimes are good days in disguise, we just really don't realize it. [music] announcer: the preceding program was paid for by the friends and partners of Joyce Meyer ministries