The sermon "Psalm 23", Part 3 (28 Feb. 2018)- Enjoying Everyday Life by Joyce Meyer. Being one of God's sheep means we're "marked"...set aside for His special purpose. Learn about the special purpose God has for your life!
full textual sermon "Psalm 23", Part 3 (28 Feb. 2018) - Joyce Meyer
Announcer: this program has been made possible by the friends and partners of Joyce Meyer ministries.
Joyce Meyer: when you think you're no good and you read in here often enough that you have been made right with God, that you don't just have wrongness but God has given you rightness, it may take you reading it a thousand times but eventually that word is gonna renew your mind and you're gonna begin to think different. And then when the table's set, you're gonna get up there and eat. All right, father, we thank you for the word today and just so appreciate every person that you brought so we could all be together today. And I pray that their lives would be impacted with the word of God, that I would say only what you want me to say and that they would be very attentive to listen and to receive specifically what you have for each one of their lives. In Jesus' name, amen. Psalm 23, "the Lord is my shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack." He's my shepherd, not just a shepherd. We need to personalize it. I shall not lack doesn't mean we'll never want anything but it means while we're waiting for the things that we do want, we can be perfectly content where we're at. He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; he leads me beside the still and the restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (my soul); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with him, not because I've earned it, but] for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for you are with me." Now, that's how far we've gotten so far and we're gonna pick up right there in the middle of that verse. But first, let me just go over a few sheep facts with you because we've got so many people here that haven't been to the rest of the conference. Jesus calls himself the good shepherd. Why refer to himself as a shepherd?
Well, you know, shepherding sheep and taking care of sheep was a big business back in those days and so as you know in the word of God, God very often used natural things to make a spiritual point. And so him saying that he is our good shepherd means that he's our manager, our caretaker, he behaves with us the way that a good shepherd would have behaved with the sheep. And there was lots of cool facts and things that we went over. But we're called sheep. He's the shepherd and we're called sheep. Sheep don't instinctively take care of themselves. They need a shepherd. They need constant attention and special care. They're prone to disease and parasites which represents sin, failure, and weaknesses. They're very fearful. One rabbit can stampede a whole herd of sheep. Sheep are said to not be very brilliant, actually, if you read the sheep book that I read, it says they're stupid. They're stubborn. Sheep are earmarked with what's called a killing knife and that means that the shepherd cut a mark on their ear, a certain kind of a mark that was unique to each shepherd, I'm sure, signifying, "this keep belongs to me." And I love to think about the fact that we are marked, branded, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
So, in the spiritual realm, just like if one of those sheep wandered off and got into another pasture, the shepherd could come and quickly take ownership of that sheep, we also are marked by the Holy Spirit and that lets the devil know that we do not belong to him and he has no real authority over our lives. Amen? Now, this killing knife can be a little disconcerting to people, but there is a spiritual analogy. Basically the bible tells us that we're to let God help us die to self and kill off different areas of the flesh that are really just hurting us and keeping us from being all that God wants us to be. Sheep are stubborn. Some are what's called fence crawlers, they're always getting out into other pastures and having to be brought back. I have a little dog, she's 10 months old in a couple weeks, dave and I do, her name is jazzy, jasmine, and she's a little black and white maltipoo. And she's a good little dog, just as sweet as she can be, but she won't come to me when I call her unless I've got a treat. And so because of that, she only has kitchen privileges, that means she doesn't get to run the whole house, not unless I'm with her and I take her into another room but by and large, the kitchen has to be her domain simply because she won't do what I tell her to. Well, I wonder how many of us will only come to God when there's a treat involved.
Joyce Meyer: and therefore, we only have kitchen privileges or, you know, certain little privileges. There's the whole house that God would love to let us have access to but he can't because we won't listen when he tells us something. I try to say this once or twice in every single conference that I do now, please understand that everything that God asks you to do or not to do, it's not for him, it's for you. If you read in the word that if you do this, it's sin, it's not because God's just trying to take things away from you and let you have no fun in life. Everything that the world offers that God tells us to say no to is something that will ultimately end up harming us and ruining our life. Everything that Jesus asks us to do is for our good. He is the good shepherd, not just a shepherd, the good shepherd. How many of you are wrestling with something in your life right now you feel God is really dealing with you to let go of something or to lay something down and you're just having a real struggle with it? Okay, look at me, don't be a stubborn sheep. Don't go but, but, but. Go baaah.
Joyce Meyer: amen? And remember that even though it may be hard for you right now, if you hang on to what God is trying to get you to lay down, it's going to get harder and harder and harder in your life. It's gonna steal everything from you that God really wants you to have. Now, sheep also can become cast down and that literally means that they get over on their back and they can't get up. And david said, "why so cast down, oh my soul?" And that's like a different--we look at it as a different phraseology for depression or discouragement. And God doesn't want us down. He wants us up on our feet living the life that he wants us to live. But thankfully he will come and help us get back up when we do get over on our back. But one of the reasons why they get cast down is they always look for the soft, cushy, grassy areas in the meadow to lay down in. They don't want to deal with anything hard, and it's interesting that strength is gained in the struggle. We have to stop being afraid of difficult things. Whatever it is you think God is dealing with you about right now, probably the first excuse we give is, "but God, that's so hard. That's so hard." Well, you know what? We need to not be afraid of hard things because he wants to harden us to difficulties so he can use us for greater and greater things. And then there's the shearing of the sheep. Sometimes they have too much wool and it's dangerous when they have too much wool because it makes them unstable and once again, they can topple over and get cast down. What does it mean if you have too much wool? Well, it means that sometimes we have more of something than we're able to handle. Sometimes somebody comes along, they recognize a gift in our life and they want to promote us into a position and we're really not spiritually mature enough for that position and it ends up actually causing us harm instead of doing us good. I shared an example in one of the other messages but I want to share it again because I just think it's a good example and there's a lot of new people here today and probably a lot of people watching tv program today that didn't hear this example. We have a men's home at our st. Louis inner city church called the st. Louis dream center and that men's home is designed to bring restoration to men that have pretty much destroyed their lives with drugs, and alcohol, and just all kinds of wrong things. Many of them, if not almost all of them, have ended up living in shelters or even living on the street.
And so, we take 35 men at a time and we help them go through a program of complete restoration. Some of them are missing their teeth. They're just all kinds of situations and so, while they're in the program, one of the things that they become part of is a men's choir that they put together down there just to, you know, get them involved in something good and probably none of them by themselves could sing their way out of a paper bag, but it's amazing how good they sound all together. Now, there might be a few of them that actually can sing but we had them come to our women's conference just a few weeks ago, which was about almost 14,000 women there and so these 35 guys stood up there and they sang, "i am redeemed." And it's just such a moving thing. "I'm redeemed. I'm not the man I used to be. I've been made new." And I mean it brought the house down. It was great. So after that, they started getting different people asking them, "will you come to my church and sing?" And so, people who told me about it were like, "oh, yeah, that's really great." And even when I told the crowd the other night, everybody goes, "yeah, that's great." And then I said, "I'm not gonna let them go." And see, kind of like you guys you're looking at me like, "well, why?" Because they're not ready for that. They don't need to be promoted to a platform, what they need is to get their lives right with God, get stability, get off all the wrong influence that they've had in their life. And so I would not be a very good shepherd if I gave them too much wool. The next thing I know, they'd be cast down somewhere and probably right back in the same mess that they used to be in before. So don't be surprised when you think that God is shutting doors that have opened to you that you'd like to walk through. Always stay in God's timing. You know, in john chapter 15 it talks about pruning, that he's the vine, and we're the branches and that he prunes off dead areas in our life, and that really is kind of the same thing as this sheep shearing process. He always keeps us in a place where we can bear the most fruit, not where we can get the most attention out in the world. Come on, somebody give God a praise.
Joyce Meyer: now, so now here let's just--we're gonna read the rest of Psalm 23, then we're gonna get started. "your rod and your staff, they guide and comfort me." Now, I don't know too many people that are too interested in the rod and the staff so we're gonna talk about that in just a minute. "you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely only goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and unfailing love, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord and in his presence forever. Now, the rod and the staff, this is actually what they look like. This was the rod and it's just a long stick with a knob on the end of it and a shepherd practiced, literally, unbelievable amount of time and he got very precise at throwing that thing to either ward off enemies, like if a wolf was coming around, or a lion, but he also sometimes would hurl it at the sheep if it was wandering off, getting in trouble, doing something. He never did it for any reason other than to keep them safe. And, you know, a lot of times when something hurts us in life, we don't understand why in the world God would not deliver us from everything that was uncomfortable. But let me tell you something, even something that temporarily hurts us can ultimately end up being very good for us and we need to trust God that in those times, he's got our best interest in mind and it will still work out good. I wrote on my notes, even a no from God is a good thing. It's not always good to hear yes from God so then this was the staff and this, you know, the shepherd--you've seen pictures of shepherd, I mean they walked around with this all the time. Well, they didn't carry it around for themselves. It wasn't really a walking stick. They used it to bring wayward sheep back. They would get out, get it around the neck and pull them back. So I have myself a sheep this morning.
Joyce Meyer: now, look dumb and pitiful. Thank you. Now, so let's just say that sheep shepherd here, which is kind of an oxymoron, but sheep mike wanders. Let's just stay right over here where you need to be. Another thing that it was used for, and I love this, was to examine their wool for parasites so they'd get in there and look around. I think that's where the phrase come from, "you can't pull the wool over my eyes." We have to let God examine our life and when he finds things in there that, you know, aren't good--now, this rod and this staff, just stand there and be a nice sheep. This rod and this staff are emblematic of the word of God. The rod's the word of God and the staff is like the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And so, God uses mainly in our lives--you're looking pitiful brother. That's--you're doing good. God uses mainly his word and his Holy Spirit to bring correction to our life. But let me tell ya something, and don't let it scare ya. I always gave my kids my word first and if they didn't listen, I was not afraid to touch their circumstances.
Joyce Meyer: come on. So, another thing that they used this for, and I thought this was good, was if a sheep was a loner--like go on out there by yourself. You don't want nothing to do with anybody. If he was a loner and the rest of the flock was over here, he would use it to bring him back into the flock so he could have the right fellowship with other sheep. Come on, some of you are loners you go and--thanks mike. You go and you sit, you sit in the back row of the church all the time and you don't want to talk to anybody or get involved with anybody, and God may have to come after you with the rod or the staff and bring you back into the fold and help you get involved. Now, the word of God--i mean God's word is so amazing. Sometimes I don't even really know how to get across to people how amazing it is. You know, this is not just normal, ordinary words. You didn't travel here to hear me speak today just because I'm just up here talking. Yes, I'm talking, but what I'm saying has substance in it. It has--there's power inherent in the word of God. When I stand up here and say, "God bless you," there's something in that that does something in you that lifts you up. When I stand here and say, "your sins are forgiven and through the blood of christ, you're made new," that brings life to you. Jesus said, "my words, they are spirit and they are life." And I really want to encourage you in your own private study time, or when you go to church, or when you watch any form of the word on television, or listen to it on radio, don't ever approach the word of God out of an obligation to put in your little bit of time with God to think now you fulfilled your obligation. This is your life. I mean this is what guides us. This keeps us out of trouble. This keeps us--when we're being tempted, how many of you had a time when you're being tempted to do something wrong and a portion of the word will rise up in you. You'll hear a scripture, the Holy Spirit speaking a word to you, and you know right away what you need to do in that situation. The word of God is amazing and I really encourage you to study the word, learn it for yourself, know the word well enough that you can quote different parts of it when you need to, and let the Holy Spirit guide you in your life. So, 2 timothy chapter 4, verse 2. You know, we've kind of got--we've kind of got a thing going around today in certain circles that I mean I would hate to stand before God and give an account of the gift that he gave me if I never, ever corrected anybody with the word or told them something they didn't want to hear. And a lot of times, I think part of that is done out of being afraid that you're gonna lose the people if you tell them the truth. Well, the bottom line is is, you know, my job is to serve God. I mean I hope you like me but I'm trying to save your life. I don't--you know?
Joyce Meyer: I mean somebody in the society that we live in today, we need to stand up and tell people, "listen, adultery is still wrong, fornication is still wrong. You don't need to be living with somebody that you're not married to and having sex with them. These things are wrong." And if we don't do that, then we're gonna be held accountable when people go astray. So, don't ever get your underwear in a bunch. Because a preacher says something that maybe confronts an area of sin in your life, don't get mad at somebody because they're telling you the truth just because you don't want to hear it. Joyce Meyer: you know, dessert is nice, but you'll die on it. 2 Timothy 4:2, "herald and preach the word!" This was paul's instruction to timothy. "herald and preach the word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it's welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And you are to convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging, encouraging--" it's all part of it. It's not that we don't want to be encouraged. "being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and in teaching." So, the word of God is not always just going to be something that makes you feel good. Sometimes God's gonna hurl a section of the word at you that maybe deals with some area in your life and it doesn't feel really good right then, but don't get mad at the messenger, just learn that he's a good shepherd that's only just trying to keep you from trouble later on. Now, we need discipline in our lives. The bible says that if God didn't discipline us, chastise us, correct us, then he wouldn't love us. And like I said, he tries to use his word first. My son told me one time, and I love this, my oldest son he said, "i have to honestly admit that every time that I've had to be brought in--" he works for us. "every time that I've had to be brought in and I've really gotten corrected by you and dad for something--" now, listen to this, 'cause this is a good message. He said, "if I'm honest, I can tell you that the Holy Spirit has already tried to tell me that three or four times and I wouldn't listen." So, here's the thing, God would like to keep your problems just between you and him. He would prefer to correct you privately and for you to just let him deal with you and nobody else ever know that you were a wandering sheep, but let me tell ya something, if you won't lie down in green pastures, he will make you lie down in green pastures. And if you don't receive the word, he loves you enough to mess in your circumstances. And honey, let me tell you, when God puts his foot in something and says, "no, this is not gonna work," then you might as well figure out it's not gonna work and go ahead and get turned in a new direction. Amen? I don't care how bad my dog wants to get out of that kitchen and run the house, until she learns to come to me with or without a treat, she's not getting out.
Joyce Meyer: well, our Lord is a good shepherd who will protect, guide, and take care of us at all times. I wanna encourage you to really put your trust in God that he will lead you and guide you, even through very difficult times in your life. You know, Psalm 23 is a very, very popular, well-known Psalm, but you know, there are so many amazing teachings in Psalm 23. Today, we're offering you 4 teachings, over 4 hours of teaching, on Psalm 23. For example, let's just take the very first line of that Psalm, "the Lord is my shepherd." But now wait a minute, let's look at it differently, "the Lord is my shepherd." He's your shepherd. He's personally concerned about you and he wants to lead and guide you. He's not just a shepherd, he's your shepherd. And then it says, "i shall not want." Now, obviously that doesn't mean that we'll never want anything in our life, but it means that God is going to meet our needs. Well, those are just a couple of little hints of some of the things that you're gonna learn in these teachings, and we're offering this to you today for your gift to the ministry of any amount. That's how much we want you to have it and we trust that you're gonna do the very best that you can. Don't send in the least amount that you can just because you think you can, but go the extra mile and give a very generous offering, and maybe those of you who can give more can make up for some of the ones who can't give as much. Now, get these resources. They're gonna really help you. And I want you to remember, don't forget this, no matter where you're at right now, God has a great plan for your life, and I believe that something amazing is about to happen to you.
Announcer: "the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still and restful waters." Spend time in God's presence and experience his love and care when you order today's offer, "the Lord is my shepherd." In 4 hours of teaching, Joyce Meyer walks you through Psalm 23. She explains who Christ is as our good shepherd and how he guides, protects, and nurtures us in everyday life. This resource is available on cd or digital download for your gift of... Call us... Or visit us at joycemeyer.org.
Announcer: get a fresh understanding of how the word of God applies to your life and be encouraged at the Joyce Meyer conference. Three unique sessions that will help you gain a new focus on life and motivate you to grow in God. Coming to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, march 16 and 17, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, april 6 and 7, with worship by phil wickham. For more information, visit joycemeyer.org/conference or call... [music] brandon hawley: we're having a car prep day for widows and single moms in the community just trying to fill both role of provider and caretaker, and we just wanted to come alongside them and try to help ease that in any way that we possibly could. Female: we're honored the church was going to do the outreach. And my jeep has a lot of problems, but it's all I have to drive me and her to school and to work, and if I didn't have it, I don't know what I would do. They said that they would do, like, oil changes and they would detail the car and stuff, but I wasn't expecting four new tires. I feel undeserving, 'cause I'm nobody. To think that anybody would do that, I can't put in words what it means. Announcer: we hope you have enjoyed today's program. Please contact us or visit joycemeyer.org to share your prayer requests, see the conference schedule, or partner with us in sharing Christ and loving people all across the globe.
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