We all need guidance and protection in our lives. Jesus refers to Himself as our “Good Shepherd” –the One who nurtures us and shields us from harm. Just like sheep, we require a great deal of care and attention: we are very stubborn, we wander off a lot, we are often timid and fearful, and we are not naturally prone to doing the right thing. But thanks to the Good Shepherd, we don’t have to live that way.
In this four-part series, Joyce reveals insights from Psalm 23:
Why you should let God lead you
How God “shepherds” and protects you from harm
Why the easiest, most tempting choices are not always good for you, and
How to trust God regardless of your circumstances
The safety and care you need to thrive each day is available through your relationship with God. Release yourself from the burden of being in control, and instead, let God be your Shepherd. As you do, you’ll experience His love more than you ever thought possible.
full textual sermon "Psalm 23", Part 1 (25 Feb. 2018)- Joyce Meyer
Announcer: this program has been made possible by the friends and partners of Joyce Meyer ministries.
Joyce Meyer: if you got problems in your life right now, you feel like you're being attacked, it's for one of two reasons. Either you've opened the door by doing something stupid and you let the enemy in, or you're doing something right, and the enemy's mad about it, and he's trying to come against you to get you to stop it. And you don't need to try to figure out which one it is, you just pray and ask God to show you if you're wrong, keep showing you if you're right, and either way I'm going to keep on keeping on, and I'm going to come out with the victory on the other side.
Joyce Meyer: as I've been saying, this is probably like the go-to psalm in the bible. When people are hurting, they go to psalm 23. "the Lord is my shepherd." Made a point last night that he's my shepherd. When you look at it, you need to think, "he is my shepherd," not just a shepherd, but the Lord is your shepherd. He wants a personal, intimate relationship with you. "I shall not lack." That doesn't mean that you're going to have everything you want the moment that you want it all the time, but it means that even while you're waiting for the things you want God to do, you can be content. Contentment is great. "he makes me lie down in fresh, tender, green pastures." If you won't do it on your own, he'll be happy to make you. "he leads me beside the still and the restful waters." That's talking about entering the rest of God, it's just absolutely the most wonderful place to be in. "he refreshes and restores my life, myself, or my soul." And we talked about the soul being our mind, our will, and our emotions, and how God has to work in those areas, and how he changes us and loves us into wholeness, but how that also requires us receiving correction from God, and how we respond to that correction a lot of times in not such a great way. Now, I'm making a lot of analogies about sheep, Jesus being the shepherd and us being the sheep. And there are some sheep facts that are kind of interesting. Number one, they don't instinctively take care of themselves like many other animals do, so they constantly need a caretaker. They're wanderers, they wander out of the place where they're going to be the safest if they don't have a good shepherd to keep bringing them back. They're actually not very intelligent. They're considered to be kind of dumb and they sometimes get-- they get cast down, and we see that word in the psalms. David said, "why so cast down, o my soul?" And when a sheep is cast down, it has gotten rolled over on its back and can't get up without some help. And then sometimes, they get too much wool and they have to be sheared. And so, that's kind of where we're at when we stopped this morning. Now tonight, I have one thing that I want to get across to you. And if it takes me the whole hour that I'll teach to do that, so be it, but I want you to leave here with one thing tonight. I was going to go in some other areas, but I'm saving all the rest of it for tomorrow. "he leads me in the paths of righteousness (uprightness and right standing with him, not because I've earned it but) for his namesake." Now, let me just say a word about righteousness and right standing with God. Most of us spend most of our life feeling bad about ourselves, feeling guilty and condemned, ashamed, and like there's something wrong with us. You ever have that record playing in your head, "what's wrong with me? What's wrong with me?" What's wrong with me? What's wrong with me?" Anybody ever hear that? "what's wrong with me? What's wrong with me?" And the devil wants to give us wrongness, he wants us to feel that we're wrong, that everything we do is wrong, that we're just not what we should be. And Jesus wants to give us righteousness or rightness, and you can't produce something that you don't have in you. An apple tree can only make apples because God has made it an apple tree. And so, it's foolish to teach people to behave right if they've not first received the righteousness of God through Christ. That's why just what I refer to as religion, and I don't mean to be rude by that, but when I talk about religion, I'm talking about just following rules and regulations, and going through formulas that really have no life and no power in them. Just keeping laws that you think are going to please God, when really Jesus didn't die so we could all have our own little brand of religion, he died so we could have an intimate, personal relationship with God through him. When Jesus died on the cross, the thick--3 feet thick curtain that separated-- that was in the temple that separated the holy place from the most holy place was ripped from the top to the bottom at the moment that Jesus died. Why not from the bottom up? There was a point being made, it was too tall for man to reach it. It being ripped from the top to the bottom was clear indication that God was opening up the way now for the common, ordinary, everyday person to enter into the holy presence of God and have fellowship with him. So, you've been invited into intimacy with God. That's what it means to be born again. If you've never received Christ as your savior, at the close of this message tonight, we're going to give you an opportunity to do that. He's--we're not inviting you to be part of a certain religion, we would advise that you get involved in a good local home church for accountability, for teaching, for fellowship, for worship, lots of-- the local church is great, but we don't just need religion. And so, religion sometimes just gives you a bunch of things to do, but never teaches you who you are in Christ.
Now, I went to a church for many, many, many years, and although I learned some very good things, they had a good message about grace and I learned about being saved through grace, and I learned a lot about doctrinal things, the virgin birth, and lots of really, really, really good things, but nobody ever taught me who I was in Christ. I never felt any better about myself at all because I had a relationship with God, I still just thought that I was this terrible mess that just could never do anything other than just mess up every single day of my life. And so, in 2 corinthians 5:21, one of my favorite scriptures, it says that, "he that knew no sin became sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ." Now, it's just important for me to take a minute and let you know that if you're a born again Christian, then God views you as being in right standing with him irregardless of what you do. And I know that's really hard for us to wrap our heads around. You think, "well, won't that just give people a license to sin?" No, because here's the thing. Once you know really who you are in Christ and the beauty of what he's done for you, sin is the last thing that you're going to want to do. You're going to do everything that you can to please God not to be right with him, but because you've been made right with him. Amen?
So, no condemnation to those that are in Christ. So, it's important to me to let you know that you have a right standing with God, and you're in the process now of walking that out in your life. There's several ways I can say it, but I can say we're always in the process of becoming what we already are. So, we're spirit, so spiritually we've been made right with God. But now in our experience, we're learning how to walk that out with God. I'm made the righteousness of God when I am born again, but then I get on the path of righteousness, and the bible says that he makes our path brighter and brighter every day. Let's look at proverbs 4:18. That's why serving God is just so much fun. Proverbs 4:18, we're going to go back to psalm 23. I just realized I didn't finish it, I want to do that. "but the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines more and more, brighter and brighter until it reaches its full strength in the perfect day." And so, here's the thing. We're always going to be growing spiritually. As long as we're here on this earth, we're going to be growing. We're going toward a point of perfection, but we will not finally be perfected in our experience until Jesus shows up and he finishes whatever's lacking in us. And God is not mad at anybody if they haven't arrived, but he is disappointed for our sakes if we don't keep pressing on. And so, therefore, I am very proud of you and want to complement you that you took a friday night out of your life, and you have traveled, and many of you paid for hotel bills, it's cost you something to come here just to worship God and to hear his word. And that means that you are a serious believer. [audience applauding]
Joyce Meyer: and I want to tell you something, God is proud of you that you care enough about him to do what you need to do to grow spiritually. Anybody who watches me for very long, you know that I don't serve up much dessert. Most of what I put out is meat, and vegetables, and spinach, and stuff you could do without, but boy, if you stick with it, it'll sure help you grow. I mean, the devil's alive and well on planet earth, and things are pretty tough out there, and we need to be pretty determined that we're going to stick with God and be all that God wants us to be if we're going to do that. So, we're in a process of change, we're in a process of growth. I'm not where I need to be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be. I'm okay and I'm on my way.
Joyce Meyer: so, everybody say, "I'm not mad at myself. I'm on my way." Now, let's just go back to psalm 23 here. "he leads me in the paths of righteousness, 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 no evil." Now, we're going to stop there and all the rest of that I'll read it, but the rest of this we're going to save for tomorrow morning. We're going to have some real fun tomorrow. "for you are with me. Your rod protects me, your staff guides me. They comfort me. 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 I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Now, you lead me in the paths of righteousness. Yea, though I go through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Now, here's the message that I want to get across to you, and I'm going to tell you upfront what it is, and then I'm going to spend the rest of the time re-reminding you and convincing you that what I'm saying is scriptural. Even though you're doing the right thing, and you're on the right path, and you're growing in God, you're pressing on in righteousness, your path is becoming brighter and brighter every day, that does not necessarily mean that you won't pass through what the bible calls "the shadow of the valley of death," which basically just means hard times.
Joyce Meyer: so, we got rid of---got to get rid of any kind of thinking, "well, you know, I'm doing all this stuff, and I'm trying to do what's right, and the right thing's not happening to me, and I'm just tired of this, so I'm just going to quit and give up." We need to leave the timing of our results in God's hands. Our job is not results, our job is obedience. We do what we do not even to just get a result, but because that's what we believe God wants us to do. And we know that if we do what is right, we will have peace. And listen to me, there is no way that we can ever fail and not be delivered if we're doing what's right. Amen.
Joyce Meyer: "yea, though I go through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me." I'm pretty busy these days trying to get people prepared for whatever may be ahead in our lives. Hey, listen, I hope we just have nothing but prosperous, wonderful, amazing things happen in our world until Jesus comes back, but I'm not so sure that that's going to be the case. And I want us to be prepared and ready. If it stays great, amen. But if it doesn't, I want to be just as strong in that hard place as I am on the pulpit in the good places, amen?
Joyce Meyer: and we're making a mistake if we don't ask ourselves, "am I ready for that?" We need to ask ourselves if we're ready, if we need to, to go through difficulty and stay firm. Now, what sense does it make if you're doing the right thing but you're just having trouble because of it? Well, it's just kind of part of the thing. And the whole thing is is if you got problems in your life right now, you feel like you're being attacked, it's for one of two reasons. Either you've opened the door by doing something stupid and you let the enemy in, or you're doing something right, and the enemy's mad about it, and he's trying to come against you to get you to stop it. And you don't need to try to figure out which one it is, you just pray and ask God to show you if you're wrong, keep showing you if you're right, and either way I'm going to keep on keeping on, and I'm going to come out with the victory on the other side.
Joyce Meyer: you know, I can tell you the devil's on a rampage. I mean, he's just absolutely having an all-out fit, and I think it's because he knows his time is short. I mean, the devil is trying everything he can to get as many people as he can to no longer believe in God. He's trying to get God out of our schools, God out of our government, God out of our society. He's trying to frighten Christians and make them think that they need to be quiet about what they believe. And it's not just going on here, it's going on worldwide. But we've had a lot of freedom here that we haven't appreciated and maybe protected, and we need to step up our game a little bit and start saying, "I'm not going to be quiet, and God's not going to go away."
Joyce Meyer: listen, I know lots of good people, I mean great people that are going through some really, really, really difficult things right now. I mean really difficult things. I mean, you talk about yea, though I go through the valley of the shadow of death. And I'm so proud of different ones of them because they love God just as much in the valley as they did on the mountaintop. They love God just as much when things are hard as they did when things were good. And I'll tell you what, we can say, "well, I believe this, and "I believe that, and I trust God," but we don't have a clue what we believe until our beliefs get tested.
Joyce Meyer: and I want to make sure that for my part as a teacher in the body of Christ that I do what God would have me do to help get you prepared not for just every bad thing that comes along, but to stand firm in difficult times. Yea, though I go through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me. So, that's kind of going to be the thread of where we go because when you're doing what's right and you're not getting a right result, sometimes it can be confusing. It's like, "well, I did what you asked me to do, and things are no better than they were before." Or how about this? "I did what you asked me to do and my circumstances are worse." I got a good laugh from over there, somebody understands that. [audience laughing] I mean, I can talk about when God called me into ministry and, you know, I was just trying to obey God. I mean, I really felt like God was calling me to teach, and I didn't know it was going to make everybody mad. I thought they'd all think it was cool that I was going to obey God, but I didn't know hardly anybody that thought it was a good thing. They thought I was crazy, and a lunatic, and a rebel, and told me I shouldn't do it because of this and I shouldn't do it because of that, and who did I think I was? And I'm just like, "I just was trying to obey God." So, here I step out and I obey God, and I lose all my friends. Well, that was kind of disappointing. And you know, as somebody who really didn't have a whole lot of the word in them yet, it still is a marvel to me that I hung on and went on with God. So, I think sometimes even when we would give up, God won't let us give up. And he hangs onto us and helps us go on to the next place because he sees our heart. And so, then I taught home bible studies for 5 years, one in my home and one in somebody else's. And then at the end of that 5 years, I felt like God told me to lay those down. "behold, I do a new thing." That was a great word of God that I got, and so for a year I did nothing. Well, that didn't seem to work. What happens when you really believe that God's leading you, and you step out and do what you really believe he told you to do, and it just doesn't seem like it's working? Well, you can get confused, you can get all down in the dumps, you can go start act in emotion and make a bunch of weird mistakes. Or you can just hang on and say, "well, God, I believe you're still going to come through. And if I did make a mistake, then you can take even my worst mistake and you could still work it out for my good because my heart was right when I did what I did." I could tell you story after story after story of right decisions that I've made that didn't seem to get right results right away. And the bible says in galatians 6:9, "be not weary in well doing, for in due season," whatever that is, and who knows what that is. That just you know, I know God knows I love him and this won't offend him, but sometimes that scripture annoys me. It's like, "be not weary in well doing, for in due season you shall reap if you faint not." You know, and especially it annoys me when I'm going through something and somebody comes and gives me that as a word from God. 'cause here's the thing, why does it annoy you? Because nobody knows what due season is. Only God does, and it sounds good, but you still don't know any more than you did before. It could be another 20 years, or another 5 years, or it could be in the next 5 minutes. And so, really the message there that God is giving us is just keep on keeping on until I show up.
Joyce Meyer: just keep on keeping on until I show up. Listen, if you feel like you haven't heard anything new from God in the last 5 years, then just keep doing the last thing you heard, and that's what it means to be faithful, amen? I haven't gotten any big news from God in a long time. I'm just doing what I do. I mean, people ask me all the time, and this is another thing that could annoy me sometimes, but since I'm practicing trying to be sweet, I won't let it.
Joyce Meyer: "but what's God saying to you these days, Joyce?" He loves me, keep doing it. You know, keep trying to help people. "well, what's your vision now? What do you want to do that you haven't done yet?" You know what? I just want to help people. Well, a lot of times that don't suit people, they want some real fancy thing. You know what? I just--just get up and love God, and serve the Lord with gladness, and go about your business, and be--if you're a mother, be a good mother. If you're a wife, be a good wife. If you're a husband, be a good husband. Love people, help people, help the poor, help the needy, do what you know to do to represent God right and be happy about it. Come on, there's not something wrong with you because you're not floating around on a cloud getting angelic prophecies every day.
Joyce Meyer: whoo! Now we think, you know, something exciting has got to be going on all the time. You know what? I remember when I was excited just to know I wasn't going to hell. How about if we just stay excited about that? Amen? Hey, we're going to live forever in the right place. We're not going to be in the hot place, we're going to be in the cool place. All right now.
Joyce Meyer: [laughing] to be led in the paths of righteousness and to grow, we have to do new things. We have to be willing to change. And here's a little sheep fact, they will stay in the same pasture forever if the shepherd doesn't move them. Matter of fact, they will wear out the pasture, they will destroy the pasture, and it and them will get infected with parasites. They need to be moved regularly in order to be healthy. Deuteronomy 1:6, "thus says the Lord, 'you have dwelt long enough on this mountain.'" [audience applauding] come on, some of you have been dancing around the same stinking problem, you've had the same bad attitude for the last 20 years. You've been mad at the same person for the last 5 years. You've had the same chip on your shoulder since you were 20 years old. And it's time to move on. It's time--yes, you, you're made right with God through your faith in Christ, but now it's time to shine a little brighter. The path of the righteous shines brighter and brighter.
Joyce Meyer: can I tell you something? Jesus is the hope of the world, but people are not going to see Jesus if they don't see him through his people. Wherever God has got you, whatever neighborhood, whatever job, whatever school, whatever church, you are strategically placed by God for a purpose. And your purpose is to shine. Come on. "well, I just don't know what God wants me to do. I don't know what my call is." Shine. Go to work and smile. And when people ask you why you're so happy all the time, tell them, "because I know Jesus. I've always got hope. My circumstances may not always be what I want them to be, but he's my helper."
Joyce Meyer: well, you know, we all go through difficult times in our life, and we tend to call them valleys. But we don't have to be afraid because God has promised to be with us every step of the way. And not only that, to lead us into victory. And today, we're offering you something that I think lots of people are going to really enjoy. It's actually four teachings taken from psalm 23. You know, a large majority of people can quote psalm 23. And if you're anything like me, sometimes when you're just hurting or you just need a lift, you'll even quote psalm 23 to yourself. And there's wonderful teaching in that psalm, 4 teachings, over 4 hours of teaching. And we're offering it to you today for your gift to the ministry of any amount. That's how much we want you to have this. We trust that you're going to send in the very best offering that you can and that you're going to really enjoy these teachings. And remember, God will never leave you nor forsake you. He's with you right now, so have a great day. 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 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 any amount. Call us... Or visit us at joycemeyer.org.
Announcer: pack your bags, we're taking the love life women's conference to tampa, florida and you're invited. Hear powerful messages by Joyce Meyer.
Joyce Meyer: see, when you believe that God loves you, then you can love you, and boy is the devil going to get mad about that. Announcer: priscilla shirer. Priscilla: we're his masterpiece, his workmanship. His finest work is you. Announcer: lisa harper. Lisa: perfection is not a prerequisite for relationship with God. Nowhere in here does he say, "It's all up to you," nowhere. Announcer: sarah jakes roberts. Sarah: and your miracle is going to be resurrected. Your mouth is going to have to speak life when everything else seems dead. Announcer: dave meyer, elevation worship, and natalie grant. Experience a true refreshing of your heart, soul, and senses. Space is limited, this one will sell out fast. Early bird pricing ends may 31. Register today. naomi: they look sad and get downhearted, and then they look at you, you make eye contact, and you smile, and they read that smile and then they start smiling. And then the kids all run to you and they smile. When you really experience that, you just--you would-- you're hooked.
Joyce Meyer: you know, I believe that we all need to learn to enjoy the journey in life and not just be so focused on our destination that we miss everything else. I want to encourage you to take the time to celebrate your victories all along the way. 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. This program has been made possible by the friends and partners of Joyce Meyer ministries.