I Dare You: Embrace Life with Passionby Joyce Meyer
Joyce Meyer explains that a life without purpose is a life not worth living. We all need a reason to get up everyday. We all need to reach for something beyond ourselves. Over the centuries, millions of people have asked, "What am I here for? What is my purpose?" We are born; we live; and we die. We cannot do anything about being born or dying, but we can do a lot about how we live.
Christian television personality and bestselling author Meyer (Battlefield of the Mind; Approval Addiction) turns her prolific pen to living life with passion. "It's time to take action and make your life count," she says. In typical Meyer fashion, she spends the rest of the book informing readers how to do just that: "Make a decision to be an excellent person"; "If you really cannot stand your life, then do something about it"; and "Make up your mind regarding what you believe, have God's words to back it up, and don't ever back down." She first describes how passion and purpose work together, then provides directives on how to pursue that passion with purpose, particularly in areas such as spirit, mind, emotions, finances and the physical body. Declarative sentences that get right to the point are a Meyer trademark, and fans won't be disappointed here. Pithy pull-out aphorisms and "I Dare You" sidebars help readers break down the concrete steps of dreaming big. Meyer's message is sound, if unoriginal-"Let's be determined to fulfill our purpose"-and her method stern yet loving. Fans will enjoy this enthusiastic manual for Christian living. (Sept. 4)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Read an Excerpt
I Dare YouEmbrace Life with Passion
By Joyce Meyer
Chapter OneWhere Passion and Purpose Start
The life of Jesus Christ was an absolute failure from every standpoint except God's. But what seemed to be failure from man's standpoint was a triumph from God's standpoint, because God's purpose is never the same as man's purpose. -Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
On December 24, 1968, while families around the world celebrated the arrival of Christmas, a quite different perspective was being seen a couple of hundred thousand miles above the earth's surface. Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders, aboard Apollo 8 for the historical first manned mission to the moon, looked down in awe and wonder from their lunar orbit at the world below. In a live television broadcast where they showed pictures of the earth and the moon as seen from their spacecraft, the crew ended their transmission with a reading from Genesis.
"For all the people on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you," said William Anders. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light...."
It was a powerful moment for a powerful statement. Though it lasted just an instant, these astronauts, along with the rest of the world watching their television sets, caught just a glimpse of what God saw when He first created the world. It brings to mind the might and the authority of God and it makes us realize how little we really understand about our Creator.
"In the beginning God...." (Genesis 1:1). These are the first four words of the Bible recorded in Genesis, and what William Anders read. I think sometimes we speed by those first few words to get to the creation part, but we need to back up a moment and take a look because they are profound. God was not created. He was already there at the beginning and He does not have an end. God is! He created everything and He did it out of nothing. Our finite minds have trouble understanding that, but one thing we can be sure of: we will never understand God, so there is no point in trying. Let me put it another way. Let's spend less energy trying to read God's mind on why He does what He does and more on doing what He wants us to do.
His ways, methods and paths are untraceable, mysterious, and undiscoverable.
The truth is, if we could understand Him, He would not be our God. The Bible says in Romans 11:33 that His judgments and decisions are unfathomable, inscrutable, and unsearchable. His ways, methods and paths are untraceable, mysterious, and undiscoverable. Yet we also know from Scripture that God has a purpose in everything He does. "The Lord has made everything [to accommodate itself and contribute] to its own end and His own purpose ..." (Proverbs 16:4).
Can you feel the excitement of mystery stirring in your heart even as you read the words attempting to describe an indescribable God? No one knows the mind of God or can understand Him or His thoughts. No one can counsel God.
Have you ever noticed how often we try to give God advice? How many times we try to tell God what it is we're going to do and then we ask Him to help us work it out? Thankfully, He doesn't pay much attention to our whims and our strategizing and plotting. God knows best, and His intention for us is always better than anything we could devise.
When it comes to our purpose, we should pray and then make plans. Not make plans and then pray that God will take our advice and make our plans work out. That's not what knowing God's purpose for our lives is all about. It's about living in His will each and every day and it's the only way we will ever truly know peace and joy.
The Bible teaches us that our minds hold many of our own plans, but it is the Lord's purposes for us that will stand. (See Proverbs 19:21.) And we should be glad of it. Think about it: if all of our own plans came to pass, we would have very miserable lives. How many times have you wished for something, did not get it, and then discovered later it would have made your life worse, not better?
We have no idea how often we ask for things that aren't good for us. God, in His mercy and wisdom, does not give them to us, but He continues working His will and purpose in our lives. It seems frustrating and confusing to us because we keep trying to make things work out the way we want. But I agree with A. W. Tozer who said people crucified with Christ have three distinct marks: they are facing only one direction, they can never turn back, and they no longer have plans of their own. We will not enjoy life until we accept God's will with joy and stop trying to understand everything that happens contrary to our own desires.
I recently planned a getaway at the Lake of the Ozarks to spend some time with my daughters and some close friends. I had it all planned out: we would stay two nights, go to the spa, shop, eat out, play games, laugh, and just have a wonderful time. I invited everyone three months ahead of time to be sure they didn't already have plans and yet, one by one, they informed me they could not go for one reason or another. I must admit I was disappointed because I felt God had been telling me to spend more time with my friends and take the time to do things like this trip. I didn't understand why things weren't working out until three months later, when a friend reminded me that the party I planned turned out to be on the day I buried my father.
When I started planning that trip, I didn't know my father would die, but God did. On one occasion when Jesus' Disciples were confused about something He did, He said, "You do not understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later on." (John 13:7) God sees the end from the beginning. We only know what we know, but God knows everything.
We only know what we know, but God knows everything.
Acceptance with Joy
I think we often get caught up in trying to figure out the meaning of things and never quite accept the fact that trusting God means we will always have unanswered questions. But until we accept that, our joy and our passion in life and in our purpose can't really begin.
Most of us can remember the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Indy was an adventurer and an explorer whose quest to find the Holy Grail almost took over his life. In the climax of the movie, Indy loses his footing and is knocked off the edge of a crevasse of rock. As his father, Professor Jones, tries to pull him up by one arm, Indy stretches his other to try and get to the Grail, just out of his reach. His father tells him firmly: "Indiana, let it go." Indy reluctantly listens to his father, and as they escape the collapsing structure, the Grail is lost for good. In our quest to figure out God, we often fall short in realizing there are many things about Him that aren't to be figured out. And like Indiana Jones, we have to learn to let it go.
I've learned to enjoy knowing that someone is in charge of my life who has more wisdom than me. When I find myself behind a car going ten miles an hour below the speed limit because of heavy traffic, I like to think that maybe, there's a car accident I'm avoiding by going slower than I intended. Or when I have made plans to do something and something else happens to prevent me from following my original plan, I remind myself that God is in control and I try to accept the change with joy. We must accept God's Word and what He does at face value and not question it. Trusting God when we don't understand brings a lot of peace to our lives. My motto is, "Ask God for anything you want, but be content with what He gives you." Trust that His choice is always the best!
There are many things in the Bible that raise the "why" question in our minds. God's Word says He loves us because He wants to, not because we give Him any good reason to. The Bible says He chose us for Himself in Christ before the foundation of the world. He adopted us as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will because it pleased Him. (See Ephesians 1:4-5.)
I must admit there are times when I don't know why God would want to love me or be in relationship with me, but I have accepted what He says as truth. We don't have to figure out the "why" behind God's love, we just need to accept it. As humans we want to understand everything, but there are some things that only God understands. Perhaps if we don't waste our time and energy trying to figure out what only God knows, we will have the energy to live passionate and purposeful lives.
Putting an End to the Why
Why is "why" always the big question in life? It seems like everyone wants to ask why about everything and it starts when we are children. We ask our parents why the moon is so far away and why we have to go to school and why we can't have a pony in our bedroom. Then, as we get older, we start asking harder questions. Like, why do good people have problems? Why do innocent children die while mean old people live on and on? What about child abuse or world hunger? If God is good then why is there so much suffering in the world? Why are some people rich and others poor? Why did this tragedy happen to me? Why do I look the way I do? Why can't I sing or play piano? Why was it so hard for me to get through school while my sister excelled at everything without even trying? Why? Why? Why?
As human beings, it's natural for us to ask why. God made us inquisitive and curious. However, there's a fine line in seeking to understand and demanding to know as much as God. We have to realize that not every question will have an answer; that there are many things we will never fully understand, and we have to be willing to accept it. For instance, if we begin to compare our lives and situations with those of other people, we will probably see injustice everywhere we look, usually because we always compare ourselves with those who have better lives than us. We fail to look at the multitudes of people whose lives are much worse than ours. If we did, we could be thankful instead of confused and bitter.
I grew up in a dysfunctional home filled with violence, alcoholism, and incest. I asked "why" for about forty years and only ended up miserable with no answers. I finally decided to accept that my life "is what it is" and determined I would try to discover what might be done with the remainder of my life.
Although I felt I had nothing to give, I gave my nothingness to God and just as He created everything we see out of nothing, He gave me a future and a life worth living. He showed me I had a purpose all along and even though Satan tried to destroy me, God has redeemed me and His purpose for me will stand and be fulfilled.
The purpose for which Jesus came was to destroy the works of the devil. (See 1 John 3:8.) If you will invite Him into your life to be your Savior and Lord, He will bring justice and give you double blessing for your former trouble. (See Isaiah 61:7-8.)
Most people try to give God what they are, but I firmly believe we should also give Him what we are not. He does more with nothing than He does with something! If you feel like nothing, you are just what God is looking for. You are someone He can work with. Give yourself to Him. Accept your life so far, even though you don't have one ounce of understanding about it and you will sense a peace that is wonderful! You cannot go back and change it, so why not let God do something with it? He can turn your pain into gain and your mess into a miracle.
I still don't have all the answers to child abuse. I don't understand the pain of my childhood but I have decided to leave it with God where it belongs and trust Him to make the life I have left better than it could have been had I not been hurt so badly. Does that sound ridiculous? It may, but God is capable of doing it and He is the only One capable of doing it.
Stop asking why you are alive and what your purpose is and realize right now that you are alive for God's pleasure. You are here because God wants you here and He wants your fellowship. He wants to pour His goodness out on you and delight you with surprises and blessings. He not only wants to bless you, He wants to make you a blessing to others. You are His representative on the earth. You are God's ambassador.
Instead of asking "why, God why," just tell God you trust Him. Meditate on how big He is. He has created everything we see. The mountains, oceans, trees, birds, animals, bugs, people, everything.
The Bible says if we stop relying on our own insight and understanding God will direct our paths and it will be health to our nerves and moistening to our bones. (See Proverbs 3:7-8.) In other words we will be much healthier if we stop asking "why" about everything and just learn to trust.
As parents we realize that it is natural and even healthy for children to ask questions, but there are times when we get weary of being asked to explain everything we do. There's been many a parent who has dealt with a child asking why this and why that so much that the mom or dad finally erupts with the classic "Because I said so!" God may be saying the same thing to you at this time of your life. Have you gotten yourself confused trying to understand things only God knows? You can change your attitude right now if you are willing. Give yourself permission not to know and be satisfied knowing the One who does.
Give yourself permission not to know and be satisfied knowing the One who does.
i dare you
Stop Asking Why
Don't ask: Why did God let this happen? Ask: What can I learn from this that will make me a better person?
Don't Ask: Why is there so much hurt in the world? Ask: How can God use me to help the hurting?
The Apostle Paul said his determined purpose was to progressively come to know Christ more fully and accurately, and the power of His resurrection. (See Philippians 3:10.) If you are willing to make knowing God your lifelong pursuit, you will be fulfilling your main purpose.
I believe knowledge is progressive. Everything in life works according to the law of gradual growth. As a child goes through school, he progressively learns. We learn the same way when it comes to spiritual knowledge. To know God, we need to know His Word. We are taught in Luke 1:4 that God's purpose is that we may know the full truth and understand the doctrines of our faith. Truth is what makes us free. It removes deception in our lives. It takes time and effort, but if we continue studying, little by little, we increase in knowledge. Studying God is wise because ...
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. [For all things originate with Him and come from Him; all things live through Him, and all things center in and tend to consummate and to end in Him.] To Him be glory forever! Amen (so be it).? ROMANS 11:36
Truth is what makes us free.
Paul was inspired to write this Scripture because he realized the importance of it and the fact that it establishes the purpose for each of our lives. Please don't rush past it without taking time to meditate on it. Notice what it's telling us: Everything begins and ends with God. Everything is from Him, through Him and to Him. In other words, everything comes from Him and all that we do must be done through His ability. We must do it all for Him. He must be the center of our lives. Until this is accomplished there is no satisfaction to be found in life. Like Rick Warren writes in his book The Purpose Driven Life, "You were made by God and for God and until you understand that, life will never make sense." Until we accept and embrace that God is everything and we are nothing without Him, we will stay frustrated and unfulfilled and we will struggle with finding joy.
Excerpted from I Dare You by Joyce Meyer Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Joyce Meyer is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, her books have helped millions of people find hope and restoration. Through Joyce Meyer Ministries, she teaches on a number of topics with a particular focus on the mind, mouth, moods and attitudes. Her candid communication style allows her to share openly and practically about her experiences so others can apply what she has learned to their lives.
Joyce has authored nearly 100 books, which have been translated into 100 languages. More than 30 million copies of her books have been sold.
Joyce hosts a daily TV and radio show, Enjoying Everyday Life®, which broadcasts worldwide to a potential audience of 4.5 billion people.
Joyce conducts approximately a dozen domestic and international conferences every year, teaching people to enjoy their everyday lives. Her annual women's conference has attracted well over 200,000 women to St. Louis for specifically themed teachings by her and guest speakers.
Joyce also sponsors Hand of Hope, which provides feeding programs, medical care, homes for orphans, and programs combatting human trafficking.
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I just started reading this book by Joyce Meyer, and it is excellent. It has many inspiring words to help make today matter. So far, her focus has been helping to find a purpose in life. Very poignant for these times.
This book will help you to appreciate your life, and not take anything for granted. God loves you and Joyce will help you to seek him to help you find your way to him.