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The Love Revolution
By Joyce Meyer
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The book is a revolutionaries’ manual, a hands-on primer for bringing the Golden Rule to life in the twenty-first century. Meyer starts out by giving some stunning statistics. Right now. . .210,000 children will die this week because of poverty; 640 million children do not have adequate shelter; every day, 3,000 children are abducted into the sex-trafficking industry; every day, 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes. She goes on to say that although crisis is global, the solution is local. We can’t solve the world’s problems, but that isn’t a reason to remain idle.
Love Revolution focuses on personal behavior on the local scale. It’s not just a call to action; it is a call to being: being the person who goes out of your way to encourage someone who’s out of hope; being the one who smiles at a stranger; being the one who is willing to do something for nothing. The paradox: when we do something for nothing, what we often get is something far greater.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scriptures are taken from the Amplified® Bible.
Copyright © 1954, 1962, 1965, 1987 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Scriptures noted KJV are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
Scriptures noted The Message are taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
Scriptures noted NIV are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Scriptures noted NKJV are taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers.
Scriptures noted NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tynsdale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Ill. 60189. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2009 by Joyce Meyer
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
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What in the World Is Wrong?
I am only one, but still I am one, I cannot do everything, but I can do something and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do.
Edward Everett Hale
While I sit and drink my morning coffee, looking out the window at my beautiful view, 963 million people are hungry.
More than one billion people earn less than one dollar per day.
Thirty thousand children will die today because of poverty. They die in some of the poorest villages on the earth—far removed from the conscience of the world. That means that 210,000 die each week—11 million each year—and most of them are under five years old.
Of the 2.2 billion children in the world, 640 million are without adequate shelter, 400 million without safe drinking water, and 270 million without access to any medical services whatsoever.
Are these statistics as staggering to you as they are to me? I hope so. They are the stunning, sobering facts of life in the world in which we live. These things are happening on our planet and on our watch. I realize the statistics you have just read may not apply to the city or country where you reside, but today more than ever, we are all citizens of the world. We are part of a global community, and members of our human family are suffering in unthinkable, unspeakable ways.
I believe it's time for a worldwide wake-up call—one that will rouse us from our complacency, our ignorance, or our distaste for difficulty and stir us to rise up against pain and poverty, loss and lack, injustice and oppression, and living conditions that don't sustain healthy human life or basic dignity. Indeed, it's time for a Love Revolution.
One Small Mouth, Six Abscessed Teeth
During a Joyce Meyer Ministries medical outreach in Cambodia, a dentist who volunteered his time to go and help pulled twenty-one teeth from a small child; six of the teeth were abscessed. Thinking about this excruciating situation reminds me of the time my husband had a bad toothache while we were traveling to Australia. He was absolutely miserable because he was on an airplane and could get no relief. As soon as we landed, at ten o'clock at night, someone made arrangements for him to see a dentist and he was able to receive help. But what about the little girl and thousands of others like her who endure pain every day and have no access at all to medical care? Take a few moments and imagine it. What would it feel like to have twenty-one teeth that are decayed and throbbing with pain?
This kind of unimaginable suffering exists; it happens to real people every day in remote places of the world. Most of us either don't know about them or, at best, we may see images of some of them on television. We say, "What a shame. Someone really should do something about that," and then we continue drinking our morning coffee and enjoying the view.
Where Trash Is a Treasure
A ten-year-old girl named Gchi lives in a trash dump in Cambodia. She moved there when she was four years old. Her parents could no longer support her, so they asked her older sister to take her, and the only way the two could survive was to live and work in the trash dump. Gchi spends seven days a week digging through the trash with a metal pick or with her hands, looking for food she can eat or for pieces of plastic or glass she could sell to get money for food. She has lived in the dump for six years; many others have been there much longer.
It is vital that you understand that this is the city trash dump, and every night the trash and garbage dump trucks back up to the pile of trash to leave the discarded remains of other people's lives, which they have gathered around the city. The children work at night, in the dark, wearing helmets with lights on them because the best garbage is found when it first arrives.
After my visit to that trash dump, an interviewer asked me what I thought about it. As I attempted to articulate my thoughts, I realized that the situation was so horrible I didn't know how to think about it. That depth of degradation simply wouldn't compute in my mind in a way that I could verbalize, but I did resolve that I would try to do something about it.
It took about a year of effort on the part of several people to address the issue and required donations by the partners of our ministry, as well as some of Dave's and my personal finances. But we have managed to retrofit two large buses and turn them into mobile restaurants. They pull up to the trash dump; the children get onto the bus, sit down to a nice meal, and even receive some lessons in reading and math to help prepare them for a better future. Of course, we share the love of Jesus with them, but we don't merely tell them they are loved, we show them by meeting practical needs in their lives.
Good Intentions Aren't Enough
I heard a story about a man who went to Russia with good intentions of telling people about the love of Jesus Christ. During his visit, many people were starving. When he found a line of people waiting hopefully to get bread for the day, he approached them with gospel tracts in hand and began to walk the line telling them that Jesus loves them and handing each of them a tract with the salvation message on it. To be sure, he was trying to help, but one woman looked into his eyes and said bitterly, "Your words are nice, but they don't fill my empty stomach."
I have learned that some people are hurting too badly to hear the good news that God loves them; they must experience it and one of the best ways for that to happen is for us to meet their practical needs, in addition to telling them they are loved.
We must beware of thinking that words are enough. Jesus certainly preached the good news, but He also went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed (see Acts 10:38). Talking is not expensive, nor does it require much effort, but real love is costly. It cost God His only Son, and allowing real love to flow through us will also cost us. Perhaps we will have to invest some time, money, effort, or possessions—but it will cost!
We must beware of thinking that words are enough.
God Is Counting on Us
I am going to leave my home soon to go get coffee with my husband and later we're going to eat lunch. We will probably be gone about two hours, and during that time an estimated 240 children will have been abducted into the sex-trafficking industry. This means two children every minute will have their lives destroyed by someone's selfishness and greed unless we do something. What can we do? We can care; we can be informed; we can pray; and we can take action. We can support ministries and organizations with proven records of rescuing children and women from these horrible conditions, or if God asks us to, we can even choose to work in these arenas. If full-time work is not an option, we can consider doing something on a project basis or taking a short-term mission trip.
As you walk down the dark alley, the signs of decay and ruin seep from the darkness. Metal scraps and wire hold the crumbling stone buildings together. The air reeks of rotting garbage and human filth. Behind the deteriorating facade, you hear the wailing cries of a child, muffled shouts of anger and rage, and the shrill howl of one of the many stray dogs that roam these cruel streets.
More than any of your other senses, you are certain of what you feel. There is no doubt… this place is evil. As difficult as it is for you to imagine, it is a place created by wicked and immoral men who sell children for sex.
This living hell became Samrawork's home when she was only seven years old. When she was rescued at the bus station at age twelve, she had deteriorated into a lifeless shell of a little girl—skin and bones, emotionally dead with hollow eyes incapable of expression. For five years she was the victim of lustful perverts who paid a higher price for the privilege of violating her little body. They paid three dollars instead of one dollar because she was so young.
The punishment to her female organs was so severe that she would need extensive surgical repair to ever live a normal life. But the immediacy of her physical needs was minor compared to the damage she suffered spiritually and emotionally.
Samrawork has been diagnosed with the HIV virus. An orphan, she has no memory of any parents. Like so many others like her, she is trapped in a darkness of unimaginable evil.
Statistics 1 say:
- 1.2 million children are trafficked every year; this is in addition to the millions already held captive by trafficking.
- Every two minutes a child is being prepared for sexual exploitation.
- Approximately 30 million children have lost their childhood through sexual exploitation over the last thirty years.
The dentist I mentioned earlier in this chapter participated in one of our Joyce Meyer Ministries medical outreaches, which take place in third-world countries. They're staffed by a few people who are on our payroll, but most of them are wonderful volunteers who take time off from work and pay their own expenses to go with us. They work twelve to sixteen hours a day, usually in places where the temperature is much higher than they are accustomed to with no air conditioning and perhaps no fan. They work in remote villages, under tents, and are able to help people who may not have ever received medical care of any kind. We are able to give them life-saving and pain-relieving medicines. We give them vitamins, feed them, and let them know that Jesus does indeed love them. Each one is given an opportunity to receive Jesus, and most of them choose to do so. I get tears in my eyes as I remember the doctors, dentists, nurses, and other medical aides who have told us with great emotion about how these trips changed their lives forever. We try to thank them and they end up thanking us for opening their eyes to what life is really all about.
We took an accountant who works for our ministry on a trip to Cambodia, and although she often sees the media presentations about our outreaches, her life was really impacted by what she saw in person. She said: "I actually feel like I have been living in a bubble all of my life." She meant that she had been isolated from reality, and I think most of us are. I realize that not everyone in the world will be able to go to a third-world country to see firsthand how people there are forced to live, but we can at least try to remember when we read about or see them on television that what we are seeing is actually happening to someone—many someones. God loves these people, and He is counting on us to do something about it.
Mehret sees the world from a different perspective. In Angacha, a small Ethiopian village, she does her best to keep up with the other children, but she's simply not like all the rest.
Mehret was born healthy, but each day as malnutrition ate away at her body, it caused her spine to grow more crooked, making it difficult to walk, impossible to run and play with friends. It also produced a large growth that protrudes from the right side of her back—too big to hide, and too painful to ignore. Her bones are weak, and so is she.
If anyone knows Mehret's pain, it is her father, Abeba. The one thing he wants more than anything is simply to feed his children… and make his precious daughter well again. If Mehret can begin receiving the nutritious food she needs, the deterioration process can be stopped. But right now, there is no hope in sight.
Day after day, Abeba battles the guilt of not being able to feed his babies. He also knows that if something doesn't change, Mehret's condition will only get worse. Soon, she won't be able to walk. And she will eventually die.
Today, Mehret knows the pain of feeling hungry… and the pain of being different than all of the rest. And she knows that each new day will be a little more difficult than the one before.
In partnership with International Crisis Aid, Joyce Meyer Ministries has begun providing Mehret the food she needs to live and to stop further spinal deterioration. But there are so many more precious young children… so many more like Mehret… who need our help to win this war against malnutrition.
Statistics 2 say:
- Right now, an estimated 963 million people in the world go hungry.
- Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes—one child every five seconds.
- In 2006, about 9.7 million children died before they reached their fifth birthday. Almost all of these deaths occurred in developing countries—four-fifths of them in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the two regions that also suffer from the highest rates of hunger and malnutrition.
A Crack in the World's Foundation
It seems to me that the world system has a crack in its foundation, and we are all sitting idly by and watching it fall apart. If you listen carefully, you will hear people saying it everywhere: "The world is falling apart." We hear it on the news and in general conversation. It seems everyone is talking about the injustice in the world. But talk without action solves nothing. My question is, "Who will revolt against injustice and work to make wrong things right?" I have decided that I will. I know several thousand others who have determined that they will do the same, but we need hundreds of thousands to join us in order to get the job done.
Whatever You Can Do Is Worth Doing
You may be thinking, Joyce, what I can do won't even make a dent in the problems we have in the world. I know how you feel, because I once felt the same way. But if we all think that way, nobody will do anything and nothing will change. Although our individual efforts may not solve the problems, together we can make a major difference. God won't hold us accountable for what we could not do, but He will hold us accountable for the things we could have done.
I had recently returned from a trip to India and was at the gym when a woman I often see there asked me if I really believed that all the effort required for these trips was solving anything since millions would still be starving, no matter how many we fed. I shared with her what God placed in my heart—something that forever settled the issue for me. If you or I were hungry because we hadn't eaten in three days and someone offered us one meal that would alleviate the pain in our stomachs for a day, would we take it and be glad to have it? Of course we would. And so are the people we help. We are able to set up continual-care programs for many of them, but there will always be those we can only help once or twice. Still, I know that these outreaches are worth doing. If we can give one hungry child one meal, it is worth doing. If we can help one person go without pain for one day, it is worth doing. I have resolved to always do what I can do and to remember what God said to me, "If you can only relieve someone's pain one time for one hour, it is still worth doing."
The World Has Lost Its Flavor
I think it's safe to say that most of what the world offers is tasteless—and I'm not talking about food. For example, most of the movies Hollywood produces are quite tasteless. A lot of the dialogue and many of the visual images are in poor taste. Usually when we see any type of behavior that is in poor taste we are quick to blame "the world." We might say something like, "What is the world coming to?" Yet the term "the world" merely means the people who live in the world. If the world has lost its flavor, it is because people have become tasteless in their attitudes and actions. Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth, but if salt loses its flavor (its strength and quality), it is good for nothing (see Matt. 5:13). He also said that we are the light of the world and should not hide our light (see Matt. 5:14).
Think of it this way: Each day as you leave your home to go into a dark, tasteless world, you can be the light and flavor it needs. You can bring joy to your workplace by being determined to consistently have a godly attitude. Through simple things like being thankful rather than complaining like most people do, being patient, merciful, quick to forgive offenses, kind, and encouraging. Even simply smiling and being friendly is a way to bring flavor into a tasteless society.
I don't know about you, but I don't like bland food. My husband had a stomach problem once and the doctor put him on a totally bland diet for a few days. As I recall, he didn't even look forward to eating. Dave is not a complainer, but at every meal, I heard him say over and over, "This stuff has no taste at all." It needed a bit of salt, a little spice—and that is exactly what the world needs.
Without love and all of its magnificent qualities, life is tasteless and not worth living. I want you to try an experiment. Just think: I am going to go out into the world today and spice things up. Then get your mind set before you ever walk out the door that you are going out as God's ambassador and that your goal is to be a giver, to love people and add good flavor to their lives. You can begin by smiling at the people you encounter throughout the day. A smile is a symbol of acceptance and approval which is something that most of the people in the world desperately need. Deposit yourself with God and trust Him to take care of you while you sow good seed everywhere you go by making decisions that will be a blessing to others.
Change Begins with You
I realize that you can't do everything; I don't question that at all. You must say no to some things or your life will be filled with stress. I am not able to volunteer to tutor children or deliver meals to the elderly, but I am doing lots of other things to make a positive difference in the world. I think the question each of us must answer is, "What am I doing to make someone else's life better?" And perhaps a better question is, "What have I done today to make someone else's life better?"
This book may be difficult to read at times because hopefully it will bring up issues that are uncomfortable. But they need to be addressed by each of us. Nothing good ever happens accidentally. If we want to be part of a revolution, that means things must change, and things cannot change unless people do. Each of us must say: Change begins with me!
Nothing good ever happens accidentally. If we want to be part of a revolution, that means things must change, and things cannot change unless people do. Each of us must say: Change begins with me!
The journey of the heart is one of the most complex mysteries there is. The elation and the sadness, the hoping and the waiting, the highs and the lows… and sadly for many, the unutterable disappointment that literally finds the heart in a place where it functions but does not want to feel anything anymore. When one is without an understanding of the great love of God to lean into and find strength, then the human heart finds a way to cope, to manage, to survive even the harshest of realities. And this is where countless amounts of people find themselves today, from the richest to the poorest, as poverty of the heart does not discriminate where it chooses to find a home.
The prophet Isaiah talked about a radical love revolution in Isaiah 61:11, as the word describes a day in which love would result in people finding their due justice… and Jesus making a way through the wilderness. "For as [surely as] the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring forth, so [surely] the Lord God will cause rightness and justice and praise to spring forth before all the nations [through the self-fulfilling power of His word]."
A Love Revolution is not only a great idea, but a concept of complete urgency… especially if we are believing to see the tragic injustices happening in the earth today be turned around… including the heaviest tragedy of them all, the tragedy of humanity's broken heart.
The brokenness is brought to our attention again and again as in the images of a young mother breastfeeding her baby, whose own body is sick and ravaged by the results of HIV/AIDS. She is doing her best but is faced with the choice… does she feed her child and knowingly infect her with this killer disease, or does she see the child starve for lack of alternative nutrition? This mum's heart is way beyond broken. She is a mum just like me, filled with delight when given the opportunity to see her child flourish in her care.
To see young men and women just standing around, with no food, no water, nowhere to go and nothing to do, this is heartbreaking to the core and fills hearts with constant disillusionment. Their hearts and minds are full of countless dreams, but if only they could find a way to get to school and buy something to eat.
It's amazing what desperation will cause people to do, causing further harm and extreme violence toward each other… how little value people place on a human life when faced with continued extreme poverty. But a heart can only handle so much ache.
A fourteen-year-old boy is raising his younger brother and sister, and younger nephew, in a small tin-covered shack called a home in sub-Saharan Africa, where he works all day on a small crops farm, trying desperately to put them all, including himself, through school and find something for them all to eat to keep them strong every single day. His parents died due to HIV and their town excommunicated the children for the fear that they too had the disease. The odds are high, they are yet to be tested. And this fourteen-year-old extremely brave heart grows fragile due to unrelenting hard work, disease, and uncertainty.
A young mum in Sydney, Australia, who has poured her life into her husband and children, only to find that her husband has been cheating on her for many, many months and wants to marry his new "find." This woman feels isolated, devalued, humiliated, and now has to face a future not only without her husband but also many days without her children as the husband fights for his custody rights. Her heart is so broken that breathing is hard, and she cannot see the way forward.
I remember sitting on the outskirts of Uganda with an incredible leader of one of the stunning child sponsorship programs based there, and as we got to talking, she began to share with me how even though they are doing much to help rescue orphans in that region, the amount of children in their immediate reach who are without the means to survive is overwhelming. I stood up and began to massage her tired shoulders as she continued to speak of her broken heart, and of her unrelenting frustration, and soon the words turned to sobs. Years of living with means stretched as far as they can humanly reach, yet watching and listening as children continue to go to bed hungry and lonely had caught up to this exhausted soul.
- On Sale
- Sep 22, 2009
- Page Count
- 272 pages