The Secrets of Increase and Breakthrough (7)
JOY AND GRATITUDE
I want to in today’s teaching conclude this series of sermons on the secrets of increase and breakthrough, and the following two portions of the scriptures will serve as the foundation for today’s points.
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail…
Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. Hab 3:17-18 NASB
Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him. Ps 67:5-7 KJV
Last time I explained that the little times of life are the times that we prove to God that we are ‘promotable.’ For that reason I mentioned that we must be grateful to God for those little times. It is so important that as Christians we are full of joy and gratitude to God at all times. This is actually a commandment. Paul said to the Philippians, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say – Rejoice.” This is not to be dependent on the circumstances around us; it must just simply be a habit. We make up our minds to be thankful to God at all times and to be happy.
It is crucial to our connection with the realm of the spirit that our spirits are not cluttered by the worries of life. Now, that does not mean that the worries of life will not come, but it means we will not let them become worries in our hearts. This is a deliberate choice that is expressed in our attitude of gratitude at all times.
In Hosea 3 above, we read the prophet saying that his joy will be in the Lord and will not be stopped by the circumstances around.
When life’s circumstances take away the joy from our hearts, it makes it impossible for us to see the doors of breakthrough that God has placed before us. Joy is crucial for spiritual survival. A gloomy and depressed heart does not perceive opportunities. It is possible in life, and it often happens, that we are before open doors but we do not realize it. In Gen 21, Hagar had been sent away by Abraham with just meagre supplies and these had run out. She had a little boy with her and she gave up that both of them were going to die from simple thirst. She and the child cried and the Lord heard; He gave her hope by His word.
And God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, "What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand; for I will make a great nation of him." Gen 21:17-18 NASB
She was in a hopeless state and the Lord gave her hope by His word. What I want to bring out is what happened next.
Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink. Gen 21:19
Hagar was in front of a well and did not see it. The Bible tells us not that the Lord created a well but that He opened Hagar’s eyes and she saw. That tells me that the well was there all the while as she was weeping and moaning the apparent end of her life and that of her son. It was when the Lord lifted her out of the gloom of her soul by His word that He was able open her eyes to see the water He had provided for her. No wonder Isaiah said that drawing water from the well of life goes with joy. It is not done with gloom.
With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation! Isa 12:3 NLT
Where does joy come from?
There are two places that God gives that every child of God should derive joy from. The first and most important, the unfailing one, is the word of God.
I rejoice in your word, like one who finds a great treasure. Ps 119:162 NLT
The amazing promises of the word of God is where we derive real joy from.
There are all kinds of news in life; the news media love to report calamity, but this only serve to depress us. I noticed that news networks like CNN are only watching out for the next calamity. As soon as the earthquake and tsunami struck in Japan, they forgot the constant reporting of the civil conflict in Libya which they had been on for many days. A worse calamity had come. No wonder I call them Calamity News Network. Your joy can’t come from such places.
The newspapers only report what is going wrong in the political and economic climates; you can’t derive joy from there.
The word of God is the only true source of joy even in the times of crisis. The Word tells you of all the great things that He planned for you. It lets you know that your crisis is only temporary.
For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! 2 Cor 4:17 NLT
In times of crisis, know that God will bring greater glory out of you.
The word of does not change, therefore the hope and joy hung on it are enduring and unfailing.
In the time of crisis, recall the promises of God in your mind, and joy will bubble again in your soul.
Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:
The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day. I say to myself, "The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!" Lam 3:21-24 NLT
The next place where we derive joy from is from recalling to mind what God has done for us.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities;
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit;
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. Ps 103:1-6 NASB
Rejoice in what He has done for you already. Don’t focus on what you do not have yet. Yes there are many things that you would like to have but do not yet, but there are many things that you have already that you did not have at a time.
Rejoice because He has shown you mercy again and again, and His mercy will never fail.
Determine to be joyful, giving God thanks at all times. There is always something to thank God for. To prove this I will tell this funny story and close.
I read of a man who was forever positive in everything. His response to every situation, good or bad, was ‘it is good.’
Now he was a friend and close assistant to the king.
Once, while he and the king were on a hunting expedition, a gun misfired and cut off the finger of the king. While the king was in pain and moaning over the loss of his finger, the man, true to his character, responded, ‘it is good.’ This really annoyed the king and he ordered him imprisoned.
Many months passed, and he remained in prison. It happened that one of those days the king set out on a journey during which he was captured by a tribe of cannibals. They tied him to a stake and were about to kill him. One of the cannibals noticed the missing finger and pointed it out to his tribesmen. It was against their custom to eat anyone with a defect and so, to his great and understandable relief, they released the captive king. He remembered his it-is-good friend and saw that truly his injury turned out to be good. A finger for your life – not a bad deal.
On getting back to his people the king immediately had the man released and brought before him. He was full of regret and apologies for having kept him imprisoned for so long. The man interrupted the king again with ‘it is good.’
“What? What is possibly good about being in jail for so long?”
“Think about it my lord,” the man said, “if I had not been in prison I would have been with you.”
Indeed all things work together for good for them that love God. Individually they may not look good, but at the end you will see God’s goodness in everything.
A secret of increase and breakthrough is, “rejoice, again I say, rejoice.”