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Joy and Gladness

by Patricia Dailey,
Senior Pastor, Bethel Revival Center

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Joy and Gladness

by Patricia Dailey
Senior Pastor, Bethel Revival Center
43 Norwood St.
Everett, MA 02149

See Deuteronomy 28:47,48
Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things

There are many of God's people who are not serving Him with joyfulness nor with gladness of heart for the abundance of blessings He has brought into their lives. They're not happy. They're not joyful with the things God has blessed them with. Instead, they murmur and complain because of the things they don't have.

Which Type of Person Are You?

Deuteronomy 28:1,2
And it'shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all His commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: and all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, IF thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.

The Lord was talking to the children of Israel here, yet it is recorded in His Word for us as well.

Yes, we can also be prosperous and blessed of the Lord if we are obedient unto Him. But this is seems hard for many to do — heeding what the Lord has to say and putting it into practice in their daily lives.

Now, the Lord told Israel that disobedience would bring forth a curse upon them and upon their land: Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things . . .

Matthew 6:33
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Yes, we can be prospered by God — although I'm not preaching a prosperity doctrine, where it's give me, give me, give me. Yet, you and I will prosper as we do what the Lord would tell us to do.

Isaiah 1:19
If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.

We'll have everything we need: but, many times, even though God has supplied every need and blessed with an abundance of things, there are those who are not joyous and happy, not rejoicing and taking great pleasure in the things which God has given them.

I don't believe we should set our heart on that which God has given. I don't believe we should make idols of the things which He blesses us with. And I don't believe we should be covetous:

Colossians 3:5
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry

We don't want to be an idolater. We don't want to be that covetous person who makes a god out of things, and wanting what others have.

We should be content with what we have, rejoicing and giving God the glory for all He has done for us, for all He has given us.

I always appreciate what God gives unto me. Much praise and thanksgiving goes up to the throne of God for His many blessings. I serve the Lord with joy and gladness for the abundance of things He has given me. I don't serve Him just for what I can get from Him — yet I do appreciate all He has done for me.

Because of His great love and mercy He saved my soul: and I thank Him over and over for this. I could still be lost but for His love and His grace. He is the strength of my salvation, and I thank Him and praise Him for His goodness towards me.

Now, here in Deuteronomy 28 we see what will happen to those who won't serve the Lord with joyfulness and gladness of heart for the abundance of all things.

Some of God's people feel they have to live in an old dust heap, that they have to live in poverty if they are going to serve the Lord.

Listen, you don't have to live in poverty. God blesses and prospers His people when they hearken to His Word and do all that He has commanded.

I don't believe that I have to strive for prosperity, that I have to live for gain — but I do know that God has promised to prosper those who walk in His ways. And, when He does prosper us, we're not to let our heart be taken over and begin to love prosperity. If we do this, then we'll be in trouble with God.

We can use the prosperity He gives us to bless others with, to bless His Work, to bless His people. If we do this, then we will find we always have enough for ourselves — and enough to be a blessing to others.

Let me ask you a question: Are you dissatisfied with what God gives you?

Many are! They complain and complain, and murmur and murmur. They have a life of ever murmuring and ever complaining. Why? because they are dissatisfied with what God gives unto them.

Listen, it's good when we have to go through trials, go through difficult times. It's through such times that we learn to trust in God and see how He can supply our every need; and learn to appreciate what we do have.

But people want more and more, ever wanting more. They can't get enough, never satisfied with what the Lord has already given. They don't serve the Lord with joy and gladness for the good things He has given to them; but, rather, murmur and complain about what they don't have.

That's sad. They try to keep up with the Joneses. They try to keep up with their co-workers. They want to be known as someone who is wealthy and prosperous, someone who has more than others have.

If this is speaking of your life, stop! Start thanking the Lord for what you have. Serve Him with joy and gladness for His provisions — rather than striving to be ahead of others.

The Scriptures said back in Deuteronomy that if they did what God told them to do, hearkening unto His voice in all that He commanded, He would make them the head and not the tail. This means that they would be above, and not be under. That's prosperity.

He went on to say that they would lend and not borrow. That's prosperity. Yes, it's God's prosperity when you can lend and not have to borrow.

But, you know, if you don't serve the Lord with joy and gladness, if you don't rejoice and be happy over the things that He has blessed you with . . .

Deuteronomy 28:48
Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and He shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until He have destroyed thee.

I believe we cause our own problems when we don't hearken unto the voice of the Lord, when we'refuse to listen to what He has said unto us. When we don't obey God then we find ourselves in the place of great need. We could even find ourselves in the place where the devil has put a yoke of iron upon our neck and we can't get freed from it.

So many backsliders are in this state, all because they would not serve God with joy and gladness in their heart. They loved the world and went the way of the world. They did not want to serve God and now they are destitute of their daily needs.

What a terrible place to find oneself in. And to think they would leave God and His great blessings for such a state as that. If they had just walked with the Lord in obedience to His Word they would never have been brought down to that place.

Matthew 6:31-33
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Psalm 23:1
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

Philippians 4:19
But my God'shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Brother and sister, God prospers His people when they put their trust in Him. But you wouldn't know this when you look at the faces of many of God's people. Their faces are long. They're not happy or joyous.

And, just think, He brought them out of sin and bondage. They were on their way to hell, but because of His grace and His love He saved their soul.

There's so much to rejoice and be happy about in serving God. They could be lost. They could be destitute of their daily needs. They could be looking through the garbage barrel for a bite to eat. They could be looking in the trash for something to put on their body. But for God! Yet they murmur and complain, going about with long faces.

Oh, but for the grace of God. Let's appreciate the goodness of God, and serve Him with joy and rejoicing for all He has done for us.

An Example from
the Book of Numbers

We don't want to ignore the Old Testament. It was written for our benefit that we might learn from the examples we find in its pages.

The children of Israel were human beings just like you and I. We can learn many many things from their failures. They failed to hearken to the voice of the Lord, failed to do what God had commanded them to do, and they found themselves in trouble with God as the result.

God's judgment came down upon them. They were dealt with. And we will be dealt with, too, when we don't do right. God will chastise us when we need it. And we should want God to chastise us when we're not doing right, when we're not hearkening to His voice.

We don't want Him to wipe us off. We don't want Him to turn His back on us. We want Him to chastise us until we get into the place where we can see our error and confess it, asking for forgiveness, and get that thing out of our lives.

Numbers 11:4-6
And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? we'remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic: but now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.

Here they complained because of what God gave them to eat. They were very ungrateful for what He had provided. And to think that He had sent it from heaven!

Think about this: we have a variety of food here upon this earth. We have fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, garlic — and so much more.

When my husband and I were in India, we both found ourselves craving onions. I don't know why we craved them so much, but we were accustomed to eating onions with our meals.

Here in Numbers, the children of Israel were looking back to Egypt. And many times we tend to look back at the things we once had.

Philippians 3:13,14
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

We shouldn't be looking back. We should ever be looking forward, looking up: up unto Jesus Christ the author and finisher of our faith.

. . . but now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.

Imagine! We get our food from the earth, from those things which are grown down here. But just imagine having food sent down from heaven; imagine seeing it coming down, and then gathering it for a meal. That alone would be very special, because it came down from heaven. We could call it Angel Food.

Yes, their food came down from heaven — and yet they complained! I don't believe you could have gotten any better. And here they are murmuring and complaining — looking back at their garlics and their leeks, at their onions and their cucumbers.

Numbers 11:10
Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased.

Their murmuring and complaining angered the Lord: and how many times do you suppose that one of us has angered the Lord because we murmur and complain about what He has provided?

It's a shame when God's people are unthankful, when they don't serve Him with rejoicing and gladness of heart for what He has blessed them with.

Now, what about spiritual blessings? Are you unhappy because God has blessed somebody else and you haven't got that'same blessing?

Maybe you haven't given your all to Jesus. Maybe you haven't really sought Him like you should seek Him. Maybe you allow other things to take the place of seeking the Lord for what He has for you. Maybe you love things more than you love God.

The enemy would speak in your ear: You're doing all right. You don't have to listen to them. You're doing just fine. Keep listening to those lies, and he'll soon convince you to believe him.

Jonah 2:8
They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

You're not satisfied with what God has given you: in the natural realm and in the spiritual realm. You look at others and compare yourself with them.

II Corinthians 10:12
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

It's not wise to be comparing ourselves with others. You can't be me, and neither can I be you. You've got to be yourself, and I've got to be myself. Whatever God does through me ought to cause you to rejoice. And whatever He may do through you should cause me to rejoice.

When we look at what God is doing through someone else we ought to be happy that'somebody is listening to the voice of the Lord, that'somebody is giving themselves over to His will.

You know, it takes time to give oneself to God. It takes time to hear from God. It takes time. We must be prepared to do what He would want us to do. And it takes time to get prepared.

I don't mind taking time to seek the Lord. I've always been an active person. Just because one is getting older doesn't mean they can't still be active. At first, it was hard for me to learn to sit down and take time to dig into the Word of God. That's a great victory in my life, that I can spend hour upon hour searching the Word and seeking out the mind of God.

Others might be able to accomplish this in a short time. That's all right. But that's not what God has called me to do. He knew that I was an active person, that it was hard for me to sit down and take the time I needed in searching His Word. And now, thank God, I can sit down and put my mind on the Lord. I can'take the time to read and study His Word, comparing Scriptures with Scriptures.

God's Daily Provisions

We want to always be in the place where we're thankful for that which the Lord has provided.

I Timothy 4:4,5
For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

We ought to take the time to offer thanksgiving to God for that which He has provided for us to eat, take time to look to the Lord and thank Him for our food, asking Him to bless and sanctify it.

And when we eat out we shouldn't forget to ask the Lord to sanctify the food, for we don't know what has been done to it before it reached our table. They might have been handling our food, blown their nose, and gone back to handling our food without washing their hands! Or they might have come from the bathroom without washing and then handled our food. They may have picked up something that fell on the floor and then put it on our plate.

You never know what took place before your food reached you; so make sure you pray over it, asking the Lord to bless and sanctify it.

Psalm 100:1,2
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing.

When we come into the presence of the Lord to pray it's good to take time to sing and rejoice before Him — taking time to praise Him and thank Him for His goodness towards us.

Psalm 100:3-5
Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.

Yes, we should come into the presence of the Lord with thanksgiving and praise, blessing His name. When we come to church, we should enter through the doorway with thanksgiving — thankful that we can come to the house of the Lord another time.

After all, we could be bedridden, confined to a bed, never able to get out to the house of the Lord again. Or, we could be in a nursing home where nobody seems to care.

So, when we are able to get to the house of the Lord we should be thanking Him for the beautiful opportunity. We should be thankful to have the freedom to go to church, freedom to worship in the house of God from the depths of our heart.

In Psalm 122:1 David said, I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. There was a joy and gladness in David's heart because he was going into the house of the Lord.

Hebrews 10:25
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Psalm 68:19
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.

The Lord knows just what we need, and He daily cares and supplies for us. These benefits are blessings that are advantageous for us, blessings that will help us whatever the need may be. He gives us food and drink; shelter; health; healing when we need it; salvation; the Holy Spirit to lead us and to teach us, bringing all things back to our remembrance which Jesus has said to us.

Yes, He provides both natural and spiritual blessings for our lives. He touches our soul when we take time to seek His face, when we go to prayer. What a blessing — that we can have fellowship with God Almighty.

Also, there is a great blessing when we step aside to draw closer to the Lord and we can hear from Him. As we study and read the Word, as we meditate on the Word, He can speak to us from its pages to encourage us, to lift us up, to instruct us, to reveal Himself to us.

Jeremiah 15:16
Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts.

To hear God'speak to us brings a joy and rejoicing in our soul. These blessings will come to those who seek God, to those who will walk in obedience to His Word.

He also blesses us by showering us with His compassion, His mercy, His great love, His longsuffering. He sends His angels to watch over us and to protect us. These blessings should cause us to acknowledge God in our lives, to acknowledge His hand upon us.

Psalm 21:1
The king shall joy in Thy strength, O Lord; and in Thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!

This is a beautiful psalm. David found joy in the strength of the Lord, and so can we.

Nehemiah 8:10b
. . . neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Yes, the joy of the Lord is a powerful source of spiritual strength to us.

I trust you received help through this message, and will rejoice and take great pleasure in the things which God has given you, walking in obedience to His Word from day to day.

Psalm 103:1,2
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.

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