REJOICE IS NOT A FEELING: THE MUST HAVES
Rejoice is not a feeling. How long did it take me to “get” this? A long, long time!
Rejoice or ‘joy’ is a fruit of the recreated spirit.
‘Feeling’ is of the emotions. It’s of the natural man, and it comes and goes, and comes and goes, and comes and goes.
On the way to study this thing called ‘joy’, the Lord dropped me off to study His own words about how to be recreated or born-again. For only born-againers have joy, those ones of us who have been twice born.
“Jesus answered, Truly, truly (In truth), I say to you,
except a man be born of water and of the spirit,
he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
To experience the joy that Jesus bought us by His death on that tree, He is telling us that there are two different births in this world.
When I was born on 4 July 1954, I was born ‘of water’. When I repented of unbelief, and I turned to follow Jesus, I was born the second time.
You can be water-baptised, you can be confirmed, you can join ten different churches instead of just one, you can light so many candles that the matches burn your fingers; you can stay on your knees praying until the rug under you wears thin, you can even try to be good, but none of this will get you born again, because being born again is none of this.
Being born again is this,
“If you will SAY with your mouth, ‘Lord Jesus’,
and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead,
you shall be saved.
For it is with the heart that man believes unto righteousness,
and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9-10.
At this very moment,
God takes the old spirit out of us, and puts a new one in us just like He said, and the very moment He does this, we know it. Suddenly, we are brand spanking new.We are born again.
“ If you be in Christ Jesus, you are a NEW CREATION,
the old things--that old spirit, and the old live we used to live, all those old things we used to do--are passed away: behold, all things have become new.” II Corinthians 5:17.
We are now dead to the world and alive to God. God put His own Holy Spirit in us. God’s seed is in us--the seed of His kind of love, the seed of His kind of peace, the seed of joy...the seed of joy...the seed of joy.
God’s seed is in us. Now we must get busy growing them so that they bear fruit: the fruit of the recreated spirit.
How do you grow? Like any garden plant, you will need light. Jesus is that light.
Jesus promises, “I AM the light of the world;
He who follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.” John 8:12.
Like any garden plant,you will need water and food. Jesus, through His Word, is this food and this water.
“Jesus said unto them, I AM the bread of life;
He who comes to me will not hunger,
and he who believes in me will never thirst.” John 6:35.
Never. Jesus said it: Never. Never is a long, long time because ‘never’ never happens.
I used to only water and feed my spirit in the Word sometimes. Maybe I should say 'rarely.’ No wonder I was a scrawny little plant that was shrivelling and dying in the hot sun. When I began studying the Word of God every day, my life was changed. Why? Because my spirit was being fed and watered. I was on my way to bearing fruit.
And one of this fruit is rejoicing, ‘joy’. Rejoicing-- even on those days when I don’t have a thing in the world to be happy about. Just like Paul. He grew more joy when he was in a tiny dark prison than he ever did before. In this prison cell, He wrote the most joy-filled letter of all to us--the book of Philippians.
How did He do it? What was his secret? His secret was that joy and rejoicing are beyond emotions. They are of the heart and based on fact. God’s Word is fact. Not feeling. Feelings are not fact. God’s Word is fact.
When you have joy, it doesn’t matter whether you “feel” great when you are rejoicing or not. Sometimes you might, and other times you might...not.
Joy is of the spirit. We rejoice by choice. If I don’t feel like it, then it’s time to rejoice all the more.
Not only do we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, “but we also rejoice in our sufferings.”
Rejoice when I’m suffering? God expects me to do that?
That’s right. You heard Him and so did I. When trouble hits it’s easy to think, “How can I rejoice now? I can’t. I don’t feel like it."
Yet God still whispers, “Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice!”
Listen closely. Can you hear Him? I can. Just listen and you will too.
God is telling me, and He’s telling you to rejoice in suffering, when we don’t feel like rejoicing,because not only do we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, “but we know that suffering produces perseverance.” (Romans 5:3)
Who did I lose with that big word no one uses anymore? The first time the Lord told me to persevere, He lost me too. I had to go find out what it meant to persevere before I could do it.
Persevere is that ‘hang-in-there’ determination that causes me to stand and withstand, even when I see one thousand fall at my side, and ten thousand fall at my righthand.
When I persevere, as the dust around me settles, there I am, still standing. I may feel like that cat hanging by one claw, but every one else is down, while I am still standing, um err, hanging by the power of the living God.
“Perseverance-- hanging in there-- produces character.” So, go ahead, hang in there, especially when you don’t feel it.
Hanging in there when every one around me is on the floor builds character. By hanging in there and trusting God when things appear to be falling apart in my life, I am being shaped into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. By suffering, I am becoming more like Him day by day.
This is Godly character. The kind in Peter’s “must have” list in II Peter 1: 3-8. “For IF you have these ‘must haves’, YOU SHALL NEVER FALL. EVER.”
Wow! I like that promise. Don’t you? I’d rather stand than fall any day. I tripped and fell over the edge of a curb I didn’t know was there when I got out of my car recently.
I fell physically, and it felt awful for a little while. But for many years I was falling spiritually because I didn’t know how to stand, and that falling was far worse because it was a fall that would last forever.
That’s why I needed the Word of God every day. In it, God tells me ‘how’. He tells me how, no matter what I see or feel or hear--IF I have these “must have” things in bunches and bunches--I SHALL NEVER FALL. EVER.
Many others will fall all around you in this day of delusion--in this huge fantasy the world is caught up in and following after, and trying to convince you (and me) that this fantasy is truth, and God’s Word is the fantasy. But if you have the ‘must haves’ on Peter’s list, YOU SHALL NEVER FALL. EVER.
In this first chapter of II Peter is the key to enduring till the end in faith, and as Jesus tells us, “He who endures in faith to the end shall be saved.”
If you are a follower of Jesus, God has already planted the seeds in your heart. All you need to do is start growing your own garden. Nobody else can do it but you. You grow it by faith--faith in God’s Word.
Paul tells us in Romans 5 what Godly character grows into.
“Character produces hope.
And hope does not disappoint us,
because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit,
whom He has given us.” Romans 5:5.
Here’s how God demonstrated His love for us. He died. For you and for me, and for all the other “us-es”
in the world.
“You see, when we were still powerless, because we were without the only One who can ever give us the power we need, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6.
What power? The power to become a child of the living God, instead of the dead one.
What power?The power to live in this evil generation that calls evil GREAAAAT, and good evil.
“When we were without power Christ died for us, the godless ones.”
And it just gets better and better. I was set free from sin by His blood.
And ya’ know? It took me awhile, but I’ve had enough sense to turn from the sin Jesus freed me from and follow Christ who freed me from it in the first place.
Let me tell you why.
“Since I was declared ‘not guilty’ by His blood,
how much more...
how MUCH more...
how much MORE shall I be saved from God’s wrath through Jesus?”
If I now live IN Jesus, I am freed from the law of sin and death THROUGH THE SPIRIT of the law of life IN Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1-2)
Sin wasn’t considered before because there was no law.
No law meant no guilty conscience when we did wrong.
I can give you a good example of not being under the law. When I was 2 1/2 years old, we moved to Phoenix, Arizona so my daddy could attend Bible college.
We lived in an apartment. I believe it was the end apartment of a u-shaped complex, but Elaine will correct me if I am wrong.
A few doors down there was a girl who was older than me. I had no doll, but the doll she had was the most beautiful doll I had ever seen. It was a Bride doll with a long white dress.
This doll was a “triple wowie” to me. I asked the girl if I could play with the doll. She said no and clutched the doll to her all the more tightly.
I didn’t push it, but I was itching to get my hands on that doll.
One day our two mothers stood on the walk visiting. The little girl was no where in sight. This was my big chance. That doll was beautiful. I wanted it for my own. My plan was simple. I thought, “I’ll just go get that doll and take it home with me.” Sounded good to me.
I walked past our mothers. I wasn’t sneaking, because to me, I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I didn’t know the law. I’d never heard it before. Didn’t even know there was such a thing. So there I went, walking past them happy and determined. One thing and one thing only was on my mind: Get that doll and take it home. Our mothers were so deep in conversation that they didn’t even notice my going.
There the doll was, lying in a small chair in the girl’s Living Room. Scooping it up in my arms, I started home. But my mother had eyes in the back of her head. Really, the eyes of her inner man opened the minute I passed her with that doll. She turned to me and in a shocked but calm voice she asked, “Paula, What are you doing?”
I stopped and turned toward her. Can’t remember if I answered or not, but there I stood with that little girl’s doll.
“Don’t you know, Paula, that when you take something that belongs to someone else, it’s wrong? It’s stealing.”
Well no, I didn’t.
I had no conscience of sin. I felt fine until mama said that, but the instant she said the words, “that is wrong...that is stealing," I knew it was wrong and I felt guilty.
Her words pierced my heart like a sword. I felt guilt, guilt, guilt for the very first time in my life. Boy, did I squirm. I hadn’t known it was stealing, but now I did.
“You go now,” Mama continued, “and put that doll back.”
That was okay with me. Suddenly that beautiful doll didn’t look so good any more. Sin had tarnished it. Without a word, but with a great sense of relief, I walked back in the girl’s house and put the doll back. Doing good and not bad felt so good.
God works with us like my mama did with me. God is preaching to the world the same as mama preached to me. He’s preaching through me and through every other believer and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. He needs us. We are His body.
When mama preached the Word of God to me I understand in my heart, and from then on I knew there was a wrong and a right, a bad and a good.
Here is the reason satan is throwing the truth to the ground, and wanting any child of God who speaks the truth and lives the truth, and who won’t stop, “outta here.”
His man is changing time and law. Not that he really can change them, because they can’t be changed, but they ‘think’ they are.
Take the conscience away, and the person remains blind. Only the truth of the gospel stirs the conscience.
Just before Jesus went to the cross for us, He spoke on this very thing about the Holy Spirit.
“Now I am going to Him who sent me...But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I AM going away.
Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you;
but if I go, I will send Him to you.
When He comes, He will CONVICT THE WORLD OF GUILT IN REGARD TO SIN AND RIGHTEOUSNESS AND JUDGEMENT;
In regard to sin,because men do not believe me;
in regard to righteousness, because I AM going to the Father, where you can see me no longer
(in the flesh);
and in regards to judgement because the prince of the world now stands condemned.” John 16:11.
Now when we speak the Word, it is not us speaking, it is God speaking through us. Through our broken vessels, the Holy Spirit is warning the world. God’s Word is stirring the conscience of all the ones who are calling bad GREAAAAT and good bad. Some will lash out in anger. Others will repent and turn to God.
The words that I preach are not my words. Just the personality is mine. The words are His. I have the authority to speak them through Jesus. He called me. He ordained me. I am not here to lord it over anyone. I’m here to preach the Word to unbelievers and believers. Jesus is coming very, very, very quickly. It’s time to prepare our hearts for His coming and keep them prepared.
I’m here to get believers out of living the old lifestyle. I’m here to tell you “Come ye out of the world and God will receive you."
Stop listening to the world and doing what it says is okay. It’s wrong. If you do not, you will die with it, no matter how often you say, “I love Jesus. If you love Jesus then repost this thing onto your profile in 15 minutes or less.”
The wages of sin is always death.
If you love Jesus, you will follow Him. If you follow Him, get into His Word, and do what He says, and “YOU WILL NEVER FALL. EVER.”
Peter gives us the ‘must haves’. He tells us that God’s power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.
God’s given us His very precious promises, so that we can be shaped into the image of His dear Son: Jesus. This is how we escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. This is God’s ‘how to’ list, these are His ‘must haves’ because they are His very nature. We are to become like Him.
So Peter urges, and I urge you,
“ADD to your faith goodness;
and to goodness ADD knowledge;
to knowledge ADD self-control;
to self-control ADD perseverance;
to perseverance ADD godliness;
to godliness ADD brotherly kindness;
to brotherly kindness ADD love.”
Make love your outer dressing. Wrap everything in love. Love is number one. It is the glue that holds all the rest together, and it is the glue that holds us, the body of Christ together.
All these qualities are the qualities of God’s own nature. You got the seed of His nature inside you, now water and feed them so they will grow strong inside your inner man, and so will you.
Peter tells us, “For if you possess these qualities in INCREASING MEASURE, they will keep you from becoming ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Then Peter adds a warning, “But if anyone does not have them (growing and increasing in their life)--and I didn’t,
that was my problem!--
he is short-sighted and blind, and he has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.”
Remember Jesus’ words, “many are called, few are chosen."
You see, you have a part to play, just as I have a part to play. This is your part in the New Covenant. You can’t win a ball game if you’re not playing by the rules. Your part is a good part.
Now here’s that good part for all who are listening--
If you are eager to make you calling and election a sure thing, then eagerly and without delay, start adding these ‘must haves’.
“For if you do these things, YOU SHALL NEVER FALL. EVER.”
After the Lord Jesus raised me up in 2012, He took me to this passage in II Peter. He had me go over it and over it. DAILY. I prayed it even. For myself and for you. Over and Over and Over and Over again.
I confess the ‘must haves’, but I don’t stop there. I also have to do them. And being the best teacher and trainer in the world, the Lord began showing me, even in ways that seem so tiny, how to develop these ‘must haves’ in my life.
Self-control...endurance...adding, always adding.
He started small then went to bigger ways to grow them. He got me off to a good start so I WILL NEVER FALL. EVER. And He wants to do the same for you. Let Him. Let Him. Be eager. ADD...ADD...ADD...For if you have these ‘must haves’ YOU SHALL NEVER FALL. EVER.