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Do you desire is to be used of God?

I know that I’m valuable to God because He sent Jesus to die for my sins and to restore me to Him. But am I usable? Can God use me.
Compare an antique chair to a commercial grade reinforced chair.

We want to be used of God. We are all valuable, but God uses the usable.

Joy, people have it, or they don’t. Why is joy so significant? It has a natural expression, and smiling is a good start.

Paul Finished with Joy
Acts 20:22&24
And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. v24. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race (with joy) and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me

It matters how we serve. Simply showing up to fill our roll, when inside we rather be somewhere else is not a great heart posture. It’s pure joy to serve God. Aren’t we God’s representatives? Shouldn’t we to do right by Him and represent Him right?

Joy is a spiritual force. It’s not governed by our experiences or circumstances.

Consider the Boston Marathon
By the 20th mile, these runners are experiencing extreme pain. Their bodies are depleted of nearly all the reserves. Low blood sugar and dehydration is causing their bodies to scream, “Stop!” For many of them, as they see runners by the hundreds fall away, the will to continue is about to break. But, watch as they cross the finish line. They express great joy and celebrate as if they enjoyed the whole thing. You just know their bodies are completely beaten down, and yet their words and expressions are that
of elation.

How is your strength? Consider what was King David known for?
The father of Solomon who was the wisest and wealthiest, a musician, he wrote most of the Psalms, a man of repentance, a heart after God.

Mostly, he was a great warrior, a giant slayer, as a teenager he killed a bear and a lion with his bare hands. God used him as a warrior to protect Israel. He had tremendous strength as well as amazing battle strategies. He really was one of the greatest warriors this earth has ever seen.

Zechariah 12:8
On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord going before them.

Here God is describing what He will do for you. When God is for you, it doesn’t matter how weak you are in your body or in your mind. Scripture tells us to let the weak say, “I am strong.”

The absence of challenges does not equate with running a good race. Overcoming does.

The scripture that highlights this need is found in
Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (those who already finished their race), let us throw off everything that hinders (weights) and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance (Joy) the race marked out for us

When we received salvation, we entered into a covenant with God. He puts our lives on the track that He preordained us to run. And, it’s not a “Rat Race.” You are part of something that matters. Something significant in the Kingdom of God. Something that will remain after you’re gone from this world, and future generations will know the Truth and be set free.

We should expect to finish this life strong, not beaten down.
The question is not about how many years I can squeeze out of this life. Rather ask, “Am I doing what God designed me to do?”

It’s not too early to be thinking about how you’re going to finish this race. Every day 150,000 people leave this life. How many of them wish they had more time or were surprised at the timing of their departure?

We all have opportunities or temptations to get off course.
How important is it that we keep our faith and stay on course?
It is very serious! We are meant to not just finish, but to do so with Joy.
Is it too soon to be thinking about finishing my race?
When is the right time to consider this? Old, young, middle-aged?

How important is the “joy” part? You may ask yourself, “Why don’t I have it?”
Hebrews 12:1 tells us what to watch out for to avoid a weak finish.
2 Reasons people don’t finish with joy.
1. Weights
2. Sins

Weights are things we pick up or the enemy puts on us to wear us out. So that we don’t finish our race. Weights we can lay aside with the help of the Holy Spirit. Sins entangle us. Sin is rejection of light or truth. Satan tries to tempt us so that we become entangled. Thank God, we can ask for forgiveness and change our ways.

Let’s talk about weights. They are things that try to cling to you as you pass by. Walking through a field, there are certain types of seed pods that have little burrs that will stick to your clothing. They are scratchy, irritating, and it takes time and patience to pick them all off.

Consider a boat moored in the ocean. The bottom of a boat is always painted using special additives to keep marine life from attaching to it. Yet, given enough time in that environment, barnacles will eventually attach themselves. These crustaceans don’t have much mass, but they will cause so much resistance and prevent the boat from ever reaching its top speed. No matter how much the captain tries to accelerate. The more you push, the more resistance you get. The added friction will just push more water, and the boat will run out of fuel before it reaches its destination.

What if I don’t have joy? No joy = joyless.
Joyless is more than the absence of joy, it is the presence of oppression
Remember, you are a new creation. Born of the Spirit of God.
It’s not that you don’t feel joy, it may be that you feel a perpetual heaviness that you are unable to pull out of.

Joy is not a feeling, it’s a fruit.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…
Joy was deposited in you by the Holy Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 1:4-6
For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

How did Joy come to be in you? By the Holy Spirit.
When we spend too much time allowing fleshly desires to influence our lifestyle, we are opening the door to being joyless, oppressed.

How can a person get out of the trap of joylessness?
Gratitude is the gateway to Joy. It’s how we access the joy in us.

James 1:2
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.

Joy is the exit door to what you are facing.

I’m not a fighter. I didn’t really get into fights when I was young even though I was taller and bigger than some. As I grew older I came to respect martial arts, wrestlers, boxers, MMA fighters. I learned that it’s not about the size of the opponent. At any match, the most trained or experienced fighter almost always wins. Not the bigger one. Now, knowing that, I know that I personally could take on any fighter in the world just so long as that fighter became weak enough. Have you ever felt so sick you could barely get out of bed. Many who had covid experienced that. In that state, you could never defend yourself in a fight. No matter how strong you are.

Satan is very focused on stealing our joy. Why?

Nehemiah 8:10
The joy of the Lord is your strength.


Joy and strength are completely connected. When Satan is attacking your joy, he is actually attacking your strength.

Believing you are broken, damaged, and scarred will make it seem like Joy is just a fake fantasy. I’ve heard people say “they are just glad to be alive” because they are so damaged from life. Didn’t Jesus remedy that? He carried your pain and your shame, He bore your sickness. Scripture tells us, “He who the Son set free is free indeed.” The past is the past, and we are free from it. He restores our soul. If we get tired and weary, guilt and shame and other kinds of weights will try to attach to us. They are all roommates. Eventually, we’ll get worn out dragging all this baggage that doesn’t even belong to us.

But, there’s a solution. It’s Joy.

John 16:24
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

Joy translates “Gladness”

Hebrews 12:2
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

How did Jesus do it? It was the joy set before Him. When we fix our eyes on the goal with gratitude, Joy will come.

Consider King David in his weakness and what he asks of God.
Psalms 51:11
Restore the joy of my salvation

What was King David asking? He had lost his strength, but he knew what would bring it back. He didn’t try to muster up something that wasn’t there.

Satan seeks to separate us from something that brings invincible strength. The Joy of our salvation On the day we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God put a new spirit in us and gave us the Holy Spirit to live inside us.
He’s called the Holy One, TheTeacher, The Helper, our Guide, and so much more.

Now let’s look at the function of Joy
Isaiah 55:12
You will go out in (with) joy and be led forth in peace

What is the primary revelation of this scripture?
It’s that God will lead us and how He does it. It used to be by a cloud in the daytime and a pillar of fire at night. It used to be whether a fleece was wet or dry in the morning. But now that God sent His spirit to live in you, He gave us a way for us to be led that is unmistakable, can’t be counterfeited, can’t be duplicated, and is 100% dependable. It’s His peace. He leads us with His peace.

Now, for that peace to be recognizable to us, we need to be in Joy.
Need to be led by God in a decision? “Go in Joy.”
Everyone likes being led by God. When we have His peace guiding us in decisions, we can’t fail. But, what about when we don’t know what God would have us do? How is it that we can miss God. This scripture reminds us that there’s something that is present before peace leads us. It’s Joy. Joy needs to be in place for the peace to lead. Do you have Joy? It should give us great Joy to know that God hears our prayers.
That’s why we should be immediately rejoicing after we pray.

Joy is connected to whether or not we will recognize the leading peace gives.

James 1:2
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds

Why the joy part? Because joy is the way out of the trial. Joy is the exit door. The way to get out of a situation is with joy. If you should ever get pulled over for a traffic violation, be in Joy. Start thanking God that the officer walking up to your car has promised to give his own life to protect and serve you. Thank God that He has placed faithful men and women to watch over and protect our community and keep us from lawlessness. Then, get out your license and registration, haha, and be respectful.

Peace will lead us so that we don’t wind up back at the trial. Sometimes we can find ourselves in crisis after crisis. So we ask, “How did I end up back here?” When you get up in the morning, do it with joy. When you get in your car, do it in joy. When you get to work, do it in joy. Do it so that peace can lead you throughout your whole day. This peace is leading you out of financial debt, out of sickness, out of bondage in your mind, out of addictions, out of marital problems, out of problems at work.

Do we understand that that moment we pray, God hears us and is getting our answer to us. Or better said, He is getting us to our answer.
And, He’s leading us to our answer through peace.

God’s peace is unrecognizable to us without us being in Joy.
If were in strife, we’ll miss the lead of peace. If we’re offended, we’ll miss it. Unforgiveness will cause us to drift on by. We can’t Go out in worry and be led forth in peace. If we’re in worry, we’ll miss God’s lead. Peace and worry can’t occupy the same space. If we’re in fear, we’ll walk right past the peace.

“I’m just in a bad mood today.” Peace can wait. Can you wait to be led of God? Want to be led in your job? Get joyful that you have a job where someone is willing to pay you to show up. Want a better job. Get joyful about the one you have and see how peace leads you.

Can you see that peace will only coexist with Joy?
What about faith? “I don’t depend on joy, I’m in faith about my situation.”
If I’m not in joy, I’m not in faith. Joy is the doorknob of faith, so grab hold of joy. I don’t get to choose how to do this. God set it up. Joy is mandatory, not optional. We can’t decide to be led “Our Way.” God set it up so that Joy is our starting place.

Joy is perceivable. You can see it. You can sense it. You can hear it.

Someone might say, “It’s just my personality. I’m not the bubbly type. What you see is what you get.”

Ever see someone led into a million dollar business deal? There’s some joy involved, and it tends to bubble over. Ever see a loved one come to Jesus after a lifetime of rejecting God? There is some serious rejoicing that bubbles out. The effects of Joy are unavoidable.

“Well, I’ll be glad when I see it.” Are you ever going to see it? Because, faith is not blind. Faith sees. If you’re in faith, you are already in joy.
If you want to see someone who knows the leading of God look for someone that has the Joy of the Holy Spirit.

We may need to change the way we think about God’s intentions for us.
It’s called renewing my mind, and it’s simple.
Renewing my mind means I compare my thoughts to God’s thoughts, and if there’s any discrepancy, I
lay down my thoughts and pick up God’s.

Here is what God says:
1 John 5:14-15
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

Now, if any part of your thinking disagrees with this statement, then drop that thinking and agree with
God. Does any joy come when you learn this about God? It should. If we ‘know He hears,’ then ‘we know that we have.’
‘Knowing we have’ comes from ‘knowing He hears.’
What have you asked Him lately? Are you in joy about it?

John 16:24
Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

So, we pray, and then go out in joy.
Want to see some earth shaking-quaking that breaks the chains of bondage in your life? Paul and Silas knew what to do. They were in prison, and it was the end of the road for them.

Do you need to be led on something? Get in Joy.
A worried person can’t hear God’s leading.
How do I know if I’m worried about it? You’re thinking about it.
How do I know if I’m NOT worried about it? I’m rejoicing because God heard me, and He is working on my behalf.

Want to get the leading? Get rejoicing.
God isn’t hiding your leading nor your answer. He is leading you in a way that is unmistakeable and clear. The enemy can’t duplicate the peace of God. So, if there’s no peace then don’t go there. Wait on your decision. We’re not joyful because we don’t know what to do. Rather, we are joyful because we know the One who does know what to do.

This is why the Joy of the Holy Spirit will always be there for you to access.
Isaiah 12:3
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Where is the well of my salvation? It’s in me. What is the vessel for drawing it out? It’s called Joy. One of the things contained in the well is the leading of the Holy Spirit. And, it belongs to us because we’re saved. It’s part of my salvation package. Healing, provision and prosperity, God’s wisdom, peace, are all part of the salvation package. The way to draw them up is with Joy.

What’s so notable about Isaiah 12:3, is that Jesus quotes this scripture in John 7:38
Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (Out of him will flow rivers of living water.) 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Joy, you may not be feeling it.
Gratitude is the gateway to Joy. It’s how we access the joy in us.
Can you see that God put that joy in you. It’s already in you and waiting to be drawn out. Understand that God uses Joyful people because He can lead them.

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