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Make the Choice to Rejoice

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
March 25, 2021 8:00 am

Make the Choice to Rejoice

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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March 25, 2021 8:00 am

Reasons to rejoice even circumstances are dire; based on 1 Thess. 5:16, Hab. 3:17-19, and other passages.

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You can make the choice to rejoice. Rejoicing isn't going to happen by you waking up one morning and you just are full of giddiness and full of fun.

If that happens, great. Fun is good. Happiness is great. But joy can be a choice.

Happiness exists because of circumstances. Joy can be yours in spite of them. Hello and welcome to this Thursday edition of Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd, who is Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California.

Thanks so much for joining us. Joy is a gift from God, but you're the one who has to choose to open it. Pastor Paul has some encouraging words for you today. No matter what goes on around you, the joy of the Lord can reside in you.

The decision is ultimately yours to make. Today's message is straight ahead, but remember, you can stop by anytime to hear recent Destined for Victory messages on demand. That's You can also subscribe to or download the podcast at Google Podcasts or wherever you get yours.

Let's join Pastor Paul now as he shares today's message, Make the Choice to Rejoice. When I was in high school, I was introduced to Cliff Notes and I discovered that Cliff Notes were slender pamphlets that provided summaries and commentaries on various books, classic literature and various other popular books for education purposes. Cliff Notes was a way of helping you to understand the basic concepts of a particular book. It helped you sometimes when you were getting ready for certain reports or exams and what have you. Let me just go on and be honest. It also helped us because sometimes we didn't study right and so we had an exam coming up and hadn't done thorough reading and we had to just go on and say, oh Lord, help me to get these answers right based on what I saw in my Cliff Notes. Some of you all can relate to me.

Don't even try. Don't act like I was the only Cliff Noter. Some of you all know what Cliff Notes is about.

So I thought, you know what? I'm passionate about being a discipler. I believe God has called me as a pastor teacher in the body of Christ to do permanent damage to people's ignorance and unawareness of what God's will is for their lives and so I want to do that and do it well in this season of my ministry. And here's the thing, I realize that more and more I'm ministering to people who don't have a church background. A lot of you all didn't grow up going to Sunday school like I did. A lot of you all didn't grow up as pew babies sitting on the pew of the church like I did and like many in my generation did. We boomers were probably the last generation where it was common for families to send their kids to Sunday school and that sort of thing.

So can't beat you up for that. Fact of the matter is you're here now and you're open to receive the word of God now. It's my job to help people understand the word of God and I want to do that well. So I thought in this season, sometimes I do expositional preaching. I'll preach through an entire book of the New Testament. Sometimes I'll do a whole story from the Old Testament but here I just want to do some cliff notes messages meaning giving you some key truths from scripture on various subjects to help you. A lot of folks say these days that they want to live their best life.

Well I'm going to help you live your best life by giving you nuggets of truth that if you apply them and live them out it will help you live your best life. And so I'm launching a series of messages that are kind of going to be cliff notes for doing God's will. But this opening message in this series I'm calling make the choice to rejoice.

Make the choice to rejoice. If you have a Bible with you go with me to 1 Thessalonians chapter 5. 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 and there I want you to look at verses 16, 17 and 18. 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verses 16 through 18.

Here's what you'll find. Paul says rejoice always pray without ceasing in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Don't you see how those nuggets are so concise yet if you live them out they will definitely help you live your best life.

So let me tackle the first one in this message. Paul said rejoice always. Always you want to live your best life then you need to develop a lifestyle Paul says characterized by rejoicing. Simply put you can make the choice to rejoice.

That's the thing Paul wants you to know as he gives us this particular cliff note. You can make the choice to rejoice. Rejoicing isn't going to happen by you waking up one morning and you just are full of giddiness and full of fun.

If that happens great. Fun is good. Happiness is great. But joy can be a choice.

You can wake up and say I'm going to have a lousy day or you can wake up and say I will rejoice and be glad in this day. I will bless the Lord at all times. If you'll notice when you read your Bible you will see the psalmist say those kinds of things. You will see that message echoed throughout the pages of scripture where people make the choice to live their best life by rejoicing. And I just want to unpack that in this message and I'll continue on with the other two sentences in the messages to come. Right now I want you to know you can make the choice to rejoice.

You don't have to choose bitterness. You will go through difficulties. You will go through challenges. You will go through times when circumstantially life is not good. Paul is saying despite that you can make the choice to rejoice.

Until your circumstances get better, until you come into the fulfillment of God's will for your life, you can express joy and rejoice and I want to prove that to you in the pages of scripture. You can't choose what happens to you but you can choose how you respond to what happens to you. Sometimes we make our own circumstances.

Sometimes life happens to us. And when life happens to you which are things that you wouldn't want to go through, you wouldn't choose to go through, many of you would say, oh Lord, this pandemic year 2020, I wouldn't choose this for anything in the world. I get it. I get it. Although you wouldn't choose to go through anything like this, here we are in a pandemic and the fact is although we can't choose it, we can't do anything about the fact that it happened, we can choose what we say, what we do, and how we think in the midst of it.

And I want to encourage you to do just that. And in the Old Testament, there's a prophet, one of the minor prophets is a guy named Habakkuk. Habakkuk in chapter three of his prophecy, he mentions the dire circumstances that God's people were going through after Babylonian captivity. If you know your Old Testament history, you know there were periods of time when God's people were hauled off into captivity because of disobedience.

They went through all kinds of things because of their own disobedience. And in Habakkuk three, this prophet is talking to the people of God about the fact that yes, circumstances have been very dire. And some of you can relate to it right here today. The fact of the matter is sometimes we go through difficult periods. Sometimes we go through times where money is funny and change is strange and your job is crazy and you lose your job and all kinds of things can happen. People get sick, people go to the hospital, you lose loved ones.

We have circumstances we have to deal with that aren't of our choosing or our liking. But I want us to learn today what Habakkuk helped the Old Testament saints learn. In Habakkuk chapter three, I want you to look at verses 17 through 19. Here's what the prophet says. Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, though the labor of the olive may fail and the fields yield no food, though the flock may be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls.

Oh, that's negative. Look at verse 18. Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.

I will joy in the God of my salvation. Hold on right there. You just missed a place to shout. You just missed a place to get good and happy. He talked about all the stuff that was going on and it was real. It was real. The crops had failed and the cattle was not there for them.

This was a horrible famine during this particular time. He doesn't try to deny that and we who are faith-walking 21st century people, we need not deny that. Stay with us. The second half of Pastor Paul Shepherd's message is coming right up. We want to thank all of you who support Destined for Victory with your prayers and financial support, gifts that help Pastor Paul share the joy of the Gospel message with a growing audience. Destined for Victory is supported entirely by friends like you. And today, as we continue to face some tough challenges, your support is more critical than ever. So please, prayerfully consider making a gift to Destined for Victory today. You can give online safely and securely at our website,, or give us a call at 855-339-5500.

Once again, that's 855-339-5500. Jesus said, I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him will bear much fruit.

Well, joy is one of them. Here's Pastor Paul with the rest of today's Destined for Victory message, make the choice to rejoice. I love my faith walking, brothers and sisters, and I am a man of faith. But sometimes I see folk just overwork the faith thing and the confession thing.

I know some folk who won't admit to any negative circumstances. No, that's not walking by faith. Walking by faith is, yes, these things are going on. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but, and that's when you bring in the positive on the other side of the comma, yet, and that's what he does here. Yes, we have failed crops. Yes, we have lost our flocks.

There are no herds in the stall. Then he says, yet, I will rejoice in the Lord. I will joy in the God of my salvation. In other words, rejoice, why?

Because you belong to God. That's the first thing you got to rejoice about. Rejoice because you belong to God.

That's what he tells you to do here. Rejoice just because you're one of his. And if you belong to him, you know that he is not going to let your life end in those negative circumstances.

He's going to bring you through it and he's going to bring you out of it. So why should I rejoice? Why should I make the choice to rejoice? A, because I rejoice because I belong to God. Rejoice knowing that you belong to God.

That is something to be excited about because if I'm his child, he's responsible for me making it through what I'm going through. See, you got to understand, the Bible says, one of the things David says in Psalm 100 is, we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. One thing I love about being one of God's sheep is that he takes care of the flock.

The flock doesn't have to take care of themselves. Sheep need a shepherd and God said, you're mine. The Lord is my shepherd and so we are his people.

We're the sheep of his pasture. At the end of the day, when you are kingdom person, your problems really are God's problems and that's one of the things you can say to the Lord in prayer. God, I thank you that I belong to you.

You know what I need and I thank you that you have promised to supply my needs. You need to rejoice because you belong to God. Sometimes we're always looking for circumstances that will allow us to rejoice and great when you get them. I've told you before, happiness is a commodity. Get as much of it as you can but when you run out of happiness because all of your crops are failing and the herds aren't in the stall as is the case here, say well what would I be happy about? Well those aren't happy circumstances but I can rejoice.

Why? Because I belong to God and he is not going to allow this to end in my failure or my defeat. You rejoice because you belong to God. Then look at the next verse. He says the Lord God is my strength. He will make my feet like deer's feet. He will make me walk on my high places, my high hills. What in the world is he talking about? He's saying just picture yourself as a deer and he says you are outfitted by God so that even though you're up on the mountain ridges and what have you, you don't fall off the mountain because God has given you sure footedness.

Here's the way I want to put it. The A point is rejoice because you belong to God. B, rejoice because God will give you strength, agility and sure footedness.

Rejoice because God will give you strength, he'll give you ability and he'll give you sure footedness. Anybody ever gone through a place in your life, some of you are probably there right now where you look at it and you say I don't know how in the world I am making it. Why aren't I losing my mind? How come I haven't gone crazy with what they did to me and with what I'm having to deal with? I can't believe that I'm still making it.

Here's why you're making it. Habakkuk said because God has given you strength, because God has given you agility, you can make it even when you're going through places where it wouldn't be easy to move about. God's helping you to make the right step and the right place so that you don't fall off the mountain of your life and he has made you sure footed. And so if you want to know how can I rejoice always, here's how you do it. You rejoice because you belong to him.

You rejoice because you know that he's given you strength, ability, and sure footedness. One more thing, you rejoice because God's promise is going to come to pass in your life. What is God's promise?

What are you talking about, Pastor? A promise? What has God promised me? Oh, let me tell you, my friend, God has given you exceeding great and precious promises.

Why? Because you belong to him. If you belong to God, you are going to end up in the place he ordained for your life.

You are not going out a defeated person. We just sang it in praise and worship. You cannot be defeated because you serve the victorious savior and he didn't win the victory for himself.

He didn't need it. He was already God. He came down and he won the victory for you and for me. I get to just walk in to the victory that he's established and I just got to live that out. And one of the ways I will live that out is by learning to rejoice. Imagine what the devil is going to think when you go into this week or the weeks to come and your circumstances haven't changed in your favor yet. You're still going through some stupid stuff. You ever had just dumb stuff to go through in your life?

Just go on and be honest with yourself. There's no way you can make real sense out of this, but the fact of the matter is while you're going through it, you know that God is with you and he's with you to bring you out of it. Just like David said, yes, sometimes we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, yet we don't have to fear any evil.

Why? Because of who's with us. Sometimes I don't like what I'm going through, but I can rejoice in my company.

I belong to God. I know that God's making, giving me strength and giving me agility and giving me sure-footedness because God's promises will come to pass in your life. God's promises will come to pass in your life. It's not an if. It's not a maybe. It's not if everything works out.

No, no. God began the good work in you and God is going to bring it all the way to completion. I want to unpack that third point because that's the money ball right there. That's the one that'll get your life going in the right direction when you think not only about what you're going through, but think about what you're going to because what you're going to is worth rejoicing about. If you aren't excited about what you're going through, I want you to get excited about what you're going to. God is taking you somewhere.

That's why our church is destiny Christian fellowship because God has a destiny for his children. Now, the end result of the journey of destiny will take us home to be with him. First of all, let me just say, do you realize that you have not been home yet? You have never been home. None of us know what home is like. Oh, I know what we mean here on earth. Being at home is being in the will of God.

Okay, I get that. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, but that's not my ultimate home. My ultimate home is to spend eternity in the presence of my savior and all of the brothers and sisters that he has brought us into one universal family. I believe in what God is ultimately taking us to. I believe in life hereafter.

I know some of y'all are too scientific to just believe in anything but what you see, what you can put in a test tube and all that. I feel sorry if you don't have the ability to realize that there is a God and he is at work and we are his people. We are the sheep of his pasture. One day, we're all coming to a judgment day, which is why you got to get to know him now. You need to know the Lord now as your savior before you ever meet him as your judge. I want to say to anybody watching me anywhere in the world, if you don't know the Lord as your personal savior, today is the day when you got to get to know him.

Give him your life. I'll never forget years ago, I prayed with a man who had spent his whole life as an atheist but a member of his family came to the States. I believe he was in China, came to the States and worshiped with our church while she was in the States and she was so taken by our ministry and she stayed in touch when she went back home. And when this man, her dad was dying, she started witnessing to him and she said, do you realize that you need to accept the Lord and what have you? And he started asking questions. She contacted us and said, pastor, would you talk to my dad?

He's just got a couple of simple questions and what have you. And then would you help me lead him to the Lord? Long story short, that's exactly what happened on his deathbed. This Chinese gentleman who had spent his life not believing that there was anything beyond here and not anyone above us, he said, I now am convinced that I need the Lord. And we prayed and he received the Lord.

He died days thereafter and she rejoiced knowing one day she's going to have a great reunion with him in glory. Saint Corinthians 6, 2 tells us that now is the favorable time. Now is the day of salvation. If you're listening today and you've yet to make that decision, the Destined for Victory ministry team would like to pray for you. And for those who have already accepted Christ, but find yourself struggling to possess the joy of your salvation, we'd welcome a chance to pray for you as well.

Visit, click contact us and let us know how we can join you in prayer. While you're there, be sure to ask for Pastor Paul's monthly letter of encouragement, yours at no cost or obligation. And here's something else, a booklet from Pastor Paul Shepherd called Your Purpose is Calling. You know, God often uses other people to point us in the direction of our God-given purpose.

He also uses challenges or crises to help propel us into Providence. In Your Purpose is Calling, Pastor Paul shares three directives for anyone trying to discover his or her purpose. That's Your Purpose is Calling, our gift to you today by request for your generous gift to Destined for Victory. Call 855-339-5500 or visit to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift to Destined for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, CA 94538.

Once again as you grab a pen and paper, Destined for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, CA 94538. Well, if you can't get excited about where you are, you can always look forward to where you're headed. Here's Pastor Paul. I'm telling you folks, when you can't rejoice about what you're going through, I'm telling you, you need to rejoice about what you're going to. Rejoice because God's promises will come to pass in your life. That's tomorrow in Pastor Paul's message, Make the Choice to Rejoice. Until then remember, He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-11 17:31:14 / 2023-12-11 17:40:05 / 9

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