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Finding Joy in Strange Places (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
September 23, 2021 8:00 am

Finding Joy in Strange Places (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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September 23, 2021 8:00 am

How joy differs from happiness; the role trials play in our spiritual development; learning how we should respond properly when trials come our way; based on James 1:1-8.

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It takes hard work to build a strong mind and body. The same is true of your spirit. Today we'll be building spiritual muscle on this Thursday edition of Destined for Victory. Coming your way next, Pastor Paul Shepherd shares his message, Finding Joy in Strange Places.

But before we start the message, he joins me now from his studio in California. Pastor, your ministry to us each day on the radio and with various online sources for Destined for Victory is so encouraging. One more thing that you do, and you feel strongly about this, is the monthly encouragement letter that goes out to everyone.

You want to say a word about that? How are we preaching messages? But we're really trying to impact your life and help you with application. Because again, our ministry exists to help people know God's Son, apply God's Word, and fulfill God's purpose. And my encouragement letter is designed to help you know Him, apply His Word, fulfill His purpose. And so I feel strongly about it. And I want to encourage people who are not on our mailing list to please take a moment and let us know.

Hey, I'd love to get the letter. It's absolutely free of charge. There's no obligation for it.

No obligation at all. We will take care of the stamp and everything. All you got to do is let us know. We can reach you. We'd be happy to send it to you. We can also send it to you by email. And it's important for you to be encouraged month by month. And so please let us do that. Get in touch with us. Give us your email and your mailing address so we can get in touch with you on a monthly basis. Well, the word encouragement means to give someone support, confidence, or hope.

Sometimes all three. And that's what Pastor Paul seeks to do each month with these letters of encouragement. Sign up today and you'll be glad you did. Here's something else for you when you make a generous gift today. Be sure to request a booklet from Pastor Paul based on his message from last month, Junk Removal for the Soul. This is our gift to you this month 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.

Again, the address is Destined for Victory, Box 1767, Fremont, CA 94538. God says, when you go through trials of many kinds, consider it joy, because when I get through working you out, you're going to have spiritual muscles that you didn't have before. Where you used to be weak, but now I can eat that trial for breakfast. It's been said that God's will never takes you where His grace will not protect you, and it's true. And part of the way He protects you is by making you stronger. Think of your trials as spiritual strength training designed to help you become all you can be in Christ. On today's Destined for Victory, Pastor Paul reminds you that God uses adversity for your good to prepare you for the work He has called you to do.

Stay right here or visit to listen on demand, and be sure to subscribe to the podcast at Apple, at Spotify, or wherever you get yours. Now here's Pastor Paul with today's Destined for Victory message, finding joy in strange places. I'll never forget one year, I had a trainer in the church, and I told him, man, there's certain muscles I want to develop. And he said, all right, come meet me at my place. And I went to his place. And so he said, all right, let me just work you out. And he knew, you know, Pastor's big strong dude. And so he assumed.

And he assumed that big strong from Philly pastor could handle a certain level. So he put the weights at a certain place where he thought I should be. And I started working out. And he put me on another machine. And he just saw I was already winded from the first one. And he didn't pay attention. He just assumed, you know, I had the passage to be able to handle this.

And by the time he got through it about the fourth or fifth machine, I could hardly talk. And I said to him, wait, I'll be back. And I went into the bathroom.

Sweat was dripping. I leaned on the counter. I asked Jesus to be with me. I was in there and praying. I'm serious.

I'm praying. Oh, God. Oh, Lord.

Oh, Jesus. And when I came out, he said, Pastor, you all right? And I said, I just need a little more time. And then he realized he's all past.

I'm sorry. He said, I just assumed that you could handle these levels on these machines. But he didn't know despite the fact that I appeared to be able to handle more to him than I could those particular muscles he was fooling with that day. Were seriously underdeveloped. As proof by the fact that that level of weight he put on them.

They couldn't handle it. Now, I'll tell about me so we don't have to talk about you. And he said, OK, Pastor, I get it. And he said, OK, you've got to develop some muscles in those areas that have lacked attention because in my everyday life, those muscles, I never had to call on them for much. Do you know what happens when you're doing strength training? You target you get on a certain piece of apparatus and you target certain muscles, whether you know it or not. The trainers know and the people who make the equipment know it, what it's going for. And they put a level of weight that you ought to be able to handle. And then when you pull on it or push or whatever that particular apparatus calls for, it is calling for that particular muscle to respond. It's challenging that muscle.

Come on and respond. Then as you do it, especially if you start shaking or something, you know what's happening. He explained all this to me later on.

I made a note because I knew I was going to need to preach it. And he said, he said, what is happening is blood rushes to that area to try to help you. The blood says, there's a problem over there.

Let's go. And it's trying to give you the strength and that muscle is being demanded to respond. And as the muscle responds, and then they call it reps. So you do it once and you don't get any credit.

You all do know that. That the trainer's not going to be impressed because you say, boom, boom. Okay, there you go.

What else? They call it reps. Do it again. Boom, boom. Do it again. Boom, boom. Do it again.

Do it again. It's demanding the muscle to respond. And he says, if you get to the place where that particular weight isn't pushing the muscle anymore. He says, you're wasting your time. So you have to monitor or let somebody help you monitor when you need to go to the next weight level.

Because if it gets easy, it's not making the demand. You have taught that muscle how to be strong enough to handle that. Now you have to give it something else. Did somebody hear what I'm trying to say to you? In the words of that great theologian, Chris Tucker, do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth? And that's why the trainer says, okay, you've done well at this level.

Now let's go up here. Because now they want to call on another level of muscle response. You see, James is saying, God takes all of your trials, whether he brought it, the devil brought it, the world brought it, you brought it on yourself. God says, when you go through trials of many kinds, consider it joy. Because when I get through working you out, you're going to have spiritual muscles that you didn't have before. Where you used to be weak, you'll be strong. You'll look at yourself and say, I used to not be able to, and you'll see the apparatus in your life say, I couldn't handle that before. I remember when that used to happen, I'd backslide, I'd lead a church, I'd be done. I remember when I was tripping over that kind of trial, but now I can eat that trial for breakfast. Anybody ever had God grow you up in some area where you used to not be able to handle anything and now you can handle it?

I used to just about lose my victory when this kind of thing would happen. But now that I've been worked out by the master, he said, I can handle it now. He says, so count it pure joy. And when you think about all the different muscles, I should have asked my trainer friend how many muscles there are that the equipment works out. I don't know. But how many of them there are, that's how many different types of machines and exercises they have to target things. And I remember a trainer saying to me, now what we're trying to target is this and pointing at some area. I didn't even know a muscle was in there. But they know, they've studied the body and they know there are all kind of things. And guess what, as it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual.

You've got some muscles you don't even know exist. Oh, but God knows what you need to work out with. And he will see to it that he'll use the trials, whether he brought it or not. He said, I'm the captain of your soul, I'll use anything I want. I'll use your mistakes, I'll use your failures, I'll use anything to bring you to a place of spiritual maturity. And some of you just need to understand that James is saying to us, get happy, that is consider it pure joy. Because it's going to work you out in ways you need. And listen, let me tell you something, God has a way of making us strong where we used to be weak.

Spiritual development is no joke, that's no cliché. If you are truly growing in the Lord, growing in your faith, you ought to be able to do things and handle things now that you couldn't this time last year. I'm saying if you're letting God work you out, you ought to be able to handle some stuff. If you can't take any more than you used to, uh-uh, you can't do that to me, why not?

Why not? We're God's people, we ought to be able to handle anything he allows to come our way. So he's going to work you out. And he might have to start you out on lower weights so you don't kill yourself, but he's going to work you out. And so stop looking at trials purely as negative events. They're not fun events, but they give you the opportunity to work out. They give you the opportunity to develop. They give you the opportunity to become a more, the word James uses is, mature person, not lacking anything. Well, building spiritual muscle isn't always easy.

But as you begin to see results, you'll be glad you endured it. Here's Pastor Paul with the rest of today's message, finding joy in strange places. See, that's what God wants. He wants us to be people who are well-rounded, not lacking anything essential.

Because he wants to be able to send us to any group of people in the world, give us any assignment in the world, and have us handle it well. We don't have to be on a certain kind of job to succeed. Some of y'all had to be on a job where nobody get on your nerves, because as soon as they get on my nerves, you fly off. That's not going to work, because you can't dictate the terms on which they give you money. They're giving you money, and you just put up with, see, that's what made me mad. That supervisor, if they just get rid of that supervisor, they're not getting rid of that supervisor.

If anything, they're getting rid of you. So let it work you out. And you say, Lord, go on and push me in that area, and teach my spiritual muscles to respond. Teach me to love unlovable people.

Come on, come on. Teach me, Lord, to be nice when they're not being nice to me. That's a workout. I said, that's a workout.

Teach me to be polite when they won't be polite to me. That's a workout. Teach me to put up with a husband who's working my last nerve.

That's a workout. If he's here, don't say amen. Teach me to put up with a wife who is going through all kind of changes and dragging me along with her.

Brothers, hush up. He says, consider it pure joy. He said, because it's working out perseverance. And after a while, he said, you'll know when you're getting there, because in the area of perseverance, you can cheerfully endure.

You can do it cheerfully. You ever seen these people who like working out? People who just enjoy it. They're just grinning. And you look down, what's the matter with you?

Nothing fun about this. But they've gotten to a place where they are so convinced, because they've seen the results in their body. They've seen where they've toned and where the muscles are strong and what have you. And they know what it's doing for them. And they enjoy that they've changed all their eating habits and all that. They're so focused now on the result. And they actually are hoop-a-mo-nay.

They are cheerfully in there working out, having fun. Meanwhile, the rookie just starting out is in there praying, Jesus, keep me near the cross. Perseverance, he says, verse 4, must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. And then I love how he wraps up this particular passage. He says, now if you lack wisdom. Now, keep it in the same context.

He's writing this all together in the same context. Now, if you lack wisdom, why did he jump to wisdom? No, he's still talking about going through your trials. He said, it's not just that we go through trials. We have to learn to go through them right. See, everybody goes through trials.

But not everybody is experiencing the perseverance that ought to be developed, because they're doing it wrong. You do know just because you're on the piece of apparatus that you're not necessarily doing it right? They'll sit you on some machine. If a trainer's not with you and you start working on this, somebody come by who knows.

No, no, no. No, you've got to put your back up against. That's why that pad is behind you. Put your back. Never let it come off of there.

And it sits straight up. And then they'll tell you these little specifics, and you wonder, what's the difference? I'm on here. They say, no, if you handle the exercise wrong, not only won't you get the results you hope to get, but you can hurt yourself. Anybody ever hurt yourself trying to get yourself together? You hurt yourself.

You're trying to do a good thing. Now you can't even do what you did before. That's why you limping and bent over and need to get in the healing line. Because you mishandled the fitness opportunity.

Oh, God is speaking through this. And so you can't just go through the trial. You've got to go through it right. Some folks always talk about the trials they're going through. You keep going through it because you haven't passed.

You can go through a trial wrong. They say, if you lack wisdom, what is wisdom? Wisdom answers the question, how? See, knowledge answers the question, what?

Knowledge is data, but wisdom is how, how to apply data, how to properly use data. And so he says, if you don't know how to go through your trials of many kind, ask God. So don't just go through. Go through saying, Lord, since I'm in this trial, help me to learn what I need to learn. Teach me how to exercise this area of my life correctly. And some Charles, if you're honest with God, you say, cause I don't want to go through this anymore. If anybody like me said, I don't ever want to have to be exercised in this area again. So Lord, help me teach me how to go through this so I can pass this and I'll be done. You can work me on some other areas.

This one I'm sick of. So he says, ask God for wisdom. And I love this. He'll give it to you generously without finding fault. God is an encouraging trainer. He'll say, you can do this.

He'll say, I'm giving you my strength, my support. I'll be your spotter. I'll stand here. That's who the Holy Spirit is.

He's standing there as your spotter. No, no. Go through this. No, no. Shut up. Don't say that.

No. Make sure you go through it right so that the exact muscle that's being isolated can respond. He said, I want you to go through it right. And then he says, now, when you ask God for that, believe and don't have doubt.

Why? Because God is for you. Saints of God, I want to wrap this up by telling you, God is for you. He wants you to win. He wants you to grow. He wants you to develop. God doesn't throw people away. He wants you to get this right.

If you fail miserably, it's not the end. Ask Him how. How, Lord, can I go through better?

How can I develop in areas where I'm underdeveloped? How can this happen in my life? And the Holy Spirit will walk with you.

And He will show you how. So He got the best of you. So you cussed everybody out on the job.

So you let them have it in the house. So whatever it is, so it happened. It's done. When you go to God, say, well, I guess I didn't work out right, huh? He will say, all right, let's get back on. Let's do it again. Let's do it better. If they fired you from that job, well, I'll get you another one.

You can try it on there. He says, if you don't doubt but believe, God will bless you with the growth that you need. He says, because if you doubt, you're double-minded, unstable in all your ways.

We don't want to be unstable. God wants to stabilize us. See, we're called to do things beyond our own capability, which means God has to develop spiritual muscles. And so you'll see when you're growing because you'll be able to handle things you couldn't handle before. And God will be able to trust you with assignments he couldn't trust you with before.

There are things that five years ago he would never have given you because you weren't there. But if you've been growing right, now God can take you to another level of responsibility, another level of having to handle other people. And so James says, count it pure joy, not because of what you're going through, but because if you go through it right, God will use it to develop you and make you the person he has called you to be. And you'll know that you're getting there because you'll see the muscles and you'll look at your before and after pictures, spiritually speaking. And you'll say, oh, I used to be this, but now by God's help, he has changed that area of my life. How many of you all can testify as you look at yourself right now, I can see some things that God has developed in me that years ago, years ago, you wouldn't even recognize it, wouldn't even recognize me, but because I've been letting him work me out. And so don't get mad when he takes you to a new type of trial.

He just wants to work out a different set of muscles and he'll do it for you. Thanks so much for joining us for today's message, finding joy in strange places. To find out more about the Destined for Victory ministry or to contact us for prayer, be sure to stop by our website,

That's Well, what seems right is sometimes wrong. What seems good isn't always God. So we need to be careful how we make our decisions. The worst thing you can do is to decide that what you think is right, because there's a way that seems right to a man or woman, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Just as sure as you decide I know what's right, without consulting God, you are on your way to destruction. That's tomorrow in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, Seeing Life from Heaven's Point of View. 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 / 2023-08-20 05:42:16 / 2023-08-20 05:51:20 / 9

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