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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1289

Serve the Lord With Gladness
Part One

June 18, 2017

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1289 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: I don’t know, I’ve had thoughts percolating in my mind the last two or three days, and I guess if I had to pick one thought as a springboard, it would be a line from Psalm 100. And I tend to remember some of those scriptures in the King James Version, since that’s what I grew up with. But there is a line in, I believe it’s verse 2, that in the King James says, “Serve the LORD with gladness….”

Now you compare translations and they kind of go back and forth between serve the Lord and worship the Lord, but it really is the same thing. And obviously, it’s very central to a relationship with the Lord that we serve Him. He is the Lord, after all, and we’re in a place of subservience. But, how many of you believe that we need to serve the Lord and it needs to be a drudgery and a duty and…there’s a side to that that I believe there’s a need in all of us, at times in our spiritual experience, that we need to remember that it’s not just a matter of what we do, but the Lord wants us to have a gladness and experience a joy in what we do.

(congregational amens ).

At one point this morning, I was sharing what the new world that God’s going to create is going to be like and just imagine it, being filled with His presence and His power and all of us who are there changed into His image so that we just don’t have any of this old nature anymore to contend with. There won’t be anything but the love of God. But you know, the second fruit of the Spirit is what?

( congregational response ).

It’s joy, isn’t it? I mean, do you really think that people are gonna be going around in the new heavens and the new earth and saying, oh my God, it’s time to go to a meeting again?

( laughter ).

No! There won’t be any of that. And, from my own experience and certainly I think everybody here, if you would admit it, would have to say that there’s times in our spiritual walk where doing the things that we know are right to do, from a spiritual standpoint, suddenly become a little bit…

( sighing ).

…Like, that again, got to pray…oh, it’s time to go to meeting. I’m tired. And everyone experiences those kinds of emotions, at one time or another. And, I believe the Lord wants to bring us to something better.

Folks, we’re gonna need to be a light in a dark world! That was something that was said today. And many of you will remember, those who were around back then, Brother Thomas occasionally talking about the, best I remember his little story, it was some little farm boy went to his dad and said, dad, our mule’s got religion! And he wondered what in the world was he talking about. He said, he’s got a long face, just like Aunt so-and-so and you know, she’s the most religious person I know!

( laughter ).

Well, there’s no…anyway, those two don’t go together. Being religious doesn’t mean you have to go around with a frown! My word, we should be the happiest people in the world!

( congregational amens ).

We have something to rejoice about no matter what circumstances come our way. And I just…I pray that God will work this in me, because we’re different people. We react differently to life. And Satan loves to undermine our spiritual lives in very subtle ways.

And you may remember what happened after Ezra, Nehemiah, and that generation rebuilt the wall, rebuilt the Temple and there was a great restoration of the people and of the joyfulness in their work and their worship, their feasts.

But you go a generation down the line, and you come to Malachi, and if you read through Malachi, he talks about Edom but then he gets down to the people of Israel. And over and over and over again the Lord is just pointing out, look, you guys are coming and you’re bringing offerings, I wish you wouldn’t bother. (I mean, I’m paraphrasing.) I hate it! When you come to offer a sacrifice, you get the one that you don’t want anyway.

You know, oh my God, we’ve got to offer a sacrifice again! Well, there’s that runt over there. He’s halfway diseased anyway, he’s not going to live. Let’s just take him. But literally, that was going on. I wonder how much our spiritual life gets like that sometimes, when He gave His best for us.

( congregational amens ).

And sometimes we’re just a little bit, more than a little bit grudging in what we do. But the Lord was looking past the sacrifice. It wasn’t the outward stuff that He was so concerned about as the heart that was expressed through that. It was meant to prepare the people for the coming of Christ, the one sacrifice to end them all. But they were turning it into a religious drudgery. And over and over, whether it was giving and tithes and offerings, or singing, or whatever it was, the Lord just hated it. It wasn’t serving the purpose for which He gave it at all.

And he kind of sums it up in chapter 3, in one place where their attitude was, why are we doing all this stuff? What good is it doing us? Look at the wicked. They’re doing fine. And we’re doing all this stuff and what’s it getting us? Oh, my God! What a selfish, blind, near-sighted way of looking at things.

And of course, you look at the world and they’re…you know, we were made for God. And there is an empty place in every human heart that will never be filled, properly, with anything but God. And God made us to experience His love but also His joy!

And you can readily see what the people of the world turned to. You know, Satan is well aware of this emptiness that exists, this restlessness of the human heart and he is right there to promote our nature, giving in to our nature, finding expression through our nature, to try to cover that up, to try to feed that, to try to satisfy that in some way. And so, people turn to the flesh in every imaginable way.

And you know, we’re conscious of the more obvious ways that people are overtaken by alcohol, or just partying, or sexual lusts, or a thousand and one things. But I mean, it gets down to ordinary things. You know, some people’s way of coping with those kinds of empty feelings on the inside is to eat a box of chocolates.

Now there’s nothing wrong with eating a chocolate; it’s not the issue. But I mean, if what we do, from a natural standpoint, is rooted in trying to use our natural things, trying to express our own nature in order to fill the empty place in here that we’re feeling, you see what’s going on there.

I’ve kind of jumped ahead logically here, but that’s okay. But you know, we are affected…let me bring this in. Many years ago, some of you who were here back then will remember this. Many, many years ago now, there was a vision given in one of the services. And in the vision, best I remember, there was a mountain—a large mountain. And high up on the mountain, the higher you went, the brighter it got, the clearer the air. But as you went down, and got toward the valley, it got darker and murkier and murkier until it was just really darkness down there.

And the Lord anointed Brother Thomas to preach a message called “Up the Mount With God”, if I’m not mistaken. Now that happened about a year before I became part of the work, but I remember listening to that one time, at least. And the general idea is that if we live down in the realm that this world dwells in, where it’s what our flesh wants that’s in charge, we live in a realm of darkness, we live in a realm where devils operate.

And I’ll tell you, if we live down there devils are going to take advantage. And we who know the Lord are not immune to his tactics. And if we take our joy, or if we allow our joy to be dependent upon circumstances, we’re gonna have a hard time, because Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble.” (NIV).

This is not a…there’s no way to escape this. There’s no secret way to get through life where there’s nothing bad that’s ever going to happen, from a circumstantial standpoint. How is God going to deliver us from our nature if it’s never challenged? I mean, that was a real theme in the dmen’s meeting this morning. It’s exactly right! God is doing something, not to us, but for us!

( congregational amens ).

There are things that must happen if we’re to be set free from the tyranny of self, that’s just gonna grab for something for self to satisfy that empty place and it cannot happen. It just will never happen. There’s no satisfying it.

But we’re not immune, folks. To the degree that we are looking at things and reacting as a natural man would react, or a natural woman, we’re gonna be in a bad place. We’re gonna be in a place where our eyes get down where they don’t need to be and people are gonna look at us, man, I don’t want what they have. There’s no joy. They talk about ‘joy, joy, joy, in my heart is ringing.’ And on the inside it’s not there. The words are hollow. And I just pray that God will help us to get our eyes beyond things like that.

But we’re not immune to those things, are we? And if you’re…there are so many things that could play into it. If we have unrealistic expectations as to what it’s like to be a Christian, and we’re expecting things to be a certain way. I prayed and I expect this is gonna happen.

Well, there could be a real faith that moves God. That’s one thing. But a lot of times it’s just what we want, and how we want it, and when we want it. And if God doesn’t come across, we kind of resent it. Or it kind of rocks us back a little bit and we begin to be down in that realm where devils can talk to us and kind of explain it.

And of course, if you’re trying to have a joy in the sense of an emotion and you think, oh, if I’m right with God I should feel joy overflowing my…the emotion of joy all the time, everything should be just great and grand. Good luck! It ain’t that way! If we’re gonna serve God, we’re going to have to learn to rejoice and to take a stand against that.

But if we’re subject to how we feel and how things go and a whole lot of other things, we’re gonna be in a bad place. And sometimes…how many of you have tried to make suggestions to God about how things ought to go in your life, and how He ought to work things out?

( laughter ).

And you have your ideas about how it ought to work, and if it doesn’t, you don’t like it. How many of you remember the story of Jonah? I have jokingly said I identify with him, but it’s not really a joke. He was a miserable guy.

But oh, the Lord saw a tremendous need in a city—in a tremendous heathen city called Nineveh. And He didn’t think like Jonah did. In spite of their condition, His heart was one of compassion. He says, I want to reach out to them, I want to help them, I want to do something. I’ve got a prophet down there, I want him to go. And Jonah heard the voice of the Lord and went the opposite direction as fast as he could go. Paid the fare, got on a ship and he was headed to the other end of the Mediterranean.

Well, the Lord had other plans. Has the Lord ever had other plans in your life? You started going the wrong way and He had a way of sending a storm. Well, He sent a storm. And he was down in the belly of the ship and the captain came down and said, come on, what’s the matter with you? Call upon your God, maybe He’ll hear us. Everybody who was on board, they all had gods…various nations. Everybody was calling on their god.

And finally, he had to admit, this is because of me. I’ve been running from the Lord. And even then they tried to save him and the Lord just made it worse. Finally, they said, all right, we’ll throw you overboard but God, please don’t hold this against us.

( laughing ).

( laughter ).

Please don’t hold this against us. And so, they threw him over and instantly it was calm. I’ll tell you, the Lord can use all kinds of things. He used that circumstance to reach those heathen people who were on that ship. And every one of them, oh, my god, this is God! They got an object lesson about the one true God!

And how the Lord had prepared everything, He had a fish that was exactly the right size and shape and all that he needed to be, happened to be right there, because the Lord’s purpose was not to destroy Jonah but to get him back on track. So the Lord had a way…sent the fish, not to judge him but to rescue him. And how many of you’ve ever been in the stomach of a fish for three days? Not literally, but…

( congregational response ).

…Yeah. Figuratively, sure! So, he got down there and he didn’t have anywhere to run. But somehow, there was enough faith there that he called upon God, even from the belly of the fish, and just expressed faith. And that fish spit him out on dry land. He didn’t even make him swim! I’ll tell you, isn’t God good?

( congregational response ).

And the word of the Lord came to him a second time. Go to Nineveh. He went to Nineveh.

( laughing ).

And he went there and he began to walk through the city. I think it said it took three days to get through it. It must have been a huge place at the time. Anyway, he said, in 40 days there’s gonna be judgment if you don’t repent.

And somehow the Lord gave that great city, from the king to the paupers, a heart of repentance. They had sackcloth and ashes and they bowed their heads down and they worshipped God. They knew about God. God’s message and His…the knowledge of Him was throughout the world. Everybody had heard the things that happened in Egypt and many other things…and from Solomon’s day. He was the greatest king in the world, at the time. So, they knew about Jehovah. So anyway, they repented and the Lord didn’t send judgment and Jonah was just full of joy and rejoicing!

( laughter ).

He was mad as Hades!

( laughter ).

And he went up on a hill and said, this is why I didn’t go in the first place. I knew you were a God of mercy! I didn’t want you to have mercy! Boy, I’ll tell you what, we need to…we don’t think like God thinks. God needs to be…we need to be willing to say, God, I don’t know anything. And the way I think is not right. I need you to change me.

You know, one little lesson from this is, how many of you when you hear about the atrocities that are being committed, say in the Middle East, will stop and actually pray for those who are committing those atrocities and realize that they’re human beings, too, and God cares about them? See, our natural reaction is, man, nuke them! They’re just vermin! We need to rid the earth of them!

But God sees people differently than we do! That’s just one little lesson about how we need to see…we need God’s viewpoint on everything! We need Him! We need to have our minds and our hearts changed so that we can love people!

You know, I told this…I’m reminded of this story that I guess I’ve told it several times here before but, when Corrie ten Boom’s family had been helping Jews to hide from the Nazis during World War II in Holland, and the Nazis finally caught up with them, and had them around the table and was interrogating them.

Well, there was a young man who had been working with them and one of the Nazi guards just whaled off and let him have it, beat him brutally, right in front of them. And Corrie ten Boom had a sister who was remarkable! Her testimony, right through to the end of the imprisonment, was just an amazing testimony of somebody who was so in tune with God that her life touched everybody!

Her reaction to that beating was, oh, that poor man! And Corrie testifies that it took her a while to realize that Betsy wasn’t talking about the guy who took the beating, but the guy who gave the beating! Oh, the poor man! To be in such a condition as to be able to do such a terrible thing!

See, we don’t think much like that, do we? But I believe the Lord wants to help us. But here’s a man who was…didn’t have a…I mean Jonah now, was a guy who didn’t have a whole lot of joy in his life. He was serving God. He was doing what he had to do. God had to really take strong measures to get him to do it. But he was doing, finally, what the Lord wanted. But he wasn’t a bit happy about it.

Well, that’s a miserable way to live! I want to, not only do what is right in His eyes and serve Him…serving Him is good, but it needs to be with gladness. Oh, wouldn’t it have been so much better if he’d been up there on the hill, praise God, oh, that great city, look at the mercy that You’ve shown them, isn’t that awesome? But he was up there bellyaching, complaining…made a little booth for himself, some kind of shelter. And the Lord took pity on him and allowed a gourd to grow up and give him some wonderful shelter and he was just…

( sighing ).

…This is great! And then the Lord sent a worm.

( laughter ).

And that wonderful gourd dried up overnight. And that wasn’t enough, the Lord sent an East wind! Come right in off the desert…and he’d gone from having a great time to being miserable and angry. He said, do you do well to be angry? You’re angry about the gourd and here I’m dealing with a whole city. Do you well to be angry? Yeah, I do well. I mean he just…

( laughter ).

You know, I can only hope that later on he looked back and laughed at himself. I don’t know. But there’s a lot of us in that, more than we’d like to realize. And I’ll tell you, if we allow life to affect us the way it affects people of the world, we’re not gonna have any joy in what we do.

And if you watch people who serve the Lord and it becomes a routine, it’s time to go to church, it’s time to pray, I got to do this, I got to do that. Oh, what a terrible thing it is when that becomes more of a burden than a blessing.

And you know, when we get in that place, that’s when we are down in the valley that I was talking about a little bit ago, where the Lord, the Devil, rather, begins to work on us and now we’re feeling something on the inside that’s not very pleasant. This lack of joy, this lack of peace…and of course, the Devil comes along and he says, what you need to do is go to the Lord, right? Are you awake?

( laughter ).

Just the opposite of that! He will pull on whatever it is that appeals to your nature and say, you need to do this to counter that. It might be to take a drink, or one or two or three. It might be to go to nicotine or a drug…some other drug. It might be to eat a box of chocolates. I won’t ask if there’s anybody here who’s done that.

You know, even in the world you have this concept of “comfort food.” That’s not food you eat because…for nutrition or to live. It’s because I have a hollowness, I have a sadness, I have something going…a hurt, something going on in here and by God, this is the answer. But if it isn’t that, it’s something else.

( congregational response ).

Yeah! You might go on the computer where you don’t need to go. There are a thousand and one things that the Devil will dangle. This is what you need to soften the pain, to get to the bottom of what’s going on. And you see where the Devil will get us down to that place where serving the Lord is no longer something that we do with gladness and now he turns that into, here’s your answer, but the answer is a trap. And the next thing you know, something from your nature has got a hold. And now you can’t get loose. Folks, we need the Lord, don’t we?

( congregational amens ).