Jeff Gillie - Courage, Joy, and Increase - Brisbane, Queensland, Australia Convention - 2018

Courage is fear that has prayed, faith that sees reality, and it is love that pays the price, and if you have those three things in your life, you will have courage. You will have courage for the tests and the trials and you’ll be able to go forward and not backward. You will be looking forward and not backward because you will have courage in your heart and you will have what you need to go on.

I wonder how many times David looked at the enemy and the enemy was so much greater than he was. Many times, the enemy outnumbered his men in strength and numbers and the Lord drew near and helped them. I wonder how many times he was fearful and he prayed to the God of Heaven to help him again and again. Do you ever get tied of going to the Lord and asking him for help? Sometimes, we can get weary in going to the Lord and asking him for help and yet that is what He wants us to do. I think of how easily little children ask many times, and I would ask my father the same question so many times and he would say, "If you ask once more, you are in big trouble." That is how it is and that is how little children are and as time goes on, we get older and there is this thing called self and called pride and it becomes more difficult to ask and sometimes it’s hard to ask others and it is hard to ask the lord. It is easier sometimes for us to walk in our strength although we cannot really and we know that will never work.

Here is David asking the Lord again as the battle is before him. We think of the natural battle and the battle in his own heart and then he was trusting the Lord and fearful that the enemy was going to overcome. The key he learned was the battle belongs to the Lord, it doesn’t belong to me. Maybe, it is personal to us and something we can hardly talk about and it is something that belongs to the Lord and it is only He that can help us in the battle. Courage is faith that sees reality.

We are living in a world that is unreal, a world that is always trying to create a different kind of reality and this world has such a difficult time facing reality. It is only the Lord’s people that know how to deal with reality and the Lord has helped them and given them something so they can face things of this world and go forward and they can know victory and overcoming in their lives. Faith that sees reality, and you think of David standing before Goliath and his brothers and he knows his brothers so well. He knows they are stronger and more able than he is and here David has the faith to see reality, and reality was that fear can be overcome that day. David sees the battle belongs to the Lord, David sees that because there has been a faith in his heart that has been nurtured in private times in his life by the battles that were fought and others would not even know about. It is this faith that gives him great courage and love that pays the price.

Judas came to Jesus in the garden and he betrays Jesus with a kiss and Jesus called him a friend. Love that pays the price. Judas, the one that was going to betray Jesus and the one that was going to cause a lot of events to happen and would be very costly for Jesus. Jesus knows this. The others were wondering who Jesus was speaking about when He said, "There is one who will betray Me." Jesus did not reveal him and there is a love that is paying the price, for the love of the soul of Judas. Jesus looked ahead and knew what was around the corner for Judas and Jesus could only feel such sadness for Judas and it did not have to be that way.

When we think of what Jesus faced on a daily basis, and what He did for others and we see a demonstration of a love that was paying the price and we see the greatest courage we have ever seen in any man. Jesus was able to go forward and in that hymn we were singing and it speaks about the goal very distant and far away. We sometimes feel that way and the goal we are travelling towards and it seems distant and far away and we are in this world and we are frail human vessels. We are doing the best we can and we are going forward and we hope to reach the homeland someday and it just seems the goal is very far away. When we reach the goal there are some words we want to hear and they are in Matthew 25:21, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

What I have been thinking about is this joy and there can be an increase in our lives. There is so much about increase and doesn’t matter about investing in Wall Street share market or helping a neighbour and everyone is seeking an increase in some way. They measure their success by the amount of increase. People are amazed having so little to begin with and by the end of the day, they have had a massive increase in their wealth. It is a marvel how they can do that and we know that that increase will stay on this side of the grave. We are so thankful today we can labour for something and knowing an increase in something that we can take with us beyond the grave. We have enjoyed the increase in this life and we are so happy for the increase that has happened within through the years and we can take with us that increase. It is the increase in one’s life that they can say this is the best convention ever and these are the best days yet. Sometimes, people are quite elderly, and people say, "My life is a lot better now than a few years ago as there has been an increase in the Lord working in my life." This is something we want in our lives so much and to labour for the increase.

I was thinking of the woman in I Kings 17 and Elijah and the situation there. Elijah was escaping from the enemy and the Lord said he would like him to go to the widow. It so happened this widow had very little and only a little meal left in the bottom of the barrel and she was going to make a little meal for her son and herself and then eat it and die. It seems odd that the Lord would send Elijah to a lady that had nothing for herself, let alone anyone else. He goes to this widow and says to her to prepare a meal and it would be given to him and that is what happened. Could you imagine how costly that was to give the last little bit of meal to this man? That is when the costs goes up in your life and you feel you have so little to give and it seems that is what is required of you and the Lord is asking for that. You look at others and they are appear to have more and it would be easier for them to give and yet the Lord is asking you to give that little piece of meal. In faith, you give it and you will have nothing left and you don’t know exactly what is going to happen. This woman gave to Elijah that day and there was a miracle that happened and the meal did not fail. That woman learned that through obedience the miracle happened. On the other side of obedience is a miracle. In her case, on the other side was a miracle that took place and that increase kept happening and happening.

I was thinking about a time in the disciple’s life in Mark 6 when John the Baptist life was taken from him. The disciples were confused when his life was snuffed out. To be taken in such a senseless way by someone, and they were wondering why would the Lord allow that to happen. Jesus called the disciples over to a desert place and they went with Him and Jesus knew they needed to be with Him because there was a lot of activity. A multitude of people started to come and I am sure the disciples were beside themselves. All four gospel writers speaks about the miracle, and there are not many miracles that all four men recorded. It made such an impression on their lives. The miracle was this lad that had so little gave what he had and Jesus blessed that and then there was the increase.

You imagine as they were passing out the bread and there was only a little in the basket and they had to feed a great multitude. Say I had 10 slices of bread and as I went down the rows backward and forwards and it never failed and there was more and more slices. I am the only one that is aware of the miracle and as each person takes a little bit of bread and I see that it does not fail and there is an increase. I have learned a lesson through the hands of Jesus and through His life, there is great increase and there is no human explanation for it and through His life, there is an increase and as they would follow Him and His life would become part of theirs and they would be a part of Him. There would be a sense of increase that would take place in their life and there is a fullness there that had not been there before and there can only be rejoicing for that.

In Mark 12, a widow put two mites into the treasury and the rich and wealthy threw in a lot. If they threw in great abundance and it was 10% of their wealth and it was very impressive because it was a great amount they had given and this woman gave a couple of mites and it was nothing. What would make that woman willing to give what she had when it was almost nothing in comparison and why would she do that? There was a conviction in her that she gave what she had, and there would be a blessing. Jesus so desired that He would see this kind of spirit in His disciples. Giving what we have and not worrying about what we might have tomorrow, giving what we have today and there would be great increase in that.

Luke 10:21, “In that hour, Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, 'I thank thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; even so Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight.'” Jesus rejoiced in that hour and His disciples were having an increase place place in their lives. There was also an increase taking place in Jesus' life as He went deeper and deeper into the will of the Father and that would be the example as they would see Him walk before them. He rejoiced and there was a sense of joy in His life and it was very deep. It is also true that Jesus was a man of sorrows and there was a depth of sorrow in His life. You could say He tasted of the greatest joy and the greatest sorrow that any man had ever tasted, and there was a great work taking place in His life because of that, we are thankful today that He was able to rejoice and it helped Him to pour rejoicing from His life.

John 15:11, “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” In John, we read a couple times about your joy might be full. There is a lot of joy in this world with people interacting together and there comes a time when the happiness is gone. There is a possibility of having this joy that is deeper than anything else and that we ever have had before. This is the joy that Jesus was trying to bring to His disciples and this fullness of joy. In Psalm 16, David said, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy.” You will never find so much joy as when you are in God’s presence. There is something about the very presence of the Father and there is a fullness of joy there, and there is a fullness of peace, and fullness of rest and it is very, very good.

In the first part of this chapter in John 15, Jesus is speaking about the vine. Jesus speaks about the branches being purged or being pruned. The pruning process is not something any of us enjoy, but it does bring an increase in our lives. I have laboured quite a bit in the desert in Arizona, and after you have spent some time in the desert, you begin to enjoy it. When you have been in the lush parts of the country and you drive into the desert and you wonder what is here with all the sand and hot weather and it does not look very appealing. The desert can teach a person a lot of lessons about life. One thing in the desert, you see the power of water. You see nothing but sand for miles and then you see a little bit of water and the water is coming out of the ground and there is a little bit of greenery there and there is palm trees and it is like a little oasis. All because of this water that has come up and it is amazing what they can grow in the desert if there is water.

In the desert stretch, there is a lot of things that grow there and in one part of the desert, there is a native tree of the desert called a Paloverde tree. It grows very fast if you give it plenty of water. The problem is because it grows so quickly and a little wind and it will snap to pieces. So you must prune this tree back, and when you prune it, it looks severe and ugly for a while. That is this the thing that gives this tree strength and that is the thing that gives strength to us. If we were to grow and go this way and that way and we may be happy because there is so much growth and it seemed so good in so many ways, but the Lord knows and the Lord has a way of understanding. Then there is this pruning process in this life of ours and it will bring forth strength. After this tree has been pruned and grows again, it will be as big as it was before, but it will be strong and there will be a better shape to it and more beautiful to look at. The Lord will keep pruning us from time to time and you may think I thought that branch was pretty good. You could think there was plenty of good fruit and maybe there was and the Lord knows and He prunes again. We have to trust the Father that He knows how to prune the tree.

In verse 3, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” That is something that can prune the tree the word of God. We read this word and it has a cleaning and pruning effect on this life of ours. This human life of ours is like an automatic transmission and it keeps going by itself, and our spiritual life is like a manual transmission and you have to shift the gears yourself. You have to make time for it and it is like when you go forward. Our natural human life is like being in automatic and it feeds all the day long and you don’t have to do anything. The natural live feeds on things around it. But the inward life the Lord has given us and we must make time for. It is something we must be in control of and the Lord must strengthen this life of ours; otherwise, the other life will take over.

When we are reading this word, there is a wonderful cleansing effect that takes place and there is a sense of peace when there could be agitation. It is not always easy and I have heard people say sometimes, "When I read a chapter and I did not get anything," and that happens to everybody. Part of the problem is we are too far away. We have been so busy with so many things and there has been so much activity and our minds are full of many things and we sit down to read and our minds are still full and we need to be patient and read again and read more. If you make it a habit at a certain time of the day that you have set aside to read and it will be very helpful to you. We must set aside time to read the word, and if we don’t our life will be on automatic and take over.

Judges 6:4, “And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth.” They destroyed the increase and that is what the enemy want to do to you today. At the end of the year, the enemy wants you to feel that there has been no progress and no growth and no real inspiration and no real strength. He wants to make you feel you have made no progress and you’re not getting anywhere and in fact, there could be a decrease taking place. The enemy is always trying to make you look back and then go back, but there is nothing to go back to. It’s an illusion that there is anything back there to go to and it is just nothing. Everything lies ahead. The devil tries to cause a decrease in everything.

At the end of verse 11, “Gideon threshed wheat by the wine press to hide it from the Midianites.” So he hid the increase and the Lord looked upon him as a man of valour and a brave and courageous man, because he stood against the enemy and because the enemy could not to take his increase. The increase was something he needed and they all needed. The Lord is so anxious for an increase to take place in our lives. Sometimes, we meet someone we haven’t seen for a long time and maybe 20 years, and we see in them an increase. We can remember them as from before and we see the increase and it makes us very glad for them. It has been the mark of the Lord continuing in their lives.

I think of the story of Ruth and it was very dark days for Elimelech and in the very last verse of Judges, it says, (21:25) “In those days, there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” That is like the world we live in today and they feel they have the right to do what is according to themselves. That is not what Jesus brought to this world and He bought a way, and that way delivers us from all human thoughts and our own ways would only lead to decrease. Ruth and Elimelech, they left Judah and there was decrease in the land and when they left, there was even more decrease and more decrease than they would ever think would happen. Somehow, Naomi survived and she was way out in the world way out in Moab and she heard the message and I wonder sometimes how she heard it. She heard the Lord had visited His people with bread and it prompted her to return to her land and to her people and it was like a new beginning. There is so much darkness and there was so much loss. The Lord was guiding her life and He was very merciful to her.

There was Ruth that came into the picture also and when they came back, it was a time of the barley harvest which was a wonderful time. Naomi was still caught up with the experience she went through and she still felt in distress. She just felt like she had nothing. She was still feeling depressed and said, "Just call me, 'Mara,' for 'the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.'” She felt the Lord had emptied her and it was quite possible because now the Lord could fill her to a deeper level than ever before. Sometimes, the Lord takes a person further down than they have been taken before. It has been said of the prodigal son that he had very bad habits, but he had a very good heart and that very good heart bought him back again. There are a lot of people like that and the Lord is bringing that person down and finally they reached the bottom and then the true work begins. That was the case for Naomi, and what she could not see was that the Lord was going to cause an increase that she had never seen before.

Ruth went out into the field and she gleaned and it wasn’t long before she was reaping what she had gleaned. She was providing abundantly for her mother-in-law. Then Ruth found a husband, than a child was bought into the picture. That was a lot more than Naomi could imagine, and that is when the increase began to happen in her life. This story of our lives can have a lot of tragedy. As servants, we meet many people and we know many folk in different areas and we see tragedy in their lives and the Lord was able to bring about a good end, a very good end. The tragedy could have been a very bad end, but the tragedy became a part of the past. It was left in the past and they went on and from the tragedy, they began to know increase and that is how they left this world with the increase at the end. We do not know what kind of a road you have gone down and the Lord can change your life. The Lord can cause everything to happen and He can cause great increase. If we have this thing called faith and if we have this thing called love and if this love has been nurtured in our life and if there has been an increase in that and then the Lord can do great things in our lives. For Jesus' Sake.