Leon Fontaine - Joy, The Strength of A Leader
Christmas. Now, if you've ever heard me speak any time at the end of the year, you know I absolutely love Christmas. I've just been raised that way, I love everything about it, from buying presents to sitting on Santa's knee, to all the fairy tales that go with it from the grinches to the elves to you name it. I just feel, just to laugh a lot is so important. And so I'm looking forward to Christmas this year. Today, I'm going to share a part of the Christmas story, but buried in this Christmas story is an amazing truth that I want to get across. Sometimes we can read a story for its cuteness and its beauty in our Christmas cards. Or you know the dramas that we produce.
But today I want to talk about, joy, the strength of the leader. Every one of us is called to lead. Lead your family. Lead in your business. Lead in our communities. Lead means to be first. Be the first to forgive, the first to love. The first to put out a hand, the first to be kind. Every one of us are leaders. And this is about joy, the strength of a leader. And, you're going to find out today as we go through this. I'm going to show you how to destroy fear in your life. In Luke 2:8-11 it says, and there were in the same country, shepherds. Abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them. And then the glory of the Lord shone around about them and they were sore afraid. You know that Old English word, really afraid. And the angel said to them, fear not. For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people, everybody. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.
It's amazing that almost every time angels, would appear to anyone in the Bible, they would say, "Fear not". Or today, "Don't be afraid". And even when, well you'll just find it everywhere. Even when Jesus was about to do a miracle with somebody. And they're going through incredible stress, He would often turn to that person and say, don't be afraid. Or, in the language from back, fear not. Do not be afraid. That means we have the ability. Everybody has the ability to deal with fear, and I want to talk about this, because so few people understand fear. Fear makes people act aggressively towards those who speak truth. Fear destroys your ability to think creatively. If you give in to fear, forget strategic thinking. You won't have a strategy that even works. Fear, will shut your mind down. Shut your body down. It will make your emotions do crazy things.
And you won't, and when your emotions do crazy things, you'll want to blame it on others. But really, it's you who've allowed the fear in. And now that fear, which causes a plethora of negative emotions, every negative emotion, every snappy thing. I mean, one person will do something that would normally you'd laugh at. But now you're angry, you're snapping out. And so fear destroys you emotionally, which means it will begin to destroy your relationships. If you're short-tempered, you're fearful. If you get angry quick, you're fearful. I could go on listing almost every negative emotion. Envy, malice, jealousy, pride, are all rooted in fear. To win over fear, is something that has to be done.
Now here it says, this angel in the Christmas story. He appears, and he begins to speak to these people. He says fear not, because I'm bringing you great joy. That's what I want to talk about today. Because, if you understand the word "joy", it is different than the word "happiness". You can have this force of joy. You can have a strength of joy that even when you are experiencing sadness, you're experiencing loss. You're experiencing disappointment. You're experiencing hurt. You know, and list these feelings. Did you know, that you never need to let go of your joy? Now, joy is not this ridiculous ahahaha, you know, trying to laugh when everyone can tell you're hurting. Joy isn't an emotion. But it will bring a stability to your emotions. Joy according to the Bible, and we'll go through some verses, is a strength. It is this underlying strength that the Bible also teaches is a confidence. This confidence, will stay put not because you're confident in yourself, but a confidence that comes from Him.
There's a peace that Jesus said I'm going to leave with you a peace that the world can't produce. Okay, I'm going to leave it with you. Then He says, see, the world only has peace when problems are solved. But the Word is very clear about how to push away fear. To get it out of your life. So joy, is not a giggling, worldly kind of happiness, you know. Happiness comes from happenings. If you're happy, something has happened. And because something has happened, you're happy. That's not joy. I love happiness, and I treasure all the great, happenings in my life. But when things don't go the way I want, when bad news is coming over the mountain. When people begin to say and do, and things aren't going the way you want. You never let go of your joy. This joy is a powerful force. It is a strength that is saying to you, that things will get better. That I have placed my life into the hands of the King of Kings. This joy, is a confidence.
In Hebrews 10:36, it says don't throw away your confidence. It will be rewarded. You see, confidence cannot be taken from you. You have to throw it away. Joy will help us stay confident. And I'm going to show you as we walk through these verses, all of the Biblical verses that refer to joy. Now the world, by that I mean people who have not given their lives to Jesus Christ, have not believe on Him and invited Him in. They don't have access to this. You see, salvation is a gift. To those who don't believe on Jesus. That once they check Him out, they hear the Word, a little faith rises, and they choose Jesus. Their gift is salvation. But, Holy Spirit is a gift to believers. Once you choose Jesus and you believe on Jesus, Holy Spirit comes in and now you have His joy.
Now you have His confidence, and you can feel it on the inside. And there's things you need to do, to keep it. So joy will help us to stay confident. And we can't throw away. If you start to feel a little uneasy and old feelings come back of fear, do not cast away your confidence. There's an incredible verse in Romans 14:17, and it's saying this to people who walk on planet earth. That, the kingdom of God, it's not about eating and drinking, what you should and shouldn't do there. It's about righteousness, peace, and joy.
Now, did you know that you can be a citizen in a country. While you are walking through a different country. When I am walking through another country, whether it's France or England, Australia. That just because I'm over there, does not mean I'm a citizen of there. But I am a citizen of Canada. Did you know there are two kingdoms on the planet? There's a kingdom of, of God. A kingdom of light. And a kingdom of darkness. And, it's saying that this kingdom can be experienced before you go to the place called heaven. And this is really important, because the Bible teaches us that right now, we can enter into the kingdom of heaven, because Holy Spirit is within us, the spirit of God is within us. And you can, you can be righteous.
Well what is righteous? It's you're right with God because of Jesus. It's an amazing feeling when you lose this, I'm not good enough and oh I've done so much wrong and if someone ever tells on me I'm in trouble. And if people ever reveal my past or what's gone on. Because of Jesus, you have a brand-new start. A fresh start. And so you are in right-standing with God. You are righteous. And then you can have a peace that is a heavenly peace, and a joy that is a heavenly joy. This angel, he reported to them. That don't be afraid, I bring you good tidings of not just a little bit of joy, but he used the word great joy. Why? This joy would be crucial to us in the years, the decades, the millennia that were ahead.
Proverbs is filled with brilliant wisdom. Sayings that you could meditate on, and even as I study psychology and you study many of the things today. You'll notice that, if it's a truth, you'll find it written here, especially in Proverbs. When it comes to all of this area of relationship and emotion, and behavior. That the book of Proverbs is a stunning book. And it's teaching us, that a, a sadness of heart, that a troubled heart can break a person's spirit. I've spoken with people for years, and when you look at them, they are a broken person. Something has broken something on the inside. They would prefer a broken finger. They would prefer a broken arm, a broken leg. But a broken spirit, who can bear? The Bible says. And it leads to such horrors in life, as everything negative is expected, everything negative begins to be experienced, and often all you can see to get out of this is to take your own life, which is not the answer.
But look at Proverbs 17:22, a happy heart is like good medicine. It says here in the Expanded Bible, it brings healing. But a broken spirit drains your strength. It dries up the bone. Joy is the foundation. Happiness, when you've got a foundation of joy, this confidence, this strength. It is so easy for happiness now to flow in so many areas of your life. Here's a really interesting thing, if you want to talk about God. In Psalms 100, it says here, make a joyful shout to the Lord. Everybody, all lands. It doesn't say, hey. When you feel like shouting, shout. When you don't, it's cool. Be real. Be transparent. I understand what many people mean by being real, not being fake, not being phony. But that's not what this is saying. It is teaching us how to reach down deep, and begin to sense and know this strength that rises up in you, this joy. It says, just make a joyful noise.
I remember, years ago, and I was a part of a pilot program for, we didn't have any paramedics in the province and so we just started one in the hospital I was working at. And begin to work at that and train with the doctors, and as we were there, I had to learn as a paramedic that joy was a way that I kept my mind together. Because if I didn't, it was amazing how deep you could get into despair and to discouragement and many of my friends lost their marriages and became addicted to something. Many of them did. And you know, I don't blame them. I don't think without Christ, I don't think I would have been able to either. Because I'm no stronger than them. But there was something about coming home to Sally and my girls, and I just learned that I don't feel anything right now, make a joyful noise.
Now, I'm being a little bit personal here, but there are times with the things that have pushed at me and the things that are going on, where I found a quiet time, and I begin to shout to the Lord. Just saying You're awesome. I put my faith in You, or I'll get up and sing with my kids as they're dancing around the room. And just shout and laugh and just break through that thing. It says make a joyful noise, or make a joyful shout to the Lord all you lands. It says serve the Lord with gladness. Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God. He was who made us. We didn't make ourselves. We're His people, the sheep of His pasture.
Now he says, verse four, enter His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting. And His truth endures to all generations. Let me give you some truths buried in this brilliant teaching of the Bible. It says that we need to be thankful. When there's nothing to be thankful for presently, thank Him for what He's done. Thank Him for the blessings you've had. Thank Him for the things that are in your life. Go back and thank Him for things. Make lists with the pen. Sit down, force yourself to say I'm thankful for. List the people. List the things. Because we, if you want to experience the presence of God, and by the way.
The presence of God is righteousness; to feel good about yourself because of Jesus. The presence of God is a peace that passes understanding. The presence of God is a joy unspeakable, and full of glory. This is the strength of a leader. This is the strength of a person walking through the storm. You know the sayings. If you're going through hell, don't stop. Keep going. I love this portion of scripture, because it's so amazing. That we enter His gates with thanksgiving. Get into His courts with praise. And be thankful. Those three words are a tremendous way for you and I to know this strength. The joy of the Lord is our strength. Just begin to practice. Be joyful. The Bible in 1 Peter 1:8 talks about a joy that is unspeakable, and is full of glory.
Now, I don't even know how to interpret that. That, you can be so filled with this powerful joy on the inside, you don't even know what words to say. Or, you can be so filled with the very presence of God and the glory of God is Him manifesting Himself around you. His joy begins to manifest. It comes out of you. It affects the people around you. A leader who understands joy, can literally affect and infect every person that works for him, and all of the people that are around him that he's responsible for. And it's not a, a ridiculous take, tee-hee-hee. Happiness. No, we're talking about joy now. And so, I'm challenging every one of us, in the times. I'm just getting tired of everybody using the same old terms in these, you know, rare times. In these hard times, in these times that we're in. Okay, I get it.
Do you know what? I'm just tired of calling it those times. We're never going to have life the way, I don't care what people say about that. The Bible says that Jesus came to have life and more abundantly, innumerable in quantity. And literally the quality is something that is super high. That's what Jesus came to do. And it's not changed. So I refuse to give in to the depression. I refuse to give in to the hopelessness. I refuse to give in to things that are going wrong, and look ahead. And vision is powerful. When you look ahead, stop letting someone else paint a picture. Nothing's going to be the same, we're never going to be able to travel the world and dine in beautiful restaurants, and swim together in the oceans and meet new friends and new people. Poppycock. That, that's ridiculous. My vision ahead, is everything the Word of God teaches us. Friendships and families and great food, and prosperity, and blessing. Jesus came to give us life, and more abundantly.
So you cannot let fear take over the joy. You see, joy leaves when you choose fear. Joy, begins to leave when worry takes over. If you're worried, then you have lost that sense of joy, that powerful strength, that confidence that the future is in the hands of Jesus. Not just generally, but because you have prayed His Word, and you have given Him your future. You know, it's crucial that, we know deep within ourselves. What would we live for? What would we die for? And, you'll talk to many of the great champions of life. And they've all found something to die for. They've found a purpose. You say well Leon I'm not that brave, no I disagree. If you're married, you've probably found somebody that you would die protecting. If you've got children, you've found a reason to get up and create a strong country. To get up and stand for what is true. If you've got grandkids, you're double true on that one. Perfect love.
When you begin to love and value your family, your home. This beautiful country, the freedoms that we have. When you begin to value these things, people get rid of the fear. I'm amazed how many people, pastors included, who are cowering in fear, don't want to speak up too much. Don't want to get some side ticked off. There's so many sides today, and all these issues. And if you get some side upset at you, ooh, they're going to write about you, blog about you, do something to you. And we need to recognize that all silence is not golden. There are times silence is yellow. In Psalms 144:15, my last verse. It says happy are the people whose God is the Lord.
You see, everybody has a god. It's the thing that makes your decisions. It can be an idol. You can say you're an atheist but it's interesting, when you look at what you bow down to, what theories and what reasonings. But it says in Psalms 144:15, happy are the people whose God is the Lord. He's talking here about prophetically the Lord Jesus Christ. It does not say happy are the people whose God is the Lord and don't have any problems. No. It doesn't say happy are the people whose God is the Lord who had everything solved. No. There's a happiness that sits on top of this powerful strength of joy, and I want to encourage you to make sure as believers, followers of Christ, that Jesus is not just your Saviour. It's one thing to make Him your Saviour, to make sure you make heaven, we call that fire insurance. But is He your Lord? Have you studied His Word until His Lordship, it literally is a part of every area of your life. And this is crucial.
Otherwise, you know, it says in, in the, in John 8:31-32, it says there, that you're going to know the truth, and the truth is going to make you free. Free from what? Free from fear, free from worry. Free from the results of the enemy. Free from the attacks of any storm that would blow your way. And the, and the verse before it says, that if you continue in My Word, it's Jesus talking. Continue in His Word. It says you are going to become disciplined in His Word. That means, that what you believe deep down inside, there's a discipline. There are people who are watching me right now, you don't know what to believe. You're so double-minded, you'll believe this and this. This person talks on the news, I believe that. Then oh well what about that? You don't even have your own belief system.
You know, and I call that dealing with your own B.S., your own belief system. These core beliefs. This is what a believer must anchor himself in, in God's Word. And then He'll guide you with wisdom through all of the things you must do and family and politics and business, relationships, finance, emotions. God will never leave you. He'll never forsake you. Hey. The joy of the Lord is your strength. It pushes out fear, keeps fear at bay. So let me ask you this before I pray. When's the last time you laughed? When's the last time you belly laughed? When's the last time that you just made a decision to get up and do something that is joyful? Make sure, that you have friends like that. Make sure, that you recreate, recreation is re-creation. And when you begin, I tell people this.
When I sense in somebody that their joy is gone, that is not a strong Christian. And it's not a strong leader. But even when dealing with horrible things, this foundational joy, okay it's not some kind of tee-hee-hee laughter, giggle your way through, oh no. It is this joy, and it's hard to express it in the English language. But this joy. Is the very foundation of our faith. And you can weep, and you can cry. Bible says joy is there in the morning. And so happiness might come and go based on happenings, meaning which emotion. Might be tears, might be laughter. But you'll never let go of this joy.
If you're watching today and you say Leon, I don't know that I have given my life to this Jesus, chosen Him, believed on Him. You can do it right now. You don't have to have everything figured out, it's just a choice you need to make. Because, Jesus will never force Himself into your life. He will never make you accept Him. He's a gentleman, waiting for you. Because you are sovereign being. You are all-powerful in your own decision-making. God won't violate your sovereignty, to make your own decisions about your life. So now, if you would like Him to become your Lord and Saviour, just pray this prayer. Just say:
Dear God. Thank You for sending Jesus. He died in my place. So Jesus, come into my heart. I receive this gift of salvation, that you died to give me. And I thank You that I'm now in God's family. With all that inheritance and the rights and the privileges that go with it. In Jesus' name, amen.