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Tuesday, December 23, 2014


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by Pastor Mark Taylor

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).

The Lord Jesus wants you to have a "Merry Christmas" this year.  Hopefully God will show you through this message that it is His desire for you to have joy and He will help you to make it happen.

Joy and happiness are often used to mean the same thing.  I think we can have joy all of the time even if we are not happy.  But I think that happiness is a choice.  I think that joy is that gift that God gives you to have peace in times of unpleasant circumstances when you may not feel happy.  For instance, when you lose a love one you are sad and unhappy, but you can have joy that you will see them in Heaven and that they are better off there than they would be here. “He that goes forth and weeps, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalms 126:6)  “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5)

I would like to talk to you about happiness that will in turn add to your joy.  Joy is a decision you make, not just an emotion you feel.  When you get up in the morning, you can choose to be happy and enjoy that day, or you can choose to be unhappy and have a bad day.

Joy is not always displayed in the same way by everyone.  God has given each of us different personalities.  Some people have a bubbly personality that shows when they are happy and when they are not.  But other people are more reserve and even shy and they may not always demonstrate their happiness by laughing or smiling.  
But we should all learn how to smile more and laugh more.  “A merry heart does good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22)

Here are some principles to apply in order to have the joy that God wants to give you, 

To have joy you need to learn how to live one day at a time.  By an act of your will, you need to choose to forget about yesterday and tomorrow and think about today.

Life is to short not to enjoy every single day. “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalms 118:24)  Learn to enjoy your family, your friends, your health, your work, your church, and everything God gives you. 

 Jesus said: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  (John 10:10).  An abundant life is a happy life. 

He also said: “Take therefore no thought for  tomorrow: for tomorrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34)

To have joy you need to learn not to let life’s little things get you upset.  When negative things happen to us, no matter how much we rant and rave, it’s not going to change anything.  No matter how much we murmur and complain, it’s not going to make anything better.  You can decide not to let little things get the best of you. 

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

To have joy don’t wait on some event or person to make you happy.  Big events will not keep you happy.  People cannot keep you happy.  Having  the right relationship and fellowship with the Lord can make you happy: “For the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

To have joy, learn how to content where you are in your life today.  If you will make the decision to stay faithful and be content, at the right time God will change your circumstances.  The Bible says: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6)  “For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11).  

Notice that it is a learning process.  Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom on how to look at your life as someone who has been blessed and is being blessed everyday.  If you are always discontented, something is wrong.  If you get up each morning dreading your day, you need to ask the Lord to change your attitude.

To have joy, understand that God has your best interests in mind as you go through trials and difficulties.  “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delights in his way.” (Psalms 37:23)  There is a reason why you are where you are and God will direct your steps until he leads you through the valley.  Remember change is by steps, not giant leaps.

If you will apply some or all of these principles to your life during this season of the year, you will have a “Merry Christmas”, regardless of what you have or don’t have. “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” (John 13:17)

The greatest gift you have is God’s love and that should make you happy.  

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11)   “For I am the LORD, I change not”. (Malachi 3:6).

“Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20)

“I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7 )