All I Want for Christmas Pt.4 – Joy
One of the best parts of the story – joy of that night
There was so much turmoil – under Roman rule – miserable – God brought “great joy”
God’s Antidote for a weary Religion
Luke 2:8-14 ESV – And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
I think one of the missing things in Christmas and in life today – joy For many – Christmas isn’t so holly jolly and not so merry and bright
There are things that steal our joy:
- Past experiences become Dim
- Present Burdens become heavy
- Future Hope becomes distant
John 15:11 ESV– “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
The Twin Joy Robbers
• Bad Things That Shouldn’t Happen, But Do
• Good Things That Should Happen, But Don’t
Today – Joy to the World – how to enjoy your life – have fun – laugh
Don’t you love to laugh? I do – and love to listen to people laugh
Happiness is usually what we want, but JOY is what we need!
Remember- for every minute of anger, you lose 60 seconds of joy
Joy – intense, ecstatic, exultant happiness, expression of that feeling, to enjoy, fill with pleasure and satisfaction.
Words that describe Joy – amusement, animation, bliss, cheer, comfort, delight, gladness, good humor, jewel, luxury, rapture, refreshment, wonder, sport, treasure
(Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4) “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven…a time to laugh.”
It’s one of the healthiest things you can do is laugh
(Psalm 2:3) “The One enthroned in heaven laughs.”
1. Joy will Change my approach to Life
Think about all the different aspects of your life. Emotions will affect it more than anything else.
Nehemiah 8:10 ESV “ Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
You are stronger when your attitude is strong – emotions are solid – It will give you an uncommonly positive perspective on life
2. Joy will turn my problems into blessings.
It has the ability to turn bad things into good things –
Psalm 126:5 ESV Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!
(Proverbs 17:22 NIV) “A cheerful heart is good medicine.”
•God’s got some good stuff for you! No aweful side effects
• Take three tablespoons three times a day.
a. Take it when you feel like it!
b. Take it when you don’t feel like it!
c. And take it when you don’t know how you feel!
Psalm 30:5 ESV For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.[a]Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
3. Joy will affect those around you.
It’s contagious – Can totally change the dynamic of your Christmas
Don’t take yourself too seriously
Psalm 126:1-2 NIV “When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’”
The Secret To Joy
1. Take responsibility for your own emotions.
So easy to blame others – but it’s up to you
Choosing the way you’re going to view life – people
For most of us – our attitude will not take care of itself
Remember – it’s not a feeling – it’s a choice
If you don’t like the situation that faces you – change it
(Hebrews 12:1 ESV) “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”
You cannot determine what happens to you
But you can determine what happens in you
Remember – The walls we build around us to keep out the sadness also keep out the joy
The best way is to start off each day – decide – get rid of stuff
So far today, I am doing all right. I have not gossiped, lost my temper, been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or self-indulgent. I have not whined, cursed, or eaten any chocolate. However, I am going to get out of bed in a few minutes, and I will need a lot more help after that. Amen.
(Psalm 19:14 ESV) “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
2. Develop a high appreciation for life.
We’ve been given a priceless resource called TIME – You can’t save it or buy it. 18 times a minute you breath, 25,920 times a day FREE of Charge.
When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. Marcus Aurelius
Life can change in a moment!
The question is not how will you die, but how will you live life?
Story of senior being admitted into a nursing home
“Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged. It’s how I arrange my mind.”
John Wooden said—“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
(Ecclesiastes 5:19 NIV) “When God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work–this is a gift of God.”
We cannot choose how many years we will live
But we can choose how much life those years will have
We cannot control the beauty of our face
But we can control the expression on it
We cannot control life’s difficult moments
But we can choose to make life less difficult
We cannot control the negative atmosphere of the world
But we can control the atmosphere of our minds
Too often – we try to choose and control things we cannot
Too seldom – we choose to control what we can – our attitude
How? People who have a high appreciation of life…
Know that God is going to work it out for the good
(Romans 8:28 NIV) “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
3. Find something positive in everything
How? Think positively – glass is half empty – or half full
Some people are so negative when they walk into a room the lights go out.
(Philippians 4:8 NIV) “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
This is spiritual warfare – pull down negative thoughts
Attitude and faith are very similar – way you view something
Either the “yes” or “no” – either doubt or faith
(2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV) “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
4. Say something positive in every conversation.
This is hard – but can change the dynamic of every situation – Some people have NO filter
(Proverbs 16:24 NIV) “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Best way is to pray daily…
(Psalm 141:3 NIV) “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
People can frustrate you – must train our eyes
Look for the best in them – bring out their positive qualities
(Philippians 2:3-4 NIV) “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
5. Express gratitude to God and others daily.
If you’re thankful for everything – can’t be disappointed
Consider all of life a gift from God – That breath you just took, it’s a gift
“It’s not happy people who are Thankful, It is thankful people who are happy”
I Thessalonians 5:18 NIV “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live…He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything.” – Albert Schweitzer
(Philippians 4:6-7 NIV) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
God wants to restore your joy – This is what the gift of Christmas is all about – Getting your joy back
Phillipians 4:4 ESV – Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (prison letters)
•Happiness is an emotion, but joy is a decision. And your decisions must rule your emotions, not vice-versa.
THE WELLS OF JOY (Genesis 26)
A. THE PHILISTINES STOPPED UP ALL THE WELLS
1. They thought this would drive Isaac away.
2. They attempted to cover up his source of refreshing and strength.
3. The devil would like to do the same to you.
4. He wants to stop up your JOY WELL and cover it up.
B. GOD COMMANDED ISAAC TO REDIG THE WELLS
1. Some of you need to redig the wells.
2. You need to uncover the well which the devil has sought to hide from you.
3. Isa 12:3 “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”
4. The devil may try to stop your JOY-WELL up, but you’re going to unstop those wells.
John 16:24 NIV “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
Psalms 43:4 – “I will go to your altar and you my exceeding joy in PRAISE”!