Friday, January 6, 2012

How To Live A Joy-Filled Life No Matter What!

Did you know the word "rejoice" is mentioned over 190 times in the Bible? Think about that for a moment. Do you know why it's mentioned so many times? In my own life, when I say something to my 5 children over and over again, it's because I believe that what I'm saying is important.  I want to make sure that they really understand because it's for their good!  The apostle Paul writing from prison in Rome said, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4)  So many people desire to have a joy-filled life but have no idea how to have begin!

 You Must Understand That You Can’t Live A Positive, Joy-filled Life With A Negative Mind.  If your mind is filled with worry, insecurity, guilt, sadness, fearful imaginations & inaccurate assumptions, then your life cannot be filled with joy.  God's Word reminds us to, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 (NLT)  There are 8 thought provoking & life altering categories listed in that 1 verse that remind you to “... let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)  The more you think about something, the stronger it takes hold of you, which is why the Bible teaches that we should, "Run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts . . . but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right." (2 Timothy 2:22, LB)


THOUGHT #1-  I Have Hope Because Of God.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13  Depression, discouragement & fear are present when hope is absent.  Jesus has come to give you life (John 10:10) & faith for your future & hope in every circumstance.  The Greek word for "hope" is elpo meaning "to look forward to with pleasurable confidence and expectation." If we have hope, we can have joy!  We're reminded of this in Romans 12:12, which tells us, “Be joyful in hope...”. (NIV)  It has been said that a person can live 40 days without food, 3 days without water, 8 minutes without air, but not 1 minute without hope.  If you're a follower of Christ, no situation is completely hopeless because our hope is in Him! (see also Romans 5:1-2, Hebrews 11:1, Zechariah 9:12)

THOUGHT #2-  God Has A Purpose For My Life & My Problems. 
Matthew Barnett once said, "One day we will all shake hands with our biggest trial and realize it was our best friend." Far to many people have the misconception that when they get rid of their problems, they will be happy. But we are never going to get rid of all our problems as long as we are alive. Joy is learning to enjoy life in spite of problems. That is why Paul says we rejoice in (not because of) suffering: God is always with us. “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”  Romans 5:3-5 (see also Romans 8:28)

Key thought-  Joy is not found in the absence of problems, it’s found in the presence of Jesus!  (Romans 5:11, Matthew 1:23, Isaiah 43:2"

THOUGHT #3-  God Is With Me Every Where That I Go!
You are never truly alone!  We're reminded of this in the story of Jesus' birth in Matthew 1:23, it says, “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” (NLT)  Romans 5:11says this as well, “So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” (NLT)  We can be joyful in any circumstances because God is always with those who believe in Him! We have become God’s friends/partners, and this friendship will last forever.  Take comfort in the words of Isaiah the prophet who said, “When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you.” (Isaiah 43:2)

THOUGHT #4-  God Loves Me & Doesn’t Condemn Me!
God sent Jesus to save the world (you & I), not to condemn it!  Read these incredible verses & rest & receive His Grace!
“God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation (wrath).”  Romans 5:8-9 (NLT)
“... God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  John 3:17 (NIV)
There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (NLT)
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  Hebrews 13:8 (NLT)

Key Thought-  It's your choice to rejoice.  You can have joy in your life today, no matter what, because of Jesus! “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty,18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!  Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NLT)