Summary: MAKE A CHOICE TO REJOICE!
Don’t worry.....be happy! Acts 16:16-25
Life is full of misery, isn’t it? Something always worrying us.....stressing us out. Stress has even become a legal defense for murder! If we stop and look at the world and the way it’s headed....gas prices....taxes......where’s the good news (gospel)? I can’t hardly even watch the news anymore...too depressing! America makes up 6% of the world population, but we take 90% of the world’s tranquilizers! And we have it realitively good here compared to other countries! We are STRESSED OUT to the MAX! Even driving in traffic (help me, Lord) is an ordeal in D/FW. The future doesn’t look too promising sometimes.....worldwide, nationwide, or even our own personal future.
The spirit of doom and gloom has invaded our churchs even. We need some of that good old fashioned, simple-hearted, overflowing, life-changing JOY in our churches! Sometimes when I look out over the congregation it looks like some of you are just waiting at the dentists office for what you just know will be a painful experience! Today I want to talk to you about JOY! The Bible mentions it a lot, doesn’t it? We all quote Neh 8:10 "the joy of the Lord is your strength" we even have songs written about it. We talk about JOY, but do we have it? The first thing I want to show you is the rest of that verse...turn to Neh 8:10 Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” So God wants you to be happy when you come to church! God wants you to be happy ALL the time! We should be the happiest people in the world.....instead we’re always "stressed out" about something...usually something that YOU have no control of anyway! We have a choice. We can be miserable and affect all those around us or be happy and affect those around us...either way, you WILL affect those you come in contact with everyday...so how would you like them to percieve you? Negative or positive? Giddy people...sometimes you want to choke them. Why? Cause they GOT something!
Did you know that it has been proven that being happy is healthy? God knew that years ago! Prov. 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones. Laughter releases a substance in your brain called endorphins which helps your body fight disease and releases healing powers. Isn’t it nice that modern science finally figured out what Solomon wrote so many years ago? We need to MAKE A CHOICE TO REJOICE!
Have you ever heard the term "3 cheers for whatever"? Did you know Jesus gave us three cheers? John 16:33 be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. Mat 9:2 be of good cheer; your sins be forgiven you. Mat 14:27 Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
We have nothing to fear except fear itself! Christ overcame the world. He didn’t overcome everything EXCEPT....anything. He overcame ALL! What did the angels sing when Christ was born? We still sing it...JOY TO THE WORLD! Only we mutter out..joy..to the....world...meekly. Phil 4:4 says Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Is that how you live and think? It is YOUR choice. You can be as happy as you want to be...or as miserable as you want to be.
One of the "in" things to do is go to a bar and drink after you get off work. It’s even called "happy hour"...sounds good, don’t it? What usually ends up happening is they all cry on each others shoulders. Or even worse, you have to deal with a babbling drunk...sobbing...crying....PITIFUL! Ps 16:11 says in your presence is fullness of joy that’s the only REAL peace! If you reject joy, you are rejecting Jesus!
Two things often block you from having the joy God intends for you.....The biggest one is....Someone else created my problem! I’m a victim! This has become the biggest past time in America...being a victim. Whatever you have done.....whatever you have become....don’t blame it on anyone but YOURSELF! No one can MAKE you act in any way that you don’t allow them to. Ex...she made me yell at her....she made me throw the remote.....she made me mad....NO! You make you do what you do! If someone has that much influence over you, you let them have it and THEY are controlling you, not you! Here’s number 2.....a big one...It was because of my parents that I’m this way!" NO IT’S NOT! I know a lot of people didn’t come from well-oiled family units. I know there are those that had a LOT of dis-function growing up. At some point you must accept responsibility for who and what you are. When you look in the mirror whatever you see is a result of YOUR decisions!