Summary: We all want to be happy. We try hard to hold onto happiness. But, happiness is dependent on happenings. There’s something far more outlasting available to us--Joy.

Open: Ever notice when your cup of happiness is full, someone always bumps your elbow?

You’re no longer happy. Maybe even a little wet! That little action just stole your Happy away. Why? Because happiness is dependent on "happenings". What goes on around you--circumstances—they dictate whether you will be happy.

But, there’s something far more outlasting available to us--Joy. Joy comes from inside.

Bible tells us that the LORD is our joy.

Read: Ps 16:11 in His presence is fullness of joy; complete joy.

Joy allows you to rise above difficult circumstances, challenges and painful situations. Joy comes from knowing who is in control. Knowing there is One who is far bigger than my problem. One Who is far stronger than the challenge I’m facing.

Regardless of what is going on around me, I can still have joy knowing that God is on my side.

Psalm 16 teaches us that by staying in God’s presence we will discover fullness of joy. By staying close to His Presence... through His Word, and in continuous conversation with Him...I will experience His joy. The fullness of it. That’s abundance! Spilling out, overflowing joy!

It’s staying in His presence that is the difference. Happiness is dependent on they go, what comes out of them, going my way, doing as I want when I want and on and on. But, true joy...comes from spending time with God. Talking. Listening. Following. Time with God builds our faith, our trust, our joy.

Happiness comes and goes.

Joy remains.

Illus. An old man was asked what robbed him of joy the most in his lifetime. He replied, "Things that never happened."

Sounds as though he wasn’t too joyful. Sounds like he was always "waiting" for something to happen that would make him happy.

All those years —waiting— for something to happen…to make him happy. What about you? Are you waiting for something around you to change to make you happy? Are you waiting for something bigger, better, newer…so you’ll be happy?

Happiness comes and goes

Joy remains

There are 3 keys to experiencing joy:

1. fret not --knowing God loves you 1Jn 3:1

2. faint not--knowing God holds you Jn 10:28

3. fear not--knowing God keeps you Heb 7:25

Keeping these 3 keys close in thought will keep your joy close to the surface. Then when a difficult or painful circumstance touches you, you’ll be able to ride it through with the joy of the Lord.

Joy is what carried Jesus to the Cross. Read Heb 12:2

That joy was you and me! Because of His love for you and me...He endured the cross. His focus was us.

He chose to come to earth and die rather than stay in Heaven without you.

He gave His life so you could live.

He rose again and returned that you could follow.

The joy set before Him helped Him endure the Cross and because of what is set before us through Him --eternal life-- we too can have that same kind of joy. When He’s our focus, we’re filled with joy.

Happiness comes and goes.

Joy remains.

There are some specific things we can do to have joyful living:

give something away --and don’t expect it back

do a kind act -- and forget about it (no reward)

give thanks for what you do have

pray before you act

think before you speak

live as though you might die tomorrow

Ask yourself--what do I want to accomplish for God before I die?

And then--take a step toward that purpose today...tomorrow...the next day...and let your joy be full.

Staying close to God. Day by day. Let your joy be full.

Happiness comes and goes.

Joy remains.

Let’s pray.

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