Summary: Gratitude is Joy that is sustained.

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A matter of the Heart …Unnatural Gratitude

Philippians 1:1-11

Slide – Affliction - Tree

It is an interesting coincidence that I happen to pick a Sermon topic and scripture and suddenly need to be bolstered with scriptural support in my life. What a stroke of Good Luck……

Let me stop and be clear. I don’t believe that there was any Luck involved in the sermon process….today or any day. I don’t often feel that the process is an easy one. I have a hard head and sometimes the Holy Spirit seems to have to really work on me.

In the last few weeks we have been looking at emotions like fear and bitterness and what scripture has to say about them. The general theme has been that every emotion is natural and is capable of good in our lives. However, all too often we allow them to get out of whack by single handedly attempting to keep control. My recommendation to you was the allow Jesus to be involved and to help you temper your emotions and keep them healthy.

Today we are looking at a track for an emotion that again is defined as a blend. We take the word Joy and we allow it to be mingled with several other words. Happiness is probably the first one that comes to mind. We all like happiness. We might also use the word excitement. We might even blend in some of the word contentment.

Happiness, Excitement and contentment can all be quenched quickly. Example, you are happy when you get a new car. Hopefully the arrival of the payment book does not kill the good feelings. But what happen if you have mechanical issues right off the bat. Or an accident that requires a major repair.

The happiness can quickly decrease or even turn into sadness or despair.

That is why I believe that Joy is something different.

I have a few pictures of expressions of Joy….


I believe that the blending of other good emotions with the definition of Joy is not really a bad thing. However I feel that it removes some of the purity that I find when I experience the gift of joy.

Joy is definitely a form of happiness, however; it is in my view a special spike or peak that shoots above happiness.

The feeling I had when Renee agreed to marry me. The smile that could not be removed from my face after our children arrived…

Pure Joy is an event that raises our emotional state no matter what happens to be going on at the moment.

Moments of Pure Joy are a form of happiness that from time to time we not only remember but we often feel the emotional energy rise again.

“Happiness, contentment and excitement can also be remembered; however, rarely does the memory generate a strong positive emotional connection. I also suggest that fortunately for “most people” happiness occurs enough that every moment can’t be remembered.

I feel that it is important that as Christians that we understand what it means to experience Joy in times of hardship and affliction. Not just for ourselves but especially for the culture around us.

The Letter to the Philippians is a document that inspires Christians to understand Joy in spite of life’s situations.

I was expecting to just focus on the topic of Joy and how it differs from happiness. But I believe that with the times that we live in and the different trials and needs that members of our church are facing….Joy is going to be our theme for the next couple of weeks.

Because it the presence of Joy in our lives in all situations makes us contrary to what the world expects and that is an important thing.

The general thought is that when we face afflictions and problems financially, family health we and the culture around us make a similar statement….

This is not the way it is supposed to be!

I think Christians tent to feel especially challenged when bad, horrible stuff happens as individuals. And as members of society we experiences the same stresses and problems as the majority of our culture…the economy, crime, accidents,

That feeling that thinking that things are supposed to be leads people with problems, afflictions , bad luck to ask why, Why did this happen?

Unfortunately, I don’t believe that anyone, Christian or not will ever be able to answer the why questions for several reasons. First we don’t like taking blame on our selves, , second we often can’t find another person to blame directly. So all we are left with is to blame God. God did this or at least did not protect us from it….

The why question seems inevitable for most people.

How are Christians supposed to answer that question?

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