Joy, Part 2

Posted on 08/14/2011 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


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POWER IN THE BLOOD

Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you over evil a victory win?
There's wonderful power in the blood.

Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Come for a cleansing to Calvary's tide;
There's wonderful power in the blood.

Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Sin stains are lost in its life giving flow.
There's wonderful power in the blood.

Would you do service for Jesus your King?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you live daily His praises to sing?
There's wonderful power in the blood.

There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.


TAKE A LITTLE TIME

Thank you, Lord,
I just want to thank you,
I just want to thank You;
(repeat)

I just want to take,
take a little time right now
to say thank you, Lord
for all you've done for me.
(repeat)


I SEE THE LORD

I see the Lord seated on the throne, exalted
And the train of His robe
Fills the temple with glory
And the whole earth is filled
The whole earth is filled
And the whole earth is filled
With His glory

Chorus

Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord
Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord

Verse

Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord


*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


Last week we talked about joy, and we discussed five ways to find joy, or, five "pathways to joy".

Just for a quick review, these five "pathways to joy" we discussed are as follows:

1. Going to the Source: the presence of the Lord is our source of joy.

2. Reading and applying the Word of God.

3. Learning to trust and obey.

4. Going through troubles, trials, and tribulations.

5. Making a choice: joy is a choice.

Today we're going to talk about five more pathways to joy.

Let's read from Isaiah chapter 51, beginning with the tenth verse:

10 Was it not you (O God) who dried up the sea,
the waters of the great deep,
who made a road in the depths of the sea
so that the redeemed might cross over?

11 The ransomed of the LORD will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

12 "I, even I, am he who comforts you.
Who are you that you fear mortal men,
the sons of men, who are but grass,

13 that you forget the LORD your Maker,
who stretched out the heavens
and laid the foundations of the earth,
that you live in constant terror every day
because of the wrath of the oppressor,
who is bent on destruction?
For where is the wrath of the oppressor?

14 The cowering prisoners will soon be set free;
they will not die in their dungeon,
nor will they lack bread.

15 For I am the LORD your God,
who churns up the sea so that its waves roar
the LORD Almighty is his name.

16 I have put my words in your mouth
and covered you with the shadow of my hand
I who set the heavens in place,
who laid the foundations of the earth,
and who say to Zion, 'You are my people.' "


And the sixth path to joy is this:

6. Remembering what God has Done

In the passage we just read, we see a perfect example of the sixth pathway to joy, Remembering what God has Done.

First the writer remembers the liberation of the people of God from Egypt who had enslaved them. God made a pathway through the Red Sea for the Israelites to walk through on dry ground, then he drowned the Egyptians when they pursued.

Then he says, "The ransomed of the Lord (those who God has delivered) will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away."

One important thing to remember here is this: If we do not remember that we are ransomed, we are delivered, and God has done great things for us, will we enter his presence with singing? Will everlasting joy crown our heads? Will gladness and joy overtake us, and sorrow and sighing flee away?

Certainly all this will happen when Jesus returns for us. And yet God's will for your life is not that you live in misery before he returns. God's will for your life is that you have "joy unspeakable and full of glory."

In verses twelve and thirteen we read,

12 "I, even I, am he who comforts you.
Who are you that you fear mortal men,
the sons of men, who are but grass,

13 that you forget the LORD your Maker,
who stretched out the heavens
and laid the foundations of the earth,
that you live in constant terror every day
because of the wrath of the oppressor,
who is bent on destruction?
For where is the wrath of the oppressor?

The question is asked here, why do we fear mortal men? Why do we live in fear and terror because of men who are here today and tomorrow will be thrown into the fire?

Why do we fear our creditors, those who ridicule us, those who oppress us, and those who would destroy us?

Why do we fear tiny men and in doing so forget the Lord our Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth?

Surely the earth lives longer than a man, and the universe seems to go on forever. Are all the people on earth greater than the sun? Or if we were to go against the sun in the sky, would it not destroy us all in an instant?

And yet we have a God who is watching over our souls, who loves us with a love that is greater than death, and stretches beyond the boundaries of time.

This God created the sun, the starts, the galaxies, the universe. This God created mortal man, including the ones who curse him and oppress others. How can we get our eyes on our circumstances and those around us, and forget the goodness and the majesty of our God?

We continue to read, "(why do you forget the Lord who created all things so that) you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor?"

And he goes on to prophecy: "The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread. For I am the Lord your God, who churns up the sea so that its waves roar -- the Lord Almighty is (my) name."

"I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand -- I who set the heavens in place, and laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, 'You are my people!'"

God has put his words in our mouths. Remember how God created the universe and all it contains? the heavens, and the splendor thereof? the mighty raging oceans, and every breath we breath?

God created all things by the Word of his mouth. And we read here that he has put his words in our mouths! How can we be afraid? We have the Word of God which does not fail! If we read it, meditate on it so it becomes a part of us, and speak it over our lives and situations and the lives of those around us, the Words of God's mouth are coming out of our mouths. How can we fear little mortal men?

Then we read God covers us with the shadow of his hand. If we remain in the shadow of his hand, following where he leads and walking with him, no matter what happens around us or to us, we will remain in his protection. All things will work together for our good. And we will remain victorious even in the midst of what appears to be our greatest defeat.

Remember what God has done! When we do so, and when we make this rememberance and trust and faith a way of life, how can we not have joy?!


The seventh pathway to joy is:

7. Working in the Field

In Psalm chapter 126 verses 5 and 6 we read,

5 Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.

6 He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him.

Do you know anyone who is not part of God's Kingdom? Of course you do. Most of us have loved ones who are not living for God. We know what their eternal destiny is if they do not accept God's free gift of Salvation.

I cannot tell you all the true accounts I've been told of how someone was not saved, or had strayed from God, but had a mother or grandmother, or someone else who loved them, who prayed for them every day.

I am certain these prayers were not along the lines of "Now I lay me down to sleep, and by the way, save so-and-so. Amen." Rather, those who love the lost pray fervently for them.

Scripture tells us "The fervent effectual prayer of a righteous person accomplishes much." It is prayers of love, prayers from the heart, travailing in intercession, pouring out one's desires to God for the salvation of someone for whom God has given them a deep burden; it is these prayers over time which bring the lost to repentance.

I know my mother prayed for me every night when I had strayed from God. I know she wept many tears, and carried a heavy burden for my soul.

My mother went out weeping, carrying seeds of prayer and love to sow. And when we do this faithfully and see God answer our prayers, we will have great joy.

There are countless witnesses who have poured out their lives to see people come to Jesus. Many have suffered great persecution. Many have been ridiculed, attacked verbally and physically, tortured, and even put to death.

And yet the joy they have when someone receives salvation, when the seeds they have sown come to life in them, when a dead spirit receives life from the Lord and turns from eternity in hell to eternity in everlasting peace and joy, who can measure the joy?

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him."

In Acts chapter thirteen verses 48 and 49 we read,

48 When the Gentiles heard (the Gospel), they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.

49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.

Verse 51:

51 So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

We see here Paul and Barnabas were spreading the Good News of forgiveness and reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ. The Gentiles, those who were not Jews, were receiving the Gospel and Salvation. But the religious leaders stirred up persecution.

Paul and Barnabas were thrown out of the city. And what was the result? Verse 52 says "They were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit."

We learned last week that one of the pathways to joy is to trust and obey. Jesus commanded us to "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone." When we obey his "Great Commission" to preach the Good News everywhere, we receive double joy, for we receive both the joy of obedience and the joy of working in the field.

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seeds to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him."


The eighth pathway to joy is this:

8. Giving Joy to Others

Proverbs 12:20 tells us there is "joy for those who promote peace." Last week we learned that there can be no joy without peace, and out of a true, deep peace springs forth "joy unspeakable and full of glory."

Jesus tells us, "Blessed are the peace makers, for they will be called the children of God."

Do we promote peace? Or do we sometimes speak evil of others? Do we always sow unity? Or do we sometimes say things which would put people at odds?

Do we support our leaders? Or do we speak evil of them and assume the worst?

Do we make peace in our homes, or do we take out the stress of our days on the ones we love?

When we promote peace, we are sharing joy with others. And when we share joy with others, our joy will grow.

Proverbs 15:30 says, "A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones."

Do you want joy? Share it.

Give a cheerful look. Don't go around gloomy and lost in self-pitty. Instead, remember what God has done for you, and remember the end of the book which says we win.

Don't live in the gloom of depression. Brighten things up around you. Rejoice in the Lord, praising him and laying all your cares upon him, for he cares for you.

Put on a happy face. Not a mask to hide the truth, but a mirror of the joy of the Lord in anticipation of that promised joy.

Your own cheerful look will bring joy to your own heart over time. And when you smile at others, and show them that outward sign of joy, you will brighten their day and bring joy to their hearts.

And what happens when you share joy with others? You plant the seeds of joy in yourself.

The second part of this verse reads, "and good news gives health to the bones."

Does it seem as though the major news networks report only bad news? Doesn't it seem as though everything, even things when, if we were to know the truth, are full of good, are shown as something negative and dark?

If we listen to all these evil reports, it is sickness to our bones. Negativity is a poison inside of you. The more you take in and the more you let play through your mind, the more full of the poison of negativity you become.

Negativity will affect your physical health, and your emotional health. It will rob you of any joy you have or could have.

When we hear bad news about something that affects us, or about someone we love, doesn't it feel as though we've received a damaging blow? We feel weak, sick, and weary. We certainly don't have joy.

But what happens when we hear good news? What happens when through the darkness shines a bright light of a good report? It lifts our spirits, makes us feel more alive. It is health to our bones.

Why spread sickness, when you can spread joy?

Philippians chapter four, verses eight and nine tell us,

8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy meditate on these things.
9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Do you want joy? Find God's peace. Do you want peace? Make sure the God of peace is with you. Do you want the God of peace to be with you?

Then think about things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good news, virtuous, and praiseworthy; and the God of peace will be with you. And you will have joy!


The ninth pathway to joy is:

9. Smelling the Roses

Have you ever gone out in nature and admired God's handiwork all around you? Have you ever looked at the majestic mountains, the roaring seas, the great expanse of the heavens, the trillions of stars in the sky, the rushing rivers, the babbling brooks, the trickling streams;

Have you ever listened to the birds sing, watched the deer run through the meadows, watched the wind blow through the fields of grain, listened to the wind playing in the tops of the trees;

Have you ever layed in the grass and watched the white clouds float by in the blue skies, closed your eyes and felt the warm sun on your face, or run in the free, wide open?

Sometimes we forget about all the beauty God has placed all around us. Sometimes we forget just how majestic God is because we stop listening to creation which sings his praises, and the heavens which declare his glory.

In our busy lives, we often forget what it's like to slow down, to be able to sit and watch the sun slowly color the skies with endless shades of rich color, then watch the starts come out, and the moon play on the dark waters.

All too often, we simply forget to stop and smell the roses. And my, what joy that robs from us!

In five days, God created all the wonderous handiwork we see all around us. And then he created us and placed us in the middle of it all, to share his joy of creation with his creation of joy.

Do you realize today that you are a creation of joy? God had great joy in forming you in your mother's womb. No matter what imperfections you think you have, God delights in you just the way you are, and just the way he created you to be.

You are God's creation of joy. And his will and desire is for you to joy in his creation.

Smell the roses. Take time to appreciate all the good things God has placed in your life. All too often we get wrapped up in everything negative, or in our perception of things as negative, that we forget all the joy God has placed in our lives.

Take time to slow down, to forget all the things that demand your attention, as much as is possible. Your problems will still be there later, but if you spend time smelling the roses God has sown bountifully in your life, when you go back from your time of joyful reflection, your problems will somehow seem much smaller.

We read in Ecclesiastes 8:15:

"So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun."


So we've talked about nine of the ten paths to joy:
1. Going to the source: the presence of the Lord is our source of joy.
2. Reading and applying the Word of God.
3. Learning to trust and obey.
4. Going through troubles, trials, and tribulations.
5. Making a choice: joy is a choice.
6. Remembering what God has done.
7. Working in the field.
8. Giving joy to others.
9. Smelling the roses.


And that brings us to our tenth and final pathway to joy:

10. Asking in Prayer, Believing

In John 16:24 Jesus says, "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete."

This tenth pathway, asking in prayer believing, brings us back to the first pathway to joy, going to the source.

If we are not going to God in prayer, we are not walking daily in his presence. If we do not connect with our source of joy, how can we expect to have joy?

God knows our needs, and God knows our desires. Do you have a good desire which has been inside of you all your life? Have you considered God may have placed that desire in you because it is his will for your life?

Start talking to God about those desires. Pour out your heart to him. Ask him to show you his path for you.

The path on which God places you will lead you to the fulfillment of the dreams and desires he has placed within you.

Let's say that again: The path on which God places you will lead you to the fulfillment of the dreams and desires he has placed within you.

So talk to God about his path for your life. And talk to him about the dreams and desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 and 5 tells us, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord and trust in him, and he will bring it to pass."

We also read in Philippians chapter four verses six and seven, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

If we worry about our problems, we will accomplish nothing but sickness and loss of joy. But if instead we talk to God, asking in prayer and believing, giving thanks to God for hearing us and answering us, the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

And when we have peace, we will have joy.

Do you want joy? Then go to the source of joy: the presence of God is our source of joy. Seek the presence of the Lord in your daily life, and you will have joy.

Do you want joy? Then read and live by the Word of God. When you fill your heart and mind with God's Word and order your life according to that Word, you will have joy.

Do you want joy? Then learn to trust and obey. Grow faith in your heart by hearing God's voice, and hear God's voice by filling your mind with God's Word, for "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." And as you begin to trust God in all things, and you obey his voice in all things, you will have joy.

Do you want joy? Then go with grace through troubles, trials, and tribulations. Remember the world is not coming to an end with your seemingly bigger-than-life problems. Remember that no matter how big your problems, God is much, much bigger. And as you begin to "count it all joy when you go through trials and tribulations," you will have joy.

Do you want joy? Then make a daily choice to have joy. Live by the lessons we've heard from God's Word these two weeks. Tell your soul every day to bless the Lord. And as you live a life of choosing joy, you will have joy.

Do you want joy? Then remember what God has done, not only in your life, but in the lives of others. And remember what God is doing now and will do tomorrow. "No eye has seen, no ear heard, nor has it entered into the mind the things God has prepared for those who love him." And as you live a life of remembering the goodness of God, you will have joy.

Do you want joy? Then sow seeds of Salvation. Pray fervently and with all your heart for those around you who are not saved. Do whatever you can to bring the Gospel of Salvation and Love, the ministry of reconciliation to God, anywhere and any way you can. And as you obey Jesus' great command to spread the Good News everywhere to everyone, you will have joy.

Do you want joy? Then give joy to others! Remember a cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news brings health to the bones. Promote peace, and not division. Become a peace maker, giving joy away, and you will have joy.

Do you want joy? Then stop and smell the roses! God has not surrounded you with both visible and hidden joys so you can hurridly pass them by. And when you take the time to smell the roses and appreciate God's blessings, you will have joy.

Do you want joy? Then ask in prayer, believing. Talk to God every day. Take your needs to him. Take your dreams and desires to him. And believe that he is good, that he will meet all your needs according to his riches in glory, and believe that he will give you the desires of your heart as you delight yourself in him, and he will lead you on a path which will bring you closer to the fulfillment of your God-given dreams and desires. And as you begin and end everything in the presence of the Lord, you will have joy!


Let's end today's service with a time of prayer and ministry.

God's will for you is that you have joy. If you are lacking in joy, God's will for you is that your joy be complete.

If you want more joy in your life, if you wish to commit yourself to these pathways to joy, or if you just want to pray and seek God for any reason, this altar is open.

If you'd like someone to talk or pray with you, feel free to instant message Mariposa or me.

Come to the altar and let's seek after the presence of the Lord together.

In a few minutes, we'll meet in the Fellowship Room to your left for a time of fellowship. But for the next few minutes, let's spend some time seeking after God.

Whenever you need to leave, you're dismissed, and I pray you have a blessed week, a week that is filled with joy.

Now may the God of peace bring peace to your hearts, and may your lives be filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory by Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen!