Posts Tagged ‘joy’

See the Good

August 16, 2017

I have many favorite scriptures.  Last week I was reading in Philippians and came across some wonderful verses which have provided the basis for the message today.

I.  Rejoice!  Philippians 4:4-5

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

Rejoice in the Lord.  No matter what is going on in our life.  No matter what our circumstances may be.  We can rejoice in the Lord.  God is our greatest source of joy.

Our country is a free country, filled with people of many different ideas.  There is often hateful language and sometimes violence.  This is not helpful to our common goals.  As Christians we should lead the way at demonstrating how to handle disagreements.  We should be able to have rational, civil discussions about those things about which we disagree.

We have not always done so well at that.

We can, and should, do better.

II.  Don’t Worry!  Philippians 4:6-7

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.

As Christians we should never worry.  Worry demonstrates a lack of trust in God.  God is worthy of our trust.

If there is a situation about which we are concerned, instead of worrying about it, we should pray about it.  We can pray about anything that concerns us.  God is able to help.  He is able to give us wisdom to know what to do and the strength to do what we should.  His grace is sufficient for us.  There is nothing that we cannot handle with the help that God gives us.  This doesn’t mean that things will turn out the way that we want them to, but rather that God will help us deal with the troubles of this life.

III.  Focus!  Philippians 4:8

 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.

Some people seem to be gifted with the ability to criticize.  They see what is wrong everywhere they look.  That is not the way be be at peace.  True, it is necessary to see what is wrong if we are to fix it, but to just focus on the ugly or the broken is no way to live.  We should look for the good around us.  This good is present in many, many things.  There is some good in all people.  Instead of focusing on what is wrong, focus on the good.

The greatest source of good is God and His Word.  In addition to seeking out the good in the world, we can focus our attention on God and His Word.

See the good!

 

These are the sermon notes from 8/13/17.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Serve With Joy

October 5, 2016

The Christian life can be difficult at times.  When times become difficult we need to remember to find joy in the journey.

I.  That Your Joy Might Be Full:  I John 1:4

 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

Is it possible to have too much joy?

I don’t think so.

As Christians we need the joy of the Lord, because the joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)  Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit.  (Galatians 5:22) As Christians, we can expect to have the joy of the Lord in our hearts, providing us with strength.  If we find ourselves running low we simply need to spend time in God’s presence, for in the presence of the Lord, there is fullness of joy.  (Psalms 16:11)

II.  Test the Spirits:  I John 4:1

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

A.  The Word:  The first test for what is presented to us is the Word of God.  If the spirit is presenting information that is contrary to the Word of God then it is not of God.  The first and most important test is about Jesus Christ.  He is the Son of God.  God in the flesh.

B.  The Spirit:  The second test is the love test.  If a person has the Spirit of God then love for God and for people will be evident.

I John 4:7-8

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

The Word and the Spirit work together to mold us and to guide us as the people of God.  We should not believe every spirit, but subject them to the test of the Word and the Spirit.

III.  Greater is He:  I John 4:4

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

When we feel overwhelmed it is good to know that we do not face the challenges of this life alone.  God is with us and the Spirit that He gives to us is greater than that which is in the World.  On our own we would be in trouble, but we are not alone.

As we face the challenges of serving God in this changing world it is good to be reminded that our joy can be full, that we should test the spirits, and that greater is He who is in us.

May you be encouraged in your service to the Lord.

These are the sermon notes from 10/2/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Repentance

May 11, 2015

King David is said to be “a man after God’s own heart”, that is; an example for the rest of us.  Yet, King David was an adulterer, and arranged for the death of an innocent man.  Obviously, this behavior is not what we are to imitate.  What we are to learn from is how he responded when he was confronted with his sin.  Psalms 51 was written to express his repentance.

Psalms 51:10-17

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

I.  A Broken and Contrite Heart

The first step is to recognize that we have sinned.  One thing that greatly bothers me is when people think that their life is right, and God’s Word is wrong.  When we measure our life by the light of God’s Word we will see that there is still room for improvement in our lives.  We still fall short of what we could, and should be.

Once we have recognized our sin, we should be sorry for our sin.  A “broken and contrite heart” does not make excuses for sin.

True repentance leads to renouncing sin.  We should turn away from sin.  As much as we can do so, we should avoid sin.  We should “cease to do evil, and learn to do good.”

II.  A Clean Heart

Once we have turned to God in repentance, we are forgiven for our sins.  We do not have to earn our forgiveness.  Forgiveness has been provided for us at the cross.  Jesus has made atonement for us.  “although our sins were as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow”.

III.  A Steadfast Spirit

As Christians we are meant to have life-altering changes take place in our lives.  A steadfast spirit is one that will be able to stand the test of time.  We are not “tossed about”  by events in our lives, but rather we are to be “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord”.

IV.  Joy

There are times when the joy of the Lord has been drained from our lives.  “The joy of the Lord is our strength.”  It is like fuel to a car.  We top off the tank and we can run for quite a while, but the stress and strains of life can cause our tanks to run dry.  When that happens we need to spend sufficient time in the presence of the Lord, for “in the presence of the Lord, there is joy forevermore”.  Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit, we can expect it to be present in our lives.  If it is missing, then we must seek the presence of the Lord until it is restored to us.

V. Teach

First, God works in our lives.  Then we are able to teach others about the goodness of the Lord.

VI.  Praise

Praise is a natural and expected response to the forgiveness that God offers to us.  God is good to us in so many ways.  He is worthy of our worship and our praise.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

These are the sermon notes from 5/10/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

That Your Joy May Be Full

October 9, 2014

Most of us do not want to be miserable, except maybe those few people who seem to enjoy being miserable!  Most of us would rather experience joy in our lives.  If we are walking with God, our joy may be full.

I.  Love:  John 15:9-12

 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

God loves us.  To abide in His love, we should be aware of His love.  His love never changes.  His love never fades.  When we are feeling down, we should meditate on His love for us.

To abide is His love, we should keep His commandments.  This does not mean that He stops loving us if we don’t, it means that we will not have the sense of His love because we are doing what grieves Him.

To abide in His love, we should love one another.  When we offer unconditional love to those around us, we are imitating God, who loves us unconditionally.

If we abide in His love, our joy will be full.

II.  Ask:  John 16:22-24

Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.

23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

In this context, Jesus has just been talking about his coming death and resurrection.  They will sorrow at His death, but will rejoice in His resurrection.

As Christians we can ask God for whatever we desire.  We can ask in faith, believing that He is able to deliver.  We need to remember that, even as a loving father sometimes tells his children no, even so, God sometimes tells us no.

I John 5:14-15

 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

James 4:3

You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

Philippians 4:6

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

We can ask God for anything, knowing that He hears us, He loves us, and He is able to give us those things that are according to His will.

We can ask, and our joy will be full.

III.  Sanctify:  John 17:13-17

But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

We are set apart to be the people of God.  This is a good thing.  God has given us His Word, the Bible, and we should follow it.  The Word of God is truth and if we follow the Word of God our joy will be full.

In this world we will still have tests and trials, but our joy is not based in the things of this world.

These are the sermon notes from 9/28/14.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

The Spirit Within

February 13, 2012

Here are the sermon notes from February 12.

Introduction:  Even as the special mentioned, it is wonderful to know that we can call on Jesus: that He is always present and able to help those who are in need.

I.  John 13:34-35 Love One Another

Is this what people see in us?  Sometimes church people can be mean to each other, and cold to outsiders.  I wonder if people would say that our love for one another is obvious.  Do we extend the love of God to those who visit?  How do we love people who are different, boring, or obnoxious?

II.  John 14:15-17  The Spirit as Teacher

We are to keep the commandments of Christ, including the one to love one another.  We can do this because God gives us the Holy Spirit.  He will help us to live, and to love as we should.  This sets us apart from the world.  The Spirit will dwell within our hearts.

Verses 23-24:  Again there is a reference to God dwelling with us.  We can rest assured that God is with us in whatever trial we face.  We are not alone.

Verses 25-27:  The Spirit will be our teacher.  We will learn to do what is right.  We can be at peace.

III.  John 15:9-11  That Your Joy Might Be Full

The love of God is freely given to us.  The presence of the Holy Spirit changes us.  We are able to keep the commandments of Christ because of the Spirit within us.  As we walk with God our joy will be full.

If you are walking in willful disobedience to the commands of God, do not be surprised if your joy is diminished, and your peace is disturbed.

IV.  John 16:33: Power to Overcome

We can anticipate that we will have tests and trials in this life, but we can be at peace because Christ has overcome the world.  Our joy and our peace are not dependent on external circumstances, but on the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Conclusion:  The Holy Spirit dwells within us.   It is the Spirit that fills us with the love of God.  The Spirit enables us to love one another, and to keep the commandments.  The Spirit guides us into truth, helps us to know how we should live, and brings love, joy, and peace into our lives.   God freely gives us His Holy Spirit to be our ever-present Helper.

That Your Joy Might Be Full

September 6, 2011

Here are the main points from the sermon I preached on Sunday.  Please take the time to look up the Bible verses.

I.  God is Faithful  Lamentations 3:22-26

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him.  That means both to spend time in His presence, but also to be willing to wait for His timing.

II. That Your Joy Might Be Full  I John 1:4

The purpose of this epistle is so that his readers joy may be full.  We may identify several keys to that end.

III.  Do Not Love The World  I John 2:15-17

Sometimes Christians allow the things of this world to be more important to them than God.  That is never good.  God wants to be our first love, our first priority.  If God is reduced to second, or third place in our lives, we can expect our joy to be diminished.

IV.  Trust God  I John 4:17-18

Fear is the opposite of trust.  You cannot be both afraid and joyful.  If we trust God we have nothing to fear.  If we truly love God, we will not be afraid, either of Him, or of anything.  We will recognize that “greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world”.  (I John 4:4)

V.  Obey God  I John 5:1-5

The greatest commandment is to love God, the second is to love one another.  If our lives our filled with love, we will keep the commandments of God.  It won’t even be difficult because we are simply living out the love that is within.  A life filled with love is a life filled with joy.

Conclusion:  As Christians, if our joy has been diminished,  we should ask ourselves  three questions.  Is God first in our life?  Do we trust God fully, with all the details of our life?  Do we truly love God and is that love expressed by a life of obedience?

Is your joy full?

Come Be With Us

September 1, 2011

When I was in the Marine Corps, going through training to be a tank crewman,  at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, we had one weekend of liberty.  I remember that I went off by myself and got a hotel room.  I did a lot of thinking, a lot of praying, and a lot of listening to music on my Sony Walkman.  I also wrote a song that, strangely enough was accompanied with bongos.  I am a drummer and percussionist.  The only instrument that I had brought with me was a set of bongos.  Anyway, the song came into my mind the other day while I was out for a run and I thought that I would share the words.  You will have to use your own imagination, for the sound of the tune, rhythm and accompaniment.   It has occasionally be done in church, so some of you have heard it.

 

Holy Spirit come be with us

come and fill our hearts today.

Holy Spirit come be with us                                    ( chorus)

come and fill our lives we pray.

 

Oh Lord God above

you are the one who gives us love.

For you loved us so much

that you gave your only son,                                (verse one)

to die for us on Calvary

and wash our sins away.

Oh Lord God above

come and fill us with your love.

 

chorus

 

Oh Lord God above

you are the one who gives us joy,

and we know that we need you                             (verse two)

we need the strength that your joy brings

to face our world today

we need the strength that your joy brings.

 

chorus

 

Oh Lord God above,

in a world of trouble and pain

you give to us a peace,                                          (verse three)

a peace not of this world,

Oh Lord God above

come and fill us with your peace

 

chorus

 

Oh Lord God above

come and fill us with your love.

Oh Lord God above                                     (bridge)

come and fill us with your joy.

Oh Lord God above

come and fill us with your peace.

 

chorus

 

I remember singing this song in my hotel room and having a sense of the presence of God.  It was meaningful to me at the time, and so I thought I would share it with you today.

Eye On The Prize

November 18, 2010

In Genesis 15:1, God tells Abraham ” I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”  As spiritual descendants  of Abraham we are able to take hold of this promise for ourselves.  The greatest blessing that we receive from God, is the relationship that we have with God through our faith in Jesus.   We are given the opportunity to walk this earth in a relationship with the Lord of Lords, and the King of Kings.  There is nothing in this world that can compare with that gift.

It is sad that so many people, even many Christian people , look to the things of this world to make them happy.  True joy is not found in the material stuff of this world, but in the One who created the heavens and the earth.  In our daily lives, may we keep our eyes on the prize, the “exceedingly great reward’.  May we walk on this earth, in a relationship with God Almighty.  May we be aware of His presence in our lives.

True Joy

February 19, 2009

“True joy is not found in our external circumstances, but rather, in our internal relationship with Christ.”  I have often made this statement from the pulpit and I sincerely hope that it is something that my congregation fully grasps.

“In the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy…”  (Psalms 16:11)

I believe that we are able to enter into the presence of God because of Jesus Christ.  That indeed, the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts through our faith in Jesus.  So we are able to enter into the presence of God at any time, and in his presence there is fullness of joy.

“the joy of the Lord is our strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) 

I believe that we are refreshed and strengthened by the joy of the Lord which is available to us as we spend time in prayer and meditation in the presence of God.   

True joy is available, not in the things of the world, but in the presence of God.  The things of this world can be lost, or taken away, but no one is able to take God out of our lives.  He is with us always; but are we aware of his presence?

God is Good

November 11, 2008

One of my favorite sermons had a fairly simple outline.

  God is good.

  Life can be hard.

  God is still good.

Basically it acknowledges that God is a loving, kind and good God.  He is able to help us, and to bless us in a variety of ways.  Yet, life can be difficult.  There can be times of great trial and stress.  Terrible things can happen.  Yet, in all things, and at all times,  God is still good.  God is always with us, and in his presence we can find ‘fullness of joy’.  God also gives to us wisdom and strength for today and hope for tomorrow.  We may not understand why things happen as they do, but we can trust that God knows what is going on, and that he is with us through it all.