My scripture today is from 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1, and my sermon is entitled: I Still Have Joy!
You know…..Joy a word that is small in stature but mighty in meaning. Joy is a directive, is a strong basis for the faith of a Christian. And in our Christian journey we will find that Joy is the opposite of Happiness! I hear you asking yourselves….Why? Well Happiness is the reaction to an action where as Joy is an action derived from God! What do I mean? OK….Find money that we didn’t remember having – happy. Get a new home or a new car – happy. Find a new love – happy. Get a new job – happy. Get out of trouble or find a reprieve from a difficult situation - happy. However, if something were to transpire to cause the thing that made you happy to expire or dissolve or disappear.....such as the new home becomes termite infested - happiness gone......new job obtained is terminated due to downsizing.....happiness eradicated. New love becomes a big dud --- happiness evaporated.....new car breaks down - happiness long gone. But joy - the strength provided to believers enables us in the face of adversity to endure. Joy allows us to say in the times of trouble....I still have joy...I still have joy....after everything I have been through....I still have JOY! Joy is the result of recognizing that God is Good all the time….even in the midst of a trial. Joy sustains us during difficulties because we realize that though happiness may be fleeting, the Joy of the Lord is our strength. And since he is the giver of it...nothing can take it away. Joy is not in response to something, but it is due to our anticipation of the ability of God...so that when the winds blow and the breakers dash we know our soul is anchored fast and we can shout......Oh I still have Joy!Because we have been redeemed we can enjoy the fullness of God, and the action of joy. Not a reaction to an exterior transaction, but the action of the interior movement of the Holy Ghost. It is the joy that allows us to say when we lose a loved one or experience heart ache or pain, that the sorrow is going to endure for a night but JOY is coming........after all the things I have been through I still have JOY. Yes Paul tells the church of Corinth.....you will have trouble...you will be hard pressed....you will be persecuted....you will be tossed and jostled.....but because the one that reconciled you endured much more why would we expect to endure any less....but because he didn’t give up on fall out we have an assurance that everything is going to be alright....so when trials try to bound you and bind you just shout....I still have Joy!!!! Even when situations seem to be more than you can endure - because my God said at Psalm 89:16 that we just need to be joyful because the righteous shall be exalted or victorious.....We still have joy. When folks talk about you or abuse you, just remember that Isaiah 60:15 says that after it is all said and done, God will give us and our children and our children’s children JOY! After all that I have been through ...I still have Joy! When it seems like all hope is gone, and you just can’t endure anymore, remember Luke 10:20 tells us don’t worry, be joy filled because our name is written in heaven and the torment of the moment is fleeting.....I still have joy. Oh yes so we will every once in a while be afflicted but the joy God has given will keep us from crushed down or beaten down - I still have joy! We may be perplexed or have questions or wonder every once in a while what when where and why....but the Joy God has given to strengthen us will not allow us to be controlled by the circumstance. I still have joy. We may be persecuted, misused, abused, lied on, and cheated - but because of the Joy that he has given freely we can just rest upon the knowledge that we will not be forsaken, because he has never forsaken the righteous...I still have joy. We could be knocked down but our joy will keep us from being destroyed. So yes things that make us happy, good grades, good children, good food - all these things can cause that elated feeling for a fleeting period......Actions have to transpire for happiness to be obtained. But just as quickly as we receive happiness we can lose it....But Joy!!!!!!
Joy will sustain us when our happiness is revoked by a harsh word or deed. I still have joy!
Joy will retain us when happiness is removed by circumstances and situations.
Joy will maintain us when happiness is disolved by the actions of friends and family.
Joy will contain us when happiness is replaced with weeping due to loss and pain.
Joy will fortify us when happiness is eradicated.
Joy - is what changes hopelessness to hope fulfilled
Joy is what changes perplexed to praise
Joy is what changes questions to petitions
Joy is what changes depressed to delivered
Joy is what changes giving up to looking up
Joy is what changes sorrow to jubilance
Joy is what changes bewildered to bolstered
I still have Joy!
There was an old man who lived at the edge of town. He had a beautiful home that sat on 2.5 acres of ground. Inside there was a beautiful mahogany staircase. At the back there were imported French doors. A custom Crystal Chandelier from Italy. He had Armani Suits, hand crafted leather shoes. He had it all….The best of everything. His wife had passed a few years ago and his children were all grown and living across the country. But on this particular day while he was in town, he heard sirens and saw the town folk running toward his side of town. When he arrived at his home, all was lost.... just a pile of smoldering timber. But the old man simply began singing, "I’ve Got The Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy….down in my heart." Now the town busy body came running to see what mess she could carry. She just knew that she would have some juicy gossip of how desperate and distraught this old man would be, but she was surprised when she came upon him and heard him singing, and She said, "Old man, your wife is gone, your fine clothes are gone, and now you stand in front of glowing amber ashes singing you still have joy. .. you must be crazy!!!" But the old man simply responded, "My clothing was simply covering but my God supplies complete contentment.... his joy envelopes me so I may endure the loss of my spouse, my belongings, and this house was not my home....just a place I am residing till I get to my home on the other side....I still have joy..... The woman upset because she had no tale to carry...simply crossed the street shaking her head heading back to town. Shortly there after, the town pastor came by....coming to offer words of encouragement. And though he preached each Sunday that the Lord will make a way - confident that his church member would be beside himself with grief due to the fact that his children were many miles away, and now he was homeless....he was surprised when he came upon the man singing his Joy song. The pastor tapped the old man on the shoulder.... "Brother are you alright... you just lost your home... you don’t have anyone here to take you in.... are you in shock... ?" And the old man just shook his head and smirked. "Pastor you have to understand... that I am not alone because my Jesus said he would not leave me as an orphan and better yet I am not homeless because he said he left here to go get my house ready..... So the things I have here may seem to be all gone --- but since I serve a God who has never failed, deceived, or disappointed, I can say "I still have joy". My sweet Magen who is the mother of the twins….told me once….”If God brings you to it….he will will take you through it.” She has Joy. Don’t look at what you are going through - but instead celebrate the one who is taking you through that you can obtain what he has just for you. Tell yourself daily….. I still Have Joy!!!!