2.05.2018

Joy IS possible!

Sunday proved to be a lovely day of worship and fellowship!
I was privileged to enjoy a short but purposeful conversation with a cherished young couple whom we love.
Worship was sweet.
I saw one of our former COMMITTED members who happened to be visiting in California and was able to rejoice in her recent engagement. (Congratulations, Kaylan!)
The class I attend the second hour was lively and relevant.
And the sermon preached by our faithful Shepherd? WONderful!

I am sharing my notes here because the truths of this message are applicable to everyone, whether three or 93. I pray you will be encouraged to find JOY in every day, even the most trying ones.
Happy Monday!

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Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Philippians 4:4

JOY should be the distinguishing mark of a Christian.

➤ The COMMAND
Rejoice in the Lord!

- Joy is a choice. A decision.
- We CHOOSE joy - or - we choose apathy, despair, worry, despondency, and complaining.

✦Joy is the result of a forced focus on Christ.✦

This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
Good or bad, trying or easy, difficult or sublime, the Lord God created this day and sovereignly allows all that happens within it. Though we may not "like" what the day brings forth, we can still praise Him and rejoice in the DAY even if we cannot rejoice in the circumstances.

- We can will ourselves to rejoice. (We often need to do so!)
- Joy is a habit of the heart.
- Joy is a defiant "nevertheless."
It requires us to take our eyes OFF of our circumstances and focus them solely on Christ.
"I have been diagnosed with a disease, nevertheless, I have a loving husband to walk through it with me."
"My children live far away so I cannot see them often, nevertheless, we call each other and have video chats every week so we can stay connected."
- Joy is not a child of emotion. Joy is an ATTITUDE.

Example: George Müller
“The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day is to have my soul happy in the Lord."
REJOICE in the Lord always!

The CONNECTION
"Rejoice IN THE LORD always ..."

- The Lord is the only one we can rejoice in all.the.time - for He never changes!
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

➛You might not be able to rejoice in your LOSS
but you can rejoice in the LORD.
➛You might not be able to rejoice in the SITUATION
but you can rejoice in your SAVIOR.
➛You might not be able to rejoice in your HEALTH 
but you can rejoice in your HIGH PRIEST.
➛You might not be able to rejoice in your RELATIONSHIPS
but you can rejoice in your REDEEMER.
➛You might not be able to rejoice in your SUFFERING
but you can rejoice in your SHEPHERD.

Joy is the result of abiding in Jesus Christ.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, it is he that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 
As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. 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.
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
John 15: 4-6, 9-11

The CONSTANCY
"Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS."

Always = at all times, on all occasions

- There is no loophole in this command. We are to rejoice ALWAYS. Every day and all day.
- Rejoicing is an attitude of praise!

IMPORTANT! (Especially for those with discouraged, despondent, and depressed hearts/minds.)
- Joy is easy to express when the sun is shining on your face and the wind is at your back.
- Joy is difficult to find when thunderclouds roll overhead and the rain pelts your flesh.
And yet, JOY IS POSSIBLE because it is not found in our circumstances - but in our SAVIOR!

Lord, thank You for this wonderful message from Your Word! Make us a people who choose to praise You and rejoice in Your goodness even on the most difficult of days. Joy is a choice, and when we choose to rejoice instead of whine, You are glorified. People are always watching Christians. They watch our reactions to tragedy. They witness our attitudes in the small frustrations of life. They judge You by the way we live. Make us faithful stewards of Your Word, Your truth, and Your commands so we can be a refreshing and lovely fragrance of contentment and JOY when You give - and - when You take away. You are always faithful - always merciful - and always willing to forgive and restore those who fall before You in humility. Because You never change, we CAN rejoice in You ALWAYS and FOREVER, for You are - always GOOD!

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