Enhance Your Joy
Enhance Your Joy.doc SD22
January 11, 2009 File: M10b
Nine Tips to Enhance Your Joy in 2009
READ NEHEMIAH 8:10
As we face this new year with all its questions and insecurities and the issues facing us individually and as a nation I would like to share with you some tips to enhance your joy this year.
I have talked several times about joy in the last two months…joy of Christmas…
Some basic and simple things that you have heard before and I have perhaps preached whole sermons on…each one could certainly frame a message that we could search out…
1. DO SOMETHING SELFLESS
Matthew 16:24 (NIV)
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
“Every day do something you don’t want to do. Pick up someone else’s trash. Surrender your parking place. Call the long-winded relative. Carry the cooler. Doesn’t have to be a big thing.
Helen Keller once told the Tennessee legislature that when she was young, she had longed to do great things and could not, so she decided to do small things in a great way. Don’t be too big to do something small.
“Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort” (1 Cor. 15:58 MSG).
Someone once said: “Selfless acts of kindness are the true signs of a Spirit-filled life.”
Hebrews 13:16 (NIV)
16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Jesus even taught us to do good to those who hate us…
It is just a healthy practice…
Be nice! Be fair! Be courteous! Be kind! Be helpful!
You wan to feel better about yourself…stop thinking about yourself so much and start serving others…
Enhance your joy by doing something totally self-less every day!
2. STAY FOCUSED ON WHAT IS TRULY IMPORTANT
Ezekiel 20:7 (NIV)
7 And I said to them, “Each of you, get rid of the vile images you have set your eyes on, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”
And then the NT tells us to “set our eyes on Jesus”
“Looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith..” (He. 12:2)
Philippians 3:13 (NLT)
13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,
Stay focuses on what is really important…cont get weighed down with the trivial…
May you have the grace to know what is trivial…
Some tings are urgent and they press I upon us…but they are not necessarily important…
It happens every time I pray…the most important thing then is my connection with God and my prayer life…but invariable the urgent begins calling to me… letters to write, check you email, you forgot to take the trash out…don’t forget to call so-n-so
Stay focused on what is of most importance…
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NLT)
3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.
Stay focused on your spiritual development…
“Seek first the kingdom of God…”
It will outlast all your worries and cares on this planet!
Seek him who is eternal life!
3. REFRAME YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES
Dr. Richard Dobbins (not Dobson)—says “None of us lives with just the facts of his life. We live with the story we tell ourselves about the facts of our life.
Mathew was a hated citizen of his city…he was a tax collector…considered to be a traitor...given over to the Romans…What led him to this place? I don’t know! But what I do know is that when Jesus came to Mathew (Levi) as he was collecting taxes by the shores of Galilee…he helped him become a new creation…
Matthew no longer saw himself as a victim of his own choices…he began to see himself as a citizen of the Kingdom of God and a servant of Jesus Christ a man of great value and purpose!
A woman who met Jesus at mid-day at the well of Sychar (Jacob’s Well)—do you know why she was there at that time? It was the hottest part of the day. A time when everyone else was sitting in the shade taking their siesta…but she wanted to avoid the crowds because of the stares and the looks…because she had a reputation she could not overcome…
But when she began to drink of the living water—JESUS—she began to have hope and she saw herself as an ambassador with good news to tell—she left her bucket at the well and went back into the city—not avoiding the crowd but calling them to “come and see this man…” JESUS
If you have lived with hurt and humiliation. If shame dogs your thoughts. If you have lived with a self-image created by your circumstances of by the adults in you childhood…if you see yourself as anything but of value to God…then you need to ask him to give you another story to tell yourself about who you are and another story to tell yourself about your life’s’ circumstances…
Circumstances don’t determine your happiness!!!
Stop telling yourself how bad life is under the circumstances…
What are you doing under there
Are you living above or below…
Above your circumstances or beneath them…
“Set you mind on things above…” is what the scripture says.
Stop telling yourself flies…
Get in to the Word of God and listen to the message he has for you!!!
You are important and valuable to God and he will se the circumstances of your life—no matter what they are or have been to create in you a unique individual of utmost worth and purpose.
The devil wants to trap you
Jesus wants to transform you!
So don’t stay under the circumstances, live above them with faith in your heart!
4. TRUST—DON’T WORRY!
There is so much said about this that I wont’ spend much time on it…but just listen to a few scriptures…
Philippians 4:6 (NLT)
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
1 Peter 5:7 (NCV)
7 Give all your worries to him, because he cares about you.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
5. STOP SINNING
Sin bring built
Guilt brings despair
Despair breeds discouragement and the loss of joy
If you want to enhance your joy in 2009 stop sinning
Perhaps you have believed the lie that says you cannot change. That you have not been able to resist and get over that problem (sin).
Stop calling it a disease or an addiction and call it what God calls it!!!! It is sin!!!!
And the only way to deal with sin is to live at that cross not at the mental health professional….
Only Jesus can absolve you of guilt!!!!
And he is ready to do it…but you need to not presume upon his grace and stop sinning!
“The soul that sins shall die…”
1 Corinthians 15:34 (NIV)
34 Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.
Jesus was going up to the temple on the Sabbath when he went by the pool of Bethesda…there he found a lame man and began a conversation…the result was that he was healed and carried his bed mat away…
At the time he didn’t know who Jesus was but later Jesus saw him again….listen to what Jesus said
John 5:14 (NIV)
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
Be sure that your sin will find you ought…there is nothing hidden that will not be made manifest…
God is not mocked, whatever we sow we will harvest
If you sow to the flesh you will from the flesh reap corruption but if you sow to the spirit you will of the spirit reap life everlasting…
Stop sinning…and listen to this…
“if we confess our sin, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness…”
In one word: REPENT
It will really enhance your joy…because a load of guilt will be lifted…
And one other note before I leave this:
If you are struggling with a specific habit or attitude…that God is not pleased with…and you have tried to overcome but have been unsuccessful you may need to follow the direction of James 5:16
James 5:16 (NIV)
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
You may need to swallow your pride and earnestly desire to get free…by confessing it to another person who will become your accountability partner and help you by putting into place a plan to get free---totally free!!!!
AND WILL PRAY WITH YOU AND FOR YOU!!!!
It will help you stop sinning and really bring more joy into your life and into your relationships!
6. FORGIVE HURTS
LET GO OF THE HURTS THAT HAVE BEEN INFLICTED ON YOU!
Yes you have been hurt—but if you want to increase your joy you have to let them go…release them from your grip and put them into the grip of a righteous, holy and just God!!!
Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT)
14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Embrace the great forgiver—who said, while hanging on the cross by their hands… “father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing…”
Let him equip you to forgive and let go…
7. DEMONSTRATE YOUR GRATITUDE
Don’t just say you are thankful…demonstrate it by your attitude and by the things you do and say!!!!
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)
18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
I used to fly a little…got my pilots license when I was 18.
In flying there is tow things you need to watch (well more than two—but for my illustrations—two)
They are reported on two gauges on your instrument panel…
You altitude and your attitude
You altitude is how high you are from the ground…
Your attitude is how the plane is trimmed to fly in relationship to the horizon…
If the nose is pointed up you are ascending
You are in an attitude of climbing
If the nose is pointed down on the attitude indicator then you are descending…you are going down…
You attitude is what points our whether you are going up or down
Pay attention to your attitude and always maintain an attitude of gratitude!!!!!
8. ACT AGAINST YOUR FEARS
Psalm 56:3 (NKJV)
3 Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.
David knew how to act against his fear…do you think he didn’t have some trepidation against goliath…it would certainly be natural…but he acted against it by believing in God and acting for God…he was zealous and jealous for God.
I don’t care how small or large your fear is…act against it!!!
Courage is not the a sense of fear…sometimes e equate foolhardiness with courage…but to be afraid and do the right thing in spite of your fear—now that is courageous…
When you are afraid of being teased at school or work because you are a Christian you will have opportunity to do something that will be courageous…when they are passing around that cigarette you can simply walk away…but they will tease me…that is you fear! Act against it! They won’t like me! That is your fear!! Act against it!!!
You are afraid that you won’t have enough money to pay your bills…that is your fear…so let courage rise up and pay your tithes anyway and see if God will not come through for you!!!!
You are afraid you might lose your job…and it makes you afraid to make mistakes…so you don’t risk anything to make a difference for you employer…you just maintain the status quo…but take the courageous risk…do something in faith…
Act against you fear…
9. (lastly) CONCENTRATE ON WHAT IS GOOD
It is self-explanatory!!! Just think about the good stuff in your life and what God has done for you before…
Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
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.
NINE TIPS TO ENHANCE YOUR JOY IN 2009
Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” -- Nehemiah 8:10
1. DO SOMETHING
3. YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES
7. DEMONSTRATE YOUR
8. AGAINST YOUR
9. CONCENTRATE ON WHAT IS