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How to Enjoy Life No Matter What

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Most people don’t enjoy life, they endure it.

Happiness comes from happenstance.

This is where we get the word circumstance.
Happiness depends on external circumstances while Joy comes from within. Too many people think life is supposed to be problem free… If I could just get rid of .... There is no such thing as a problem free life, so if you are going to learn to be joyful, you have to learn to do that in the middle of the situations and problems of life.
Joke: A lady standing at the door of her home talking to a census taker who’s standing there with a clipboard. She’s got curlers in her hair, she’s got a crying baby in her arms, the dog’s barking, she’s got two fighting preschoolers at her feet, she’s hopelessly fatigued, all worn out and the census taker says, “What do you mean you’re undecided? All I asked was, Do you live here?”
We’ve all felt that way… right?

Many are unhappy because of when and then thinking.

When I get all my problems solved, then I’ll be happy. When I get married, then I’ll be happy. When we have kids, then I’ll be happy. When the kids leave home, then I’ll be happy.
We’re always looking for that magical change. If I can change my situation then everything will just be great.

If your life has to be problem free before you can be happy, you’re never going to be happy.

Life is a series or problems. You are either in one, coming out of one or going into one. Jesus said that in this world we will have problems.
We have to learn to be happy in the middle of grief, stress, pressure, all kinds of problems.
God wants you to enjoy life to it’s full, not jus to endure it.
Philippians 3:1 NLT
1 Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.
Circle whatever happens. Whatever happens… rejoice.
Paul did not write Philippians from a resort. He wrote it in prison.
Paul for the last four years has been miserable in circumstances. He's spent two years in prison in Caesarea for a trumped up charge. Then he's put on a ship to go to Rome to appear before Nero who is not known for his niceties towards Christians. On the way he's shipwrecked, stranded on an island, bitten by a poisonous snake, waits out the winter there, continues on to Rome, spends another two years in prison awaiting trial to be executed. During this two year period in Rome he is chained to a guard for 24 hours a day. He has absolutely no privacy. Every four hours he gets a new guard.
And on top of that, Some were preaching and kind of putting Paul down, but here was his response to that.
Philippians 1:18 NLT
18 But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.
What was Paul’s secret? He tells us…

Four Essentials for Joyful Living

1. If I am going to be joyful no matter what, I need a new perspective to live by.

Joyful people have a big perspective… they see the big picture.
We get frustrated because we see only a small piece of what God sees. He sees it ALL. You don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but God does.
We have to look at life with a big perspective.
All of us have problems, but the way we look at those problems is more important than the problems themselves.
Perspective makes a difference… Paul understood this.
Philippians 1:12–13 NLT
12 And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. 13 For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ.

More than anything else, Paul wanted people to know Jesus.

He wanted them to know that God loved them… that they mattered to Jesus.
So his idea was, I’ll go to Rome, which was the capital of the Empire at that time, and I’ll preach in the coliseum. That was his idea to spread the news. But God had another idea. God said, You’re going to go to Rome all right but you’re going to go as a prisoner, a royal prisoner of Nero. He was one of the worst Caesars of all times. Paul is put in prison and chained twenty-four hours a day to a palace guard. These are the elite crack troops, hand picked by Caesar himself. They were his closest buddies and friends.
So, How in the world did the gospel spread that way? Because Paul was chained to some of the most prominent influential people in Nero’s government. In two years at four-hour shifts, Paul had witnessed to 4,380 guards. These guards had an inside route to the emperor and as a result even some of Nero's family became believers. History tells us that Nero had his wife, mother and children killed because they became believers.
That’s what I call a chain reaction!
Philippians 1:14 TEV
14 And my being in prison has given most of the brothers and sisters more confidence in the Lord, so that they grow bolder all the time to preach the message fearlessly.

Paul saw his problems as a way to encourage others.

Paul’s attitude was an encouragement to Christians everywhere. Courage is contagious. People became bold following Paul’s example.
Not only that, but God used prison to slow Paul downs enough to write the New Testament books he wrote. I am not sure they would have been written if he hadn’t been in prison. Jail look pretty bad, but God used it to give us the NT.
Romans 8:28 NLT
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Everything is not good, but God will bring good out of bad. It’s not good when someone gets sick… it’s not good when a child is hurt or abused. It’s not good when someone is hit by a drunk driver.
God is not the author of evil. God does not cause evil in the world. Don’t blame him for tragedy. Not everything is good, but God can bring good out of evil.

Key: God has a purpose behind every one of my problems.

Kathy loves to bake... One day Kathy made a wonderful Red Velvet Cake. It has all kind of ingredients in it. Have you ever eaten a spoonful of Crisco? Have you ever eaten a spoonful of flour? Raw flour is pretty dry and tasteless. Have you ever eaten a spoonful of sugar? These aren’t too good individually, but working together it’s called a cake. They work together.
Individually there are some things in your life that are very distasteful. But when God puts them all together He bakes a cake. And He does something good in your life that you could have never imagined.
Let me also say, this promise is not for everyone. It’s for Believers. If you are thumbing your nose at God saying I’m going to live my life the way I want to… things are not going to work out for your good. This promise is for followers of Jesus.
Perspective produces hope and hope produces joy. When you realize that God is working through your problems even when you can’t see it, even when there isn’t an explanation you have a hope and you can be joyful even in the problem because you know it’s not the end of the story.
We need to always ask God to help us see life from His viewpoint.

2. If I am going to be joyful no matter what, I need a priority to live by.

Our lives will always be guided by either priorities or pressures.
If you don’t decide what in life is important to you, others will. You have to decide for yourself what’s important in life and go for it. If you don’t choose your priorities, others will and you will be frustrated.
Paul - the reason why he could be happy, the reason why he could be joyful even in the middle of waiting for execution in prison is because he lived by his priorities. He clarified what was important in his life and he didn’t let secondary issues distract him. (Big Rocks)
It’s interesting that while he was in prison, Paul was not only waiting to be executed but the people on the outside were criticizing him ruthlessly. They were jealous of him. They were kicking him when he was down and were saying all kinds of things about him.
In fact there are very few things that will rob your joy faster than having somebody say something bad about you. When somebody says something bad about us we want to retaliate, get even, to defend ourselves, and strike back. That’s our carnal nature.
But if we do, the moment we start retaliating, the moment we start trying to get even with people who hurt us, we lose our joy. Notice Paul’s response…
Philippians 1:18 NLT
18 But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.
Paul wasn’t going to let anyone steal his Joy including Nero or those who were talking about him.
Billy Graham took a lot of criticism because he always preached a simple message. But he never answered his critics, he stayed focused on his priority – preaching the Gospel.
How many arguments have you ever had that were over something totally unimportant in the big scheme of things? All of us. Most things we argue over are simply not worth losing our joy over.
We have to discern what’s really important, stick with it, and not allow ourselves to become sidetracked. We need to live in light of eternity.
How long with this last?
Will it make a difference in 5 or 10 years?
Is anything I am arguing about matter in view of eternity?
Most people spend their entire lives acting as if all there is, is here and now. No! There is so much more than just here and now. This life of 60, 70, 80 years if you’re fortunate is just preparation for eternity where you’re going to spend thousand and millions of years. So don’t get hung up over things that aren’t going to matter. That aren’t going to last.
You’ve got to have a perspective to live from and you’ve got to have priorities to live by.
Jesus -
Matthew 16:26 NLT
26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
UNFORTUNATELY, it takes tragedy or near tragedy to get our attention.
Katrina - stuff all of a sudden wasn’t important.
Walking with Roy Bowes ....
Proverbs 3:6 The Living Bible
6 In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.

Key: Focus on what really counts.

Ask God to help you see from his viewpoint, then we need his help to see what really counts and then…

3. If I am going to be joyful no matter what, I need Power to live on.

At this point, Paul had very little control over his life. He was in prison awaiting execution. But he found a way to be joyful. He was tired and at the end of his life. Some of you fee that way, but you need a new power supply.
Philippians 1:19–20 NLT
19 For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance. 20 For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.

Two things gave Paul Strength

1) The Prayers of other people

2) The help of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8 NLT
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Where does your power come from?

Philippians 4:13 NLT
13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

God gives you the power to change

God gives you the power to forgive

God gives you the power to endure situations and circumstances that are not going your way.

We just have to learn to rely on God’s power in these situations.
ILL A young lady said that when she was growing up she had a terrible fear of death. So afraid of losing somebody close to her. So afraid of losing her parents. So afraid of losing someone that she loved. She would cry and wake up in the middle of the night and would tell her dad, “Daddy! I can’t live if you die. I won’t be able to make it. I’ll go crazy with grief. I won’t be able to stand it. What would I do?” she asked... Her dad always said to her, “You don’t need the strength right now at this moment to face the death of someone you love. I’m standing here. I’m talking to you. I’m alive. God’s not going to give you the strength to face my death right now. But when that time comes God will give you the strength to endure, to stand it, to be able to make it.
So she began to believe that as he told her that over and over and over. She made a commitment that no matter what happens in her life she would not let it devastate her. She said, “I may have crushing sorrow. I may have grief that goes beyond my ability it seems to endure. But I will not let it devastate me.”
This is how when tragedy hits ue we can stand… because God gives us the Grace.

Key: With God’s power nothing can defeat me.

4. If I am going to be joyful no matter what I must have a purpose to live for.

The greatest tragedy in life is to go all through life never understanding, why in the world am I here. What on earth was I put here for?
Paul was a man of purpose. Picture this: Paul is in prison. He’s an old man. He’s awaiting execution and they have taken away literally everything from him. (freedom / ministry / friends / privacy) He’s chained to a guard twenty-four hours a day. But there was one thing that they could not take away from him. That was his purpose for living. Nobody can steal that from you once you’ve discovered it.
He said as long as I live here on earth in this body my purpose is to live for God. But once I die I get to be with God.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 NLT
4 For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.
When you live a life of purpose and perspective, to live really is Christ and to die really is gain.
Paul ran towards that Goal. Let me ask,

What’s Your purpose?

Why do you want to keep living? Why should God give you another day?
Are you living life on purpose?
Are you living life with perspective?
Are you living life under His power?
Are you living life to please him?
Some life for money, for relationships, for pleasures of this world. However, we need to look at things in light of eternity.
Philippians 3:13–14 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, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Key: The Secret of Joy - Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last

The reason there is so much unhappiness in our culture, so many discouraged and depressed people is because in our society there is a total preoccupation with self.
What's best for me? What will make me happy? What is the best thing for me? The ME generation. When you learn to have a greater purpose in your life than just yourself, you will have more joy than you can handle. There is no such thing as problem free living, but when you base your life on the kinds of values that are going to last, then problems just aren't as significant. So what, that things haven't worked out as I've planned. God has a purpose that is bigger than my problems.
I believe God wants you to enjoy the rest of your life. But it starts with the foundational values we're talking about this evening. I believe that we can experience the Joy of the Lord no Matter What if we have a perspective to live from, a priority to live by, power to live on and a purpose to live for.
Let’s close by taking the outline and looking at it. This is just between you and God. Do little personal review on these four.
One, do you have God’s perspective on your problems?
Or have you been looking at it from merely the human viewpoint. How do I know if I’m looking at a problem from just my viewpoint? I start saying things like, “It’s hopeless. Absolutely hopeless. Why is this happening to me?” You don’t see the big picture. God has a purpose behind every problem in your life.
Two, have you clarified what’s really important in your life?
Proverbs says “In everything you do put God first and He will crown your efforts with success.” Put God first in everything you do! Then you’ll have success.
Three, have you been trying to rely on your own power?
How do you know if you’ve been trying to live on your own power? Simple. You’re dead tired. You’re fatigued. You’re worn out. You’re stressed. If you’ve been trying to live on your own power here’s what God wants to say to you. One word – relax! Take a deep breath and drop all those problems and pressures into the hands of God because you’re in good hands with God.
Then, do you have a purpose?
Are you following the purpose for which you are made? If you are you’ll be able to face the future, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
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