Archive for March 6th, 2017

Living Joyful

from JO’s sermon tonight:

it’s easy to let the pressures of life weigh us down; we deal with traffic, bills, rude people. if we’re not careful, we won’t smile or laugh as much, be as friendly, have fun anymore; we have too much pressure, responsibility to enjoy life. but God didn’t create you to live with a heaviness; you’re not supposed to go around solemn, serious all the time, burdened down by problems. taking time to laugh, have fun, reenergizes you, helps keep you in balance; if it’s all work, stress, dealing with problems, that’s going to weigh you down. you can get so busy raising your children that you don’t enjoy them; sometimes, we think that we have to be serious to show that we’re responsible, but you can be responsible and good-natured at the same time.

God created you with a sense of humor; you were made to laugh, have fun. have you let the pressures of life weigh you down? if you don’t make this adjustment, not only will you not enjoy your life to the full, but you won’t have good relationships. nobody wants to be around a grumpy, sour person; that pushes people away. we represent Christ here on this earth; if you’re a believer, smile, be good-natured, friendly, learn to laugh.

Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)
22 A merry heart does good, like medicine

find the humor in life. too often, we used to laugh, have fun, but now we’ve let the pressures of life cause us to become more solemn; we don’t have time to laugh, we have bills to pay, children to raise, problems to handle. but the joy is what’s going to help you get through the tough times; laughing together, having fun, that’s going to help keep you together. maybe you would see your relationship go to a new level if you would bring more joy into the home; living with stress, pressure, tension, division, will drive you apart.

the enemy can’t stand to hear you laugh, having fun, enjoying each other. he wants there to be tension, pressure, strife. why don’t you get on the offensive and start laughing more often? laughter is spiritual warfare; it will bring down walls, and help your family stay together. we all have to deal with tension and stress, but you need to create a joyful atmosphere in your home; don’t bring in pressures from work, stress from school, offense from what somebody said. your home needs to be a cheerful place, a retreat from the negative things that you have to deal with during the day; leave the negative outside.

imagine what happens to us on the inside when we take time to live joyfully; it not only affects us mentally, our attitude, our moods, it affects us physically. when we don’t laugh, we’re not releasing the healing that God put on the inside. we all have different personalities, but most of the time, if we’re not laughing, it’s because we’ve forgotten how. most people who live into their 90s are very joyful people. sometimes, we think that the older we get, the more solemn we’re supposed to be, the less fun we’re supposed to have; that’s not God’s way.

Acts 20:24 (KJV)
24 … finish my course with joy

if you don’t have joy, if you’re not good-natured, you’re not going to finish your course the way God wants you to. just because our physical body ages, doesn’t mean that our thoughts and attitude have to get old. your spirit person, the real you that is on the inside, is ageless; it’s going to live forever. sometimes, we talk ourselves into being old and sour and solemn; don’t ever lose the child on the inside. you may have to retrain yourself to have fun, see the humor; sometimes, if we’re not working, we feel guilty, and stress out about what we think we should be doing. all work and no play is out of balance; give yourself permission to enjoy your life.

you may have a serious position, but you can still have a light-hearted spirit. when you’re secure, you can even laugh at yourself; if you can’t change it, there’s no reason to lose your joy. these days, everyone is so uptight, there’s so much divisiveness in our society. if you’re not careful, you’ll think, “this is no time to enjoy life, laugh, see the humor,” but just the opposite is true; more than ever, this is the time to live joyfully. there’s too much sadness in our world; everyone deals with hurts, disappointments, we all have stress and tension; don’t let that deceive you into living with a heaviness, discouraged, solemn. Jesus said:

John 16:33 (MSG)
In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”

John 16:33 (NKJV)
In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

he didn’t say to be discouraged, sad, offended; in the tough times, you need your joy. joy is what gives you strength. but if the enemy deceives you into living with a heaviness, discouraged, solemn, he’ll be able to defeat you at every turn. don’t fall into that trap; your circumstances may not change, but you can change. make a decision in the midst of the difficulty that you’re going to be of good cheer. you’re not supposed to live stressed out, always thinking about your problems; your mind needs a break.

Psalm 16:11 (ESV)
in Your presence there is fullness of joy

if you don’t have joy, you’ve disconnected yourself from God’s presence. if you go through the day worried, stressed, somber, you’re separating yourself from the blessings, favor, strength that you need. don’t let your problems weigh you down to where you live with a heaviness, can’t laugh, have fun. you have to have times where you can still be lighthearted; that’s what helps you to get through those times.

could it be that you would receive the healing that you’ve been longing for for the headaches, chronic pain, depression, insomnia, if you would just lighten up and learn to laugh more often? there is healing power in laughter; when you have a joyful spirit, health and wholeness is constantly flowing through you.

in the Old Testament, one way that an army would overtake a city is that they would clog up the wells that provided water to that city, forcing the people to come out from behind the protective walls. all of us have a well of joy on the inside, but worry and stress prevent it from flowing the way God intended it to.

Genesis 26:18 (ESV)
18 And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham.

Isaac’s name means laughter. it’s significant that Isaac was the one that redug the wells; laughter is the best way to unclog our wells. if you want to see God’s goodness flow in new ways, you have to get your joy back.

Job 8:21 (NIV)
21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
and your lips with shouts of joy.

that’s God’s dream, that your life would be full of laughter. are you living stressed, somber, worried? make a change today. if you’ll make the decision to have a merry heart, you’re going to see chronic pain and illnesses go away, have better relationships, feel younger, stronger, fresher, and you will finish your course with joy.

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