Game-Changing Joy

Joy, when humanly you can’t go on. Joy, because Jesus is there and He’s Lord and He’s enough.

Scripture: Colossians 1:11, I Thessalonians, I Corinthians, Romans 1


Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing Alright? Oh, I’m fine. I’m so glad to feel good, to be filled with the joy the Lord, and so grateful for the privilege of opening God’s Word and sharing it with you, my precious friends.

Turn with me again if you will, to Colossians, we’re looking at Colossians 1:11, he said, that the evidence of God’s power in your life is not the fireworks and the pyrotechnics and the noise, but it’s patience, big heartedness. And then he says it’s joyfulness, “Unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness, giving thanks unto the Father”.

Patience, long-suffering, joy, thanksgiving. These are the evidences of God’s power. Why? Because each of them takes a miracle in certain circumstances. Joyfulness of course, is more than happiness, you know the difference. There’s an old British chorus that is out of vogue, I haven’t seen or heard it for many years, the words of which go something like this, “I’m happy when everything happens to please, but happiness comes and goes, while the soul that is stayed on Jesus the Savior, ever with joy oer’flows”. Happiness happens, but joy abides in the heart that is stayed on Jesus. Beautiful sentiment there, isn’t it? Happiness happens.

See the word happy is related to our verb happen, which in turn is related is the idea of circumstances, which please us. Little child is happy with a new toy, but he or she is unhappy if the toy breaks and ceases to function. Happiness is related to the circumstances. It is our emotional reaction to what is going on in life at the time. Joy however, is a deep experience that is related not to circumstances, but to persons, the joy of the Lord is your strength. Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full”.

A relationship with your Lord is that which produces joy. “Whom having not seen ye love”, Peter speaks of the Savior in these words, “Whom having not seen ye love, whom though now ye see not yet believing you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory”. Paul writes to his friends and he says, “Therefore my dearly beloved, my joy and crown”.
See, joy is based upon a working relationship with persons, and when the power of God is poured out in your life and in mine, there will be a right relationship then with our Lord, and as a result, His joy. “The Lord God in the midst of thee is mighty”, sang the prophet, “He will, He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing”. God enjoys his Saints. We enjoy our Savior and we enjoy one another because we’ve been bought with the precious blood of Christ and we belong to the family of God. You follow that?

So he says, “Strengthened with the power of God unto joyfulness”. Alright now, how do you approach this? Joy depends upon a right relationship with a wonderful Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. It depends upon a right relationship with His provision of salvation, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation”. It depends upon a right relationship with His stated work, “Go forth and we, with bearing precious seed shall doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing His sheaves with Him”.

Harvesting. It depends on a right relationship with the will of God. “I came to do the will of Him that sent me, this my joy then is fulfilled”. It depends upon a right relationship between your self-life and Christ. John the Baptist, when queried about the fact that the Lord Jesus was having bigger crowds than he, he said, “A man can receive nothing except to be given Him from above. He said that, “The friend of the bridegroom doesn’t have the bride, but the bridegroom is, is the important man and the friend of the bridegroom grabbed”, I got my tongue tangled up there, didn’t I, “the friend of the bridegroom stands by and hears the bridegroom’s voice and rejoices greatly, this my joy he says is fulfilled. He must increase and I must decrease”.

The joy of the Lord depends upon a right relationship between your self-life, your ego, and Christ’s Lordship. Joy is a relationship. Now, it takes God’s power. We have to tell each other to produce and to maintain that kind of joy.

In this connection I always think of the memorial service that was held for our dear brother, the late Dawson Trotman, Daws he was called by his friends, taken from us by a tragic boating accident 30 years ago now I guess, and many of us who were his friends gathered for a memorial service at Glen Eyrie, the headquarters of the Navigators of which he was the founder. It was a victorious service full of the hope that Christians have and the center of all of that blessing was Lila Trotman, Daws’ wife, and she greeted friends as she stood by the casket as the service proceeded. You were aware of the serene faith that was hers, even in a moment of heartbreak.

I was in charge of the press relations afterwards and spoke with some of the press. One of the reporters asked a naïve question. You see, the entire service had been one of victory and hope. There’d been no note of despondency, no note of irretrievable sorrow. All that was said then done there was within the context of the believer’s hope, “We sorrow not even as those who have no hope, for we know that if Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him”, and so on and, “so shall we ever be with the Lord”, you know the passage there from First Thessalonians. That a been brought up, and the passage from first Corinthians, “This corruptible must put on incorruption”. So it was a great victorious service.

So, after was over and we were talking to the press here came this reporter with his naïve, innocent question, he said, “Mr. Cook, does this group always believe in happy funerals? ” I had to try to explain to him what it was all about. Happy is the wrong word there. Joy is the right word. Joy when your heart is breaking, joy when your tears are falling, joy when you’ve lost your job, joy when a child grows more and more ill and finally dies, joy when you can’t see your way through and the only way is to look up and cry out to God, joy unspeakable. Why? Because Jesus is there. That’s why.

Oh, do you know that beloved? Do know about Jesus in your heart and life when things are rough and you’re hurting, your heart is heavy or breaking your eyes are running with tears and nothing seems to work right and nobody seems to understand. Do you know about joy then? This dear friend is the result of God’s outward power in your life. To be able to look up and say, “God, I don’t like it but it’s Alright. I love you”. Can you reach out by faith?

Somebody needs this so badly today. I don’t know who you are. Somebody needs it so much. Can you reach out by faith, poor hurting heart and say, “Lord Jesus, I want Your joy, I want Your Presence, I want a right relationship with your will, I want to be what you want me to be, and if through all of this you can accomplish Your work in my life, then do it”. Oh, tell Him that and when you do the joy of God will fill your soul. The peace of God will calm your spirit. The power of God will nerve your faint endeavor until what you do has some good results. Oh yes it will.

Joy is a Person. Joy is a Person. “These things have I spoke unto you that My joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full”, and that word for means full and running over. Not just full up to the top. A commercial says, “Fill it to the rim”. Not just to the rim but running over. What did the psalmist say? “My cup runneth over” that’s what he said.

That will be true, beloved, of you, oh yes it will. You can have joy, joy in the darkest hours, joy in the golden purple dawn when you wonder whether you can live through another day, joy in the noonday heat and struggle, joy in the 6 o’clock sag when you feel like everything’s falling apart, you’re so tired. Joy when humanly you can’t go on, joy because Jesus is there and He’s Lord and He’s enough and you can make it with Him. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Joy. Alright?

Now, there’s one other evidence of God’s power and that’s thankfulness. It’s strange that you need power to be thankful, isn’t it? And yet there it is, giving thanks to the Father who’s made us worthy to be partakers of the inheritance of the Saints in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the Kingdom, His dear Son, and in Him, in His dear Son we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins. Giving thanks to the Father.

Thankfulness is a vanishing virtue in many areas, that’s for sure. What have you done for me lately is the question, not only in the old New York joke, you know that old wheeze about the fellow who’d been so kind to the immigrant who then snubbed him and when he complained he said, “You, you’re not my friend anymore. After all that I did for you”. The man said, “Well sure that’s true but what of you done for me lately”? That seems to be the spirit of the age doesn’t it? Take all you can take, get all you can get, don’t worry about being thankful.

I was chiding a friend of mine, a good many years ago now, I suppose it would have been 30 or 40 years. These things stick with me in my memory however because they’re meaningful. I was chiding him and I said, “Look, you don’t even say thank you to these people”. Oh he looked at me and he said, “Bob, if you’re producing, you don’t have to bother with thank you notes. It’s when you stop producing that you have to worry about that”.

Well, I didn’t agree with them then and I don’t agree with him now. To be thankful is one of the evidences of God’s Presence in your life and to be unthankful is one of the evidences of a Godless area in your life. The quarrel that God has with the heathen is not that they’re heathen, but that they don’t give Him His place as God, nor are they thankful. Read that first chapter Romans and hear God say, “Because that when they knew God they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful but became vain in their imaginations”. Thankfulness is one of the evidences of God’s Presence in your life. Be thankful today, beloved.

Dear Father today, may Thy power be poured out upon us for patience, long-suffering, joy, and thanks, Amen. Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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