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James 1:2 "My brothers and sisters, think of the various tests you encounter as occasions for joy."

Subject: Joy

Title: Joy Down In My Heart! (Song)

Proposition: We can rely on each other as family in being encouraged to keep joy when you have fallen into the pit

 with hard times surrounding you. You have joy knowing you will be more mature by sharing trails with the Lord. 

We have joy when you take responsibility for keeping joy by not expecting others to make you happy: by thinking positive

 and reaching out to help others.

Object: Lets encourage each other to be a family that shares in the hard times with the Lord and refocus on thinking positive and helping others. 

1. "My Brothers and Sisters" -  The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. 

We are members of a family that belongs to God. It is a reminder of that which will help us keep "JOY" in our hearts. 

     A. You are no longer alone. You have family here that will help you during hard times to encourage you and bring 

you back to "JOY". 

2. "Think" (hghsasqe). First aorist middle imperative.  Do it now and once for all time.

3. "Various tests" (peirasmois) = "Peri" = "arround, being surrounded" by many trails and hard times.

      A. "Asmois" = "an experiment, attempt, trial, proving. an enticement to sin from the desires or from the outward


      B. Satan, People in the world and World System "Attempts" to entice you to sin and loose "JOY" by being surrounded by pressures and hard times.

      C. Satan tried this same technic on our Lord Jesus. Jesus knows how you feel. (Matthew 4:1-11)

4. "You Encounter" (peripesēte) = "To fall into" a pit

5. "Occasion for Joy" (   Pasan charan) = "Whole Joy" 

      A. Trails and hardships are painful. Joy comes from knowing that is helps to make you more spiritually mature.

      B. "for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." (James 1:3)

     C. " Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange

 were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad 

when his glory is revealed." (1 Peter 4:12-13)

Individuals need to be willing to face truth about their attitudes, behaviors, even what we want out of life. Jesus said

 if you know the truth, the truth will make you free. We always delight in telling everybody else the truth about them, 

but we often have a difficult time facing the truth about ourselves.

I'm only going to stand before God and give an account for my life, not for somebody else's life. If I have a bad attitude,

 then I need to say there's no point in me blaming you for what's wrong in my life.

A lot of times, people make other people responsible for their joy: "You're not making me happy, you're not doing this,

 you're not doing that." I found out just in the past two or three years that my personal joy is not somebody else's responsibility. It's my responsibility.

How can other people become responsible for their own joy? You talk about people "changing their mental channel.

" How can they do that?

Your joy comes from how you think, the choices that we make in life. You know, I'm dealing with somebody right 

who's spent a lifetime making bad choices. Now they don't like the result of their life, so they want to put the responsibility

 on everybody else to take care of them and make them happy.

If you want to have sustained joy, you have to not only make sure that you think right, but you also have to make 

decisions now that are going to guarantee some joy in the future. One of the key things for people as far as joy is 

concerned is not living a selfish, self-centered lifestyle where we live our lives expecting everybody else to do something for us.

So we can find joy by not thinking about ourselves. 

Right, by not being selfish and self-centered. There's such a push in our whole society today to take care of yourself,

 buy this for yourself, "you deserve it."

The whole Bible rests on the principle of sowing and reaping. From the very beginning in Genesis, it says as long as 

the earth remains, there will seed time and harvest. If we sow into other people's lives--whether it's encouragement

 or helping them with a financial need or giving them a ride or babysitting or whatever we might have to give--

then we receive a harvest of joy in our own lives.

One woman I know was extremely depressed. She talked to her pastor and was bemoaning her depressed state.

 He said, "I want you start X number of times a week baking cookies for somebody and giving them to them.

" Then she was like, "How in the world is that going to help my depression?" And he said, "Because you have your 

mind on yourself. You need to stop thinking about everything that's wrong in your life." And sure enough, just through

 starting to bake cookies for people, it helped her get her mind off of herself and her problems and then her joy 

level increased.

It seems like this idea of managing your emotions--changing your thinking patterns to become more positive--

is popular among a lot of evangelists today. How do you think it differs from secular cognitive psychotherapy?

Being positive in thinking right is a godly principle. Even if a person doesn't attach God's name to it, if you operate

 on a godly principle, you're still going to get good results. There are people in the world who aren't necessarily Christians,

 but they're just naturally nice people who do a lot for other people. Those people will almost always be prosperous people.

When you say `prosperous,' what do you mean?

I mean that they're enjoying their life and their needs are met. And not only are their needs met, but they're able

 to reach out to other people. They like their life.

That doesn't mean they're getting everything they want but there's a total difference in having favor when you go places

 and getting promotions at work when promotions are available. People who live under God's favor just find a lot of good

 things happen to them.

We can't break these laws of the spirit and expect to be blessed. Even people who aren't believers in God can still 

operate on those principles. Positive thinking just helps you in general.

I was a Christian for a long time before I knew that my own thoughts were causing me problems. If I got up in the morning 

and thought, "I feel depressed," then I would just spend the day being depressed. I learned that I could literally change

 the way I felt by taking some positive action and not just letting my thoughts rule me.

Going back to your books, you say even when you're thinking positively, life can't be filled just with things fun to do-

-but we can enjoy mundane things with the help of the Holy Spirit. How can that happen? 

God wants to be involved in our everyday life. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, he wants to be part of and invited

 into everything that we do. We need to let God out of the Sunday morning box that we try to keep him in.

When you really make a commitment to let God get involved in everything, he begins to get involved in even simple things,

 like how you dress or what kinds of movies you see or who you have for friends. God cares about everything I do.

We get him involved in the everyday things of life and then that ordinary life can become very joy-filled and even exciting.

 If I'm really praying and trust in God, I can go to the grocery store and God can put somebody in my path that needs a word of encouragement. I can tell somebody, "Hey that color really looks great on you," or "Boy, your hair is really pretty."

We need to have a mindset of letting God use us to make somebody else's life better. When we do that, then there's a joy

 released in us that we're not ever going to get anywhere else.

Conclusion: We can rely on each other as family in being encouraged to keep joy when you have fallen into the pit with

 hard times surrounding you. You have joy knowing you will be more mature by sharing trails with the Lord. We have joy

 when you take responsibility for keeping joy by not expecting others to make you happy: by thinking positive and reaching out to help others.