John 15:11

 

As a prelude, I played the song Try by Mandy Harvey a sister in Christ who received the Golden Buzzer on Americas Got Talent this week.

When she was a freshman at college studying music, she went deaf. She lost her dream and her love but she didnt give up for long.

I don’t feel the way I used to

The sky is grey much more than it is blue

But I know one day I’ll get through

And I’ll take my place again

So I will Try

I don’t love the way I need to

You need more and I know that much is true

So I’ll fight for our breakthrough

And I’ll breathe in you again

If I would Try There is no one for me to blame

cause I know the only thing in my way

Is Me

I don’t live the way I want to

That whole picture never came into view

And I’m tired of getting used to

The Day

So I will try If I would Try

Mandy Harvey – Try Lyrics

 

We must all try dont let your struggle define you. You are not your struggle, you are not your weakness. You are strong in Christ. You can do all things in Christ.

Be inspired by others who have overcome. It was not and is not easy for them but they persist through the pain and the struggle every day.

 

Joni Eareckson Tada writes:

Honesty is always the best policy, but especially when youre surrounded by a crowd of women in a restroom during a break at a Christian womens conference. One woman, putting on lipstick, said, “Oh, Joni, you always look so together, so happy in your wheelchair. I wish that I had your joy!” Several women around her nodded. “How do you do it?” she asked as she capped her lipstick.

“I dont do it,” I said. “In fact, may I tell you honestly how I woke up this morning?” “This is an average day,” I breathed deeply. “After my husband, Ken, leaves for work at 6:00 A.M., Im alone until I hear the front door open at 7:00 A.M. Thats when a friend arrives to get me up. “While I listen to her make coffee, I pray, Oh, Lord, my friend will soon give me a bath, get me dressed, sit me up in my chair, brush my hair and teeth, and send me out the door. I dont have the strength to face this routine one more time. I have no resources. I dont have a smile to take into the day. But you do. May I have yours? God, I need you desperately.”

“So, what happens when your friend comes through the bedroom door?” one of them asked.

“I turn my head toward her and give her a smile sent straight from heaven. Its not mine. Its Gods. And so,” I said, gesturing to my paralyzed legs, “whatever joy you see today was hard won this morning.” I have learned that the weaker we are, the more we need to lean on God; and the more we lean on God, the stronger we discover him to be.

 

That is what we talked about last week.

 

2 Corinthians 12:10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

In your weakness ask God for His joy and smile today. As you rest in His peace and rely on His Spirit we can have joy no matter our circumstances.

 

Robert Reid is another person whose example is inspiring. He says, I have everything I need for joy! (http://robertreidministries.com/Bio.html)

 

Roberts, hands are twisted and his feet are useless. He cant feed himself or comb his hair. Strips of Velcro hold his shirts together. His speech drags like a worn out audiocassette. Robert has cerebral palsy.

The disease keeps him in a wheelchair. But it didnt keep him from graduating from Abilene Christian University. Having cerebral palsy didnt keep him from venturing overseas on five mission trips. And Roberts disease didnt prevent him from becoming a missionary in Portugal. Within six years he led seventy people to the Lord, one of whom became his wife, Rosa.

When he speaks, others carry him in his wheelchair onto the platform. With stiff fingers, he forces open the pages of his Bible

Robert could blame God for his circumstances and act like a victim. He could ask for sympathy or pity, but he has done just the opposite.

He holds his bent hand up in the air and rejoices, I have everything I need for joy.

 

His shirts are held together by Velcro, but his life is held together by the joy of Jesus.

 

Is your life held together by the joy of Jesus?

Circumstances dont matter Joy comes from Jesus.

 

John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

 

We can have complete joy in Jesus.

 

Jesus did not promise happiness and good times, He promised us joy in the midst of the struggles of this life.

Happiness and joy are not the same thing. Happiness comes from good circumstances Everything is going my way. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

 

James tells us the same thing.

James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 

James is not telling us to be happy about our trials but we can have joy because we are growing in Jesus.

It is not that we have pleasure in the pain; it is that we know our suffering is preparing us for the return of Jesus.

 

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

 

We must change our focus and our expectations.

 

People always ask, How are you doing? I was saying, I am hanging in there, which is true. But last week I started saying, Better than I deserve (a phrase stolen from Dave Ramsey).

 

Do you think you have gotten a raw deal in life? Do you think that God is mistreating you?

Job struggled with the same thoughts but he also came to the right conclusions. Jobs 10 children died, he lost all of his property yet he refused to curse God.

 

Job 1:20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

 

After his friends accused him of wrong he still knows that God will justify him.

 

Job 19:25 I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;

 

Do you know your Redeemer lives?

Naked I came, naked I will depart.

What do you think you deserve in this life?

Whatever you thought of you are wrong. You and I dont deserve anything.

The breath we breathe is a gift from God.

 

We are blest to live in America but our American culture and attitudes make it hard to be a biblical Christian.

As Americans, we clamor about our rights and making sure we get what we are owed.

What are we owed, what do we deserve? Nothing

Some would say we deserve a lot, we deserve happiness, respect, love etc.

 

Deserve What have you earned, what do you merit?

Spiritually we dont deserve anything; spiritually we have earned punishment. That is why Gods grace is defined as unmerited favor.

We dont deserve Gods grace but He gives it to us anyway.

 

How are you? Better than I deserve.

Spiritually we are all better than we deserve. Physically we are also. It is only by Gods provisions that any of us have anything.

 

But peoples attitudes, even Christians, is like this saying.

I guess the moment when everything changed was when I realized I deserved so much better.

Better from whom?

Some say, God is not treating me like I deserve. Many think God should give me everything I ask for and make my life happy and free of conflict and pain.

God promised to make our joy complete not give us everything we think we want.

 

When we remain in Gods love by obeying His commands our joy will be complete.

 

John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

 

People dont have joy because they are not obeying Gods commands. Christians dont have joy because they are not living in the love and obedience of Christ. Obey and you will have joy.

 

Jesus promised the disciples joy and I believe that joy is ours also. No one or no circumstance can take that joy away from us.

John 16:22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

 

The disciples were about to suffer grief Jesus was about to be crucified. But Jesus would rise and their joy would be complete.

Our joy is complete because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave.

 

When you are struggling to have joy take a moment to remember what Jesus has done for you.

Dont worry about what is going wrong; remember what Jesus did. Really everything is going well.

You are on a bumpy road headed to Heaven. We know what bumpy, pot-hole filled roads are like. The road to Heaven is like an Indiana back road, curves, hills, and pot-holes; the road is not smooth but we still can make it to where we are headed. (Seth drove me on a smooth road to church Wednesday but there were still pot-holes and a few turns.)

 

Dont let the curves and pot-holes of life steal your joy. Your joy comes from your relationship with Jesus not your circumstances in life. Jesus resurrection is what brought joy to the disciples and Jesus resurrection is what brings us joy.

 

John 16:24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

 

Ask and your joy will be made complete. When Jesus has ascended the Holy Spirit will come; when we are immersed into Jesus we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; our joy is complete.

 

If you want complete joy then accept the Lordship of Jesus. That means you need to surrender your life to Jesus. Believe He came and died for you. Be willing to repent of your sins. Confess allegiance to Jesus. Be willing to be immersed into Jesus.

Will you come today believing, repenting, confessing and be immersed?

 

Christian complete joy comes as we live in the Lordship of Jesus. Many times, we get caught up in life and turn our focus away from following Jesus. When we quit obeying His word and we dont remain in His love we lose our joy.

 

Lets not forget what He has done for us.