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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1046

Happiness and Joy
Part One

October 21, 2012

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1046 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Well, praise the Lord! I just trust the Lord will guide and help me to know His mind. I did something last night that I don’t usually do. I don’t like, as a service approaches to go read something somebody else has written or hear something somebody else is preaching lest I just come and regurgitate.

We don’t want to do that. We don’t want second-hand stuff, but I had a book of Jim Cymbala’s that I just been working on. And I don’t know, something drew me to look into it, and I read something and it’s not so much just a matter of regurgitating what he said, it’s that it quickened thoughts. And that’s what we need. We need something that is fresh and that’s quickened. It’s appropriate in the way it’s put together for us and for our situation today.

But it had to do with the difference between happiness and joy. And I feel like we get tripped up a lot of times by not understanding the difference and not understanding what God has given to us and the way that He desires that we live. You know, we have a culture that is devoted to the pursuit of happiness. Is that not…I think it’s in the Declaration of Independence…thank you for all the nods, because I wanted to make sure I got it in the right document.

( laughter ).

But anyway, we have been endowed by our Creator, according to that document, with life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Now a lot of people think they’re entitled to happiness today, that’s not what it said. And I think words do sometimes change their meaning a little bit. But the fact is that that seems to be a pretty good idea of what the world is about. It is the pursuit of happiness and all too often it is the sense of entitlement to happiness.

And you know, I think I’ve made the point before, and someday I need to actually go look this up, but I’m pretty sure that I’m right. The word ‘happy’ is actually related to happenstance and happenings, and it’s a state of well-being, it’s a state of feeling good about what’s going on. But it is absolutely rooted in what’s going on. You know, if you see a beautiful sunset and you happen to be feeling good that day and man, I’m happy, I’m happy, then all somebody has to do is walk up and say something unkind and the happiness…

( snapping fingers ).

… It just evaporates. Why? Your happenings changed. And, I’ll tell you, if this world is absolutely—what is it serving—what is this world serving? It’s serving self, isn’t it? And it’s that idea that what my life is about is pursuing things that make ‘me’ happy. We are the ones who define our own sense of well-being, and it’s according to natural desires, we’re gonna gratify this, we’re gonna gratify that. If we’re not happy, we feel entitled to go after this and go after that.

Man, that is a prescription for absolute slavery. I mean, you think about the very nature that we were born with in Adam’s family, it’s against God. It is all about me! It’s not about Him and His purposes and why He made us. It’s all about me and what pleases me, and what pleases me at the moment.

And so people are just constantly running after this and running after that, and just trying somehow to scratch an itch that’s way deeper than they ever have any hope of scratching. I mean, if that’s what your life is about, you’re on a fool’s errand. You’re trying to do something that is completely impossible. And I fear that this world is just full of people today who are going to discover, the very moment they breathe their last, and they leave this life, they’re gonna suddenly wake up to reality and they’re gonna wish they had never been born, and it will be too late, because they’re simply pursuing what is—you know, it’s all about me—make me happy. And, of course, they’re constantly trying to control things in their lives. How does that work out for everybody?

( laughter ).

That’s just not the way it works. We live in a world where we absolutely…we’re not in control. There’s no way that you can sort of “feather your nest,” and just make everything around you just right, and not allow anything that’s gonna upset you. God help us. You know, that’s the most important thing in the world, that we don’t upset you. And, that becomes the way that we live.

And we are just constantly going to that like a drug addict goes to his drug, or an alcoholic his alcohol, or any other thing you care to name. It’s not just those things. We are addicted, so many of us, in this world, that’s certainly the case, we are addicted to whatever we think will make us happy.

And a lot of times it’s the pursuit of something that is like that carrot. You know, we all know the way to get an animal sometimes, maybe a donkey or something, to move. You dangle that carrot and he just follows it. And you keep the carrot just out of his reach, and he just…all he’s focused on is the carrot. He doesn’t care about pulling your load at all. And oh, how easy is it for the devil to just absolutely take over and ruin lives, and bring them to a place of horrendous bondage and frustration. You think that life is gonna make you happy? How much real happiness do you think there is.

It seems like there was…I haven’t had time to look up any of this, I’m just pulling things from my memory. But I do remember some famous person from history who was devoted to…it seems like he was devoted to lust in this case. It might have been Don Juan. Don’t quote me on that. But whoever it was, he came down to the end of his life and he said he could look back in his life and count five days in which he was happy.

You know, I don’t care what you do in this life, you’re not gonna find it. You’re chasing the end of the rainbow. It ain’t there. By the time you get there, it’s gone. I understand there was a beautiful double rainbow yesterday. I missed that one. Anyway, God gave that as a wonderful, glorious reminder, didn’t He, of His promise? And that’s what we need to be about.

So many other things…obviously, you understand what I’m saying, and if you’re honest, you’ll understand. Folks, that’s not where it’s at. And if you don’t have…if that’s what your life is about, you are absolutely in a world of trouble and don’t even know it. If your focus in life is on what makes me happy, you’re gonna be living the life of a yo-yo at best. And I’ll tell you what it leads to in a lot of cases, it’s just ‘yo.’

( laughter ).

There ain’t no ‘yo’ to come back. You just go down and you sit there, and you’re just frustrated ‘cause nothing’s like you think it ought to be. Nobody’s treating you like you think…you’re just constantly measuring your well-being by the circumstances of your life. Well, good luck to you! Good luck to you. Folks, we need to have a better foundation in our lives.

( congregational response ).

But, I thought about another thing that I read years ago. Some of you may recall this, and I think it might have been a Gospel tract. It was an article, at least. But it described a meeting of a number of famous people and it seems like it might have been in the 1920’s. You know, in the roaring ‘20s things were booming, it was before the crash, at the end of the decade there. It was whole bunch of famous, wealthy, powerful people that all, for some reason, happened to gather in a certain place. And it enumerated all these people, and who they were and what they had accomplished, and why they were among the powerful.

And then it went down every single person who was at that meeting and described how their life ended. It wasn’t pretty. So-and-so, owner of this corporation, billionaire, which meant something in those days, committed suicide, died alone, died a pauper…went to jail. I don’t remember all the individual circumstances. Every single one came to some untimely end. They just gave their whole life, they invested everything God had given them into the pursuit of something that could never do it.

Fools that we are, we measure our well-being by what’s going on around us. And the thing is, it doesn’t just affect people in the world. It affects God’s people. God help us to wake up and to realize and to get our sense of well-being from something else. We need an Anchor for our soul.

You know, Billy reminded me of something in our prayer meeting the other night. He referred to a message I had preached once, and probably referred to this more once, but you remember in the case of Nehemiah, the story of Nehemiah, God used him to restore and go back and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem after the terrible judgment, when they were carried away to Babylon. Then after 70 years or so, they began to go back and rebuild.

And Nehemiah brought them to a place, along with Ezra, the priest, where they gathered everybody in an assembly and they read the Law. Well, they had gone centuries…they were Israelites, but they didn’t have a clue what God had given them, and they way He expected them to live, and the promises of blessing and cursing that were embodied in the Law. You know, if you don’t walk in this Law and you’re gonna be judged, I’m gonna scatter you among the nations. I mean, it says it in so many words. But if you do it, I’ll bless you. I’ll bless everything about you. You serve Me, I’ve called you out to be a nation of…a kingdom of priests to Me, a special nation.

And so as they read it, they caused them to understand the sense, didn’t they? And so, what was the result? What did the people do? They mourned, didn’t they? Oh, this is terrible. This is catastrophe! Now we get it and we understand. But the interesting thing is, what was the Lords’ response through Nehemiah? He said, no, you’ve got it wrong! This is not a day to mourn, this is a day to rejoice! This is God saying, my people get it! They understand what I am about and they’re in tune with it. They’re mourning because they see where they’re at.

Folks, is there anybody here in that place? You seek God, and God’s showing you where you’re at? And what kind of a thing does it cause? I mean, what kind of reaction does it cause in you? Sometimes it’s a little discouraging, isn’t it?

( congregational response ).

Yeah, you look in the mirror and say, oh my God, I didn’t know that was in me. Lord, I didn’t really get that I was like that. Oh Lord, I thought I was doing so good, and here I discover this hateful thing in me that just wants to…give me the right circumstances and it rises up and it’s horrible, Lord. Oh God, what must You think of me! Oh…and down in the pity party territory we head.

But you know that God wants His people to learn to rejoice. Not that we rejoice over things that are wrong, but we rejoice over a God who loves us enough to tell us the truth, who reaches out in mercy, who has shown us mercy! And God knew that thing was there all along! He didn’t just discover it. Wow! That just blows my mind that He could love somebody like me, all the things that have turned up in me and probably, undoubtedly still will. But He loves me, and He loves you.

Folks, God has given us a place where we can absolutely rejoice in Him. We have a joy that the world cannot touch! You know, there’s a certain amount of truth in this that is abroad in the land, that we’re supposed to rejoice and all of that. You know, I see something in it that just tells me something’s lacking. There’s a lot of religious excitement sometimes that gets stirred up, that’s nothing more than stirring up the emotions. You can sing happy songs, you can clap, you can shout, you can get a feeling of exhilaration on the inside, and I’ll tell you, there’s lost religious people who can do that. And that’s not what God is interested in. That’s not what He’s given us. I’ll tell you, in order for us to really have the joy that God wants to give us, it is a fruit of His Spirit.

( congregational amens ).

I’ll tell you, until you’re born of His Spirit, you don’t have a clue what this is about. You can come in a feel good and get happy…and a lot of people go to religious services. There’ll be people right now in religious services around, and that’s what their aim is. I want to feel happy. I want to go out and feel good about myself. You know, I want to get my emotions recharged a little bit. Well, I’ll tell you, the joy of the Lord will recharge your emotions, but it’s not just about that. They joy of the Lord is something we can have when we’re weeping!

( congregational amens ).

We can have a reservoir of something that is down deep that holds us, that’s an anchor for our soul, that enables us to have a different outlook upon everything in our lives! We’re not dependent on what happens to us! How many of you, if you’re really honest and you look in the mirror, you say, yeah, you’re right. I’m pretty dependent on what happens to me. If somebody looks at me cross-eyed, I stew about it. I can’t let it go. They shouldn’t have done that. It’s just not right what somebody did. I just don’t feel good. I’m entitled. I’m entitled to be in a funk and you just better not bother me.

( laughter ).

You know, 1001 different things that we justify in our own minds, and we think, oh I’m, you know…oh God, are we selfish…God, are we living in a low realm! God wants to lift us up. Oh, praise God. I’ll tell you, do you believe that there is a joy that we can have in the midst of all of this?

( congregational response ).

Does not the Lord desire us to get our eyes upon that and to drink and draw upon that? Folks, if you’re here this morning and you don’t know what I’m talking about, and God has not really…you’ve never really given your whole heart, the inside to Him, and He’s not come in. Oh, there’s nothing more important in your life. If you want to pursue happiness, go for it. But I’ll tell you, you are wasting your time until you know Him.

( congregational amens ).

God wants to perform a miracle in your heart. I’ll tell you, when His Spirit comes in, there’ll be a source of joy, there will be a foundation. You won’t have to feel good to be able to rejoice and to have a joy in the Lord. That doesn’t mean we go around with some phony little something on…I mean, it’s something that’s real.

( congregational response ).

When you can genuinely be weeping about something that’s going on, but underneath there is a joy that just sustains and carries you! That’s the Lord’s joy!

( congregational amens ).

You stop and get a different perspective. How does the Lord see? Now I know the Lord certainly doesn’t like what’s going on in this planet. That’s putting it mildly. But that’s not what God is focused on. He’s gonna take care of that. Don’t you worry. God’s gonna set things…God’s gonna put everything in its proper place at the end. But God has a purpose, He has a plan, He has something that He is unfolding that’s been the joy of His heart from eternity past! He’s seeing past all of this. He’s seeing something that is yet to come and His heart is full of joy, and He just thinks about it. He looks at you and me and our imperfect state, but we know Him and He says, I just can’t wait. I am so…I was gonna say jazzed, I guess that’s not exactly the word, but…

( laughter ).

…I am so thrilled with what I know is coming. That’s what I’m living for. I’m not the least bit dismayed with the bumps in the road. I’m not dismayed with the oppositions and the trials and the troubles, in fact, I’m using them to get there! Oh my heart is just leaping for joy because I know that that’s coming!

Now here’s the thing. Think about what happiness, as the world conceives of it, is really based on. Like we said, it’s based upon the changeableness of circumstances, your own personality, and what you like and dislike, and your experiences and all of that. And I understand that you could adopt a personal philosophy of having a positive attitude. You know, you can kind of gear yourself a little bit in a positive direction and you can handle life better than other people, but you’re still dependent pretty much on circumstances.

Now I understand that there are people who…it’s like they were baptized with…well, Jim Cymbal put it ‘baptized with lemon juice.’ I was gonna say they were vaccinated with pickle juice. You know, their whole viewpoint of everything is just…I know this is good right now, but I know something bad is coming. That’s where their focus is. They can’t stop and enjoy anything because they’re just sitting there waiting for the other shoe to drop. And of course, you’ve got people that wouldn’t be happy if they weren’t complaining.

( laughter ).

But you break it all down, I don’t care what the particulars are, everything about the pursuit of happiness has to do with what happens, stuff you and I cannot control. And we have no business being just whipped and knocked about. I mean, if you live that way, you are…for those of you who are old enough to remember, you are the guest of honor in a pinball machine. Now you who are old enough to remember, you remember the ball gets kicked this way and gets knocked that way, and knocked this way, and…it bounces off of this and bounces off of that. Anybody feel like that sometimes?

( congregational response ).

Yeah. Well, you’re depending on the stuff that’s happening to you to make you happy. But that’s not what God has for His children. You know what joy, particularly the Lord’s joy, real joy is based upon? It’s based upon certainty. Everything about happiness and its pursuit is based on things that will change, do change, constantly change. You can never depend upon something in this world. If you are depending on something in this world to make you happy, you are wasting your time. You’re gonna live a life of frustration. But oh I’ll tell you, when He comes in, there is a source of joy. You notice the Fruits of the Spirit are love…what’s the next one?

( congregational response ).

Joy. Praise God! “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (KJV). God wants to build this reservoir of reality down here where we absolutely, in the midst of the worst thing that ever happened to us, we can still say, Lord, I’m crying and I’m hurting and I need Your help, but I’m rejoicing because I know what’s going on. I know whom I have believed. I know it…I know my sins are gone! My hope is not built upon anything that I’m dealing with here, it’s because Jesus died for me and my hope is in Him today! My hope is in Your promises, the promises of a God who cannot lie! And oh Lord, I just rejoice in that.

That’s what the Lord’s joy is about. Folks, we need that right now. I sense a need in my own spirit. It wasn’t just reading what Jim wrote, but it was just the thoughts the Lord was quickening to me that were personal that just touched me right where I am. How easily do we fall into the traps of self-pity. Oh God, are you mad at me? God, why aren’t You making me happy?

That’s not God’s job. God’s job is not to make us happy. I’ll tell you, you rejoice in the Lord and you’re gonna have a lot more happiness to go along with it. But God has not promised you and me that we’re gonna always have the sun shining and roses blooming and all that stuff. We’re gonna have a lot of things to contend with down here. But I’ll tell you, there’s’ a joy in the midst of it.

( congregational amens ).

You think of Jesus…and how often have we referred to the scripture where it says, “…For the joy that was set before him endured the cross.” (NIV). Oh that cross was not a fun thing. It was a…there’s nothing worse that has ever happened on this planet. No greater suffering, no greater…but oh, He was so…there was something…He had just yielded His vessel completely to the Father’s will and plan. And so there was in Him that reservoir of joy and what was gonna happen because of what He was doing. He knew there was meaning to it. He knew it wasn’t just wasted time.

How many of us waste time in our lives just stewing over this and stewing over that? But what He did was…when you’re given to the Lord, everything has meaning—everything in your life has meaning, if it’s only an opportunity to say, Lord, I praise You in the midst of this. I know that You’re putting something to death in me that I need to be cut loose from, so I’m free to rejoice in You! Praise God!