FEATURE ARTICLE

Sunday, October 10, 2021
amos.dada@gmail.com
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
MY MONTH OF JOY AND HAPPINESS

Happy 61st Independence Anniversary Nigeria!

s Nigeria celebrates her 61st independence anniversary today I pray that the voice of rejoicing shall commence and replace the bad news of banditry, kidnapping, terrorism, killings by the Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram in Jesus name. I pray for peace in the length and breath of Nigeria in Jesus name.

Welcome to this great month. The Month of October our month of Happiness and Joy. Often, we read from that peculiar Apostle, Paul, phrases and exclamations like, "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you." Phil 3:1; "Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice!" Phil 4:4. The Psalmist declares in the same sentiment: "Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones; And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart." Psalm 32:11. Prophet Zephaniah was not left out of the proclamation when he said "Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! Zephaniah 3:14.

Demos Shakarian the late founder of Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship International following the sentiments of Paul wrote a book describing Christians titled: The Happiest People on Earth! I have good news for you, the embodiment and totality of what Jesus Christ personifies for you, and I is for us to live our lives rejoicing in our great God through the fellowship we have with him. God has not called you to a low life of diseases, frustration, depression, whining, murmuring, gossiping, complaining and limitation. Rather he has through his Son Jesus Christ made a way for you to escape these things. The Scripture declares "I am God, the one and only. I don't just talk to myself or mumble under my breath. I never told Jacob, 'Seek me in emptiness, in dark nothingness.' Isaiah 45:19. (MSG) No, my brothers and sisters we are not to seek God in vain, emptiness and nothingness. The devil is not in charge of your life God is! Therefore, let us roll out our drums with great rejoicing as a lifestyle, this is the life God has called us to - a life of rejoicing in Christ from this month. Christ's death must not be in vain in your life. This is what God wants me to remind you of this month . If you have not joined the happiest people on earth what are you waiting for. Accept Jesus today!

The scripture says, "The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly." Psalm 118:15. My prayer is that the shout of joy, if it is not already in your house or marriage or life, shall be yours this month in Jesus' name, and if it is already there it shall remain permanent! God shall give you reasons to rejoice this month - joy unspeakable. The twin of joy and happiness shall be your portion forever and ever. Amen.

What is Happiness?

The root of the word happiness goes back to 'happenstance.' That is illustrated with a story I love. There was an Englishman, a Frenchman and a Russian. They were all sitting around having a discussion about happiness. This was in an era when Stalin was ruling in communist Russia. If you said the wrong thing in Russia the secret police might show up at your door and take you away to a labor camp in Siberia if you were not towing the communist party line. These three individuals were sitting around talking. The Englishman said happiness was coming home, sitting down by the fire, and putting your feet into warm slippers. That is happiness. Some of you are saying, "That's what I'm talking about!" The Frenchman said, "You English have no romance. Happiness is a wonderful restaurant. Having fine wine with a beautiful woman. That is happiness." Some of you are going, "Now THAT is what I'm talking about!" The Russian said, "You are both wrong. Happiness is when you are lying asleep at 4 AM in the morning and there is a knock on your door. It's the secret police. They say, "Ivon Ivonovich." You breathe a sigh of relief and say, "Ivon Ivonovich lives next door." That is happiness. It all depends on your perspective, what is happening to you.

Happiness is the physical, mental, and emotional state of Well-Being. Happiness is the state of being happy. Happiness is not a goal, you want to become a doctor, engineer. Happiness is not absolute. Happiness is an outcome while also being intrinsic. One can be happily praying, happily raising a child, happily married, happily mentoring some one, or be happy because something positive happened

What is Joy?

It may interest you that until recently joy and happiness were used interchangeably. Online dictionary defines joy as a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. The synonyms include delight, great pleasure, joyfulness, jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, happiness, gladness, glee, exhilaration, ebullience, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss, ecstasy. John Piper writes, "Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world." No wonder the bible says the joy of the Lord is my strength.

When you give your life to Christ you experience 'joy unspeakable.' You have peace of mind. Maybe you have been in anguish and pain, suddenly such weight will be lifted. When Job lost his wealth and all his children and was in pain of sickness, the wife said 'curse God and die!' Because all the possession that was giving them happiness were gone. But Job said no: 'I know that my redeemer liveth.' There was something inside of Job that was giving him strength and hope that others could not see -- Joy of the Lord. Theologians are not sure when Job existed, but they are certain it was before the advent of Christ on earth. But even then, Job was rejoicing in His creator. "Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job did not commit suicide because the stock market crashed and he lost all his wealth, rather Job worshipped God, because his life was not defined by all those material things, that gives only happiness. He had joy that all his four friends who were healthy did not have. Paul says: "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Rom 14:17)

Relationship between Joy and Happiness

Happiness is a subset of joy. You can be happy and not have joy, but you cannot have joy and not be happy. Happiness is dictated generally by the mundane things of the earth; joy is spiritual, dictated by the eternal values. That is why rejoicing in Christ is not an option, you need to know Christ to find the joy on earth and the world to come. Rejoicing in the blessings of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Rejoicing in the responsibilities of what Jesus want us to do. Unfortunately, over 80% of Christians rejoice in what Christ has done for them but never rejoice in what he has called them to do. Said in another way, 80% 0f Christians have consumer mentality while only 20% has producer mentality. (My own observation - based statistics, not based on any survey)

How Not To Be Happy and Joyful.

Sadly, there are many ways to be neither happy or joyful - Always think of what God has not done for you and forget all the good one he has done. Always think of what you are yet to achieve or acquire overlooking what you have. Always thinking negatively. Only pay attention to those who are against you, the 'real and imaginary attacks" Always feel depressed, stressed and unloved. Believe that everyone hates you including your parents' siblings, church members, parents and even spouse. Romancing with what God did not give you and ignoring what he has given you. Living in constant fear of God's creations including flies, roaches and spiders. 2 Tim 1: 7 says For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. Believing you were born in an unfortunate continent. Thinking your nose is too big, your mouth is too wide, you are the opposite of the sex God created you to be. Your skin tone is wrong. Refusing to accept Jesus as Lord and follow the doctrines of secularism and post modernism.

How to be Happy and Joyful

Sadly, there are also many ways to be both happy and joyful. Receive Jesus as your Lord and Saviour and live a Christ centered life. Sin is a killer on earth and in the world to come. A Christ centered life is one that is focused upon a commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord. At the core of every human decision is a motivation. Some people are motivated by the quest for pleasure or money. Some center their entire lives on a goal, a job, or even their families. These things are not wrong in themselves; however, that which we center our lives on can become our god. Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Psalm 34 :8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

The acronym of JOY is J - Jesus, O - Others, Y - You

Jesus taught us that, "'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments." You can talk about love as much as you want, but it takes grace to love. Grace is not only undeserved favour - grace is what changes us. Grace is God's power coming to us free of charge to enable us to do with ease what we are unable to do on our own apart from God with any amount of effort. Simply wanting to be happy is not enough we must find salvation in Christ to experience true happiness and joy in Him.

Paul uses grace to live the Christ centred live as Job used faith in the Old Testament.

Grace is to energize you in difficult times and make you happy and joyful. "And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to [a]buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 12:7- 12

Example: Some of you are in pain now, husband abandoned you, wife walked out on you, the doctors report is scary, that teenager is making your life night marish, business is bad. Depression is setting in. receive the grace of GOD. Satan has come to steal, to kill and to destroy but Christ offers you life and that in abundance.

Romans 8 is all about living in a suffering world marked by brokenness. Paul talks about trouble and persecution and nakedness and poverty and how Christians are supposed to live in a world like that.

Paul offers three principles for finding joy in suffering. " And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory". Rom 8:28-30,

1. Our bad things turn out for good,

2.Our good things cannot be lost,

3. and our best things are yet to come.

Become like Jesus - Focus on glorifying God

Followers of Christ who center their lives on Him start to become more like Him. They talk about Him, think about Him, dream about Him, and spend more time with Him. They choose to obey His commands out of love and honor for their Lord, not from fear of being caught in sin. The greatest desire of Christ-centered believers is to please Him and grow to be more like Him. Their lives echo Paul's words in Philippians 3:10: "I want to know Christ-yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death." The chief aim of a Christ-centered life is to glorify God by doing his assignment.

If you listened in the spirit during the International Gathering of Eagles Conference we held from September 16-19,2021 with the theme Keys to the Kingdom - you will know that God was speaking about His assignment- What is the assignment God has given to you- Go ahead and do it. God, gives you keys to His kingdom so that we can do his assignment. Doing that assignment glorifies God and gives you joy.

More Ways To Be Happy and Joyful in Christ

1. Be happy because you are alive. Even ig f you don't have money today, or a job today, are waiting on the Lord for a baby or a spouse - be happy. Psalm 103:1-5. Don't live a miserable life. Some are wondering what is this life about because they failed an exam, what of your mate that did not get admission? Whatever you don't have today you will have it tomorrow. Rejoice because you escaped COVID-19 death!

2. Be content with what you have. Contentment is great gain. Paul says I have learnt to be content. Phi 4:10-19. Solomon said "O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. 8 First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. 9 For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, "Who is the Lord?" And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God's holy name." Prov 30:7-9

3. Work for God. Be happy when you are privileged to do something for God and you have done it. Be happy because your name is written in the book of life. Lk 10: 17. 7 When the seventy two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, "Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!"18 "Yes," he told them, "I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! 19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. 20 But don't rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven

4. You are among the chosen! Be happy because you are part of those that God has chosen to accomplish his purposes on earth. You are a co labourer with God. God has chosen you to affect your generation for good. Matt 25: 4. You gave water to these little children. John 4:34: My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.

5. Be happy because you have your senses and because of God's provision.

6. Be happy and joyful because you have the peace of God. "I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid: Jn 14:27

7. Be happy and joyful because when you live this wretched word you shall reign with Christ. Money is good, fame is good, but they can only give you momentary pleasure on earth. There is something more than gold - the spirit oft he Lord in the son of man!

Conclusion: We are specially favoured to be saved. Favoured to be called children of God. To be conquerors of the power of darkness. Let it be joy for you to serve God. Let joy fill your heart no matter the situation. Let there be joy when you have money and when you don't have. When you have children and when you don't; When you are sick and when you are healthy; When you are wealthy, and your wealth is yet to come. Joy is beyond the ephemeral, mundane things. The Kingdom of God is about joy in the one that took away from you and I the penalty of our sin-death. The opposite of joy is sadness, sorrow and melancholy. Brethren we are called to rejoice in Christ whether for blessing or challenges and responsibilities. I say again, rejoice in Christ Jesus! John Wesley said - give me a hundred men that fear nothing but sin and love none but God, and we can turn the world upside down. Let us go and win souls and I tell you Joy will come, happiness will come - God will be happy with you, those who are saved will be happy for their salvation. You the instrument God used will be happy

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