Cheerful Countenance!

Introduction:

We all have opportunities everyday to get upset and to go around frustrated. I hear people say, “I would be happy if my spouse treated me better. I would be happy if I got a promotion. I would be happy if my children behaved well.” Then there are circumstances that hinder our joy – A traffic jam, failure, hurt etc. There will always be something that can steal our joy. Amid the ups and downs of life do you live hopeless and sad in life or does God’s joy sustain you?

I want you to understand that that God wants you to be happy no matter what your condition.

Psalm 144:15 Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

Ecclesiastes 2:26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness.

Proverbs 15:13 KJV A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance.

Proverbs 15:15…. but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.

Joy is something that comes out from the inside that affects the countenance of a person. So no matter what happens to me I will always have a good spirit, no one can steal my joy.

As look into this matter of happiness, many of you are thinking, “Pastor you do not know my situation, I can never be happy.” You see the joy that God promises is in the midst of our trials. We will always have to deal with joy stealers in our life.

Stress: Everyone has their own stress in life and we need to learn to cope up with them without losing our joy. Stress causes people to be irritable, short-tempered, sleepless etc and we need to learn to deal with stress. Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

People: All of us, at one time or another, have had our joy threatened because of people — what they are, what they say, and what they do. Maybe someone misunderstood you, maybe someone is criticising you, they are always judgemental, finding your fault, and your joy is sapped out.

Past or future: Sometimes we are haunted by the thoughts of the past. It may be regrettable events of the past; mistakes or the wrong decisions made in the past that can haunt us. Isaiah 43:18 Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.

Then there are some others who always worry about the future. They have no joy today because they are tensed about what is going to happen tomorrow. Ecclesiastes 7:14 When times are good be happy, but when times are bad consider God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.

Circumstances: Every day we come across circumstances that can steal our joy. Maybe somebody is rude to you, somebody cut you off in traffic, your child forgot the tiffin box and now you have to go back to school, you are already late to work.

Facts of happiness.

a. Happiness is not absence of difficulty.

Life is hard. Looking back, life was difficult at times for me. Job 5:7 Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward. So trouble comes with life. The world is filled with trouble. So life brings with it sickness, problems, hurt, and disappointment. So when we talk that God wants his people to be happy, that is not an absence of difficulty.

2. Happiness is not denying your condition.

It may be that as far as the things of this life and this world are concerned you may be totally empty. Maybe your doctor has told you that you have a sickness, it is fatal. You may be going through a failure or a sorrow. So I am not speaking that you psych yourself up into a position where you can see yourself without worry or problem.

Joy and happiness is something far deeper and greater than that, something which is available in spite of your condition. Habakkuk 3:17-18 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

How can I be happy?

It is how you look at my life.

Proverbs 15:30 The light of the eyes (How you see things) rejoiceth the heart:

Matthew 6:22 The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.

So when you see things the way God wants you to see and when that understanding grips your heart, you will have lasting, continual joy in your lives.

So the key for happiness is to look at your life the way the Bible tells us to look at.

Steps to Happiness.

a. Right relationship with God.

So when a man comes in a relationship with God there is joy in his life.

Proverbs 15:9 The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord: but he (God, Lord) loveth him that followeth after righteousness.

Psalm 32:11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!

1 Peter 1:8 You believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. 

We know about David. Whenever he sinned he lost his joy. See what David is crying to God in repentance after sinning with Bathsheba.

Psalm 51:8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Psalm 51:10 Restore to me the joy of your salvation.

Remember, sin robs us of joy but when we are cleansed God fills us back with his joy. 

b. Understand God knows you.

Happy is a person who understands God knows him. As you sit here today you may have a painful problem. Wherever your problem, God is keenly aware of you and your circumstances.

Psalm 50:11 I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. God is speaking about the cattle and the birds in the mountains of earth. He owns those. He says, “I know all the fowls of the mountains.” Do you know the fouls of the mountains? Not even a zoologist or an ornithologist knows all the animals or birds. God knows every little bird of the mountains personally and intimately. They are his.

When you sit eating a picnic lunch and the little crow comes along fussing up there in the trees and waiting for you to turn your head so he can steal your food, God knows that little bird intimately.

Jesus himself spoke of the sparrows. To many of us a sparrow is a kind of a useless little bird. You find them on the city streets and on the trees here. It is just a little sparrow, but do you know what Jesus said: Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. We just brush away a dead sparrow or not even look at it. There is not a single sparrow that falls dead without God’s permission.

Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. Now God’s eyes are in every place seeing the evil. But it is also very heavily a part of the context that the eyes of the Lord are in every place, seeing the good.

Dear believer, God knows you and he is keenly aware of you. He is aware of your circumstances. You may be hurting today but God knows that. He cares about that. It is a personal thing with him. He knows where you are and what is going on. It maybe that nobody else cares but God does. He sees you and he is greatly interested in you and your circumstances.

3. Contentment.

Many people base their happiness on material things. It seems that the more man has, the more they want, and the less joy they have. Yet some people with very little material blessings have great joy. Why? Joy is not based on material goods.

Happy is the person who is Content. Proverbs 15:16 Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.

You see, if we are just hungering for just more and more of the things of this life; the wealth, the automobiles, the bigger homes; then we are not going to find satisfaction and joy.

Proverbs 27:20 Hell and destruction are never full, so the eyes of man are never satisfied.

When you get what you want, then you want just a little bit more or you want something different. That is true from childhood on. Your children when you give them gifts or presents on their birthday or other occasion they are so enamored with them for a few moments or a few hours and then they are tossed aside and they are looking for something else. The same thing is true of big people like us. We are never satisfied with things in this life.

So, if we are going to have happiness in the heart, we are going to need to be content in life.

 4. Prayer.

Happy is person who understands the importance of prayer. We also need to understand if we are going to be happy people, we need to be praying people. When was the last time you talked to him? When was the last time you told him you love him? He is longing to hear those words from your voice and your heart. God loves to hear from you.

Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

God consciously and attentively hears your prayer. He is paying attention when you pray. Look down at Proverbs 15:29 but he heareth the prayer of the righteous. God hears your prayer. He is giving attention to it. When you talk to him he is responding with his heart to you.

Dear friend if you are going to be a happy Christian, you are going to have to be a Christian who prays and who understands that when you pray God is paying attention to you regardless of how you feel physically or emotionally at that moment.

5. Understand God is your protector.

God has place a parameter of protection around you. God in this context is speaking to the most vulnerable people back in that day and they are still vulnerable today. God chose the widow to illustrate this but it needs to spill over to the rest of us also. Proverbs 15:25 The Lord will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow.

Dear sister, if your husband has already gone into eternity, dear sister, understand that God is keenly aware of you and he has given special attention to you and he has placed that parameter of protection around you. That is true for all the rest of us who are God’s people too.

Whatever the circumstances of your life and they maybe hard and very painful at this moment understand that though you cannot see it there is a certain parameter out there which God has placed, a parameter of protection for you and you can have confidence in that.

So let me ask today: Do you want to be happy? Yes. Happiness comes from how you see things. 

Proverbs 15:30 The light of the eyes (How you see things) rejoiceth the heart: 

The way you look at things brings happiness to your heart.

How do you look at things?

  1. I am in a right relationship with God.
  2. God knows me.
  3. I am content with what God has given me.
  4. When I pray God gives me special attention.
  5. I am protected by God.

So when I know these things, Proverbs 15:30 The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart:

Therefore when I rejoice in my heart I have a cheerful countenance: Proverbs 15:13 KJV A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance.

When my heart and my face is happy, I have a continual feast: Proverbs 15:15…. but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.

I continue to be happy no matter the situation because I trust God’s word: Proverbs 16:20 Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.

If you see things from the perspective of God’s truth, it will bring happiness to the heart which will bring a continual feast in life even in the midst of trouble and which will show up in the countenance in the face. So these truths of God must sink into our hearts to the point where we believe them with our hearts and we trust God in his goodness and if we will do that, we will be happy.

Now I have a couple of questions today.

There are some who do not know what I am talking about but you want to be happy. You do not know this business of God’s truth and all of that. You are not familiar with those things. Let me tell you how you can come into the right relationship with God

I want to speak to believers today. Have you been looking at yourself and at your circumstances instead of at God? Have you been looking at your problem instead of the truths of his word? Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Don’t focus on the hard things of this material physical life. You will have those things to deal with but rather focus on God and his goodness and his presence and how personal he is to you, trust God and he will give you that happiness in the heart regardless of your personality which will bring out that light in your countenance.


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