John Hagee - The Decision to Be Joyful
The Bible says, "The joy of the Lord is your strength". Say that with me. "The joy of the Lord is your strength". That's Nehemiah 8:10. "Strength" in that setting means life force. So that means, literally, without joy, you are physically, and emotionally, and spiritually weak. If you have no joy, you are not qualified for leadership on any level, not to your family, not to your business, not even to your own life. Medical science is now saying that laughter releases an enzyme in the brain that fights sickness and disease. God's medicine bottle has on the side of it, "Joy, take it three times a day for a beautiful life".
It's just that easy. Laughter heals the soul. Laughter heals the mind. Laughter heals the body. Laughter heals relationships. Some of you should try it, because I can tell from here, it's not a common denominator in your life. "The joy of the Lord is your strength". Say it again. "The joy of the Lord is your strength". Question: do you have a hard time laughing? Yes, some of you do. There's a powerful element of joy in the Bible seldom talked about in the churches of America, and that is a supernatural shout of joy. Read with me Psalm 132:7 and following. Ready? "Let us go into his tabernacle". This is David writing. "Let us worship at his footstool. Arise, o Lord, to your resting place, you and the ark of your strength. Let your priests be clothed with righteousness. And let your saints shout for joy". "Let your saints shout for joy". Let's pray.
Father, thank you for your word. Thank you for the right to be joyful in all that we do with, through, and for the Lord Jesus Christ. Help America, and help the church, and help Christians to rediscover the joy of the Lord that maketh rich and addeth no sorrow. And all of God's children said, praise the Lord.
You may be seated. Numbers 23:21 begins by telling a story of Balaam, the corrupt prophet, who was hired by Balak to pronounce a curse upon Israel. When Balaam went to pronounce the curse, he demanded a fee. But he could not pronounce the curse on Israel, because he said, "The shout of a king is among them". When this corrupt prophet went to say something that would curse their prosperity, he could not speak it, because the shout of a king (that would be the Lord) was among them.
How is Christ coming for his church? The Bible says he's coming with a mighty shout. Why is he shouting? It's victory over death, hell, and the grave. God is not going to leave one molecule of your body in the ground, because to do so, he would not be totally the victor. But he is coming and he is taking you back with him, transformed in your glorious self, with a thunderous shout of praise over death, hell, and the grave!
Joshua 6:20, the people shouted with a great shout and the walls came tumbling down. Here's the story of Joshua and the children of Israel in a supernatural warfare where they defeated, with God's help, Jericho. Jericho represents mission impossible. Jericho represents the undefeatable foe. Jericho had walls that were invincible. Jericho was also a barrier to the Promised Land that God had promised the Jewish people. They couldn't go around it. They couldn't ignore it. They couldn't pretend the problem was not there. They had to face it.
Israel walked around those walls for six days at the command of God. And on the seventh day, the priest blew the shofar, and the people gave a great shout. And when they did, the invisible hand of God shoved those massive walls down flat. And an enemy that couldn't be defeated was instantly defeated. It was a supernatural victory won by the thunderous shout of righteous people.
Many of you have walked around a personal Jericho long enough. You have allowed some Jericho to block you from your spiritual inheritance. You have allowed, prevented you from reaching the total victory in your life. How many of you have a Jericho that's in your life right now, an attack by the enemy that requires absolute victory, a problem that you must conquer, a problem that you can't ignore anymore? How many of you would have that in your life? Here's what we're going to do. If Joshua did it, if David commanded to do it, if Jesus is going to do it when he comes in the clouds of heaven, certainly we have the biblical, spiritual mandate and right to do so: let us for the next 15 seconds give the Lord a thunderous shout and bring the walls tumbling down. Give him now! Bless the Lord!
What you have just done is a supernatural weapon. Here's what David writes in the 149th Psalm, verses 5 and 9, "Let the saints be joyful. Let the high praises of God", a high praise is a shout, that's just what you've done, "Be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand". What do you do with a sword? You go to war with it. Listen to this, "To execute vengeance upon the ungodly and punishments upon the ungodly, to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute upon them the judgments that are written in the Word of God".
The message there is when you give that anointed, Holy Spirit shout, and you're praising the Lord, you are releasing God Almighty to go to war with your enemies on your behalf. When you get in a real fight, don't tuck your head. Lift your hands, raise your voice, and give the Lord a shout of praise! He will go to war and destroy, destroy your enemies! Let God break down the walls. Let God slay the giants. Let God scatter your enemies. Let God execute vengeance upon the heathen and punishments upon the ungodly. Let God drive your enemies into confusion. Let them turn one upon the other. Let God defeat your enemies! Release the supernatural power of God with a triumphant shout in your personal prayer life, and watch God go to work in your behalf! Give him praise in this house!
Joy can heal you physically. A woman in West Virginia some time ago, sent me a letter, and saying that her father was listening to one of my tapes. Her father allegedly had what the doctors were calling terminal cancer. And as he began to listen to this tape about joy, he began to laugh. And she said, "That's not his disposition. He's a very somber man". She thought it was just a passing thing. And he listened to the tape again and he continued. And he listened to the tape until he wore it out. She sent back for six more, and listened, and listened, and he started eating food, and he started feeling better. And his strength began to come to him.
And his joy became greater. And finally, he had enough strength to get up and start walking around. And he continued eating. You know eating is a good thing if you want to live a while. And he went to the doctor. And the doctor said, "You know that cancer has simply gone. It is gone. It is gone". "The joy of the Lord is your strength". Say that with me. "The joy of the Lord is your strength". Joy can conquer depression. Now I'm not talking about clinical depression. Clinical depression is something else. I'm talking about the blues, the blahs. How many of you've ever had the blues and the blahs? One more time, how many of you've ever had... Thank you. Why do you have to ask twice to get the truth?
There you are. Moses threw down the Ten Commandments. Why? He was with God for 40 days. He was so with God that his face was shining like the sun. When he came down with this glorious Ten Commandments, the moral compass for all of the world, the people that were following him had elected a new pastor. They had a new theology called "The golden calf" theology. It's enough to depress any shepherd. He threw down the Ten Commandments and broke them. He lost his joy. God opened the ground and buried all of the people that had participated in this madness. And instantly, the apostasy in Israel was purified. Joy did that.
You'll be amazed at how well things will go when you decide to let God be the leader of your life. Victory is ours through Christ the Lord. Jesus is our source of joy. The feast of tabernacles is also known as the feast of joy. Jesus was born during the feast of tabernacles. The angels sang on that first Christmas morning, "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people". It was Jesus, who gave us three cheers. "Be of good cheer: I have overcome the world". "Be of good cheer: thy sins be forgiven thee". "Be of good cheer. It is I: be not afraid". Joy is not taught: it's caught.
Have you ever noticed children running to one aunt in a family reunion, because that aunt is a joyous, happy person? And notice how they run away from grumpy one over here. Children have a radar about who likes them and who don't like them. And they don't like people who are not joyful. Joy is not taught: it's caught. "In thy presence is the fullness of joy". If you have people, who are in your friendship, who pride themselves in being complainers: you need to find new friends, because that will affect you. Christianity does have its discipline, but if we lose our joy, we've lost our Christian credibility.
Paul and Silas sang in prison after being beaten. If they sang in prison after being beaten, you can sing in your house because of what you're going through. Jesus' first sermon could have been titled "Shout for joy: you're as happy as you decide to be". America's fad or one of America's fads is called "Happy hour". Don't raise your hand. I don't want to know if you're going there. The only legitimate happy hour on planet earth is when God's children get together and worship the King of kings and the Lord of lords. This is happy hour!
"In thy presence, is the fullness of joy". You are a child of the King. You are royalty. Your sins have been forgiven. Your past has been forgotten. Your future is absolutely guaranteed by the treasury of heaven. You have been created a little lower than the angels. You are an heir and a joint heir with Jesus Christ. You are loved. You are special. You are anointed. You are chosen. You are protected by blood, the royal priesthood of God. Shout for joy, saints of God! You are somebody!
Jesus gave us several laws for joy in the beatitudes. The first one, "Happy are the poor in spirit". What does that mean? It means broken in spirit, broken in spirit. Our God uses broken things, broken people. Broken ground receives the seed to produce a great harvest. Crushed grapes, broken, produced the finest vine. The broken alabaster box produces a fragrance that fills all the house. Broken lives change the course of human history. Moses was the crowned prince of Egypt. He murdered a man and ran to the backside of the desert to hide to save his life. God spoke to him through the burning bush. Moses turned to see why the bush was burned and was not on fire. There was no smoke. God spoke to him. He returned to Egypt.
What is Egypt? Egypt was the place of his failure. And at the place of his failure, he faced the most powerful man on the face of the earth, and he led two million people, two million Jewish people, across the Red Sea and across the desert to become the nation of Israel. That nation of Israel produced the prophets. They produced the kings. They produced Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Every book in your Bible was written by a Jewish hand. Here was why that happened.
A man by the name of Moses, at a very disappointing time of his life, went back to face the disappointments and the failure of his life with the hand of God. And he faced his failure and changed the course of human history. You can do that! You can change the course of your family. You can change the course of direction for your children. You can change the course of direction for the United States of America. If the church of Jesus Christ would become electrified with the power of the Gospel, there is no limit to what we can do in this nation! Give the Lord praise in the house of God!
Another law of joy is, "Happy are those who mourn". Do joy and crying go together? Can you extract perfume of happiness from the gall of sorrow? Who in the natural would think of congratulating a person whose face is wet with tears? Jesus is not saying, "Blessed are the cry babies: for they shall get their way". Jesus is not saying, "Blessed are those who are whining their way to maximum attention". He's saying, blessed are those who mourn over sin, because now they can be comforted.
Sin and joy are not companions. Sin is a cancer. You either get the cancer or the cancer gets you. And here is a concern of mine about the American church right now in this very hot tub Christianity that we're teaching and preaching. There is not the willingness to confront sin. The Bible says, "Whoever confesses and forsakes his sin shall have mercy with the Lord". Yes, there is a God of grace. Grace gives you the opportunity to sin. But it is not a license to sin over, and over, and over ,and over. That is a pattern. God expects you to grow up and to be a mature, Bible-reading, Christ-honoring, Christ-adoring child of God. That's what God wants.
Remember that Jesus is speaking to Jewish people in Roman captivity. They are looking for a Messiah that can knock off the Romans. And Jesus says, "Blessed are the meek". And the Jewish people said this guy is no Messiah. You cannot conquer the brutality of Rome with meekness. But let me tell you something. In the Bible, meekness is not weakness. Meekness is not weakness. The Bible called Moses the meekest man in all the earth. And he changed the course of human history by allowing God to use his life for 40 years. Jesus walked into a temple with a twisted whip of cords in his hand, and he drove out the money changers. These guys were the wall street of Israel. He turned over the bingo tables and called the vice squad. He said, "My house shall be called a house of prayer. But you have made it a den of thieves".
Jesus was meek but he wasn't weak. These are the Jewish people who hated Jesus, the pharisees and these money changers. Five hundred Roman soldiers came to arrest him from the Antonian Fortress in the Garden of Gethsemane, saying, "We seek Jesus of Nazareth". And the carpenter's son said, "I am he". And those soldiers, with all of their shields and swords, fell flat on the ground. He was meek but he wasn't weak. Meekness is not weakness. You want to discover real joy? Surrender to the will of God. God will anoint you with power that will scatter your enemies.
It's about your rights. What about your rights? You don't have any rights. You're bought with a price. God has no super stars. We're all servants. I am a servant of Jesus Christ. You're not your own. You're bought with a price. Well what about my will? Paul said, be careful about will worship. Crucify it. "Not my will, but thine be done" is in the Lord's prayer. What about my possessions? They all belong to God. You know how much you're going to leave when you die? All of it. It's just going to be you with a suit that's cut out in the back.
There are two great barriers to joy that someone created my problem. You embrace that and you're never going to be well, not emotionally and not spiritually. Whatever you are today cannot be blamed on someone else, not your father, not your mother, not your husband, not your wife, not God, not your mother-in-law, nobody. When you look in the mirror, you're looking at your problem or you're looking at your asset. It's just depending on how you determine to live your life. No one can take the joy that God has given you unless you hand it to them on a silver platter.
John 16:22, "Your joy, no man can take from you". Say that with me. "Your joy, no man can take from you". Young people often say, "Well, my parents didn't love me". That's good freshman psychology, but it's bad theology. Why? The Bible says when we come to Christ, we become new creatures. "All things become new". Say that with me. "All things become new". When all things become new, you have a new heart, you have a new attitude, you have new speech, you have new friends. Some of you will have new vocabularies, because you'll have to learn to speak the English language without cursing.
You have new habits. You have new goals. You have a new life. You have a new name written down in heaven. You're going to live in the new Jerusalem. You'll have eternal life. That's something to shout about. You may have had a miserable past. But brother, the day you come to Christ, you become an heir and a joint heir in the Kingdom of God. You are somebody! Give him praise in the house of God!
Your life is what you choose for it to be. God wants you to be filled with joy, filled with delight, filled with happiness. You can go through the darkest valley. But when Jesus is with you, you can go in strength and confidence that everything's going to be all right. Because the joy of the Lord is your strength, make that decision to be joyful. Give the Lord a praise in the house of God.
Can we stand together? Can we stand together? Can we stand together? I want you to pray this prayer. I want you to pray it out of the depth of your soul. I want joy to invade your mind, your speech, your home, your relationships, and you leave this building transformed forever. Pray this prayer with me.
Heavenly Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I ask you, first, to forgive me of all of my sin. Lord Jesus Christ, I want to live a joyful life. I ask you to take the bitterness, the resentment out of my mind. Let it be removed from my speech. Let my every relationship be enriched by the joy of the Lord. Today I receive it as a gift from God. My life is going to be a joyful life all the days of my life. Amen.
Give the Lord a shout of joy in the house of God! Give him praise in the house of the Lord! Amen. Amen. Amen.