Thank you for reading today. Our greatest desire is that you would be encouraged in the Lord! In my daily time with God in His Word today, the Holy Spirit spoke to me about those who go back to their old ways. Our desire is to be an encouragement and help to those who need help. The number one thing that I do as a Biblical Counselor and speaker is to try to help people to move out of a feelings dominated, emotion controlled life and into a controlled by the Holy Spirit, Biblical principled driven life.

I recently had someone ask me if I am enjoying my retirement from the pastoral ministry. After 42 years of preaching each Sunday, and dealing with so many issues the answer is, “Yes, I am.” I think Kim and I are enjoying this time in our life. Of course, COVID-19 has taken away some things we wanted to do, but it has not taken away our joy. We are getting ready to leave for a month-long preaching trip. We look forward to being an encouragement to others. October 4, 6-9 we will have the Hope Baptist National Biblical Counseling Training Conference in Great Falls, MT. For more information go to our website at http://hopebiblicalcounselingcenter.com/biblical-counseling-conference/

I think a big thing for every Christian, is to begin each day by thanking God for all He has done for them. Folks, I know there are people who are having some serious problems in their lives. Every person is going to experience difficulties. We cannot let the difficulties of life steal the joy that God wants us to have in our lives even though difficulties will come.

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

Is that really possible? The people we deal with every day at Hope Biblical Counseling Center show very little joy in their lives. In fact, I ask them if this verse is the testimony of your life. The answer is always no. If God tells us to rejoice in the Lord always, then it must be possible.

The question is why we are not experiencing this joy that is talked about here

I have had people tell me that it is not possible to have joy. Dear friend, I am not going to sit here and tell you that you will not have difficulties and no hard days in your life. Some people experience very difficult things. Kim and I have experienced some very difficult things. The answer, ladies and gentlemen, is not that it is impossible to have real Biblical joy.

Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Listen carefully, it is not necessarily the trial I am going through, but how I handle the trial that is important

I want to share with you a trial that Kim and I experienced. I am an only child, my mother was an only child, and my grandmother was an only child. My mother was blind from diabetes, she fell going to the bathroom and fractured her leg with the bone sticking out. She lay there 5 hours until my father came home from work. She was put in the hospital and had a heart attack, and was without air to her brain for several minutes. This started one of the most difficult trials of my life. My father was dyslexic and could not read well. Whenever the doctor gave us something they wanted to do, I would ask my dad what he thought. He would say, “I don’t know son, whatever you think.” So, her care was left to Kim and me. My mother went into a coma and was there for months. I was making decisions for a person who could not make decisions for herself. You say, Dr. Coomer, why are you telling us this? Because I want you to know we can all have very serious trials that can be very difficult in our lives. Also, that I am not talking about something I do not know about and we can find joy in our lives in difficult trials.

This time in my life changed me. I am not going to tell you that I am super Christian here. This was one of the most difficult things I have ever dealt with. In almost 42 years of ministry I have never seen a person suffer any worse than my mother did. There were many days I cried out to God for help. I asked God questions, which is the essence of the Christian life. I had been in the ministry 12 years at this point. I asked God if there was anything I had done that caused this. God said, “No, but you are going to learn some things and you will learn to trust me.”

I asked God for an answer on each thing the doctors told me. I was under immense pressure to pull the plug. God let me know He was the giver and taker of life.

Through the trial my relationship with God grew immensely

I would observe families in the hospital who had such difficult trials. Many times I would go into the room explaining I was a pastor and asked if it was okay to pray for them. I led several people to Christ. Can I share with you that my sense of compassion grew greatly for people? It was no longer that I just went in and prayed. When I saw these hurting families, I hurt with them. I learned what it really meant to have compassion for their needs.

I learned another very important verse during this time about joy. This verse changed my life.

Romans 15:13, Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

This was a time in my life that I learned what it really meant to have a real, intimate, personal, and passionate relationship with God through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I could still have God’s joy in the trial

1 John 1:3-4, That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.  (4)  And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

You cannot have joy if you are out of fellowship with God.

As the days, weeks, and months wore on and my relationship with God grew, I asked God a question. Was it okay, God, to pray that I could talk with my mother one more time? God said yes. On a day I was not thinking about the situation, which was rare, I received a call from a nurse who said, “Pastor Coomer, I do not want to alarm you, but your mother is awake and she wants to talk with you.” Wow! I hurried down to the hospital and ran into the room. I want to tell you I had great joy that day! The God of the universe had answered my prayer. The conversation was wonderful and my mother told me she loved me. She was proud I was in the ministry and told me to please stay faithful. She asked me the why question. Why did this happen to me? I told her I did not know, but I quoted John 14:1-6 to her.

John 14:1-6, Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  (2)  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  (3)  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  (4)  And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.  (5)  Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?  (6)  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

I told her God had a place for her. She said, “I know I will not make it here, and I so much wanted to see my granddaughters (who were little girls at the time) grow up.” She asked me to promise to always let them know she loved them. I did promise and every year on her birthday I let them know she loved them very much.

We prayed together and she kissed me, hugged me, as I did her. A few days later she was with the Lord. Several years earlier I had led my mother and father to the Lord. Godly joy is not always dependent on circumstances.

Did you realize that the word joy is used approximately 165 times in the Bible? Ask yourself the question, “Do I have real Biblical joy in my life?”

How do I have real Biblical joy in my life?

**Deal with your sin every day. Ask God if there is any sin in your life and ask Him to show it to you. Confess the sin and ask God to forgive you of the sin and turn from it.

**Ask God if there is any bitterness in your life daily. Bitterness is a root sin. If you allow it in your life, you will never have joy and many people will be defiled by it.

Ephesians 4:31,  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

Bitterness here is listed first because all these other things come from it. It has to be put away from you.

Hebrews 12:15, Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

Did you notice looking diligently? At whom? You! Why? So, you will not fail at the grace of God. Because if you fail at the grace of God the bitterness will spring up quickly and many people will be defiled by your bitterness. Many people who do not have Biblical joy in their lives is because they have allowed bitterness in their lives.

**Ask God to show you if you have bitterness in your life. When he does show you, ask Him to forgive you for it. Then ask Him to remove it from your heart.

**Open God’s Word every day. Ask God to give you His message for you today. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and fill you. Write down His message to you. Look for promises and commands to keep. Write them down. If you do not know how to have a daily time with God, our booklet, How to Have a Daily Time with God is in our book store on our web site athttps://hopebiblicalcounselingcenter.com/bookstore/.

You will never have real joy in your life without a real relationship with God in His Word

**At the point of impact, stop, think, and turn the incorrect thought(s) over to God. “Lord, I want to turn this thought over to you. What do you want me to praise you for and thank you for?” You have to take control of your dark side. Do not let your old nature control you. You can do that by the power of the Holy Spirit by submitting to Him.

Hebrews 13:15, By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

God wants you to have joy. He wants you to have a real, intimate, personal, and passionate relationship with Him. He wants you to be controlled by the Holy Spirit instead of being led by your emotions into sin.

Listen carefully to me. You cannot have joy for the journey if you are not in fellowship with God. God wants you to be growing and learning every day. Finally, if you do not know what it means to have a real relationship with God please go to our website for the booklet, How to Have a Real Relationship with God-The Work of the Holy Spirit in a Person’s Life. https://hopebiblicalcounselingcenter.com/bookstore/

Have you found yourself in this article today? Be careful here. God wants you to be all you can be for Him today and have a powerful testimony of living a Spirit controlled, yielded, godly life that is serving and living with humility, joy and peace! We encourage you today to make Jesus Christ real in your life by humbly yielding to Him at the point of impact and living for Him, not the life of selfish, carnal thinking and speaking, out of fellowship Christian with no joy. It is an important choice! Tell God you want to yield yourself to Him today and be a trusting, useful, and rewarded servant! Be the person who wants to change! Be the person who can help others change! Do not be the person who always needs to be helped, but the person who can help!

May we all humble ourselves before God and focus on having compassion on others! Let’s seek real Biblical change. May we all have the desire to make real Biblical long-term change to the honor and glory of God!