Be joyful in hope, Patient in affliction Faithful in prayer.

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Romans 12:12 NIV

I.  Be joyful in hope

Webster defines joy and hope in the following manner:

JOY—an emotion of sudden pleasure; exultant satisfaction; keen delight

ful—being full of, filled; characterized by

HOPE—expect or look forward to, with desire and confidence; confidence in a future event; expectations of something desired.

The English language often uses the word joy as a synonym for “happy.” But the meaning that most of us attach to the word joy is dependent on a moment of delight—getting a present, a special day (wedding, birth, etc.), taking a vacation, receiving a special phone call, reward, signing a book contract, getting “the job,” and the list is endless.  But while this joy does make us happy, it is fleeting, and disappears in a few days, weeks, or years.

Paul’s use of the word joy in Romans 12:12 has a deeper meaning when used with the word hope. Joy, as used in this Scripture, comes from the Greek Word CHAIRO meaning to “be glad.” Thus joyful would mean to be full of gladness. In Romans 12:12, the Apostle Paul is speaking to the Roman Christians, trying to encourage them.  The joy Paul speaks of is not dependent on the events or circumstances of life, but is directly related to the hope man has in Christ and His promises. This is joy that cannot die.

We know Paul had this joy for in  Philippians 4:11 b. he says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” How could that be?  This man had enough sorry to put him under numerous times.  He worked day and night, he was imprisoned many times, flogged repeatedly in many ways, and exposed to death on numerous occasions.  He had been stoned, shipped wrecked, constantly on the move, almost drowned in rivers, almost killed by bandits, his own countrymen, and the Gentiles.  Everywhere he went men wanted to kill him.  He was sleep-deprived, hungered and thirsted, and lacked clothing.  Add to this, the extreme emotional and spiritual burden he felt for the churches and you can’t help but wonder how he even had the strength to get up each morning.  (2 Corinthians 11: 23-30)

What did Paul have to be joyful about?  Why wasn’t he in the depths of despair?  Surely this man was not bubbling over with joy or chuckling every day?  What kind of joy could he feel?  What kind of joy can we feel when life beat us up????  The answer is the joy that hopes in Christ.

Despair was what Paul’s life had been before ChristThose were the years he had nothing to be joyful about.  Joyful in hope is what Paul’s life became after he met Christ on the Damascus Road.   Acts 9

Joy that cannot die, the joy of hope in Christ, is the kind of joy that Christ offers to us.  If you have been mistakenly thinking that you have to be one constant chuckle every moment of your life, that you have to continually soar with the balloons in the sky, you’ve got the meaning of Christian joy wrong. We can’t always be having a Kodak picture moment, but we can always be joyful in hope.

  • Joy in the fact that when life rains problems and burdens on you, you have a Helper, and you have a future in Heaven.
  • Joy in the fact that while the end times are going to be terrible, God is in control and Jesus will come back for you.
  • Joy in the fact that while you may feel financial stress on this earth, you are rich in Christ and have everything you need in Christ Jesus.

Be Joyful in hope( in Christ Jesus). 

Name other biblical characters that had this type of joy.  Heb. 11, Abraham, Joseph, Mary the Mother of Christ, others

Name people of today or in recent history that have displayed this type of joy.  Mother Theresa, Billy Graham, Dr. Dobson, missionaries, others 

Think of someone in your community that has had this type of joy.  

How have you associated “JOY” and the Christian?  Did you think it was just talking about being happy on a daily basis?

Is the thought of JOY being connected to HOPE in Christ, and apart from circumstantial events, a new thought to you?

Do you have this kind of joy, but didn’t think of it as joy? 

How will joyfulness in hope become evident in your life?

II. Patient in affliction

PATIENCE—endurance of pain or provocation without complaint; the power to wait calmly; perseverance

PATIENT—having patience.

AFFLICTION—distress or pain; a cause of distress or pain; an illness or disease

Patient in affliction means to endure without complaint, to wait calmly; to persevere in of spite of distress or pain (mental, physical, or spiritual).

There is an old spiritual, which says, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.”  Scriptures tell us our citizenship is in heaven.  Based on our joyfulness in hope (in Christ), we can put up with trials here on earth.  The best is yet to be.

Joni Erickson Tada is an example of a person being patient in affliction.  I’m sure this courageous lady has her moments, in fact she shares them in some of her writing, but when all is said and done she is patient in affliction.  (Can you think of others in history or in the present?)

Perhaps, you too, have been patient in affliction at some point in your life.  You personally know that in “due season, we shall reap, if we faint not.”  (Galatians 6:9) Sometimes those situations are evident to the community, and sometimes people are being afflicted with private pains/conflicts that are growing them up in patience.

Why did I use the term “growing-them-up?”  Scriptures assure us that trials can be used for our spiritual growth.  Consider Romans 5: 3-5

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient.

And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.  Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy spirit to fill our hearts wit his love.  TLB James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  NIV

The must let God refine us.  Please understand that not all affliction is caused by God, but it is allowed by God, and can be used for spiritual growth.

Read Job 1: 6-13  God allowed the testing, but it wasn’t from Him.  Job 42 is a picture of the end result of Job’s affliction. We learns of his increased faith in God’s sovereignty, the note the reestablishment of his family, friends, and material blessings, and we can only imagine what his heavenly blessings are.

Do you ever think about what heaven will be like for Joni Erickson—what it will be like for her to run free.  Imagine the lifting of all affliction from body, mind, and soul!  What joy!

Name other biblical characters that were patient in affliction.  Hannah who couldn’t have a baby (mother of Samuel)

Name people of today or in recent history that have displayed patience in affliction.

9-11 people.

Name someone you know who has or is being patient in affliction.

What will be the reward of their patience? Character and hope (growth in faith).

Has your faith grown through going through some type of trial?  Perhaps you need to share

III. Faithful in prayer

Webster:

Faith—1. belief without proof; confidence; reliance; 2. belief in God; 3. loyalty; fidelity to an agreement or promise, 4. a religious creed.

Faithful—loyal, conscientious, exact; true

Prayer—1. a supplication to God;  (pl) a religious service, 2. entreaty; petition

The Israelites decided they wanted to be like other nations and asked for a king.  Through Samuel’s spiritual guidance they realized that they had sinned making this request and begged Samuel to continue to pray for them.

Samuel replied, “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.”.  1 Samuel 12: 23  We realize from this verse, that we are to intercede for others.  Indeed, Samuel considered it sin not to pray for others.

God lets us know that He listens, waits, and watches for our prayers to ascend to Him.  In Ezekiel 22:30, God is speaking through the prophet Ezekiel to Israel:  I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. NIV

Who are you standing in the gap for?  Are your prayers building a hedge around our nation, around your family, around a lost soul?

Paul tells us that men ought always to pray.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing. 

The Bible is full of promises regarding faithfulness in prayer.  You may even be able to quote them.  The infamous, ASK: Matthew 7:7-8 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 

Verses that often confuse us:  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.  Matthew 21:22  (Also Mark 11:24) Can we take it literally?

Matthew 18:19 Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.”

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?  Matthew 7:11

Wesley L. Duewel (a Greenwood resident and senior) has written a wonderful book entitled, Mighty Prevailing Prayer (Zondervan 1990).  I think I have met Mr. Duewel when we were at a book signing at Berean.  Now, that I have read his book, I want to meet Mr. Duewel again.

I want to share a few highlights from his book with you, and suggest that you might want to order this book via Amazon.

***

FROM MIGHTY PREVAILING PRAYER:

Prevailing prayer is intercession intensified.  There are levels of prevailing prayer.

  1. Ask –Matthew 7:7
  2. Seek– Asking longer intensifies
  3. Knock–Interceding becomes more urgent and insistent
  4. Fast—To the previous crescendo of intensity and urgency of intercession, fasting is added.
  5. Prayer Burden—Burden may be intense and brief or extend over a long period of time.
  6. Wrestling—very intense praying
  7. Prayer warfare—Prayer battle extending over a prolonged pd.

Instead of giving up, we move into ever more determined intercession until we prevail.  Prayer warfare is usually over long prolonged periods of time and may involve alternating from one level to another as the Holy Spirit guides.

Prayer was never meant to be incidental to the work of God. It is the work of God.  Whatever keeps you too busy for God is a hindrance.  You can’t affor it.  You have no greater ministry or leadership more influential than intercession.  You have been saved to reign through prayer.  You have been Spirit-filled to qualify you to prevail in prayer.

All you need to do to learn to pray is pray.  There is no right or wrong way to pray.

God’s cause moves slowly when there are more organizers then agonizers.

Spiritual life dies without prayer.  Prayerless Christians are not filled and controlled by the Spirit no matter what they may profess.  1 Tim 2:1-2  We are to make intercession for everyone. Prayerlessness is the sin of the casual Christian.

To pray for oneself is petition.  To pray for others is intercession and prevailing is for others.

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May God bless you as you make this prayer a reality in your life. God bless

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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