Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

What I’ve Learned From the Book of Philippians #3

Last time, I told you I’d be writing about “Joy” in this post, but little did I realize how much there is to write about this uniquely Christian word.  I call it a Christian word, right or wrong, because it’s a word that I don’t find addressed much in any real way in the secular world, not by atheists, cultural elites, or all those people who seem to think it’s okay to tell me how to live and what to say, but can’t stand it when I have the nerve to smile at them, and simply say, “NO.”

To be honest, I don’t know a whole lot of people who live with a sense of joy, and, sad to say, this includes many people who call themselves Christians.  I can see and hear the protests right now, but don’t try to tell me that every Christian you know lives with joy because we all know at least one whose face would break into shards of glass were they to smile.  You know it’s true and so do I.  🙂

To me, there’s nothing sadder or more depressing than to be around someone who says they love Christ Jesus, and that He’s living in their heart, and yet, all you hear from the minute they start talking is all about their latest illness, ache, and pain.  Their discontent and unhappiness about this or that person, place, event, or idea.  Complaint about any and everything seems to be all they can talk about . . . even in church.

As an aside, I’ll tell you the easiest way to dissuade these people from trying to ruin your worship and the awesome experience of honoring and glorifying Jesus Christ is to wear them out, gently, by responding positively to every negative thing they say.  For example:

(I’ll call this woman, Gertrude, or if it’s a man, I’ll call him, Herman.  These are examples, folks, so please don’t take offense at my using a set of names that just came to me as I’m writing this.)

Gertrude: “I’ve been so sick this last week I just knew I was going to die (or something to that effect).”

You: “Praise the Lord He pulled you through.  Isn’t it wonderful how God can pull us through the worst of times, and look at how nice you look.  It truly is a time to be thankful to God, isn’t it?”

And so it goes . . .  The point being people who want to complain want someone who’s going to listen to their complaint, not someone who’s going to force them into thinking about how grateful they should be.   I’m not talking about the person who genuinely just needs to talk, but to those who are the habitual offenders.  The ones who constantly and consistently complain no matter what.  Call me mean, nasty, deceitful or a thousand other names, but when I go to church I want to worship God.  I want to honor and glorify Him, and isn’t that the reason why we’re going?

Now what has this to do with “Joy” you might be asking, and the answer is that “Joy” should be the expression of your heart to God for all that He is, and for all that He does in bestowing His many, many blessings upon us.  “Joy” is a far different thing than being happy because “Joy” is “in spite of” (Don’t ask me where I got that because I can’t remember, but I freely admit it’s not an original thought of mine.  I’ve read it somewhere before.)  It means that you choose “in spite of” rather than, “because of” and that’s a much greater thing, and I believe reveals something to the world and those around you that needs to be seen.

“Joy” is what the world needs to see, and what it should see when looking at the Christian life, and why shouldn’t they?  We have the most wonderful reason to be joyful, and to rejoice.  We have Jesus Christ.  We have the power of God living inside us, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the promise of eternal life.  If that’s not enough to give us “Joy” on a daily basis, and the desire to share that “Joy” with everyone we meet, then I have to wonder what it is that’s going on in your life that you don’t feel and live with that sense of “Joy” in living your life in Christ.

Even in the midst of much sorrow, suffering, and tribulation, Paul never failed to live with “Joy” because he had what the Holy Spirit has given to each of us, but which we seldom acknowledge and seek to live out.  The inner-knowledge, and hope that springs eternally in being able to see beyond the moment we’re living in, and see and experience the glory we’ll share in living our lives forever with Him.

“The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, once scornfully said of Christians of his day, “I would believe in their salvation if they looked a little more like people who have been saved.  (The Speaker’s Quote Book by Roy B. Zuck, P. 215.)”  There’s a lot of truth in that, I believe, and sad, as I am to say it, I think the reason there aren’t more Christians is simply because of Christians who don’t live out their lives in a tangible and experiential way.  I believe another quote by Philip Brooks addresses this when he says, “The religion that makes a man look sick certainly won’t cure the world. (The Speaker’s Quote Book by Roy B. Zuck, P. 216.)”  Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not knocking Christianity, but rather our display of it, and our living it in front of other people.  Too many Christians are exhibiting the symptoms of hopelessness and despair and this brings me back to the issue of “Joy.”

Do you have “Joy?”  Are you experiencing the healing that comes from living joyfully?  Are you finding the strength, feeling the peace, that comes from knowing that the Holy Spirit gives knowing that your life is in Christ?

Well, I’ve said enough for the time being, but I’ll leave you with this last quote, and it’s one I’d like you to give some thought to.

“Joy is not a luxury or mere accessory in the Christian life.  It is the sign that we are really living in God’s wonderful love, and that love satisfies us ((The Speaker’s Quote Book by Roy B. Zuck, P. 216.)”

My question to you is does it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confidence to Face the Unknown

Here Confidence to face the unknown is some very sound wisdom for those of us who need some help when it comes to having confidence to face the unknown. It’s 24 minutes long, but you won’t spend your time any better than by listening to it. Just click on the title, sit back, and listen.

A Thought on “You’ve Got To Stand For Something.”

Maybe you’ve heard the old Arron Tippin song, “You’ve Got To Stand For Something.” If you haven’t you might want to view this before you go any further. I’m still hopeful that most of you might be able to catch a clue from just the title, but it’s better to make certain anymore than to leave any room for doubt.

Now in case you’re thinking I’m going to write about standing up for what you believe in, you can go ahead and give yourself a point, but you might want to hold off on giving yourself any more until you’ve read this thing through because there’s always the chance I might surprise you. I never was much of a baseball player, but I always thought it’d be the neatest thing to be able to throw a curve ball, so just imagine me standing on the pitching mound and winding up.

Over the last year, I’ve heard enough garbage to cover a small country, and that’s being kind if you want to know the truth. And if that’s not bad enough, I’ve heard it coming from every quarter and segment of society. We won’t even mention politics/politicians because to do so would almost be akin to flattering garbage, and yes, I’m being mean, and I know it, but I’ve never been much to hide what I think or feel, and I’m of the opinion it’s better to be honest and less than kind, than it is to be nice and a liar and a hypocrite. Sometimes you just have to call’em like you see’em.

You name it, I’ve heard just about every excuse, justification, rationalization, and every other word one can use to describe someone who stretches something to such extremes that to call it a lie would be like saying that Dolly Parton doesn’t have big boobs. I mean no disrespect to Mrs. Dolly, and I realize that someone reading this might be offended, and the United Nations might send me a letter for hate speech, and Chris Matthews might call me a ‘bumkin,” and our President might have me kicked off the internet, and if any of that should happen . . . Well, all I can say is “Thank God.”

The way I have it figured, somebody ought to at the very least say it because it sure doesn’t look like there’s very many people in this country who show much in the way of appreciation. I’m all for freedom, and I’d stand up for anyone’s right to say what they think, and to believe in whatever or whoever they choose, but when did it become acceptable in this country for everybody else to have their say and express what they think, and yet when it comes to my believing in and living my life for Christ, and wanting to share my love, and what I think and believe in an honest and (mostly) respectful way somebody else can attack me in the most hateful and ugly way.

Now, I want you to understand something; I’m not complaining about being treated by people who are hateful and ugly. I consider that an honor and a privilege, but just in the interest of freedom, respect, and just plain old-fashioned courtesy whatever happened to just listening to someone else’s point of view without trying to shout over them or call them all kinds of vile names. Why is it that every single minority and almost all groups, religions and philosophies are readily accepted, and every kind of filth is shamelessly promoted and encouraged, and yet when it comes to anyone who takes a different view or stands in opposition to anything-especially if they’re a Christian-then they’re labeled as being intolerant, narrow-minded, and bigoted, and those are just the nice words.

The shame of it isn’t that they’re attacking “Christianity,” but that they’re attacking the “U.S. Constitution” that guarantees my right to be one. You want to attack me for loving Jesus Christ, for believing that He’s the Son of God, and that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant Word of God, go ahead, and more power to you. As Clint Eastwood says, “Make my day!”

BUT, just consider this . . . if they’re willing to do away with the “U.S. Constitution” in order to strip me of my rights what’s to stop them from stripping yours?

I’m not asking you to believe the way I do, though I think and believe that my way is the right way, but is it too much to ask that the freedom I’m guaranteed under the “U.S. Constitution” be honored? If not? I’d like to ask you one more question . . . What would you like to say to the parents of all those who have shed blood and died for it?