Tag Archives: Joy

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian

BE HAPPY FOR OTHERS

William Barclay said: “It’s more difficult to congratulate another on his success if it involves disappointment to us, than to sympathize with his sorrow… Only when self is dead can we take as much joy in the success of others as in our own.”  Karen Ehman’s home had been for sale twenty months when a friend called to say hers sold in twenty days.  Ehman says: “Although I was thrilled…I was a tad jealous…that ‘poor me’ mentality when God answers someone else’s prayer and my answer seems to be ‘no,’ or ‘not right now.’  As a child I envied kids from two-parent homes…in high school it was other girls’ looks and cute clothes…I was average looking, and although I was every guy’s pal, I was nobody’s gal.  In college I envied girls whose prayers for a knight in shining armor were answered…Once married, I struggled with miscarriage and dashed dreams of motherhood…I slapped a smile on my face and attended yet another baby shower.  The cure for envy isn’t easy…but when you call on God He will ‘tell you…things…you could [never figure out on your own]’ (Jer 33:3 NIV).  Instead of begging Him to sell my house, take away my pain, and fix my kids, I need to ask what He’s trying to teach me that I won’t learn if He rescues me; and what qualities He’s trying to grow in me.  God’s willing and able to answer our prayers as He sees fit…[His goal is] growing us to be more like His Son.”  Paul writes, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”  To be Christlike, you gotta be able to do both.

My Prayer to the Father, August 15, 2012

Heavenly Father
My cup overflows with Your love;
You who give me all that
I have keep giving me more.
Father, You have blessed me
Beyond measure.
Father, You have given me
Such a place
Within Your mind and heart
So filled with Your
Love and goodness
That I am overflowing with it,
And it’s strength
And it’s beauty
And it’s purpose
Is something that I cannot
Ignore.

Heavenly Father
You have given me
Streams of living water;
You have made me
A fountain that overflows
With love
& joy
& peace
& strength
& faith
& trust.
You have given me Wisdom
And Knowledge.
You have given me
In my inward parts
Truth!

Heavenly Father
All that is beautiful
I have
Because You have given
It to me.
You have held no good
Honorable
Beautiful
Praise worthy
Thing from me.
You have given me that
Greatest gift;
That most treasured,
And precious gift
That shines upon my soul
Brighter than the
Brightest light
In My beloved
Lord and Savior
Jesus.

Heavenly Father
I come to You tonight
And I ask You
In the name of He who is
Holy and Perfect and True
In the name of Jesus.
Father I ask You
To do only what You can;
Father
I pray for my brothers and sisters
In Christ
Who have stood beneath
The cleansing flood
Of His precious blood,
And I ask You
To give to them what
You have so graciously given
To me.
Father,
I pray that You do whatever
You have to do
To bring them to the point
Where they, too
Can feel the cup of joy
Overflowing within them.
Father
Make their light to shine
In the darkness;
Make their life
A beacon , a lighthouse
That can safely guide
Those who still
Sail upon stormy seas.

Heavenly Father
I see so many of my beloved
Brothers and sisters
Stuck in the quicksand
Of this grasping world
Struggling and in despair
Wanting and wanting to let go
Of sin.
Trying to hold on
And let go
To that which should it
Maintain it’s grasp
Will lead them
Where no one should have
To go.

Heavenly Father
I beg You to send
Those of your children
Who have Your strength
And Your love
And Your truth
Flowing ever onwards
In and through them
To those
Whom You love
To pull them from the
Quagmire.

Heavenly Father
Send Your faithful servants
With their loins girt with Your truth
And their feet shod with the
Preparation of the Gospel of peace,
And wearing the helmet of their salvation
Upon their heads;
With their shields of faith,
With their breastplates of righteousness,
And With their mighty swords,
And let them
Stand before and around
Your little ones,
And let them cut a swathe
Through the clutching hands
Of evil
To clear the path
To where You are ever waiting.

Heavenly Father
Show Your Children
All Your Children
That Love is mighty;
Love is true;
Love seeks not it’s own way
But the way for others;
Show them love
Holds no hand with compromise;
But stands against it
Ever ready with the truth.
Show them love
Is not to embrace or yield
To evil
But to confront it
And to turn from it’s path
Those who walk upon it.

In Jesus name, I pray
Amen.

 

 

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian

THE JOY IS IN THE JOURNEY

Sometimes when we achieve the things we strive for, we find they’re not very fulfilling.  As we look back we realize that our greatest joy was not in the goal we reached, but in the growth we experienced on the way to it.  Scientist Koichi Tanaka describes this phenomenon and how it can come about during the enjoyable pursuit of a dream.  As he worked on trying to create an ion with lasers, he says: “I failed for weeks and months before I succeeded in making an ion.  Why did I continue the experiment?  Because I enjoyed it.  It was fun for me to come to know something that I had never known before, and that fun enabled me to persist.”  That persistence helped him to win a Nobel Peace prize in chemistry.  You have the potential to make many wonderful discoveries in life, and none greater than what you discover about God, and yourself.

One leadership expert writes: “The pursuit of my dream has taken me out of my comfort zone, elevated my thinking, given me confidence, and confirmed my sense of purpose.  My pursuit of the dream and my personal growth have become so intertwined that I now ask myself, ‘Did I make the dream, or did the dream make me?’  When your mind accepts a new idea or learns a new truth, it’s forever changed.  And once stretched, it takes on a new shape and never goes back to its original form.  When that happens, you experience true fulfillment.  No wonder children’s book author Elizabeth Coatsworth said, ‘When I dream, I am ageless.”

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian

LIVING FOR OTHERS

Jacques Cousteau, the famous French explorer, said, “If a man for whatever reason has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.”  Jesus lived that way.  He said, “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (Jn 10:11 NKJV).  To be like Him, you must live for something greater than your own interests.  In his book Half Time: Changing  Your Game Plan from success to significance, author Bob Buford says, “The first half of life has to do with getting and gaining, learning and earning.  The second half is more risky because it has to do with living beyond the immediate.”  By that he means living for a cause that is greater than yourself, and for others beyond yourself.  The greater men and women of Scripture were not great because of what they earned and owned; they were great because they gave themselves to people, and causes that lived beyond them.  There dream was to do something that benefited others.  Only a rare minority of people are able to hold closely to their dream to make a difference, and are willing to give up everything to make that dream come true.  Of people like that it will never be said that when they died, it was as though they had never lived.  Their dream lives on after them, because they lived for others.  And it was in living in for others and not for self that they found their greatest joy and fulfillment.  The poet wrote: “Others, Lord, yes others; Let this my motto be.  Help me to live for others, that I may live for Thee.”