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Time for a Great C.S. Lewis Quote: on Heaven and JOY!

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2019 in joy

 

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Time for a Great Commercial — Dancing for JOY!


If owning a pair of (wireless charging!) IPods allows you to bounce all over the place on your commute, what kind of JOY must the believer in Jesus experience every day?!

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2019 in joy

 

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Finding Deep Joy in a Sad, Shallow World (A Study of Philippians) Part 18 JOY and Contentment!

“There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have the feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well.” (Nicholas Sparks, A Walk to Remember) As we conclude our study of the term JOY in Paul’s epistle to the Philippians, we are looking at his sixteenth (and last) use of that term this morning.

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (ch. 4)

There is so much here that we can learn from the Apostle Paul! He is JOYFUL that the Colossian believers are able to help him financially, but their assistance gives him the opportunity to talk about contentment.

Notice the intensity of Paul’s REJOICING: “I rejoiced greatly in the Lord”! His rejoicing is not specifically in the material support the Colossian believers are providing for him. His JOY is in the Lord. And he expresses his REJOICING as “greatly.”

Second, notice the context of his REJOICING: Paul has learned a secret, the secret of being content whatever one’s material condition might be! Whether in need or in plenty, Paul has learned something of extreme value — to be content. His contentment is there whether he is well fed or hungry, living in plenty or in want. The critical issue isn’t his circumstances, but where Paul puts his focus — on the One “who gives me strength.”

Contentment isn’t resignation. It isn’t a kind of stoic grit-your-teeth and toughen your way through life. Biblical contentment is JOYFUL trust in the Sovereign One who oversees us in our lack or abundance. That’s Paul’s focus.

Thank you for staying with me for this study. If you think I should take these posts and write a more extensive, but short, book on this topic, please leave me a comment.  Blessings. Larry

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2019 in joy

 

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Finding Deep Joy in a Sad, Shallow World (A Study of Philippians) Part 17 JOY and Repetition

“The modern philosopher had told me again and again that I was in the right place, and I still felt depressed even in acquiescence. But I had heard that I was in the wrong place, and my soul sang for joy like a bird in spring.”  (G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy). Believing the gospel gets us in the right place — and that should be a place of JOY! As we continue our study of the term JOY in Paul’s epistle to the Philippians, we are looking at his fifteenth use of that term this morning.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ch. 4)

We saw in our previous post that sometimes we simply need to be told what to do. The fourteenth use of the term JOY in this epistle is at the beginning of verse 4- “REJOICE in the Lord always.” But there is often a need that a simple command be repeated, as Paul does here. Apparently, REJOICING in the Lord isn’t always easy — and we need to be challenged twice to take that step and practice that habit of finding our deepest JOY in Him!

They say that repetition is a key to learning — and Paul knows we need to be told more than once that our JOY must be in the Lord! Please notice that there is an immediate effect of our REJOICING in the Lord — such REJOICING impacts our gentleness as we relate to others. Harsh, hard people are tough to live with. A believer who is continually REJOICING in the Lord is, in some sense, softened by the practice. And others will sit up and notice!

Someone named Ernest Dimnet once said, “The happiness of most people is not ruined by great catastrophes or fatal errors, but by the repetition of slowly destructive little things.” How true! How much truer is the value of the repetition of REJOICING in the Lord! It is no little thing.
 

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2019 in joy

 

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Finding Deep Joy in a Sad, Shallow World (A Study of Philippians) Part 16 JOY IN THE LORD!

“I do not care about happiness simply because I believe that joy is something worth fighting for.” (Criss Jami, Killosophy). As we continue our study of the term JOY in Paul’s epistle to the Philippians, we are looking at his fourteenth use of that term this morning.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ch. 4)

There are several truths that jump out at me from this use of the verbal form of JOY. Notice —
1. We are to REJOICE in the Lord. Not in our circumstances. Not in other people. Not in our pleasures and our comforts. But in the Lord. If we are not rejoicing in Him, it could be argued that we are not taking Him and His grace seriously enough.
2. When are we to REJOICE? The time factor here is quite challenging — “always“! Not just on Sundays. Not just when we are blessed by the Lord. Not just when things are working out for us. ALWAYS. That’s just flat-out tough!

One must ask: what does REJOICING in the Lord look like? It is certainly not someone who is always quoting Bible verses or always saying things like “Praise the Lord!” This is, rather, a deep-seated JOY that expresses itself in a confidence in the Lord and His work in our lives. This kind of REJOICING transcends circumstances, cares deeply for the hurting, and trusts God’s sovereignty in one’s daily experiences. The one who is truly REJOICING IN THE LORD will, on occasion, provoke others to ask, “Why are you so happy?” or “In light of your present trial, how can you be so calm?”

The question isn’t are you REJOICING? But are you REJOICING IN THE LORD? And are you striving to do so ALWAYS?

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2019 in joy

 

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Finding Deep Joy in a Sad, Shallow World (A Study of Philippians) Part 15 JOY and Other Believers!

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” (Henri J.M. Nouwen)  Believers in Jesus have every reason to be JOYFUL! We are studying the use of this term JOY in Paul’s epistle to the Philippians and are looking at his thirteenth use of that term this morning. What a wonderful statement Paul makes in chapter 4! There we read:

1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! (ch. 4)

Wow! Can you say of another believer or group of believers, “You are my JOY and crown”? What a statement! Just because we aren’t to find our ultimate JOY in other fallible, fallen, finite people doesn’t mean that we can’t find serious and true JOY in them.

Please notice that Paul’s affection for these believers involves both love and longing. He doesn’t just love them; he longs for their spiritual growth and even commands them to “stand firm in the Lord.” The JOY that we find in other members of God’s family should not be primarily based on similar political issues or athletic loyalty or avocational likes, but on a recognition of their connectedness to Christ. And that kind of JOY doesn’t fluctuate with the wind. It motivates us to long for and pray for their standing firm in the things of the Lord!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2019 in joy

 

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Finding Deep Joy in a Sad, Shallow World (A Study of Philippians) Part 14 JOY and a COMMAND!

As we continue to look at the sixteen uses of the word JOY (and its variants) in Paul’s epistle to the Philippians, let’s continue thinking about the twelfth use of the term.  There we read:

Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

Paul commands these believers to REJOICE in the Lord! Is it ever right to COMMAND someone else to do something? Of course. Policemen have the authority to command a certain speed limit. Your boss has the power to command particular outcomes from you. Your spouse . . . ? Well, “command” may be too strong a word here, but how about a word like “expect” or “anticipate” or “count on”?

Sometimes we get so caught up in the circumstances of life that we need a strong command — like a glass of cold water tossed in the face of a drunk. REJOICING has the power to lift us out of the inebriation of the world and cause us to focus on what’s important.

Some things we don’t naturally do — and we need someone of authority to tell us what we do. In light of these false teachers (Paul calls them “dogs, evildoers, mutilators of the flesh”), Paul tells them to both REJOICE in the Lord and WATCH OUT FOR these false teachers.

Don’t let the word “COMMAND” distract you from the clear and biblical response of REJOICING IN THE LORD! We choose to rejoice, don’t we?

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2019 in joy

 

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