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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Happiness)

Happiness. It’s our “inalienable right,” right? I’ve been working on a study of the word “joy” in the book of Philippians — and will soon inflict it, I mean, share it on this blog. I pray that your joy will surpass any kind of shallow happiness this world can inflict on you today!

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Why Shouldn’t the World Think Us WEIRD? (A Study of I Peter 1:8-9) Part 3

My friend Frank and I are now going through I Peter. This is our read-the-same-chapter-every-day-for-a-week online Bible study which I’ve described here. We’re making great progress going through the epistles of the New Testament. But the following passage from I Peter really got me thinking:

Please forgive my underlining and bolding and changing colors, but these two verses kind of hit me between the eyes. And they help me not to be so surprised when the world looks at me funny and thinks I need medication or a lengthy stay in a mental hospital. Let’s continue our study of these two verses:

I. We Love What We Do Not See!

In Part 1 we saw that believers presently do not see the Lord — but OTHERS have seen Him! And have testified (at the cost of their lives) of that fact. We looked briefly at I John 1 and noticed the empirical language John uses about having seen the Lord Jesus.

Let’s notice a second truth in this text and it is that —

II. We Believe in Him! (v. 8)

Belief is a big deal in the Bible! But BELIEF in the Bible is not gullibility! The evidentiary basis of the Christian faith is real. And we are not fools for BELIEVING in Him!

Let’s continue our study by noticing —

III. We Are Filled with an Inexpressible and Glorious Joy (v. 8)

Our world desperately needs joy-filled followers of Jesus! As a result of believing in Jesus, Peter tells us, “you are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy”! Is that true of you, my friend? Right now? This joy is described as (1) inexpressible (we can’t really put it into words) and (2) glorious (a joy reflecting the glory of our God). How often should the believer pray, “Lord, restore to me the joy of my salvation!”? As someone has said, “Christians owe it to the world to be supernaturally joyful!” (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2020 in I Peter 1

 

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Got . . . Comfort? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 7:5-7)

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

Let us continue our study of several verses in chapter seven:

Got . . . Comfort? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 7:5-7)

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 7

 

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Boundless Joy! (A Study of 2 Corinthians 7:4-8)

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

We’re now continuing our study of several verses in chapter seven:

Boundless Joy! (A Study of 2 Corinthians 7:4-8)

I. Joy Comes in the Midst of Troubles! (vv. 4-5)

>> no rest, harassed at every turn, conflicts on the outside, fears within

II. Joy Is Connected to Comfort! (v. 6)

III. Joy Is Communal! (v. 7)

IV. Joy Is Connected to the Spiritual Progress of Others! (v. 8)

V. Joy Can Grow! (v. 8)

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2020 in 2 Corinthians 7

 

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“Working for Your Joy” (A Study of 2 Corinthians 1:24)

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

We’re now working our way through 2 Corinthians. Here’s my outline for several verses in chapter one:

“Working for Your Joy” (A Study of 2 Corinthians 1:24)

Notice the words “we work with you for your joy.” What a fascinating statement. Joy is WORK! And sometimes we need others to assist us in achieving that joy. The Darby translation renders this verse as “Not that we rule over your faith, but are fellow-workmen of your joy . . .” Fellow-workmen. We can join others and labor for their joy.

The Living Bible has the following translation: “I want to be able to do something about your joy: I want to make you happy, not sad.” Joy is deeper than happiness, isn’t it? Happiness often depends on happenings. Joy is much more solid, grounded, resistant to the joy-killers that surround us. [I’m working on a short book on the uses of “joy” in Philippians tentatively called “Finding Deep Joy in a Sad, Shallow World”].

Please note Paul’s justification for his laboring for the joy of the Corinthians: “because it is by faith you stand firm.” When we waffle in our faith, when we collapse under the attacks of the world around us and the doubts within us, we lose our joy. But God wants His people — you and me! — to stand firm, to lean on our trust in Christ, to be people of contagious joy!

Today’s Challenge: Got anybody who is working for your joy? Are you laboring to help others re-discover and re-deploy their joy in knowing Christ? It’s time to get to work — and do so joyfully!

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2020 in joy

 

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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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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — What Do We Learn from I THESSALONIANS about the Holy Spirit?

In titling these posts “The Forgotten Third,” we are asking how are we missing God the Holy Spirit? While it is true that some believers overemphasize Him, others (it seems to us) overlook Him. We want to do neither, but long to have a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.

There is much to be learned about Him from looking at whole books of the Bible. Since I am presently studying I Thessalonians with my friend Frank, let’s notice each reference to the Spirit in that book.

In Chapter One, Paul tells us —
“our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction” (v. 5). He also says, “6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”

There are no references to the Spirit in Chapter Two.

There are no references to the Spirit in Chapter Three (although verses 11-13 would have been a great occasion to refer to the Spirit!).

In Chapter Four we read, “7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.”

In I Thessalonians Chapter Five we read: “Do not quench the Spirit” (v. 19).

These are the references to God the Holy Spirit in the book of I Thessalonians. So, our communicating the gospel to others must be with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with conviction. For those believers in severe suffering, there is available the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And we learn that we must not reject God’s instructions because we would be rejecting the very God who gives us His Holy Spirit. Therefore, we must not quench the Spirit!

In our next post we will look at the book of Ephesians and collect all references to God the Holy Spirit.

The Challenge Today: Ask God the Holy Spirit for His joy to live out today to the glory of God!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2019 in The Holy Spirit

 

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Time for a Great Commercial — Wendy’s Frosty!

It’s okay that we take JOY in little things, right? I’m not about to jump in a fountain to snag two quarters —  but there is something almost heavenly in a Wendy’s Frosty!

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2019 in enthusiasm

 

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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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