Showing posts with label Joy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joy. Show all posts

Monday, June 12, 2023

Anonymous Asks (253)

“What does it mean that God will rejoice over us with singing?”

The question comes from a verse in Zephaniah, which reads: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

It provides a great illustration of the way many people tend to read the Bible.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Some Unsolicited Advice

Several years ago I was walking downtown with a friend when some teenagers outside the grand old institutional church building on the corner enthusiastically accosted us to take some Christian literature from them and read it. After we politely extricated ourselves, my friend asked me “Why do they do that?”

Her thought was that this was a little bit inappropriate for members of our once-polite society, as if the act of sharing a gospel tract on the street were more than a minor intrusion.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Is There Any Joy?

It is often said that joy is different from happiness. Happiness is a thing based on “hap” (which means chance), or one based on circumstances going well — on “good happenings”. By contrast, joy is an abiding sense of fulfillment and well-being, a disposition not based on circumstances, but one that is durable in the face of change. Something like that must be what RZIM spokesperson Max Jeganathan has in mind in this video, for example.

That distinction's good to note  — and true, so far as it goes. But we might press the issue further: What accounts for the quality of joy that enables it to endure when mere happiness is taken away from us?

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Time and Chance (37)

Last week we encountered the term “vanity” for the umpteenth time in the book of Ecclesiastes, and considered another entry in the Preacher’s list of realities he found frustrating, and which he could not hope to understand without direct revelation from God. In this case, he had observed that there is a species of wicked people who move freely in polite society and who, far from being punished for their crimes, are more often politely indulged ... and sometimes even celebrated.

He continues this thought in the next couple of verses, in the process adding yet another “vain thing” to his list of conundra.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Numbers Game

“I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth …”

A few years ago I sat through a summer camp message from an alumnus of Dallas Theological Seminary. I can’t remember the man’s name now, and it doesn’t really matter. The thrust of his message was that a very, very large number of people will ultimately come to the knowledge of Christ and be brought into the fellowship of the saints. Comparatively few, he said, would be lost.

I found him quite unconvincing.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Joy In Action

The precise linguistic distinction between joy and rejoicing is a matter I’ll leave to others, but it is fair to say that joy is most often understood to be an inward response of the spirit, a feeling we may or may not have.

So it is that David can say, “Restore unto me the joy of your salvation.” David rightly recognizes that a full and trusting reliance on God ought to produce an inward joy, a joy which sin mutes. So too in the New Testament we read, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Joy and Strength

The joy of the Lord is not just a fireworks display
I have on occasion been accused of pessimism. Unreasonably, I assure you.

But when, for example, I see a room full of grade school kids shouting out “The joy of the Lord is my strength,” at the prompting of a smiling Sunday School superintendent, unlike the cheery folk who enthuse over the fact that their children are (albeit unintentionally) memorizing scripture that will someday be of use to them, my first and far-too-natural instinct is to wonder if they have any idea what they’re singing and how many of them mean it.

The second and even less upbeat thing that often crosses my mind is to wonder how many of them really know the Lord, and how badly those who don’t (and even some of those who do) will seriously mess up their lives by the time they’re my age.

Bleak thoughts, no?