The Joy of Jesus

15 09 2009

Jesus’ words really are captivating. They were, and they still are. It was observed by the temple police, as they heard Jesus, that: ‘Never has anyone spoken like this’ (John 7:46)

What about these captivating words: ‘I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete (John 15:11 )

Joy. Joy. Joy. Joy. Joy. Joy. Joy. Joy. Joy. Joy. Yep!

You may often feel a lack of joy, a dearth of joy.

There is so much in our media, and our lives, that makes it seem a joyless world.

Sadness is very prevalent. We need no examples.

But the joyless world is passing away. For the man of joy, has come.

Listen to the promise again:

Abide in me…. that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

Abide is the Greek word meno ‘meno’, also translated ‘remain’, or ‘dwell’. Remain in me. Keep in fellowship with me. Keep talking to me. Keep being filled with the Spirit of God. Keep being a person with with the Spirit, in whom is love, joy peace…

The joy of Jesus in us? Yes, indeed. Here, is the Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:3b) deeply acquainted with grief—who was made to be sin for us, as he bore our griefs, guilt, sadness, shame and failures in his body on the tree, once for all—who is also the most truly joyful human being to ever walk the face of the earth.

Meditate upon this man, who has all things in his hands. This man of joy is near. This man who gives joy to the brokenhearted. Two old hymns, keep coming to mind:

Jesus thou joy of loving hearts‘, and ‘Joy to the World, the Lord is come’!

Are you joyful?  Do you find such questions annoying? Do you answer that we only have joy by faith, and not by sight? Do you admit it is a deep joy, but not necessarily a smiling joy? Do you have the joy of Jesus, now?  Does this seem a bit of an inward question, to you? Are you frying bigger fish than this?  Have you the global political scene in your sights? Or the local contribution that you are going to make? Are you deeply bent on justifying yourself by your achievements? Is yours a joyful contribution?  Are others in your life affected by the joy of Jesus? Is it coming through in your life? Is there a joy

May you be filled with the joy of Jesus. May the joy of knowing the Father, and all things being in his hands, be in you! May the joy of the Holy Spirit renew you today.

The joy of Jesus, is a joy which comes to us, in the joy of the one who has conquered sin and death. The joy of Jesus is the joy which is a secured joy, of an eternal God, lodged actively in a person, and now given to us. The joy of Jesus! The joy of Jesus in us, and our joy complete. Complete. Full. More than sufficient. Real joy. Spreading joy. Global joy. Eternal joy. Present joy. No one will take your joy from you. Joy that can’t be stolen. Joy.

Joy. Short word. Profound effect.

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Karl Barth – God in the History of His Deeds, on mp3

29 04 2009

Karl Barth: Great Theologian:

“evangelical theology is concerned with Immanuel, ‘God with us’… a happy science!”

The much-loved, much-studied, and much-criticised theologian, Karl Barth is not with us, bodily, for he is now, with the Risen Lord Jesus.

Karl has departed from his participation in this world—where sin and death are present. But, if you are interested, you can still … ha! read his books (this post was originally about an MP3 lecture in English. But it is no longer at that URL.  I am sorry to say, I can’t direct you to listen to him.  Oh well. If anyone knows where it went, please let me know!)

I—did—love the accent … as he spoke in English!

So instead of listening to a quote, why not read a little of his writing…

“The truth of the knowledge that Christ in his revelation has the power of the Creator, depends upon it being the acknowledgment of a fact and  not an arbitrary combination. Where this power is experienced, there is literally nothing to combine, creation and revelation are not two truths to be held side by side, compared with each other and put into touch with each other, but the one reality of Jesus Christ, as the Revealer with the power of the Creator.  And in that case this power of the Creator cannot be thought of as one specially related and limited to revelation. Augustine, therefore is right when he lets even the angels, and Luther therefore, is right when he lets even the broody hen, be created  by the Word. ” (p. 511-512, CD, Volume 1. Part 1)





The Future of Creation

16 01 2009

I received an email, from the “Citizen’s Electoral Council” this week. The article which they drew my attention to, begins, thus:

“Is Nature Warning Us of a New Ice Age?, by Laurence Hecht Editor-in-chief, 21st Century Science & Technology. January 14, 2009 (LPAC)–Global warming fears aside, all students of climate science know that the Earth is presently in an Ice Age and has been for approximately the past 2 to 2.5 million years. “

The articles continues with some interesting information.  

Too hot, too cold… or just right? Who knows?  

Granted, the question sounds like one from ‘Goldilocks and the 3 Bears’?

They say that news of impending doom, sells well to the human race. (eg. ‘Henny Penny, saying The sky is falling, and the great poem … ‘We’ll all be rooned, said Hanrahan’). But what of news of the certain goal of creation?  We need to reaffirm, what Scripture teaches us: The Future of Creation is firmly in God, the Father’s gracious hands. The Apostle Peter, in the light of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, could urge his fellow hearers, and those with a fresh, new trust in God—who were suffering for it— to entrust themselves to a faithful creator.

1Peter 4:19, says: Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will do right and entrust their souls to a faithful Creator.

It needs to be repeated, often. What God is about is the redemption of the creation, this one!  His plan is a good one.

As my friend Geoffrey Bingham has put it so beautifully, ‘Creation is Primary’. And ‘If creation fails, then God fails’, in which case He does not prove to be a faithful Creator. (See page 73 of his book “Creation and the Liberating Glory”). Indeed, download it for free. Creation and the Liberating Glory

No, creation will not fail. It is not planned to be ending, either in ‘a bang, or a whimper’, but rather, it is gaining momentum towards it’s great goal—a redeemed home, for all who long to be part of it.  It is wonderful to know the perfect love of Christ, risen and ruling, which casts out fear. It is excellent to know the Father, who is forming a home suitable for an eternal family.

Yes folks…. The Future of Creation is secure in Jesus Christ. Did you know that? It is a faith insight. It is a matter of genuine revelation, made known to faith. Have faith. Cheers!





Things that matter

21 11 2008

It seems to me that there are lots of things that matter in life. But, sometimes one is faced – or confronted, with the brevity of life. Like when someone you know is suddenly taken from this life. Death, can come so quickly. It catches us, it takes by surprise. It leaves its deep shock in our spirit.

So then, what matters? Just having fun? Doing lots of good things? Having lots of friends? Laughter? Joy? Or, as the cynics, might say… nothing. 

No. There are things that matter.

In the end it comes down to relationships. Many will agree. But sort of beyond that, is the matter of purpose. And that can be summed up in two things:

(1) Participating in the “mandate”, the great agenda, for creation. Which is, having been blessed, to then…: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth’ (see Genesis 1:28) 

(2) Participating in the “gospel”, the great hope, and certainty, for the future of creation. That is, pausing long enough for the resurrection and crucifixion, to have their full effect upon one’s life, causing a great change of mind… for the better.

So then, may you be in the things that matter. Mowing a lawn, or catching a fish, or studying the galaxies, or nursing a sick child – these are creational things.

And, unfolding the mystery of life – Christ Jesus – that is a gospel thing.

Both are good to do. Both need each other, not just for balance, but for fulness of life, and for exercising our true humanity; and for joy – ah yes, joy, and for – well, making true sense of it all.  Cheers!





Music and the Gospel

14 10 2008

MUSIC AND THE GOSPEL

The following quote is from P. T. Forsyth [numbers added]: 

(1) There is at once a compelling grasp and a pervasive idea in great music, which lifts us, if we seek something more than mere amusement, into the vision which sees all things as working together for glory, good, and God

(2) Music is a universal speech, not only in the sense of coming home to almost all hearts. In that sense it is true only of simple and homely music. But great music is universal in a deeper sense than the simple, as Christianity itself is. Its nature and destiny is universal. It sweeps over us with a wave of emotion, which is humane, universal, and submersive of our own petty egoism. 

(3) It exists to purify and organise the selfish emotions, not simply to soothe them, excite them, or indulge them. It lifts us into a world of things which includes our little aches and joys, laps them in a diviner air, and resolves them into the tides and pulses of an eternal life. 

(4) It raises us to our place, if but for an hour, in the universal order of things, and makes our years seem but moments in the eternal process. It is not then our personal welfare we think of, or our private enjoyment. 

(5) Music, like Scripture and Nature, is of no private interpretation. We feel then that our passions and affections, however real, are but rills and streams in an infinite world of love, sympathy, and consummation. (Forsyth, Christ On Parnassus, p. 209-210). 

(6) ‘…we have in a piece of great music the world’s order in miniature.’

(P. T. Forsyth, Christ on Parnassus, p. 212)

Ah, music, blessed, wonderful music.
It was Jonathan Edwards, who said, ultimately, ‘everything will be music‘, rightly understood.
What a symphony the creation is, when tuned by the Risen Lord, to participate in his redemptive love, through the ages.

Thanks to the Lord, for saxophones, piano’s, drum kits, guitars, flutes, violins, trumpets, clarinets, and ’76 trombones’, and the sheer joy of it all.

I might just go, and put some music on.





“Be of good cheer…” (Jesus)

18 05 2007

Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But be of good cheer, I have conquered the world!’

(John 16:32b-33)

Be of Good Cheer!  Hah. Thanks for saying that Jesus. We are cheered when we hear you say it.

There is always reason to be of good cheer. Even as one is overcome by life’s disappointments, For Jesus to know, “the Father is with me”—with him, was enough. The presence of God, the Father, is a cause for great joy in daily living, even in extreme sufferings. In his cross, through his death and resurrection, Jesus has overcome the powers of  the world—”the self-seeking world system”. He is free as a Man, and gives that same freedom to us, through faith in himself, in union with him in his life, death—resurrected and now, ascended life.  Knowing our sins of unbelief and wrong pursuits—in the cause of cheer—are forgiven, is a huge release for the human spirit.

Union with Jesus the Son, and with God the Father is the source of good cheer! While wine gladdens the heart, the God who made us for glory gladdens all of humanity through his redemptive presence and power!








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