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.





Greatest Father’s Day

5 09 2009

There have been some great Father’s Days. But what is the greatest?

Father’s Day, today, in 2009, has become another opportunity for the opportunist commercial world to capitalize on the spare—or not so spare—cash of the community. Father’s Day for many dad’s has sometimes been – a day of genuine joy. A time for dad’s to spend with their wife, and their children, or brothers and sisters and their families.

A few years back, the traditional sort of Father’s Day may have begun with breakfast in bed, a new pair of socks, or a tie, some chocolate, and a  maybe new set of garden pruning shears, or similar.  Cool.

However, the Greatest Father’s Day, may have been the day that the creation was finished, to the point of creating the man and the woman, and placing them in the Garden of Eden. Yes, here in this ancient event, we have the Father creating a home for his family. And what a home creation is!

Added to that is the Day that the eternal Son of God, became a human being, a son, like Adam. The Day that Jesus was born was certainly hailed as one of the Greatest Father’s Days ever.  Here, the second Adam came to do that which the first Adam, had failed to accomplish.

But perhaps, above all Father’s Days, was the Day in which the wayward members of the family—the human family, were reconciled through the profoundly strange events of the cross of Jesus Christ. The Day the Father over-reached Jesus, as it were, and in his love, and together with Jesus, and the Spirit, reclaimed, redeemed, and renewed the children in rebellion—this indeed was a Day of grace. And here, perhaps, the gracious Father was at his best – in dealing with our sin, the holy Father laid it upon his own sinless Son, Jesus, and there it was borne, and destroyed, in the mind, conscience, and body of the finest Son ever. This was an action of—from one point of view—unimaginable horror and loneliness. Yet, it was a deed of the deepest love ever known. It was a work of the Father, on behalf of his eternal family. It was the Greatest Father’s Day.

We could add to this the Day the Son of God, rose from the grave, victorious over death forever.  This happened as the Father, by the Spirit, raised Jesus from the tomb, alive forever more.

And we could add to that the Day the Spirit was poured out upon all flesh, to enable the great ingathering of the Family. All nations, coming home at last; the family coming home, washed, sanctified, justified, in the merits of Jesus—the great Elder brother of all those of faith.

Yes, there have been some good Father’s Days. Let us remember the Father—The Father—with us. May this Father’s Day be a good one for many.

Blessed be the God and Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ!





Creation and Redemption

2 03 2009

Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth (Psalm 66:1).

Trumpeting elephants. Screeching seagulls. Busy blue tongue lizards. Crunchy Fuji apples. Do you enjoy the world? If we observe the creation around us– of which we are a unique part – we will discover what a marvellous place it really is. It has such a rich, riotous variety.

Did you know there are some 380,000 different species of plant life known to botanists? There are 21,000 species of fish, 4,000 of amphibians, 5,200 of reptiles, 8,700 species of birds, and 4,000 of animals. Not to mention protozoa, sponges, jellyfish, worms, snails, insects, spiders and more. Earth alone is made up of 100 known elements, like carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, calcium and zinc. There are rocks, metals, liquids, gases – and so it goes on. And think – 10,000 million galaxies of stars, beyond this planet. The atmosphere changes continually, with rain, wind, light and heat. There is the moon and the sun, day and night, mountains, plains and valleys, high tide and low, electrical storms and swirling hurricanes. Seasons. Yet so much of creation is unseen, microscopic, or hidden in the depths of caves and oceans.

What about all the people? – 6 billion of us. Contemplate that! There are 5000 different languages. Noise – soft and loud, and silence. Music – with rhythm, melody and harmony – played on percussion, wind, strings and keyboard instruments. We have fabulous foods to delight in – sweet or bitter, soft, medium and hard. There are aromas that please, and smells that don’t!

What about human inventions? Levers, wheels, boats, planes, cars, gadgets, homes, beds, radio, TV, DVD, MP3, power stations. There are hundreds of sports, games and vocations – jobs to do. There is art, writing, reading, research, joke telling, stories, notes, sermons and speeches, books, films, and computers. There is medicine, poison, and pain killing. There is surgery, massage and makeup. There are crafts to do, academic learning, ABC’s for babies, thinking, and pondering. All sorts of feelings: loving and longing, hoping and waiting, disappointment and fulfilment, healing. Disease, deformity and injury we know all too well! Birth, childhood, growth, romance, marriage, friendship, maturity, aging, and death are all different. Eternal life. Prayer. Purpose.

Being “at home” within the creation is what life is all about. How could we ever be bored? Well, there is sin and its terrible, shocking effects! But there is also Redemption.

It is so lovely to come home to the Father, through His Son, in forgiveness. Worship is due to our Creator, and our Redeemer, for both creation and redemption. Jesus Christ our saving Lord, is risen from death, for all creation – life is forever wonderful. Come Holy Spirit.

Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth.





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.








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