Joy

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The Joy of a Good Heart

10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Psalms 147:10-11

We all know this, but it’s refreshing and encouraging to read in God’s word that He judges us by our hearts and not our physical attributes. Social media platforms and video streaming sites all treat us as people that are “inadequate and uneducated.” We don’t know the secret that they want to share with us. From hair to high-rise condos, these influencers tell us to trust them; they can tell us how to improve our lives. They focus on trying to fix our outward appearance – our bodies, cars, condos, we need them so we can have power like them. But those are deceiving messages.

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

What has actual value is our hearts. In our hearts, God finds our love for Him and our determination to walk on the path of righteousness. Maybe this doesn’t happen to you, but there are times when I’m in a store or on vacation, and I know I have an encouraging word for a stranger, but by the time I think of what I should say, the moment is passed, and then I think of it! I was so close, but I missed the opportunity.

I’ve come to think of these missed opportunities as drawing water from the well of my heart. If I have not replenished my heart, it takes longer to drop my bucket down to the water level and then bring it back up – it takes too long. But if my heart is overflowing with my love for God and trust in His word, then I can quickly retrieve God’s message and pass it along to that stranger.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24

So, God doesn’t consider our physical strength (the legs of man) or what we possess (the strength of the horse). Instead, God looks into our hearts to see upon what our wisdom is built, what is the source of strength, and upon what moral ground we have built our lives. Living for Jesus keeps our hearts overflowing with steadfast hope. Be joyful and let your trust in God be like that of the Psalmist who wrote:

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

Psalms 20:7

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay


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The Beam of Light

“Though you have not seen him [Jesus], you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

1 Peter 1:8-9 

A Sunbeam in a Dark Room

Have you ever noticed how a sunbeam shining past a window curtain dominates a dark room? It usually happens when you are trying to “sleep in.” You’ve got a day off from work and no commitments, so you intend to revel in the ambrosia of sleep without demands. But, then, the sun finds a gap in the only window which sunlight can creep through and glare straight into your eyes.

No matter how you try, you can’t find a way to position your body away from that beam of light. Finally, you look straight into the beam, and when you do, you see the beauty of the day; blue sky, puffy clouds, and the sun dominate your view, filling you with awe and wonder at the beauty you see.

C.S. Lewis wrote a similar but exceedingly better analogy about a beam of light shining through a crack in a wall of an old garage. He made a valuable observation. We can either be the person that contemplates the shaft of light or be the person in the beam of light, immersed in the light and enjoying God.

Marinade in the Holy Spirit

Lewis called observing the beam Contemplation and immersion in the beam Enjoyment. For Christians, we need Contemplation – reading God’s Word, listening to a good sermon, listening to an edifying Christian podcast. Contemplation teaches us the tools we need to be effective in the Body of Christ and often leads us into the beam; into the presence of God.

Nevertheless, acquiring spiritual tools is not an end in itself. The purpose of tools is to use them, so that’s where we need to spend the majority of our time. We need to “marinade” in the Holy Spirit, having the Holy Spirit on us, in us, around us, and shining out of us; being in the Light of God is Enjoyment. That is where we need to spend most of our time – in the beam!

Westminster Shorter Catechism has this Q&A:

Q: What is the chief end of man? 1
A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Living in the Beam

There is a considerable difference between seeing the beam and being in it. Before salvation, all we could do was see the beam. We could contemplate it. We’d see the beam, occasionally, in someone. We might contemplate the beam on Easter and Christmas and at funerals. The saved and the unsaved can contemplate the beam, but only a child of God can enter the beam. Contemplation is vital, but Enjoyment is where we should live.


Photo by Kaique Rocha, https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-brown-leaf-290617/, accessed on July 2, 2022

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1: Heidelberg Catechism, accessed on July 2, 2022

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Release from Old Memories 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  

2 Corinthians 5:17

Perhaps it’s just me, but sometimes, I have flashbacks from my past, memories of things I’ve done that were selfish, socially clumsy, or countless other mistakes I’ve made. These memories only last long enough to send me down mental rabbit trails that are spiritually unfruitful. For a long time, I fought against them, seeing them as a spiritual attack. But recently the Holy Spirit showed me how to deal with them. 

I discovered these flashbacks are a two-fold blessing from God. First, the first time an old memory attacks me, I take it to Jesus. If it was a sin, then I confess it and ask Christ for forgiveness. Then I thank God for His mercy and grace that permeates this memory. Mercy, from my Father, is enough to provide a way for me to be forgiven and grace for His great love to extinguish the power of that flashback. Once it’s dealt with, it no longer has power over me. I am free indeed from that memory’s condemnation. 

The second blessing is that, from God’s grace, each flashback shows me my growth in Jesus. That old memory is not the event itself but only its imprint in our minds. It is not the wave but the imprint of the wave on the sand.  

By God’s mercy, His forgiveness drains the power of old memories. Old memories provide me with “one time” to confess and ask for forgiveness; after that, I simply enjoy my new nature. By God’s grace, I see my growth as a follower of Jesus.

These flashbacks become blessings instead of condemnations through God’s mercy and grace. That’s just how good God is to me. His mercy and grace are equally available to you. Let’s all advance with God instead of wasting His grace by putting ourselves under condemnation.


Image by congerdesign from Pixabay 

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Archaeological stone

We Believe

From the Jerusalem Post article titled, “Archaeologists Identify City Gate from the time of King David” by ZACHARY KEYSER included this statement: Even though the “House of David” inscription has confirmed the essential historicity of King David from the Bible, scholars have reached little consensus about the nature and extent of his rule.

As believers, we have committed our lives and our eternities to Jesus. We believe the Bible is the Word of God. We believe Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Yet, as intelligent, socially adept people, we are expected by society to doubt God’s Word and to separate what we believe from how we make decisions and how we act.

We must guard our minds while we stay engaged in the places where God has planted us. Proverbs 18:15 (ESV) reads, “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” It’s not God’s will for us to disengage with the world. If we did that there would be no reason for us to remain “in the world.” However, it is God’s will that we do not deny Him. Also, we are not to be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we are to be obedient to God’s will.

So guard your minds but be at peace and be joyful for God, Himself, lives in us. As Psalm 16:11 (ESV) states, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” 

Photo by saif fa on Unsplash

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God’s will for you

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Many years ago I quit a job where I was vice president. It was a good-sized company of a couple of hundred people, and I did and still do respect to people there. However, during my whole tenure there, I never could get the peace of God in my work. In truth, I was there due to the wrong decision I made, and I knew it.

Finally, I resigned with no employment prospects in site. We ended up having to sell our nice, two-story, four bedrooms, two bath house and rent a mobile home in the backyard of my in-laws. Oh, and in the process, my wife and I found she was pregnant with twins. It was a very challenging time for me.

Actually, it worked out quite well for the family since my mother-in-law’s help with the twins was just a few steps away. One of my sons helped Grandpa roof his garage, and the kids had a great time with cousins and family. I, on the other hand, was not doing so well.

I felt I had failed my employer, failed my employees, failed my family, failed God. And, during this time I couldn’t get hired by anyone. I was even turned down as a Fuller Brush salesman and a telemarketer, really. Nothing I tried worked, except prayer. I began spending hours in prayer each day.

The passage of Scripture 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV), Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” was something I believed and practiced but it was also a struggle. God was tearing down the faith I had in my skills and the person I thought I was. To rebuild me he had to tear my house down to the foundation. Thankfully, Jesus was (and is) my foundation.

God rebuilt me, piece by piece; some I’ve seen and many I just know. God has blessed me beyond anything I could ask or think, but it took a painful refurbishing, one well after I’d received Jesus as my Lord.

I can affirm that I always attempt (key word is attempt) make my first response to any circumstance one of rejoicing, praying, and thanking Jesus to whom I belong. Whether in poverty or prosperity (Philippians 4:10-13) I know I can be content, That’s real peace.

However, during my whole tenure there, I never could get the peace of God in my work. In truth, I was there due to the wrong decision I made, and I knew it.

Finally, I resigned with no employment prospects in site. We ended up having to sell our nice, two-story, four bedrooms, two bath house and rent a mobile home in the backyard of my in-laws. Oh, and in the process, my wife and I found she was pregnant with twines. It was a very challenging time for me.

Actually, it worked out quite well for the family since my mother-in-law’s help with the twins was just a few steps away. One of my sons helped Grandpa roof his garage, and the kids had a great time with cousins and family. I, on the other hand, was not doing so well.

I felt I had failed my employer, failed my employees, failed my family, failed God. And, during this time I couldn’t get hired by anyone. I was even turned down as a Fuller Brush salesman and a telemarketer, really. Nothing I tried worked, except prayer. I began spending hours in prayer each day.

The passage of Scripture 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV), Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” was something I believed and practiced but it was also a struggle. God was tearing down the faith I had in my skills and the person I thought I was. To rebuild me he had to tear my house down to the foundation. Thankfully, Jesus was (and is) my foundation.

God rebuilt me, piece by piece; some I’ve seen and many I just know. God has blessed me beyond anything I could ask or think, but it took a painful refurbishing, one well after I’d received Jesus as my Lord.

I can affirm that I always attempt (key word is attempt) make my first response to any circumstance one of rejoicing, praying, and thanking Jesus to whom I belong. Whether in poverty or prosperity (Philippians 4:10-13) I know I can be content, That’s real peace.

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