What do you think of when you think of joy? Do you think of it or feel it very often? And what provides joy for us in this most difficult time in human history? When I think of intense joy, I hearken back to childhood. Events like having your best friend over for a sleepover, or the excitement of anticipation on Christmas morning, and camping in the woods for the first time- this was the stuff that brought joy. As you can probably tell, I’m from a bygone era. Unfortunately these sort of things don’t bring the same kind of joy to kids today- at least in the same way. Even Christmas morning lacks the same intensity for various reasons. Today, kids don’t have that one toy that they’ve begged Santa for all year and dreamed about. Most likely, everything they ever pointed to in a store has been dropped into their living room on Christmas morning. Our culture today believes in overindulgence and coddling of children at every turn. There are so many toys at Christmas, and most of them are played with maybe once or twice. Then they’re put in the closet and, after a year or so, donated to a thrift store or put in a garage sale. The magic was gone. And children certainly don’t know how to feel joy the way it was intended anymore. What is to be done? You see, the dilemma for Christians is, that having the heart of a child is a requirement of all Christians. In fact, it’s one of the big ones. And by “big” I mean one of the “you won’t see the kingdom of heaven without it” kind of big. So how to be “childlike” is the question for us.
Christian where is your joy? Are you receptive to God’s direction for your life?
“For verily I say onto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child
shall in no wise enter therein” Luke 18:17
Therefore Christians, where is your joy? Where is the joy in childlike innocence and trust? It is in the quality of being teachable and receptive. Teachable? How can that be, when society has unshackled itself from any knowledge of God? Plus, the conviction that there’s objective truth is gone as well. In short, there are no absolutes, no certainty, no sure standard to go by. This is why society is literally going out of its mind and plunging itself into a dark and demonically induced madness. It is not receptive to the instruction of its heavenly father. This in turn has filtered down to a rejection of our earthly parents, as well as all authority. The final result is the overall disintegration and chaos we see all around us today. Yes, Jesus may love all the little children of the world, as the children’s song goes. But that is not the end of it.
The quality of being childlike is also a shield and protection to our mind and spirit all through life. It gives us the trust we need to live and find true mental health- and that translates to security and joy.If there is one word that perfectly describes both childhood and adulthood today, it is this word: jaded.It was a jaded world that Jesus entered two thousand years ago.Yet He told a woman on the walk to His crucifixion that the people did these things to Him did so in a “green tree”. He then challenged her to imagine what they would do in a “dry tree” In other words, to use the vernacular, He said, “you think it’s bad now, but you ain’t seen nothing yet” We are living in that “dry tree” today. And how is humanity doing? Well, you might say they don’t even act like human beings anymore. That is, unless you’re talking about human beings in the days of Noah. This was a time described by God as extremely violent and lawless. (“Every imagination of their heart was only evil continually” Gen. 6:5) Jesus described it as an analogy to the end times.
It is true that large crowds followed Jesus wherever He went.He was quite the celebrity in His day. However, the large majority of them stayed to watch the miracles, or to get a free meal…and then they left. Had they been true disciples, and totally teachable, they would have recognized and seized the gift bestowed on them and never let go. They would have recognized the “pearl of great price” He spoke of and gave up everything to have it. As it stood, only one of them completely heeded the call. It was John, or the “one that Jesus loved”. This is the one that leaned on His breast at the Last Supper. This was also the one who was spared a violent death and given the honor of writing God’s final revelation- the book of the same name. He was also taken to heaven to witness Jesus break the seals of judgement right before the tribulation begins. Most important and above all, he was perfectly teachable. Humbly and obediently, he yielded totally to God’s will. He received the kingdom of God as a child. The result was honor and exaltation by the master Himself. Also, he didn’t have to die violently as Peter, James and others did.
Christian, where is your Joy? In the Abundant Life?
“I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly”
Just what did Jesus mean when He promised life more abundantly? Did He mean that all who follow Him will have a new car every few years, a few homes, and live a life of luxury and ease? Of course, if you follow the prosperity preachers of our time, this is the message you hear. Materialism is still the idol of choice for most people, along with hedonism. What is so encouraging in the current move of the Holy Spirit, is to see the pouring out of blessings upon the new believers. And ,of course, it is occurring in poor countries. Just to have clean drinking water is like manna from heaven for these new believers.Contrast this with affluent countries like the USA, where abundance is seen as having plenty of pleasurable distractions, taking lots of selfies, and seeking material comforts. Which group has opened themselves up to receive greater abundance? The affluent society has only things it can lose.And since so many variables have to come together just right to make things right, there is a lot that can, and does, go wrong. Poor societies respond with everlasting gratitude for every blessing received. The result is that they truly have God’s blessings, and will have many more to come. Jesus promised that “he who has will have more and he who has not will lose even the little he has”. People in spoiled and affluent societies complain every time something goes wrong. Yet God loves and blesses a grateful heart. He despises a thankless person. Jesus told His disciples to shake the dust off their shoes when leaving a village that did not receive the gospel with thanks.
There were two things that Jesus hated above all: religious hypocrisy and ingratitude. Religious hypocrisy manifested itself in legalism. Legalism represented the “letter” of the law, with stern rules and rituals. The opposite is the “spirit” of the law, which represented freedom and joy from new sources. Of all the sources of happiness that humans seek, joy is the highest and the most difficult to attain. Happiness is a shallow goal, very much dependent on circumstances. Contentment is higher, and commended by Paul, who wrote, “I have learned that, in whatever circumstance I’m in, therewith to be content” Phil.4:11. Joy is the ultimate goal because it is not dependent on circumstances at all. Also, it draws from sources both natural and supernatural. A person can do little more than meditate on God’s word and find great joy, as they drink in the spiritual refreshment from its pages. It was joy that enabled Jesus to go through the crucifixion. As Paul writes, “Jesus, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” Heb.12:2. As Jesus prepared the disciples for the trials ahead, He promised them that He would see them again, and “Your joy no man takes from you” John 16:22.
True joy comes from the knowledge of God and this is the key that unlocks true abundance. Where is your joy, Christian? It is found in being centered in God’s will. As all the madness swirls around you, being centered in God’s will is like being in the eye of a hurricane where all is still and peaceful. We delight ourselves in prayer and meditation, and this opens up new worlds for us and new insights into the supernatural world.
Wisdom, Creativity, Discernment and Laughter
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” Hos.4:6
If anyone deserved a master’s degree in wisdom, it would have to be Solomon. In fact he even called it the “principal” thing “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with thy getting get understanding” Prov.4:7. How true that is. How many times have we seen the look on someone’s face when a light bulb goes off in their minds and they cry out, “Oh,.. now I get it!” What an epiphany! What a revelation. It both illuminates the
answers to problems we face, and also helps us put all the pieces together in a shattered situation.There is no price for such a gift. Wisdom’s price is “far above rubies” and greater than even the love and devotion of a virtuous woman. Cast wisdom aside and you’re asking for real trouble. Plus, you are willfully choosing to be blind. God provides all the answers, and leads you to your heart’s desires, but only if you “seek diligently” Ignore the spiritual world and you are stumbling around like a blind man without a cane and setting yourself up for disaster And yes, of course, wisdom brings you joy. It also gives you a perspective as broad as the long view that God Himself takes toward man’s history and the human condition. This is true and authentic “mind expansion” There is no need for chemicals to alter brain activity here. This is as close as any of us get in the flesh to the mind of God. Revelations pour from this source. prophetic warnings are revealed and every step we take is ordered by the Holy Spirit. Christian where is your joy? It is found in wisdom. A very wise man named Shakespeare once said, “The play’s the thing”. What he meant was that the play was the best vehicle to impart Shakespeare’s genius to the public in Elizabethan England. Solomon was Shakespeare’s inspiration. Therefore if any man seeks wisdom, let him read all the proverbs and apply them to every facet of your life
Creativity: Where rivers of living waters flow
It is very sad that the church has had a reputation over the years of being, well…dull. Many great Christians and seekers of truth have been put off by the fact that the church is so stiff and boring so much of the time. The true search for God leads us to a place where talents and unique characteristics are recognized and celebrated. Just because an artist doesn’t use strictly biblical subject matter for his creations doesn’t mean he doesn’t have something that is very holy and biblical to express. The fact is that we all have a spark of creativity somewhere. And it isn’t just limited to works of music, writing, dance or painting. It may be in the intellectual field, or the field of counseling. Perhaps you have amazing gifts of discernment that can bless others on their path to seeing God. Did you know that the ability to just encourage other people is recognized as a gift? And if you have this gift, you have never been more in demand. In our culture today, people are just beaten down and verbally assaulted constantly. It has never been so bad and it has never been more important to issue a “good report” to believers in distress and turmoil. As society becomes more barbaric, brutal and self-centered by the day, we must be discerning and mindful of the necessity to separate ourselves from evil doers and not walk with the prideful and rebellious A great joy is found in walking, as the saying goes “to the beat of a different drummer”- that is if Jesus is your drummer, and the devil is the world’s drummer. Having a strong discernment to test and try every spirit is vital to our survival. As I mentioned earlier, understanding is a great source of joy. Just to know what the heck is going on in the midst of the craziness is enormously helpful and life sustaining.
People did a lot of healthy things in the past that they don’t bother with anymore. And this is all to their detriment and hindrance of their development. One of these things is to debate the issues of the day. This is no longer possible, since we live in a reprobate society that has embraced the devil’s lies and deceptions, such as political correctness. People have replaced reason and intellectual acumen with cheap emotionalism and passing fads of the time.As believers we are called to be steadfast and unmovable in the faith, as well as incorruptible. However, there is another death trap for all of us that is going unrecognized. It is also totally lethal. It is the horrifying spectacle of a society that has lost its sense of humor. Seriously…this is not funny.
A good sense of humor isn’t just a nice quality to have. It’s not just something that sounds good on a dating site on social media when you’re trying to find a mate. It is absolutely imperative to your survival as a Christian. To lose it enables Satan to put you on his fast track to destruction. What does it do? It keeps us sane in an insanely demonic world, for one. It keeps the devil at bay and should be used wherever and whenever necessary in spiritual warfare to pull down strongholds of the enemy and secure victories for the Lord. Laugh at the enemies of God. Laugh them to scorn. Delight in verbally dismembering the true enemies of God with words far more sharp, original and hilarious than Satan could ever come up with. Remember that Satan is the ultimate imitator and mediocre performer. You will drive your enemy crazy, or at the very least, he will stop bothering you and leave you alone. No evil person can stand being laughed at. This is why colleges and universities are currently banning not only Christian ideas from their campuses, but comedians. If someone dares to utter anything that offends the sensibilities of these young college students (better known as “snowflakes”) they will be ushered off campus. Jerry Seinfeld recently announced he would not perform at colleges due to the overly sensitive students would couldn’t stand to hear the truth in either a speech or a stand up comedy routine. This is insanity that will kill-not only your mind, but your soul and possibly even your body. Use comedy as part of your spiritual armor alongside with the “sword of truth” Remember, you love the truth. And here at Veritas Triumphant Church we say, as always, “The Truth will set you free.