Tag Archives: Joy

“He Rejoiced in the Holy Spirit”

11 Apr

Whenever I read a book, I always try to imagine the voice of the author speaking to me and narrating the story in my head. I was never a big fan of reading, but this technique really keeps me interested in whatever I’m reading.

One of the coolest passages in the Bible is in the first half of Luke 10. Jesus sends out seventy-two people, in groups of two, to towns and villages to proclaim the gospel and drive out demons. When they all come back, they tell Jesus of the many miracles that happened.

While you read this, try to imagine Jesus’ voice in your mind.

Luke 10:17-20

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

As marvelous as this passage seems, the best part is yet to come. In the following few verses, Jesus rejoices in the Holy Spirit. I don’t think Jesus rejoices in the Spirit anywhere else in the four gospels, which is why this passage is so unique and incredible.

Luke 10:21-24

In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

I find this passage so cool because I try to imagine what Jesus sounded like and what he did in that hour or rejoicing. Could you imagine hearing and seeing Jesus rejoice in the Holy Spirit? What a sight that must’ve been! He must’ve danced and sung praises in His rejoicing.

We need to be reminded of the joy we find in God. We’re so busy with our work and our jam-packed lives that we forget what it means to live with God’s joy in our hearts. Once in a while, we need to take time to sing and dance and rejoice in the Spirit because, just as Jesus said in verse 20, our names are written in heaven, and the ink that was used to write our names will never wash off.

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The Falsehood in Tiger Woods’ Speech

20 Feb

As you may or may not know, Tiger Woods gave a speech this week on national television regarding his unfaithfulness to his wife. In the speech, he apologizes to his wife, family, friends and fans for his bad behavior. Being a fan of his golfing skills, I’m very glad that he chose to do this. I believe that he was very sincere and that he truly is sorry for having disappointed so many people.

There was one aspect of his speech that I did not like.  Ten minutes into his speech (one minute into the video below), he mentions the reason why he cheated on his wife.

Tiger Woods: “People probably don’t realize it, but I was raised a Buddhist and I actively practice my faith from childhood until I drifted away from it in recent years. Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously, I lost track of what I was taught.”

Tiger Woods doesn’t realize that his problem is inside his heart. He didn’t sin because he was craving for something outside himself, but because his heart was craving for something other than God. Tiger’s heart has not tasted the joy of God’s salvation and he fell into the same trap King David did (Psalm 51). The difference between King David and Tiger Woods is that David realized the true reason why he sinned: a lack of God’s joy in his heart.

Buddhism teaches meditation and unity and harmony inside our souls, but what Tiger doesn’t understand is that no matter how nice he is inside, his heart is still stained black with sin. That will never change until he craves forgiveness of sin from the almighty God who loves despite his mistakes.

Tiger has a serious craving for sexual sin and this problem will not go away with therapy or meditation, but only by the cherishing of the joy of God’s salvation. I pray that he gets this right one day.

His Banqueting Table

6 Feb

My mind was so preoccupied last night that I couldn’t sleep. I was trying to imagine what it will be like in paradise with our Lord Jesus Christ. I was trying, but of course,  I failed. My earthly human mind cannot grasp the exceeding joy we will feel in Hi presence when He comes back to earth.

One of my favorite verses in the bible is Psalm 16:11, “You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forever.” For all eternity we will feel joy. No more strife, no more pain, no more confusion, no more stress, no more sorrow, no more hunger, no more thirst, no more discouragement, no more… (I can go on and on), but most of all, no more enemy.

I was trying to imagine what it will be like to sit next to Jesus, the one with holes in His hands where the nails pierced His flesh, and eat at His banqueting table. To talk with Him, to laugh with Him, to have fellowship with Him, to play with Him. Just the thought blows my mind and I can’t help but smile.

But for now, we are on this earth for a reason. We must spread the gospel to those who have not heard it so that we might see them sitting next to Jesus one day. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate reward? To know that you, with His help and by His grace, literally lead a lost soul to Jesus?

I end with words from the apostle Paul.

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” Philippians 1:21-24

A Joyless Waste

8 Nov

May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!
Psalm 20:5

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
Isaiah 12:3

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
Habakkuk 3:18

I am writing this post because I believe Christians are not challenged enough and we are raising pathetically spiritually lazy believers who could not care less about how God wants them to live. They are attending Friday nights and Sunday mornings and the truth of the gospel is not entering their hearts. They are not being challenged and so they are wasting their lives. I am writing this post out of love because I was challenged one year by this revelation and it rang true to my soul, so much so that I remind myself of this truth  everyday so that I don’t waste my life. The content of this post did not come from my own head, but from the true and just Word and from the mouths and pens of countless preachers, authors and missionaries in all of history who also wanted to challenge their generation to fully understand what it means to be a disciple of Christ. I pray that these words would be Bible saturated and would penetrate the heart and soul of the reader.

 

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Matthew 13:44

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalm 51:12

Jesus tells a parable in Matthew 13:44 about a man who finds a hidden treasure in a field, covers it up and, in his joy, goes and buys that piece of land. This passage paints a perfect picture of salvation. At the sight of the hidden treasure, the man is so overjoyed that his joy compels him to buy that land. Joy does not first enter the man after buying the land, it enters him when he first discovers this treasure. This is biblical proof that joy happens before salvation, not after. If joy were to happen after salvation, it would be our reaction to escaping the fiery furnace and not our response to the discovery of this unimaginable treasure. When King David writes about the “joy of Your salvation”, he wants the Lord to restore to him the joy he felt when he was a young man of God. It was that joy that made him stand in front of Goliath, trusting that his one and only Treasure would show His power.

 

And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.
Luke 8:13

“The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.” C.S. Lewis

“God is glorified not only by  His glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. When those that see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it.” Jonathan Edwards

“The joy of the Lord will arm us against the assaults of our spiritual enemies and put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks.” Matthew Henry

However, joy upon hearing the gospel and the word does not necessarily mean there is salvation. In Luke 8:13, we are reminded that the seeds on the rocky road are received with joy, but the seed has no root, and so the belief stays for a while, but then leaves. Joy alone is not enough. Unless joy inspires you to strive for Christ’s glorification everyday of your life, the joy we felt at “salvation” is not evidence that we are saved, for we will recognize them “by their fruits”. The man in the parable bought the piece of land because he was full of joy. When we take joy in Christ alone and in the revealing of His glory and power, good fruit comes along. If you take joy in spending time with a close friend whom you respect, you would hate to disappoint that friend. How much more then would you hate disappointing the Father if you take joy in Him and make Him your hidden Treasure? Therefore, we bear good fruit when we take joy in the vine, Christ Jesus. And when we bear fruit, God is glorified. Joy in Christ and His glorification come hand in hand. If we find joy in things other than Christ, then we are not living for Him alone and He is not receiving the glory He rightfully deserves.

 

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

I was very much challenged with this truth when I first heard it. It is not easy to swallow because it condemns us and our lifestyle. I used to take joy in many wrong things, I had no idea what it really meant to be a Christian.  I still have a hard time taking joy in knowing Christ. Everyone does, but I make it my focus every day to make Him my treasure so that my limited time on this earth would glorify the One with whom I will spend eternity. Are we living every moment for Him alone? Is our full joy found in Christ alone? Is He really our all-satisfying treasure?  Or are we just wasting our lives, not caring about magnifying the Father? Of course perfection will never be attained in this life, but shouldn’t we as Christians at least try to reflect Christ to the world? Did not Christ take the most joy in His father out of every creature who ever walked this planet?

Lord Jesus, remind us everyday of the joy that comes with discovering You,

Help us to make You our all-satisfying treasure,

And may we bear good fruit and glorify You in return

And not let our lives got to waste.

All-Satisfying Treasure

1 Nov

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. – Matthew 13:44

This parable describes how someone is converted and brought into the kingdom of heaven. A person discovers a treasure and is impelled by joy to sell all that he has in order to have this treasure. The kingdom of heaven is the abode of the King. The longing to be there is not the longing for heavenly real estate, but for camaraderie with the King. The treasure in the field is the fellowship of God in Christ.

I conclude from this parable that we must be deeply converted in order to enter the kingdom of heaven and that we are converted when Christ becomes for us a Treasure Chest of holy joy — a crucified and risen Savior who pardons all our sins, provides all our righteousness, and becomes in His own fellowship our greatest pleasure.

So the faith that pleases God is the assurance that when we turn to Him, we will find the all-satisfying Treasure. We will find our heart’s eternal delight. But do you see what this implies? It implies that something has happened in our hearts before the act of faith. It implies that beneath and behind the act of faith that pleases God, a new taste has been created — a taste for the glory of God and the beauty of Christ. Behold, a joy has been born!

Once we had no delight in God, and Christ was just a vague historical figure. What we enjoyed was food and friendships and productivity and investments and vacations and hobbies and games and reading and shopping and sex and sports and art and TV and travel…but not God. He was an idea — even a good one — and a topic for discussion; but He was not a treasure of delight.

Then something happened. It was like the opining of the eyes of the blind during the golden dawn. First the stunned silence before the unspeakable beauty of holiness. Then the shock and terror that we had actually loved the darkness. Then the settling stillness of joy that this is the soul’s end. The quest is over. We would give anything if we might be granted to live in the presence of this glory forever and ever.

John Piper, Desiring God.  Multnomah Publishers Inc.. 2003. 70-71.

I pray that you will meditate on these few paragraphs this week. I will do the same and will write my thoughts next week.

May the Lord Jesus Christ become your treasure and bless you with His holy joy.


Keep The Joy

19 Sep

12Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.

One thing that the Lord has been pressing on my heart ever since He first came into my life is the theme of joy. I believe that it is crucial for Christians to find their true joy in the fact that God has adopted them as His children, the joy of His salvation.

In Psalm 51, David cries out to the Lord for forgiveness. In verse 12, he asks God to restore to him something that had departed from him, salvation’s joy.

There was no more joy in him when he sinned. That is the reason that he asks God to renew it in him, so that he would not commit that sin again. In return, David says that he will teach sinners the ways of the Lord and that they will turn to God.  These two verses make two very important claims.

1. We easily fall into sin if the joy of God’s salvation does not dwell in our hearts.

2. Sinners will not listen to us and will not turn to God when we evangelize if we do not show the joy of His salvation.

King David learnt from his mistake and realized the importance of God’s joy in his heart. I encourage you to learn from David. Keep the joy of God’s salvation in your hearts and pray every day that it would not depart from you. In return, you will not fall into sin as easily and you’re non-christian friends will be inspired by the joy they see in you, and by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, they just might turn to God.

Father, hear my prayer,

may the joy of Your salvation dwell in my heart,

and may I show this joy to the world

so that sinners would turn to You and give You praise.

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