Tag Archives: Joy

Wholehearted Signposts

Ten Guideposts for Wholehearted Living – Brene Brown

 

  1. Cultivating Authenticity – Letting go of what people think
  2. Cultivating Self-compassion – letting go of perfectionism
  3. Cultivating a resilient spirit – letting go of numbing and powerlessness
  4. Cultivating gratitude and joy – letting go of security and fear of the dark
  5. Cultivating intuition and trusting faith – letting go of the need for certainty
  6. Cultivating creativity – letting go of comparison
  7. Cultivating play and rest – letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
  8. Cultivating calm and Stillness – letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle
  9. Cultivating meaningful work – letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to”
  10. Cultivating laughter, song and dance – letting go of being cool and “Always in control

 

Joy and Money

Illustration of someone gathering art at a big city museum – they don’t think about the fact that they can’t take them out.  “Sure, they’re mine.  I’ve got them under my arm.  People in the halls look at me as an important dealer.  And I don’t bother myself with thoughts about leaving.  Don’t be a killjoy.” (page 188).  Such is the folly of the accumulation of wealth.

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Joy and Prayer

The Robinson Crusoe verse

 

Charles Spurgeon referred to Psalm 50:15 as the Robinson Crusoe verse in which we are delivered and God is glorified – “You shall have the deliverance but I shall have the glory” – man and God take shares (page 163-164)

 

You never Enjoy the World aright, till you see how a Sand Exhibiteth the Wisdom and Power of God: And Prize in every Thing the Service which they do you, by Manifesting His Glory and Goodness to your Soul, far more than the Visible Beauty on their Surface, or the Material Services, they can do you Body. (Thomas Traherne, page 166)

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Joy and Contentment

The contentment of the Christian Hedonist is not a Buddha-like serenity, unmoved by the hurts of others.  It is a profoundly dissatisfied contentment.  It is constantly hungry for more of the feast of God’s grace. (page 124)

 

We must not be troubled by unbelievers when they say that this promise of reward makes the Christian life a mercenary affair.  There are different kinds of reward.  There is the reward which has no natural connection with the thing you do to earn it, and is quite foreign to the desires that ought to accompany those things.  Money is not the natural reward of love, that is why we call a man mercenary if he married a woman for the sake of her money.  But marriage is the proper reward for a real lover, and he is not a mercenary for desiring it.  A general who fights well in order to get a peerage is mercenary; a general who fights for victory is not, victory being the proper reward of battle as marriage is the proper reward of love.  The proper reward is not simply tacked on to the activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself in consummation. (page 126)

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Scripture and Joy

I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord.  The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord, but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man may be nourished.  I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it. (George Muller, page 142)

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What is Christian Hedonism

From John Piper:

Christian Hedonism is a philosophy of life built on the following five convictions:

1. The longing to be happy is a universal human experience, and it is good, not sinful.

2. We should never try to deny or resist our longing to be happy, as though it were a bad impulse. Instead, we should seek to intensify this longing and nourish it with whatever will provide the deepest and most enduring satisfaction.

3. The deepest and most enduring happiness is found only in God.  Not from God, but in God.

4. The happiness we find in God reaches its consummation when it is shared with others in the manifold ways of love.

5. The the extent that we try to abandon the pursuit of our own pleasure, we fail to honour God and love people.  Or, to put it positively: The pursuit of pleasure is a necessary part of all worship and virtue.  That is,

The chief end of man is to glorify God

by

enjoying Him forever

How I became a Christian Hedonist

There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious – C.S. Lewis (page 9)

The heroes of this book are Jesus who “endured the cross for the joy that was set before him;” and the apostle Paul, who was “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” and Jonathan Edwards, who deeply savoured the sweet sovereignty of God and C.S. Lewis, who knew that the Lord “finds our desires not too strong but too weak;” and all the missionaries who have left everything for Jesus and in the end said, “I never made a sacrifice.” (page 9)

A girl should get so lost in God that a guy should have to seek Him to find Her – Piper’s daughter, Talitha Ruth (page 10

From Blaise Pascal

All men seek happiness.  This is without exception.  Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end.  The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never take he least step but to this object.  This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves. (page 19)

From C.S. Lewis

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infiinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.  We are far too easily pleased. (page 20)

From C.S. Lewis

But the most obvious fact about praise – whether of God or anything – strangely escaped me.  I thought of it  in terms of compliment, approval or the giving of honour.  I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise – The world rings with praise – lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favourite game… (page 21)

We have a name for those who try to praise when they have no pleasure in the object.  We call them hypocrites. (page 23)

Our exceeding joy is He, the Lord – not the streets of gold or the reunion with relatives or any blessing of heaven.  Christian Hedonism does not reduce God to a key that unlocks treasure chest of gold and silver.  Rather it seeks to transform the heart so that the Almighty will be your gold and your precious silver” (Job 22:25)

I do not say that loving people is good because it brings joy.  I say that God commands that we find joy in loving people: “[Let] the one who does acts of mercy [do so] with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:8)

I find in the Bible a divine command to be a pleasure-seeker – that is, to forsake the two-bit, low-yield, short-term, never-satisfying, person-destroying, God-belittling pleasures of the world and to sell everything “with joy” (Matthew 25:21,23)

The reason that I come to this conclusion is that I am operating here not as a philosophical hedonist, but as a biblical theologian and pastor who must come to terms with divine commands:

– to “love mercy” not just do it (Micah 6:8)

– to do “acts of mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:8)

– to “joyfully” suffer loss in the service of prisoners (Hebrews 10:34)

– to be a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7)

– to make our joy the joy of others (2 Corinthians 2:3)

– to tend the flock of God willingly and eagerly (1 Peter 5:2), and

– to keep watch over souls “with joy” (Hebrews 13:17)

It’s about joy, stupid

And Jesus had this way of transmitting this acceptance – and from his fullness we have all received.

From Dallas Willard:
“Joy is not pleasure, a mere sensation, but a pervasive and constant sense of well-being.  Hope in the goodness of God is joy’s indispensable support”

Joy is not a pleasure.  Not a mere sensation.  Not just feeling happy in the moment because of something that’s going on.  it’s a pervasive and constant knowledge of well-being that all ultimately is well with me and not just with me but with all things.  That’s joy.

Paul says “Rejoice in the Lord” and Nehemiah says “the joy of the Lord is my strength.”

2. Sustenance

It is important to engage in the things that cause us to be sustained – worship, scripture, friendship, finding the things that give us joy.  For Jesus this included partying with non-religious people.

3. Significance

The idea of significance is that I was made to make a difference beyond myself.  Satan’s temptation was to find the significance outwith the identity of God.

4. Achievement

For Jesus this is “my food is to do the will of him who sent me and to do his work.”

Jesus tells us all these things so that our joy may be complete in him.

Our temptation is to reverse the cycle, to begin with achievement, then significance, then sustenance, then identity.  Jesus reverses this which is why he was able to sustain massive personal rejection.

Comes back to this phrase “In a little while”, in a little while we will  receive all the answers.

Bultmann “It is the nature of joy that all questions go silent and nothing needs explaining.”

In a little while our joy will be complete.


Tortured For Christ – Part 1

 

The 14 year old son who would not let his father confess, would not die a traitor – page 33

 

Saying to the communists “have you no pity” – they quoted Lenin saying that you have to break eggs to make an omelette – this is pure materialism – page 34

 

A priest who was forced to consecrate human excrement and give them as urine; when asked why he participated, replied “don’t judge me please, I have suffered more than Christ” – page 35

 

The pastor who used to take beatings instead of other prisoners – page 36

 

The bride taken on her wedding day, saying “I thank him that I am worthy to suffer for him.”” – page 36

 

Making the deal, that if we preach, you beat us – page 39

 

“I have seen beautiful things” – (how lovely on the mountains, Isaiah 52) – page 40

 

The Communist Reck who would say “I am God”; later he realised his true calling – page 40

 

This has a truth, you have been created to be a god like being – page 41

 

Tithing bread in prison – page 41

 

How his son, Mihai, became a Christian after seeing the persecution of his mother – page 44

 

How Mihai witnessed at school for standing up for the Bible – page 45

 

The Christian daughters who became prostitutes in order to protect their family.  Please do not judge says Wurmbrand – page 46

 

The Church that was told it could never have 36 members, only 35 – page 47

 

The value of Bibles cannot be understood by “an American or an English Christian who ‘swims’ in Bibles.” – page 48

 

Bringing the joys of Christ to communists who are so empty spiritually – page 50

 

The way that the angel meets Joshua and says “Nay” – these are not human responses; I am seated in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2) – page 50 (Joshua 5)

 

In solitary confinement, the Lord’s prayer was too much for us, we used to pray “Jesus, I love thee” – Romans 8, groans that words cannot express (page 53)

 

The minister who was beaten, and as some cursed the communists, he would say “Please don’t curse them” – page 53

 

Only love can change the communists – love which differs from the compliance exercised by many Christian leaders (page 55)

 

Need for strategic view in Missionary work, and to aim for the leaders – page 57

 

Wars can only be won by offensive strategy and strategy in mission – page 58

 

Why so many Christians had nicknames, and why people use secret signals – page 58

 

“A man really believes not what he recites in his cree, but only the things which he is ready to die for” – page 59

 

What encourages us to preach the Gospel in communist countries is that there those who become Christians are full of love and zeal.  I have never met one single lukewarm Russian Christian.  – page 65

 

God is “the Truth”.  The Bibles the “truth about the Truth.”  Theology is the “truth about the truth about the Truth”.  Fundamentalism is the “truth about the truth about the truth about the Truth”.  – page 66

 

Some tell me to “Preach the pure Gospel!”  This reminds me that the communist secret police also told me to preach Christ, but not to mention communism.  Is it really so, that those who are for what is called “a pure Gospel” are inspired by the same spirit as those of the communist secret police? (page 71-72)

 

My suffering consists first of all in the longing after the unspeakable beauties of the Underground Church, the church which fulfils the old Latin saying Nudis nudum Christi sequi (naked, follow the naked Christ). (page 73)

 

The suffering Church are like those who receive only cabbage with unmentionable filth when they ask for bread, yet continue to praise God (page 73)

 

“I suffer in the West more than I suffered in a communist jail, because now I see with my own eyes the western civilisation dying.” – page 73

 

On the defence of the individual and those who complain that Christ is not an intellectual – page 79-80

 

Ordained next to the tomb of a martyred bishop because the communist bishop would not ordain – page 81

 

In Russia no-one remembers the arguments for or against infant baptism or millennial controversies – page 83 (and more on arguments with the communists)

 

The professor being asked to drink the water he said he had turned into wine.  “This is the whole difference between you and Jesus.  He, with His wine, has given us joy for two thousand years, whereas you poison us with your wine.” – page 89

 

Elsewhere there is talk of Communist tracts which attacked the scriptures in doing so gave the Christians access to the Christians (do not know page)

 

Constantly the argument is that man is more than matter, that people are spiritual beings (page 90)

 

It is only when a train goes over a bridge that it proves its great strength (page 90)

 

There is something positive in the enormous amount of drunkenness in communist countries, it is about people seeking something beyond the material – page 91

 

Meeting a Russian captain who was getting drunk, sharing Christ and it turning out to be a former Orthodox priest who now regretted all that he had done for the communists – page 91

 

The soldier who turned up at a Church and held the gun to a ministers’ head.  When the minister refused to change the Russian said “It is true” and turned to Christ (page 93)

 

The Russian soldiers who said that those who did not abandon the faith would be shot at once, and when they were left with those who stayed, were delighted to share fellowship with true believers.  “We too are Christians, but we wished to have fellowship only with those who consider the truth worth dying for.” (page 93-94)

 

The parts of the communist Church – the underground pastors and leaders, the laypeople, the official clergy who have a parallel life running the underground Church – page 96-98

 

The remarkable street demonstrations of Churches in communist countries (page 101)