VIDEO Permanent Joy

Permanent Joy

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Through the modern musical era in the West, there have been many songs written about happiness—but fewer written about joy. Most people would see those two subjects as synonymous but, biblically speaking, they are not. And the Bible puts far more emphasis on joy than on happiness. “Joy” and “rejoice” occur more than four hundred times while “happy” and “happiness” and similar words occur slightly more than twenty times.

What is the difference between the two? Generally speaking, happiness is an emotion that is dependent on circumstances. Joy, on the other hand, is a deep-seated conviction that is based on truth and faith, not circumstances. Joy is specifically listed as part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Paul illustrates the permanence of joy when he writes, “Rejoice always . . . in everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Some things in life don’t create happiness or laughter. But the conviction that God is in the midst of our circumstances can lead to joy and contentment. Even if our circumstances lead to tears, “joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

Don’t let anything steal your joy. Trust in the Lord, be filled with His Spirit, and trust His sovereign will for your life.

Doubt breeds distress, but trust means joy in the long run. C. H. Spurgeon


Thankful For Everything, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

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The World Still Needs to Hear the Good News of Resurrection Sunday

The holiday season around late March or April is not “Easter” to me. I like to call this time of year “Resurrection Weekend”, beginning with Good Friday, when God-made-flesh, the Savior of the World Jesus Christ was crucified, through Holy Saturday, when Jesus descended into Hell to announce “Mission Accomplished” to the believing souls awaiting Him; onto Resurrection Sunday, the day in which Christians celebrate our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ rising from the dead.

Jesus’ death signaled God’s greatest love to the world. There’s no point in paraphrasing, the words of the divine promise are so great:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Jesus’ resurrection served as the divine receipt. He Finished the Work, conquering death, hell, and the grave.

God revealed Himself as a humble carpenter, born to the fallen line of David. Only poor shepherds and lowing animals witnessed his arrival, the only baby in human history born expressly to die.

His death transpired on a Roman Cross, the most extreme form of execution. Victims normally hung for hours, if not lingering for days, nailed to brutal wood, relentlessly tortured with nerve-wracking agony, all while struggling to breathe.

What was Jesus’ crime? Jesus, Himself, the Son of God, fulfilled every prophecy, ushered in a New Covenant, one in which God as Creator would forever resolve the problem of man’s sin, so that God as Father could welcome them as sons. What was the world’s response to God’s best, His Beloved Son? They hung Him from a tree. God gave His best; man responded with his worst.

Jesus, Immanuel, “God with us”, had remained with us, suffered as we suffered, never fell or failed despite the failings of man. Then He submitted to the will of His Father to die for us—for all of mankind. Even though the most evil—and ironically enough, they were the most religious—men of His day during His earthly ministry intended to eradicate Jesus and His ministry, they fulfilled God the Father’s wonderful plan of redemption for all mankind. This gift is available to all who believe on His name, the name of Jesus!

Why should we believe on Him?

John the Beloved, the disciple whom Jesus loved (because John practiced His love so intimately), writes:

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)

Some may suggest everlasting life is the goal that human beings seek, something that pagan cultures had been searching for since recorded history. The Ancient Greeks believed in memorializing one’s efforts in writings and sculptures, although Shakespeare’s take on memory should give one grave pause:

“The evil that man do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones”.

Even man’s efforts to make himself live forever don’t last very long.

Man’s greater need, however, lies in acceptance, or more precisely, a sense of right standing, the easing of one’s conscience—the need for a never-failing Advocate. Every religion outlines a means for man to “make himself right”. The Aztecs engaged in human sacrifices. Other religions prescribe worship of ancestors, offering gifts to the dead. All faiths lay down some kind of penance. Yet these efforts never suffice. The raging of conscience is too great. Man knows right from wrong, yet doing wrong comes all too easy, and he tries—and fails to right those wrongs. Man needs a Savior, and he knows it.

Or man rebels, pretends as if he is fine just as he is. This is why among the political tumults around the world, why the aggressive, regressive, “progressive” left is so passionate in their cruelty. They do not believe in redemption, as Dennis Prager astutely pointed out to the UC Irvine College Republicans earlier this year. They won’t believe that man has a sin problem. Instead, they judge God and assault the natural order to suit their preferences. For all their self-righteousness, they cannot measure up, but rather fall, just like the First Man.

The Framers of the United States Constitution rightly understood man’s fallen nature and propensity to evil. Apart from the redemptive work of Christ, their political system of checks and balances remained the means to check man’s evil against his fellow man. Sadly, though, even these strains are now beginning to fail. John Adams wisely wrote:

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

That moral fabric, the Gospel, has faced unprecedented assault in the last ten years. Like anyone else, the political currents of our day are rocking, and getting rockier, because of a fundamental disregard for man’s greatest problem—sin, which produces death; and disdain the solution—redemption through propitiation, which produces life!

Enter the Gospel, which will never go out of style. Now more than ever, the world needs to know the truth about God, that like the Good Shepherd, Siligent Housewife, and loving Father detailed in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 15, God wants to redeem and restore all of us to righteousness in Himself.

To those who believe on Jesus, let this season serve as an unwavering reminder that His love, His promises, His purpose have not abated, no matter how dark the world may become. The world is getting darker and darker, but because of Jesus:

“The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Proverbs 4:18)

For those who may believe on Him one day, rest assured that the historical truth of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are well-established and attested to. Believe on Him today.

I hope you had a Blessed Resurrection Sunday!

As seen here at Townhall. Posted with permission.

Arthur Christopher Schaper is a blogger, writer, and commentator on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow his blogs at The State of the Union and As He Is, So Are We Ministries.

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Encouragement for Every Season

Psalm 139:1-12

One of the most distressing emotions is the bleak sense of isolation caused by a difficult situation or experience. This is especially true when a loved one has died or you find yourself in the middle of a severe trial that can’t be solved quickly. Though the planet keeps on spinning, your world seems to have stopped and you begin to wonder, “Lord, where are You?”

In Psalm 139, David reminds us that we do not journey through this life alone. Our loving heavenly Father is and has been with each believer every single day. He’s more than a traveling companion—He keeps His mighty hand on us and surrounds us with protective love (Psalm 139:5). Nothing comes our way without His knowledge. And He gives His children the grace not only to endure but also to grow more like Jesus through the experience.

God promises to be with you in all seasons of life, whether joyful or sorrowful (Heb. 13:5). No matter how dark, depressing, or hopeless the situation may seem, your faithful Father is with you because His love never fails (Rom. 8:31-39). Furthermore, He knows every facet of your situation and is working it out for both your good and His glory (Rom. 8:28). Besides having the power to meet any need, He also has surpassing comfort for every hurt (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Dark valleys may blind us at the moment, but to our Shepherd, the night is as bright as the day. We can trust Him to bring us out of the shadows and into His light. In the meantime, we must cling to the truth of His Word, which assures us of His lovingkindness and compassion.

He Does Devise Means

“For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him.” (2 Samuel 14:14)

These words of the “wise woman of Tekoah,” spoken to King David concerning Absalom, his son, were wiser than she knew, for they reflect a principle of human experience that affects us all. Human life must eventually deteriorate and die; this declension cannot be reversed any more than water poured down on the ground can be “un-poured” up into the cup again.

This principle is the famous law of entropy (“in-turning”). Physical systems wear out; biological organisms get old and die; societies and empires fall and vanish. All these phenomena are local expressions of God’s universal curse on man and all his dominion (Genesis 3:14-19). It applies to everything, without exception.

However, the very existence of the law of entropy points to a Creator because systems that are wearing out must first have been made new, and beings that die must first have been given life. The very idea of a universal naturalistic evolution of all things into more complex systems is contrary to all real scientific data and is contradicted by all human experience.

Nevertheless, the God who created all things can surely “devise means” by which the law of decay can be set aside. Solar energy and the hydrologic cycle can raise the spilled water; the sinful life can be purified by God’s grace and the blood of Christ; and the dead can be revived by the resurrection life of Christ. Someday the Curse itself will be removed when God creates new heavens and a new earth, and the whole creation “shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). HMM

Yes, Be Patient

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.

—Romans 12:12

Think of the kernels of grain, the seed, that the farmer plants in the ground in the fall of the year. How patient the farmer must be! Throughout the long, cold winter the seed is dormant. There is no evidence at all that it is there—covered by the cold earth itself. The snows come and go. The ground freezes and thaws. Does the farmer lie awake at night worrying that those seeds he placed in the ground may be ineffective? He does not. He knows that spring will come!

And in due course, the sunshine of March or April warms the air. Spring rains water the ground. The farmer knows then that it will not be long until green shoots suddenly break out from their covering of earth. And in their own time, great waving fields of grain are ready for the harvest. The farmer’s faith in the seed he planted is fully justified.

Likewise, God wants us to be patient with every prayer and petition we sincerely send up to that heavenly altar. Our praying done in the Spirit cannot be ineffective. It is as though God is saying to us: “You have planted the seed. You have prayed for My will to be done and for My kingdom to come on earth…. The effective prayers of My Son, Jesus, will join with the effective prayers of righteous men and women. Be patient and put your trust in Me, day by day!”   JIV122

Lord, give me a patient, steadfast faith, with a willingness to wait for the harvest. Amen.

 

Oh, that I had wings like a dove!

Oh, that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.—Psalm 55:6.

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles.—Isaiah 40:31.

 

Is there no way of escape for us when in trouble or distress? Must we just plod wearily through it all, and look for no relief? I rejoice to answer that there is a glorious way of escape for every one of us, if we will but mount up on wings, and fly away from it all to God. All creatures that have wings can escape from every snare that is set for them, if only they will fly high enough; and the soul that uses its wings can always find a sure “way to escape” from all that can hurt or trouble it. What then are these wings? Their secret is contained in the words “They that wait upon the Lord.” The soul that waits upon the Lord is the soul that is entirely surrendered to Him, and that trusts Him perfectly. Therefore we might name our wings the wings of Surrender and of Trust. If we will only surrender ourselves utterly to the Lord, and will trust Him perfectly, we shall find our souls “mounting up with wings as eagles” to the “heavenly places” in Christ Jesus, where earthly annoyances or sorrows have no power to disturb us.

Hannah Whitall Smith.

 

Deal Graciously

“And the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all that thou doest.” Deut. 15:18

An Israelitish master was to give his bondservant liberty in due time, and when he left his service he was to start him in life with a liberal portion. This was to be done heartily and cheerfully, and then the Lord promised to bless the generous act. The spirit of this precept, and, indeed, the whole law of Christ, binds us to treat work-people well. We ought to remember how the Lord has dealt with us, and that this renders it absolutely needful that we should deal graciously with others. It becomes those to be generous who are the children of a gracious God. How can we expect our great Master to bless us in our business if we oppress those who serve us?

What a benediction is here set before the liberal mind! To be blessed in all that we do is to be blessed indeed. The Lord will send us this partly in prosperity, partly in content of mind, and partly in a sense of His favor, which is the best of all blessings. He can make us feel that we are under His special care, and are surrounded by His peculiar love. This makes this earthly life a joyous prelude to the life to come. God’s blessing is more than a fortune. It maketh rich, and addeth no sorrow therewith.