Tag Archives: joy

The Day No One Will Forget

The Best Day of Your Life

If you are a Christian, the best day of your life is coming:

…we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2 (ESV)

On this day you will see a vision, called the beatific vision by theologians, which will so fill you with joy that you will be transformed into His likeness. Indeed, even considering what this vision will do to you today is transforming:

And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 1 John 3:3 (ESV)

The Worst Day of Your Life

Here’s the awful thing, though –  the unbeliever will also have a vision, the same vision of Christ. But in contrast, this vision will be the worst day of his life. Consider the soldiers who crucified Christ and then followed through with their attendant duties. John writes that there is coming a day in their lives which these men will remember through eternity:

And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.” John 19:37 (ESV)

Someday, those soldiers will see Jesus, and they will know. With all the gut-wrenching agony of regret and remorse, they will know that they tortured and killed the Son of God. And they will pay for it in eternity. But it’s not just them, as John writes in the last book of the Bible:

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. Revelation 1:7 (ESV)

Every eye will see Him, and there will be no middle ground. There will be no human being who will say after that day, “Ho hum. I don’t remember much about the first time I saw Jesus.” Not going to happen. You see, there are no part-time, “sorta, kinda” Christians. You’re in, or you’re out. You love Him, or you don’t.

On that day, there will only be two groups of people – those in total, rapturous joy….and those in total remorse and agony.

Which group will you be in?

For tomorrow, Friday, October 30th: John 20


Posted by on October 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


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What Christianity is Really All About

Have you ever run into a Christian who is all about what you can or can’t do? The Christian life, in their humble opinion, is all about rules, where you can go, what you can eat or drink, what you should or shouldn’t say. Being around such people is tiring…and guilt-inducing.

Romans chapter 14 is about these kinds of folks, and it culminates in a wonderful word in verse 17…

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (ESV)

So the true Christian life in the Kingdom of God is not about rules of eating and drinking and therefore passing judgment on one another; instead it is really about three things:

1. Righteousness. Clearly Paul’s meaning here is the righteousness of Another, imputed to me, for this has been the topic of his letter so far…

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. Romans 3:21, 22 (ESV)

This is what, first and foremost, the Kingdom of God is about: God has loved us so much not only to forgive our sins, but also to give us Christ’s righteousness.

It’s like the story of the man who was deep in debt to a local bank, on the verge of bankruptcy, so he went to the institution in question to see if there was anything they could do to help him.  And as he sat down with the bank manager, she told him that she had the most incredible news for him – the bank was going to totally forgive all his debts. The man was now totally debt free.  And yet, if you consider it, his condition was in some ways no different than when he had walked in.  He was still flat broke.  But then she said something even more amazing – the bank was going to put his name on its account books as a holder of all the bank’s assets.  Everything the bank now held was his also. He was now wealthy beyond his wildest dreams.

Such is what has happened to us as well. God has not only forgiven us our sins, but He has granted us Christ’s righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). We the ungodly are now gloriously rich in righteousness.

2. Peace. People who are about eating and drinking and rules never quite find peace.  But righteousness from God leads to this glorious state.  Since we are completely righteous in God’s eyes, we need never again fear that God will reject us.  Having been justified (declared righteous) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). My son wrote about this quite wonderfully here.

3. Joy. I hope you’re not surprised to find this one on the list. We shouldn’t be, for these three incredible gifts from God all flow together.  If I have peace with God, then all is right with the world – and I am therefore full of joy which leads to all sorts of other wonderful outcomes, like strength (Nehemiah 8:10) and hope.

And Paul has a concluding exhortation: So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. (Romans 14:19) While we want to help one another pursue holiness, and we are called to turn one another from the error of our ways (James 5:20), the best way to do this is not to point the finger and list the rules.  To be sure, sometimes we do need to distinquish clear biblical right and wrong for our brothers and sisters, but beyond that we point to the cross and list our hope in Christ.  And the end result is righteousness, peace…and joy.


Tomorrow, Thursday, April 9th: Romans 15


Posted by on April 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


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The Road to Greatness is the Road to Joy

High Or Low Road Directions On A SignpostMy Grandmother Irene thought I was destined for greatness, the Presidency, to be exact. Now admittedly, she died when I was four, so she didn’t have much to work with when making such predictions of high accomplishment. But she loved me, and sometimes that’s all it takes to imagine great things for our progeny.

Salome (see Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40) had similar visions of grandeur for the two disciples James and John, but we can forgive her, for she was their mother. And we can also be thankful to her, because her question in Matthew 20 led Jesus to describe His ministry and in the process, to tell us one of the great secrets of life.

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Matthew 20:20-21 (ESV)

Why do you suppose she asked this? I can only imagine that she felt these high positions would be the road to happiness for her boys, and isn’t that what all mothers want for their children? Yet her question launches Jesus into a long discussion of what it means to be great in His Kingdom, and leads Him finally, to this:

“…But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28 (ESV)

Jesus said the way to greatness is service, but servanthood is more than the way to greatness – it is also the way to joy and peace. Some years ago I read a little tract entitled, “What made you cross?” which explained this phenomenon. “Cross” happens to be an old word that my mom used for me when I was upset or angry. And that’s what it meant in this little reading. The idea was this – oftentimes we find ourselves frustrated and out of sorts, and the reason is that we have entered into a particular situation with the goal not to serve, but…to be served. And many of our problems in life come about because we’re so caught up in ourselves; we don’t approach life as Jesus did.

For instance, you’re invited to a party where you don’t know very many people, and you find yourself worrying about who you will talk to and whether you will fit in. You are worried and fretful because you are coming to be served. Instead, go into the situation resolving to find and draw out people who themselves are having trouble fitting in, and you will find your concerns melting away. One of the great secrets of life and joy is…coming to serve. Living life with such a mindset changes everything.

And of course, there is only one way we can successfully adopt such a mindset – it is in knowing deep down that we have a Savior who at every turn lived and died…for us. Knowing such love gives us security to cease worrying about ourselves and frees us to live the same way, which in the end results…in our joy.

Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)

Tomorrow, Thursday, January 29th: Matthew 21


Posted by on January 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Living the Perfect Life

Imagine living a life where you never messed up, where everything you did was right and true. Imagine living a life where you never sinned.

Such a life would be full of peace and joy. And we know why, right?  Because sin causes such pain, doesn’t it? Just think back to the Holidays that weren’t so long ago: That Thanksgiving meal which became so uncomfortable because of the shouting match between the two sisters…would have never happened, and the turkey would have tasted so much better. Or consider the dreaded credit card bill which is now on its way to so many homes because, among many other things, Mom and Dad felt such need to get little Suzy the latest and greatest dolly with all the clothes and houses. And the idolatry that led Suzy’s momentary joy has stolen away the lasting joy of her parents.

Without sin there would be none of this…just tasty turkey and stuffing…and blessed contentment.

And such was the life of our Lord Jesus, alluded to verse 15 of Matthew 3…

But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. (ESV)

The context is with the crowds on the banks at the Jordan River, when John balked at baptizing the Lord. And why did Jesus insist that John baptize Him? Because it was the right thing to do. Glorious. This was the every-moment life of our Lord, at every turn making the right move, saying the right thing.

Oh, there was pain in Jesus’s life, mind you, the pain of seeing others hurting, the overall pain of existence in a fallen world. But never any of the existential angst you and I deal with every day from our own folly and sin. What a life of peace and joy, always doing the Father’s will, always walking down the clear path and staying out of the ditch.

Never any emotional or physical pain from sin…that is, until Calvary. And then…it was complete and total, absolutely overwhelming pain. There on the cross He felt the pain of the broken relationships of a million turkey dinners, all at once. There on the cross, He experienced the shame and regret of a million bad financial decisions. And more, of course. There was physical pain too, but the worst of it was not the agony of the torturous cross. The worst of it was the agony of the Father’s face turning away from One now so completely…sin.

And all so that if we would place our faith in Him, we might receive His record of “fulfilling all righteousness”…and the glorious peace and joy that accompany it.

Tuesday, January 6: Matthew 4


Posted by on January 5, 2015 in Uncategorized


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