As a Part 2 to last week's blog post, I want to share the "Saturday" chapter from my book, The Ordinary Way.
Teresa of Avila, a Christian from the sixteenth century, prayed, even as one who at the young age of fourteen lost her mother to death, for God to deliver her from “gloomy people” and “frowning saints” (Gossip 491).
One would rightly surmise that among the forgiven, the people of faith, would be found the most joyous people on the planet earth. Thankfully, the same one could move beyond inferring to observing joyous followers of Christ. “Redeemed How I Love to Proclaim It,” “Shout to the Lord,” and “We Will Not Be Shaken” they sing.
Sadly, however, the same one could observe believers whose demeanor reflects an appearance fitting of a funeral dirge.
If those somber souls do indeed possess some happiness, their hearts, as of yet, have not told their faces. You see, some get stuck on “wretch like me” and fail ever to claim the “Amazing Grace.” Lauren Daigle, in her song “How Can It Be,” thankfully, moves from...
“I’ve been hiding, afraid I’ve let You down.
Inside I doubt that You still love me.”
“But in Your eyes there’s only grace now.”
Grace—the undeserved free gift from your Creator.
Grace—now that should make you happy.
To start off His most well-known sermon, Jesus chose an impactful and surprising first word: mακάριoι. Most Bible translations record that Greek word with the English blessed. While appropriate, that word often hinders our hearing. The word blessed rarely brings to mind more than some sort of religious terminology. A better understanding of Jesus’ choice of word is grasped when one learns that the word mακάριoι means happy. He repeats the word eight times during His introduction and then He declares...
Rejoice and be glad!
In a somewhat less well-known teaching occasion, one in His own hometown, Jesus opened the Hebrew Scriptures and read.
Good news. Freedom. Recovery. Release. Lord’s favor.
See His smile? Hear His joy?
Jesus taught and shared His personal joy. He invited others to join Him in it. One such day occurs when a man and a woman stand before God and witnesses to wed. While they often prove stressful to plan, during the ceremony as the groom half hears the preacher due to the beauty of his bride and the bride prepares for that delightful kiss, weddings inspire joy. It is in such setting that we find Jesus.
I understand with no difficulty why Jesus would restore sight to the blind and cause once-useless legs to run. I, however, scratch my head here a bit. What eternal difference does replenished wine make? Shouldn’t He have been preaching somewhere or at least feeding the hungry who had no food rather than restocking the reception line? Yet then I reread the wisdom of Mary.
When we looked at this passage from the perspective of #5 in Jesus’ Top Ten, it was to recognize that Jesus honored Mary. Jesus knows what He’s doing. He did nothing without purpose. In His wisdom, He addressed the moment of crisis at the celebration.
Why the wine?
In one word—joy. He turned water into wine to extend the joy of that grand occasion. Jesus inspired the authors of Scripture, including Paul’s command Do not get drunk on wine, so we know He was not, in His first miracle, blessing public intoxication. He was, however, blessing the newlyweds with a refreshment that added to the joyous celebration.
The religiously pious falsely accused the Lord of gluttony and drunkenness. They did so in part, I believe, because they had lost their joy.
I greatly enjoy hearing David’s plea in Psalm 51.
How’s your joy? Does piety restrict your joy? Does guilt hinder your praise? As you ponder those questions, let me remind you of the verse upon which we have focused during the “Days” series, with which I conclude with this chapter.
So far, we have explored how to offer our Sundays to Fridays to God.
Today is Saturday. Saturday stands for a day (time) devoted to the celebration of joy. Honor God by pursuing joy in ways that bring Him glory. Emmet Fox wrote...
God is not a killjoy!
1. Him. (Reflect on His love and grace.)
2. Meaningful Times / Occasions / Events.
We know the Feast of Dedication by its more well-known title, Hanukkah. Jesus celebrated Hanukkah. Likewise, He feasted at Passover.
3. Find joy in the “small things.”
1. Find friends / Be a friend.
2. Play with your kids.
Receive God’s Love.
Jesus wept over Jerusalem before the religiously pious and explained to them that if only they would have opened their hearts to Him, He would have gathered them as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. Imagine the joy of the chicks as they experience the warmth, love, and protection of their mother. You will be better able to celebrate, play, and spread joy when you accept the love of God. Yes, we are guilty; and yes, we have sinned; yet, even still, God loves us. He calls us into His wings.
As Oswald Chambers wrote, “We always know when Jesus is at work because He produces in the commonplace something that is inspiring” (Aug. 21).
Follow this link to purchase your copy of The Ordinary Way.
Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost For His Highest. Ed. James Reimann. Grand Rapids: Discovery House, 1992.
Dobson, James. Family News. Feb. 2006. Colorado Springs: Focus on the Family.
Fox, Emmet. The Sermon on the Mount. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1938.
Gossip, Arthur J. The Interpreter’s Bible. Ed. George Arthur Buttrick. Vol. 8. New York: Abingdon, 1952.
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