The serious business of joy

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Dance and game are frivolous, unimportant down here; for ‘down here’ is not their natural place. Here, they are a moment’s rest from the life we are placed here to live. But in this world everything is upside down. That which, if it could be prolonged here, would be a truancy, is likest (most like) that which in a better country is the End of ends. Joy is the serious business of heaven.

–C. S. Lewis

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Published in: on 10/30/2014 at 4:21  Leave a Comment  
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Gifts from God

b90d9ba1a77ae29c06ff29319f31edd7Only those
who give thanks
are able to rejoice,
for only they
are conscious
that life, freedom
and well-being
are not rights
but gifts.

–Roger Scruton

 

 

Artwork: Lynne Henderson

Holiness is a flood

green - waterfallWe should strive for holiness, but holiness is a flood, not an absence. Are you the kind of parent who can create joys for your children that they never imagined wanting? Does your sun shine, warming the faces of others? Does your rain green the world around you? Do you end your days with anything resembling a sunset? Do you begin with a dawn?

We say that we would like to be more like God. So be more thrilled with moonlight. And babies. And what makes them. And holding on to one lover until you’ve both been aged to wine, ready to pour. Holiness is nothing like a building code. Holiness is 80-year-old hands crafting an apple pie for others, again. It is aspen trees in a backlit breeze. It is fire on the mountain.

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Speak your joy. Mean it. Sing it. Do it. Push it down into your bones. Let it overflow your banks and flood the lives of others.

At his right hand, there are pleasures forevermore. When we are truly like him, the same will be said of us.

–N. D. Wilson
Lighten Up, Christians

Published in: on 09/21/2014 at 5:37  Leave a Comment  
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Calling forth joy

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To know that God is your Father and that he loves you, his adopted child, no less than he loves his only begotten Son and to know that enjoyment of God’s love and glory for all eternity are pledged to you brings inward delight that is sometimes over-whelming; and this also is the Spirit’s doing. For the “joy in the Holy Spirit,” in terms of which Paul defines the kingdom of God in Romans 14:17, is the “rejoicing in God” spoken of in Romans 5:2,11, and it is the Spirit’s witness to God’s love for us that calls forth this joy.

-James I. Packer
Keep in Step with the Spirit

Retaining the wonder

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Let us remember one thing: the worst thing that can happen to our Christianity is to let it become a thing taken for granted . . . The marvel of God’s gracious act upon our life never really dawns upon us unless we render thanks to him every day. Only the man who gives thanks retains the wonder of God’s fatherly love in his thoughts. But the one who has this wonder in his thoughts keeps the very spring and freshness of his Christianity. He holds on daily and nightly, to a living joy in his Lord and Saviour.

–Helmut Thielicke
The Waiting Father

The gift of joy

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Yes, joy is God’s gift, but we must stretch out our hands to split the kindling of prayer, carry the logs of good deeds, lay the fire of faith, and strike the match of the Spirit. If we do our part, the Lord will not fail to build a cheerful roaring fire in our hearts.

–Mike Mason
Champagne for the Soul

Published in: on 06/10/2014 at 8:39  Leave a Comment  
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Spreading happiness

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Let the weakest, let the humblest remember, that in his daily course he can, if he will, shed around him almost a heaven. Kindly words, sympathizing attentions, watchfulness against wounding men’s sensitiveness, — these cost very little, but they are priceless in their value. Are they not almost the staple of our daily happiness? From hour to hour, from moment to moment, we are supported, blest, by small kindnesses.

–F. W. Robertson
(1816 – 1853)

Published in: on 06/05/2014 at 7:49  Leave a Comment  
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The Giver of gladness

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Every spring-fountain of gladness about us is his making and his delight. He tends us and cares for us; he is close to us, breathing into our nostrils the breath of life, and breathing into our spirit this thought and that thought to make us look up and recognize the love and the care around us. . . . To recognize and know this loving-kindness, and to stand up in it strong and glad; this is the ministration of God unto us.

–George MacDonald
(1824 – 1905)

Image: Henri Martin

Fun and God’s will

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Whence comes this idea that if what we are doing is fun, it can’t be God’s will? The God who made giraffes, a baby’s fingernails, a puppy’s tail, a crooknecked squash, the bobwhite’s call, and a young girl’s giggle, has a sense of humor. Make no mistake about that.

  –Catherine Marshall
(1914 – 1983)

Published in: on 05/17/2014 at 9:33  Leave a Comment  
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Playful universe

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The universe is not
God at work but
God at play.

–Leonard Sweet
The Well Played Life

Sillier and better fun

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“Talking of beasts and birds…when you read a scientific account of any animal’s life, you get an impression of laborious, incessant almost rational economic activity, as if all animals were Germans. But when you study any animal you know, what strikes you is their cheerful fatuity, the pointlessness of nearly all they do. Say what you like, Barfield. The world is sillier and better fun than they make out.”

–C. S. Lewis
A letter to Owen Barfield

Published in: on 03/10/2014 at 11:40  Leave a Comment  
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Known and loved

Stephen Darbishire 1940 - British Interiors and Landscape painter - Tutt'Ar@ (23)

Tolkien says of the Gospel, “There is no tale men more wish to be true.” For life’s greatest joy is to be loved, passionately loved, infinitely loved; to be totally known, with all our wrinkles, and yet totally loved . . .

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To be loved and known at once: that is Heavenly. Remember the joy you felt when you received even a little of that, even the tiniest approximation to that, from one little stupid, sinful human being like yourself? Now multiply that by infinity, which is the difference between humanity and divinity, and you begin to understand the joy of being known and loved by God. Loved how much? This much. Christ-much.

–Peter Kreeft
The Philosophy of Jesus

Image: Stephen Darbishire

Published in: on 03/06/2014 at 11:48  Leave a Comment  
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Cause for rejoicing

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Joy is the rarest and most infrequent thing in the world. We already have enough fanatical seriousness, enthusiasm, and humorless zeal in the world. But joy? This shows us that the perception of the living God is rare. When we have found God our Saviour – or when he has found us – we will rejoice in him.

–Karl Barth
(1886 – 1969)

Published in: on 02/28/2014 at 7:39  Leave a Comment  
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The life of faith

Colors, tress woods 2

The life of faith is a happy life,
and if attended with conflicts,
there is an assurance of victory;
if we sometimes get a wound,
there is healing balm near at hand;
if we seem to fall, we are raised again;
and if tribulations abound,
consolations shall abound likewise.

–John Newton
(1725-1807)

Beauty was God’s idea

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One of my greatest difficulties in considering to think of religion… was that I thought I should have to give up my beautiful thoughts and my love for the things God had made. But I find that the happiness springing from all things not in themselves sinful is much increased by religion. God is the God of the beautiful, Religion the love of the Beautiful, and Heaven the House of the Beautiful—nature is tenfold brighter in the sun of righteousness, and my love of nature is more intense since I became a Christian.

–George MacDonald
(1824 – 1905)

Image: Stephen Darbishire

Invaded by God

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The Gospel is not an academic discussion of truth—a set of doctrines about life, but an interpretation of “things” (Lk. 1:1) . . . Some “things” had happened on this earth that had never happened before—our planet has been invaded by God—redemptively invaded. That is the biggest and most decisive “thing” that has ever happened or can happen on this planet. . . .

This is cosmic news—the Good News,
that will make every planet, every cell,
every thing dance with joy
at the wonder of it.

Of all the things that have happened, or could happen this is the thing . . . the Central Cosmic Fact: God appeared on a little planet to take us by the hand and put us back on the Way. This is news—Good News—comparatively speaking, the only Good News that every reached our planet.

–E. Stanley Jones

Image: Maxime Courty

The best things

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The best things are nearest:
breath in your nostrils,
light in your eyes,
flowers at your feet,
duties at your hand,
the path of God
just before you.

–Robert Louis Stevenson

The coming joy

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While other worldviews
lead us to sit in the midst of life’s joys,
foreseeing the coming sorrows,
Christianity empowers its people to sit
in the midst of this world’s sorrows,
tasting the coming joy.

–Tim Keller

Published in: on 10/01/2013 at 5:03  Leave a Comment  
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The hierarchy of happiness

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If God is God – and so he is –
the hierarchy of happiness begins
with him, not from the other end.
The closer we are to God, the happier we are.
The further away from him, the poorer.
Sin, which is a flight from God, is no fun.
It gives no joy, fulfillment or peace,
and constantly betrays us.

–Carlo Carretto
I Sought and I Found

Published in: on 09/30/2013 at 4:39  Leave a Comment  
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A trail of bread crumbs

Path-through-the-woods-covered-with-copper-colored-leaves

Whenever we experience
something truly beautiful,
it’s as if someone is leaving
a trail of breadcrumbs to the place
where we are fully known and fully loved.
Our task is to follow the bread crumbs
to see where they lead.

–Jonathan Martin
Prototype

God’s word of delight

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When Christians are unsure of the Father’s declarative word of delight over them, real Christian joy is absent; and passionate Christian living is lacking. Mobilizing Christians, who are unsure of God’s delight in them, . . . to serve . . . with unflappable confidence and joy is nearly impossible.

–Dan Cruver

Published in: on 09/24/2013 at 5:21  Leave a Comment  
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Known, accepted and cherished

Glory of Evening Kinkade

To believe in this Jesus means that we believe ourselves to be known, accepted and cherished by the Father Himself. And what happens to us and in us when we encounter such Divine acceptance? What happens in us when we believe ourselves to be at-home with the Father? Are we plunged into bondage? Are we overwhelmed with fear and anxiety? Are we turned into religious androids? Do we become workaholics, materialists, sexual addicts, murderers, gossips? Are we enslaved to the crowd?

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No. We find ourselves released, set free from the very things that enslaved us. We find a new freedom from the tyranny of work and greed and lust, a new freedom from the need for the approval of peers. We find ourselves at peace and playing golf in the kingdom, filled with joy and hope, free to look into our daughters’ souls and share life with them, free to rest, free to love, free to be who we are. We find ourselves flourishing.

–Baxter Kruger
Home

Artwork: Thomas Kinkade

Daring to believe it

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It is not a matter 
of arrogance . . . but faith 
when we celebrate: 
we are accepted!

–St. Ambrose
(337 – 397)

Bold believers

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In vain I have searched the Bible, looking for examples of early believers whose lives were marked by rigidity, predictability, inhibition, dullness, and caution.

Fortunately, grim, frowning,
joyless saints in Scriptures
are conspicuous by their absence.

Instead, the examples I find are of adventurous, risk-taking, enthusiastic, and authentic believers whose joy was contagious even in times of full trial. Their vision was broad even when death drew near. Rules were few and changes were welcome. The contrast between then and now is staggering.

–Charles Swindoll

Getting ready for heaven

Children dancing, Geneva

Learn to dance,
so when you get to heaven
the angels know what
to do with you.

–St. Augustine of Hippo
(354 – 430)

Published in: on 08/25/2013 at 4:34  Leave a Comment  
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The root of joy

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The root of joy is gratefulness…
It is not joy that makes us grateful;
it is gratitude that makes us joyful.

–David Steindl-Rast

Published in: on 08/24/2013 at 4:50  Leave a Comment  
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Choosing the way to life

sitting thinking copy

When we want to be something other than the thing God wants us to be, we must be wanting what, in fact, will not make us happy. Those Divine demands which sound to our natural ears most like those of a despot and least like those of a lover, in fact marshal us where we should want to go if we knew what we wanted.

–C. S. Lewis
The Problem of Pain

Intended for joy

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There is not one blade of grass,
there is no color in this world
that is not intended
to make us rejoice.

–John Calvin
(1509 – 1564)

Published in: on 07/16/2013 at 4:10  Leave a Comment  
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Gentle us, Holy One

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Gentle us, Holy One,
into an unclenched moment,
a deep breath,
a letting go of heavy expectations,
of shriveling anxieties,
of dead certainties, that,
softened by the silence,
surrounded by the light,
and open to the mystery,
we may be found by wholeness,
upheld by the unfathomable,
entranced by the simple,
and filled with the joy that is you.

–Ted Loder

Published in: on 07/08/2013 at 16:46  Leave a Comment  
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Joy and danger

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Forgiveness of sins,
ought to make you rejoice;
this is the very heart of Christianity,
and yet it is a mighty dangerous
thing to preach.

–Martin Luther
Table Talk

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