Who Else Wants Fullness of Joy!

Haagen-DazsA pint of Haagen-Dazs!  Chocolate-chocolate chip!
By the last spoonful I’ll be
joy unspeakable and full of creamy glory!

And full of pounds.  That too.

Alas, that’s not the way to the fullness of joy the Bible promises.  Joy is the second of nine fruits of the spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

   Of the spirit means it has nothing to do with physical circumstances,  material matters, luck in lotteries, or hoggin’ anything.   It’s different from happiness (hap means “chance”), and we can rejoice even in godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:9).
   Joy’s second position speaks loudly of its importance.  Lists in the Bible teach through their inspired order.  “God is love” (1 John 4:8), but God the Father and Jesus Christ are also pure joy.  Like all nine fruits, joy is part of their essence and nature.

John, often called the apostle of love, seems to write about joy just about as much and is the one who wrote that “our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.  And these things we write to you that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:3-4).  I feel privileged to be part of that “we” in writing to you about how you can choose to be part of “building the family of God.”

♥   The fullness  of joy promised for us—NOW—comes from being locked into  fulfilling God’s purpose.  How could we not be joyful when we have been granted a relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ and have the hope of living forever in their Family and Kingdom!

toolboxDavid wrote that “In Your presence is fullness of joy” (Psa. 16:11).  Are we fellowshipping with the Father and Son today through prayer, Bible study, fasting and mediation—the main tools in our Christian toolbox?

Better yet, are They living in us through the power of their Holy Spirit?   Are we putting on the new man or woman of joy (Eph. 4:24)?  The proof is in the putting.

♥  Fullness of joy is upward, outward and forward—through loving God and loving others and, as Pumbaa put it so lovably in Lion King, “You gotta put your past  behind you.”  Paul put it so biblically in Phlp. 3:13-14.

We will have this joy all the time—unconditional joy—even when  going through “a  time to weep” and “a time to mourn” (Eccles. 3:4).  Even “a time to gain” (spooning into the pint of Haagen-Dazs) and “a time to lose” (after lamenting the last creamy bite).

The angels announced to shepherds “good tidings of great joy” that Jesus Christ would bring (Luke 2:10).  Later our Savior said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

So can you blame Christians for hoping to “prosper in all things and be in health” (1 John 3:2)?  John prayed that for Gaius like we would wish it upon our Christian brothers and sisters.

But Heb. 12:2 is a key scripture about

A required component of full joy that we must be prepared for

“Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (where Psa. 16:11 says is the scene of pleasures forevermore).

♥   The whip cream and cherry on top, promised by Jesus for fullness of joy, is suffering.  He warned us that we must take up our cross and follow Him.  “If  we suffer, we shall also reign with Him” (2 Tim. 2:12, King James Version).

Paul said we must “rejoice in hope” and “glory in tribulations” (Rom. 5:3).  Peter added that we must not “think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings” (1 Pet. 4:12-13).  James demands what humanly seems impossible:  “count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:2-3).

This fruit of the spirit called joy is humanly not possible.  We can’t work it up.  “Have a drink and loosen up.”  Wrong spirit!

We must ask for the Holy Spirit.  Jesus promised that if we ask in His name, “you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).

Jesus said to ask for this joy along with the other eight fruits of the Holy Spirit.  He assured us that “If you, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).

So why didn’t I ask for too long a time?  I knew that if we ask for joy, it’s not going to be just funneled into us; typically we’ll face a trial that forces us to develop the joy we don’t naturally have.  So I held back from asking for the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  I figure I had enough trials without asking for it!

But why should I miss out?  God promises to not give us more than we can handle (1 Cor. 10:13), and He never has in my life.

So who else would like fullness of joy?

And oh, by the way, if you have a pint you won’t be eating, I know someone you could make deliriously happy.

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“I Hate Organized Religion!”

Maybe you think this.  What with
pe
dophiles transferred hush-hush to an unsuspecting parish,
greedy preachers coveting power,
and never-ending division and hurt.
Last year only 26% of Americans
regularly attended church or synagogue.

What could make anyone love organized religion?
Something must because we are commanded to
not forsake “the assembling of ourselves together,
as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another,
and so much the more as you see
the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:25).

God and the Word lived together in peace and mutual joy before anything else existed (John 1:1).  Revelation 4 shows how Their throne room is organized with four living creatures, 24 elders and hosts of angels.  Up there, positioned just right in the north (Isa. 14:13), “everyone says, ‘Glory!'” (Psa. 29:9).  Today we can boldly come before Their throne of grace 24/7 whenever we choose (Heb. 4:16).

God and the Word wanted to share Their joyous Way of Life with others.  They organized to the nth degree of detail a plan guaranteed to bring it about according to Their master timing.

First They created angels who would serve Their children “who will inherit salvation” (Heb. 1:14).  The angels were organized under three archangels—Lucifer, Gabriel and Michael.

Those who think church division justifies hating organized religion should note that even the perfect God was hit by division from Lucifer who became satan.  Later They allowed the adversary to bedevil Their church with recurring division.  There is always somebody new to “be of” (1 Cor. 1:12).

An organized creation

Then God and  the  Word created the earth and its privileged spot in the universe—all of it organized so flawlessly and precisely—so that Their children could look up and marvel in amazement.  “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).  Without excuse.

On the sixth day, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Gen. 1:26).  After the God kind.  They were not animals as evolutionists would later ape the claim.  Charles Darwin prophesied correctly that the lack of intermediate species would disprove his theory.

Organized days to worship

On the seventh day, God specified the day to worship Them.  It’s crucial for each of us to look in our own Bible for which day of the week They sanctified (Gen. 2:2-3).  The organized religion which later claimed authority to change the weekly day of worship readily admits that the Bible still teaches the original day.  That’s because keeping the Sabbath is a sign of who are God’s people and Who is the Creator Who sanctifies them (Exo. 31:13-17).  For keeping the Sabbath on the day organized by God,  “Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father” (Isa. 58:14).  It’s an absolute joy to worship with other brothers and sisters in Christ on this day each week!

God also gave His people “feasts of the Lord … holy convocations” (Lev. 23:2).  God organized these annual festivals to teach Their amazing plan to reproduce themselves.  By keeping the seven annual festivals, you can come to understand Their plan a little more fully each year (Psa. 110:10).

The Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles and Eighth Day are coming in less than two months—who else wants to experience the joy and understanding from keeping what God has organized!  This is my 48th year to be so blessed by them!  You have time to learn about them and keep them this year.

In fact, it was on God’s Holy Day of Pentecost from Mt. Sinai that They gave Their law and 10 Commandments.  These were—and will—always be the basis of Their Way of Life because “the law is holy,  and the commandment holy and just and good” (Rom. 7:12).

An organized Church with a challenging commission

Jesus came to earth and promised “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).  On Pentecost 31 A.D. He started it and also made available the power of the Holy Spirit.  He ordained offices—of servant leaders—“for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-13).

Jesus organized this one spiritual Church of God and commissioned it—us—to preach the gospel into all the world (Matt. 24:14) and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:18-20).  Forget “just you and me, Lord.”

Thanks to this wonderful organization, on our just-completed family camping trip to California, Mary and I were able to worship in Reno, NV and San Jose, CA with other brothers and sisters in Christ even though we didn’t know who would be there.  We arrive and find

Family of  the Holy Spirit

God the Father and Jesus Christ have organized everything Their children need to worship Them, become like Them, and live like Them for all eternity in the God Family and Kingdom.

Frustrated by over 33,800 competing denominations?  We need to heed the shocking warning in 2 Cor. 11:15 about who is behind this organized religion.  Please read it for yourself.

But the joyful truth is that “There is one body and One Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:4).

God and the Word have organized Their religion that will result in God the Father, Jesus Christ and billions of God children for all eternity.

You gotta love it!

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