READ: Proverbs 13, Luke 1, 1 John 1 HOLY JOY  John the Baptist has been slandered. We present him as this anti-social, desert dwelling, wild and wooly, locust crunching, stern, gruff, angry prophet, who doesn’t brush his hair or teeth, just yells at people, falters a bit at the end, then gets his head chopped…

READ: Psalm 132, Zechariah 11, Matthew 14, 2 Timothy 4 BROKEN BLESSED  God’s great shepherd heart longs to care for those who are cut off. It longs to seek the young, heal the broken, and feed those that still stand (Zech. 11:16). God invites us into His passions and into the means of His provision:…

READ: Psalm 112, Nahum 3, John 16, Colossians 2 PEERLESS PRESENCE Presence Is Explanation. As Jesus is wrapping up His earthly ministry and giving His beloved disciples final instructions, He informs them “these things I did not say to you at the beginning because I was with you” (John 16:4, emphasis added). God’s presence is our explanation! Christians (especially…

READ: Psalm 111, Nahum 2, John 15, Colossians 1 LIVE DEAD JOY The Joy of Being Hated. Jesus intends for His joy to abide in us and that our joy be full (John 15:11). In the same breath as bestowed joy, Jesus reminds us that being chosen for His joy demands being hated by the world…

READ: Psalm 105, Micah 3, John 9, Ephesians 5 SUPER POWERED Followers of Jesus need not envy any mythical figure, past or present; neither Ulysses or Superman has anything on those who are filled and controlled by the Spirit. Micah 3:8 reminds us that we can be filled with power, justice, and might towards the…

READ: Psalm 86, Joel 1, Luke 14, 2 Corinthians 5 JOYLESS  No one is as miserable as the half-hearted disciple. Missionaries, ministers, and Christians can be the most miserable of the joyless. Joy is linked to a united heart, and when the heart is divided, joy withers away (Joel 1:12). When God is worshiped poorly, “joy and gladness…

READ: Psalm 63, Ezekiel 22-24, Mark 7, Romans 14  BETTER THAN LIFE The lovingkindness of Jesus is better than life (Psalm 63:3). The description of God’s thoughts and actions towards us (Hebrew = hessed) is so magnificent that it cannot be explained by one English word, nor can it be compared to what humanity considers most precious. The…

READ: Psalm 35, Isaiah 64-66, Matthew 7, Acts 14 GOD’S JOY God’s highest joy is in Himself. God did not need to create humanity in order to be complete. In the eternal fellowship of the trinity that precedes finite humanity, there was love, joy, and peace to overflowing. What a wonder then, that God delights in humanity…

READ: Psalm 30, Isaiah 49-51, Matthew 2, Acts 9  JOY COMES IN THE MOURNING “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning… You have turned my morning into dancing” (Psalm 30:5, 11). When the wise men saw the star stop over Jesus, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy and fell down…

READ: Psalm 26, Isaiah 37-39, John 19, Acts 5  THE JOYS OF EARTH Before the things of earth grow strangely dim, we who still walk this fallen planet would be wise to enjoy its joys. Unusual as it sounds, there are some privileges of earth that heaven does not afford–deliverance, praise in pain, and suffering shame…

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