Nuggets – Joy in the Christian Life

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11)

The word “fun” is never mentioned in the Bible, and “entertain” is used only in reference to being hospitable. Such activities as “reveling” and “playing” receive nothing except condemnation in the Scriptures (with the exception of little children at play).

Yet, there is growing emphasis today in many churches and parachurch organizations on providing “entertainment” and “fun times” for their members—especially for teenagers and young adults. This is the way to reach them and keep them for the Lord, so they say. Perhaps so, but one wonders why neither the Lord nor the apostles nor the prophets ever told us so. Is this a program kept in reserve by the Lord just for the young people of this generation?

Actually, Christians can have something far better, more effective, and more lasting than fun and entertainment. In Christ they can have heavenly joy! “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Proverbs 17:22), where the word for “merry” is more commonly translated as “joyful” or “rejoicing.”

While the Bible never mentions “fun,” it has many references to “joy” and “rejoicing.” Here are just a few. “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16). “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). “For the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

We must remind ourselves continually that the Lord Jesus daily, through His words, shares His joy with us, “that [our] joy might be full.” HMM

From Days of Praise

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Nuggets – Where Are the Nine?

“And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” (Luke 17:17)

Ten lepers, hopeless and incurable, came to Jesus, begging for His help, and He miraculously healed them. All 10 should have fallen down to worship and thank Him, but only one praised God and thanked Him for His marvelous deliverance.

We are at first amazed at such ingratitude, until we realize that not more than 10 percent of even those people who know about Christ ever stop to give Him thanks for His innumerable blessings—life, freedom, food, shelter, health, family, and especially easy access to the Bible and His gracious offer of salvation—far greater in value than the gift of special healing received by the 10 lepers.

The thankful leper received a much greater gift than the others. “Thy faith hath made thee whole” (Luke 17:19). They had received an outward cleansing of the body, he an inward cleansing of the soul! These words spoken by Christ are found four other times in the New Testament (Matthew 9:22Mark 5:34; 10:52; Luke 8:48), plus two times where the word for “made whole” is translated “saved” (Luke 7:50; 18:42). This word (Greek sozo) occurs many other times. For example: “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him” (Hebrews 7:25).

Ten lepers were healed, but only one was saved, and the proof of his salvation, received through genuine faith in Christ, was his gratitude, giving glory to God. The primary evidence of being “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) is that the one so controlled by God’s regenerating Spirit will be “giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). Those who are not thankful to their saving Lord are the 90 percent who have not been made whole. HMM

From Days of Praise

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Filipino Expat Encouragement 22091

Who can we rely on but God through trials and triumphs ? Only God is unchanging . He is the only reliable One to rely on.

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Nuggets – Preached in All Creation

“If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.” (Colossians 1:23)

Many times Christians piously say, “Why get worked up over creation, why don’t you just preach the gospel?” But such a question reveals a faulty knowledge of what “the gospel” consists of, for, as has been noted many times on these pages, the gospel consists not only of the redemptive work of Christ but His entire person and work as well. The message of the “everlasting gospel” is to “worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” (Revelation 14:6-7). Elsewhere, the gospel includes His coming Kingdom (Matthew 4:23, for example). From creation to redemption to ultimate restoration, all is “good news,” all the work and person of Christ.

In our text we see that the gospel “was preached to every creature,” or perhaps better translated “in all creation.” What was the message of the gospel for which Paul was so jealous? The answer is found in the preceding verses.

Christ is preeminent, literally “the firstborn of every creature” (v. 15), totally God (v. 19). He is the Creator of all things, both physical and spiritual (v. 16), and continues to maintain His creation (v. 17). He leads the church, assuring victory over death (v. 18). He is the Redeemer, the perfect sacrifice for sins (vv. 20-22), providing each believer total sanctification (v. 22). He will ultimately restore all of creation to its original created intent (v. 20).

Only as we recognize and believe the teachings of His Word on the entire “good news,” from creation to consummation, can we hope to victoriously “continue in the faith grounded and settled.” JDM

From Days of Praise

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Nuggets -Ye or Thee

“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:6)

In perhaps His primary teaching on giving, prayer, and fasting, Christ used an interesting blend of singular (thee, thou) and plural (you, ye) pronouns. Since even pronouns as recorded in Scripture are inspired and profitable, there must be a lesson to be learned from them.

Although Christ begins the passage using the plural pronoun—“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them” (v. 1), evidently addressing the large group assembled—He switches and speaks in the singular. In the verses dealing with giving (vv. 2-4), with praying (vv. 5-6), and with fasting (vv. 17-18), He uses the singular pronoun and singular verbs over 30 times, but each teaching is balanced by a comparison, in the plural, to those who practice these deeds wrongly (vv. 1, 5, 16).

Evidently, our Lord is stressing the need to do these things privately, as opposed to publicly. Public giving and public fasting are often done to gain the praise of men and to appear overly spiritual. “They have their reward” (v. 5). Public prayer is certainly not improper, and indeed Christ uses the occasion to teach on public prayer by giving what has come to be called the Lord’s Prayer (vv. 9-13), again in contrast to improper public prayer (v. 7). But public prayer can never totally substitute for private prayer, for there is a continuing need for the intimately personal “closet” time with our God. “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret” (v. 6).

In each case, “thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (vv. 4, 6, 18). JDM

Days of Praise

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