The Candle of JOY - December 15, 2013
Joy is a theme that runs throughout Scripture. In this message we limit out thinking to 2 questions: a) what is Joy; b) how do we get it? Joy is a feeling of response and like other emotions we don't get Joy by searching for Joy. We instead get it by cultivating the conditions of our lives in the same way we would cultivate the soil around an apple tree in order to receive healthy fruit. Three 'Joy stories' in Scripture guide our thoughts a) in Nehemiah 8 we are reminded the Joy comes as a response to carefully hearing and understanding the Word of God; b) Psalm 126 shows us that Joy comes as a result of paying attention to God's wonderful work of Restoration in our lives and in this world;c) Luke 15 clearly shows us God's Father heart that celebrates with great Joy when one sinner repents! We conclude by paying attention to the remarkable phrase in Nehemiah 8 - 'the Joy of the Lord is you strength'. This Joy allows us to go beyond and beneath our circumstances which may be very troubling and find Joy in the deeper knowledge of God's unending love and the certainty of His work of Redemption which will be brought to completion when Jesus returns to this earth! May you know His Joy today!
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We begin our Advent series with a short reflection on the meaning of Advent (see the note under the 'Advent Series' tab). Then we consider the theme of Hope. This is such a powerful theme, both in our own life experience and in Scripture. We think about that fact that we all need hope in order to live. Hope is what pulls us forward in life. We also notice that hope is only as good as its object - it is possible for us to put our hope in something that will surely disappoint us! From the passages in Peter and Titus we learn that Christian hope or Biblical hope is rooted in the most secure historical reality possible - the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Therefore our hope is certain and unmovable. No matter what our circumstance of life might look like now, may it be that we are drawn forward by this sure and certain hope!
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