April 8, 2016
“Delight yourselves in the Lord; yes, find your joy in him at all times.” (Philippians 4:4)
“While pain and suffering are inevitable, misery is optional.” Those were the words of Tim Hansel, a man who lived every day with excruciating pain (in his book You Gotta Keep Dancin’.) How could misery be optional for someone in agonizing pain? And how do we explain Apostle Paul mentioning joy seventeen times in the short letter he wrote from prison to his favorite church?
Paul explains that for those who are experiencing a relationship with the risen, living Christ there is a peace and joy that is not controlled by circumstances. What Paul experienced could be called, “peace that doesn’t make good sense” and “joy that doesn’t make good sense.” According to Paul, the foundation of that peace and joy is the Lord Jesus Himself. He therefore prescribed that we are to delight ourselves in the Lord and then find our peace and joy in Him at all times.
What is the foundation for your peace and joy? If your foundation is the relationship with a loved one, do you realize there is no relationship with people here in this life that cannot be removed? If that foundation is your health, your youth or your athleticism, many thousands of people, who had those foundations before age, an illness, or an injury destroyed them, will join me in warning you that they are very fragile foundations for the peace and happiness Paul is prescribing.
In the Gospel of John 17:3 we’re told: “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Jesus identified and declared the right foundation for us as knowing God and Jesus Christ Whom God sent into this world.
What is the foundation for your peace? your joy?
Dick Woodward, 23 June 2009
Editor’s Note: To learn more about Tim Hansel, who was a great inspiration to Dick Woodward, check out this blog written at Dick’s request by Clark Morledge over at Veracity.com. Click here to read it: Joy: Tim Hansel
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Posted by Dick Woodward
July 8, 2014
“…This priceless treasure we hold, so to speak, in common earthenware – to show that the splendid power of it belongs to God and not to us.” 2Corinthians 4:7 (J.B. Phillips)
Many years ago the famous American statesman, John Quincy Adams, was crossing a street. Due to his poor health it took him five minutes to reach the other side. A friend passing that way asked, “How is John Quincy Adams this morning?” He replied, “John Quincy Adams is doing just fine. The house he lives in is in sad disrepair. In fact, it is so dilapidated, John Quincy Adams may have to move soon, but John Quincy Adams is doing just fine, thank you!”
John Quincy Adams had good theology. To make a clear distinction between the inward man, (our spiritual man who is eternal), and the outward man, (our body which is temporal), and clearly value the inward man above the outward man, is a vital dimension the Apostle Paul shares with us in II Corinthians chapters 4 and 5.
According to Paul, the outward man does not always know why things happen the way they do. Therefore, the outward, physical man is often perplexed. However, Paul tells us that in our inward man, there is a continuous persuasion because Christ lives in us. Paul writes that the outward man is persecuted and suffers, but in the inward man there is a Person Who is continuously assuring us, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
Speaking from his own experiences of suffering, illness and persecution, Paul acknowledges that sometimes our outward man gets knocked flat. Sometimes our little clay pot gets knocked down, but never knocked out. Because there is a Great Treasure living in our clay plot, we always get up and keep going.
Dick Woodward, In Step with Eternal Values
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Posted by Dick Woodward