Joy in facing difficulties, sorrow, and even death

Yesterday we spoke about depression and I finished by saying that when you're depressed it is still possible to rejoice. There are two senses in which this is the case. Firstly, God does offer us a stream of joy inside our heart that somehow means that you can be "sorrowful yet always rejoicing."The other way in which Christian can always rejoice is by choice. Rejocing is a verb. It is something we can do even when we don't feel like it. This is not the same thing as falsely claiming to be … [Read more...]

Joy, temperament, the Christain and clinical depression

I only mentioned Clinical Depression in passing when I preached the sermon this series is based on, due to time constraints. But I was careful to do so, and to stress that for some Christians antidepressant medications are helpful (see the previous post).  One of the joys of a blog is that you don't have such space issues.  So here I will intersperse an extra post covering two important caveats to the teaching I have been sharing so far on joy.Firstly, let me talk about temperament or p … [Read more...]

Joy in receiving counsel from God's word

In Psalm 16, David goes on to say ‘I bless the LORD who gives me counsel…’ There is a great Joy in receiving God’s word. The truth is that the Bible is a great source of joy. Psalm 119:162 "I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil." The idea there is that treasures are hidden in the word. Sometimes reading the Bible may even seem boring, you may read verse after verse with little noticeable benefit, but suddenly a verse jumps out at you and it is like a precious nugget. The Bible is … [Read more...]

Joy in expressing gratitude

Towards the end of the previous post in this series on joy we spoke about contentment. A major cousin of contentment is gratitude.  We see this in verse 6 of Psalm 16: ‘The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places…’ I love that phrase. I feel a bit like that. I look at my life and I think: my goodness, how did that happen? I have a job I love, I have a home I love, I have a church I love, I have a wife I love, I have kids I love, I have even been persuaded to have a dog! Sometimes these things … [Read more...]

Joy in fleeing idols rather than being as miserable as sin

Today I continue this series on joy. Psalm 16 continues,  ‘The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply…’ It is important for us to reason that the reverse is also true. If you seek God you will have joy but if you seek idols you will have sorrow. In a way, it is the same point but in reverse that we started answering the question "where do we get joy?" with.God calls us to flee idols and there is a joy in fleeing idols. Worship has such a place in our hearts that we will worsh … [Read more...]

Joy in fellowship with God’s people: How the church can give you joy!

As we continue in this series on joy, the next reason the psalmist gives for joy is the people of God: ‘As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight’. These are very strong words, which underline the passion and joy David felt in the people of God. Church is not meant to be something you come to on a Sunday morning and sit there while other people entertain you. We are called to delight in the Body of Christ. There is joy in fellowship with the Body of Chr … [Read more...]

How does a Christian get joy? By seeking Christ alone

As I continue to post on joy based on a recent sermon I preached, today we ask: How Can We Get Joy?Where does joy come from? Where can it be found? The word ‘therefore’ in verse 9 of Psalm 16 points back to the rest of the Psalm. It says: ‘Therefore, my heart is glad…’ Why is your heart glad David? ‘Well, it’s glad because of everything I’ve written so far in this Psalm.’ So let’s go back to the beginning of the Psalm.Verse 1 says: ‘Preserve me, O God, for in You I take refuge. I say to the L … [Read more...]

Where does a Christian's joy come from? How should it be expressed in our worship?

This is now the third post in a series based on an edited transcript of my recent sermon on the Life of Joy.Today we ask, where does this joy come from? and how should it be expressed?1 Thessalonians 1:5 speaks of ‘…joy of the Holy Spirit’. It is joy that is both in the Holy Spirit and it is joy that is from the Holy Spirit.Galatians 5 lists the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, JOY, peace, patience… Those things are indivisible and if you want a life of joy, study Galatians 5 and ask God to … [Read more...]

Are Christians meant to be the most miserable people on earth? NO! here's why:

Today I continue to serialise an editted transcript of a sermon I preached on joy which you can also watch or listen to.What is this joy? What is this full life? What is it?The joy God gives us is clearly not just a happy feeling, as we will see, but it is a happy feeling. God really does want you to be happy and, as I have said already, many people think of Christians as miserable people. They think that we have given up the pleasures of this world. Perhaps at your work someone will … [Read more...]

God wants you to be really happy – a sermon on joy

DownloadsOver the next few days I will be posting an edited version of the transcript of this sermon as a series of posts. See this link for all of them or use the "next post" and "previous post" links below. 1. What Is The Full Life? It is a new term, and at the beginning of a new term it is a good idea to ask ourselves what kind of a life we want, and perhaps even more so, what kind of a life does Jesus want for us?. I entitled the sermon this series of posts are based on ‘Pursuing F … [Read more...]