Friday, January 5, 2018

Joy of Faith

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
–Jas 1:2-3

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
–1 Pet 1:8-9

A Dutch Catholic priest Henri Nouwen (1932–1996) wrote, “Each day holds a surprise.  But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us.  Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy.  It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.”  May God of hope fill us with joy and peace.  We ought to trust him, so that we may overflow with the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 15:13).

But such blessings may come through friends.  Charles R. Swindoll (b. 1934), an evangelical Christin pastor said, “I cannot imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy.  Let’s face it, friends make life a lot more fun.”

Our True Family

When we think about heaven we delight in knowing there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over the ninety-nine righteous persons who have no need to repent (Lk 15:7).  This is our promise with eternal life.  Richard Bach (b. 1936), an author explained, “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”  Bach saw all people as God’s family.

What does this means regarding the environment in which we live?  Sharon Draper (b. 1948), a children’s writer and educator was certain:  “Perfect happiness is a beautiful sunset, the giggle of a grandchild, the first snowfall.  It’s the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events.”  It takes faith to truly appreciate nature.

Choose Life

The Psalmist says that anger lasts only a moment, but favor a lifetime.  He sees weeping staying only a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning (Ps 30:5).  Kevyn Aucoin (b. 1962), a make-up artist and photographer explained his choices:  “Today I choose life.  Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain … To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.”  Much of Aucoin’s beliefs may be likened to acceptance of the best that Albert Einstein (1879–1955), a German-born physicist noted: “Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.”    

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