Thoughts from Andrew Bonar on Joy

Daily Thoughts: The Joy of the Lord

Thoughts from Andrew Bonar on Joy

I have been taught that joy in the Spirit is the frame in which God blesses us to others. Joy arises from fellowship with Him; I find that whatever sorrow or humiliation of spirit presses on us, that it all should give way, in some measure, to a fresh taste of God’s love when going forth to preach.

I was much struck today by a simple thought, namely, that our joys are only beginning! Yes, the joys we have tasted are a mere foretaste. All we get here below is but an earnest and no more. And as truly as our joys are only beginning, so our sorrows are soon ending. They will soon be over–our last tear shed and our last sigh expressed.

Rejoice is as much a command as repent.

Cultivate joy as much as you cultivate honesty and uprightness.

The oil of joy calms down the waves of trouble.

Why should we be afraid to rejoice when God is not afraid to trust us with joy?

Love is the motive for working, and joy is the strength for working.

Would it have been right for the prodigal son to sit at his father’s table in tears, saying, “I just cannot be glad”, when the Father said, “It is right that we should make merry and be glad?”

Love and joy are the two prominent fruits of the Spirit. If you can cherish this glad spirit, you will be a useful witness, even if you never speak a word.

There are far more people make to think by seeing a Christian’s joy than by any words he may speak.

— Andrew Bonar

Serving One’s Purpose in Christ’s Body

This has always been a problem in Christianity. The body splits itself into little groups of people who all have the same gifts. As a result we have one little bunch which is all mouth, who do nothing but talk. Another bunch, all feet, are constantly running around in circles. Another group, all ears, just sit and listen. Another group, all brain, sits at studies and tickles its intellectual ears. Another, all hands, is feverishly busy doing and doing and getting nothing done. But without the unity of all the body with its diverse members and gifts complementing each other, nothing is accomplished and every member suffers form the loss of each other.

Can you imagine the frustration and misery of an ear, all its life, trying, struggling, and fretting to see? Oh, beloved brethren! Find where God wants you in the body. Let Him fit you in and do not let anyone try to force you into some other place. The ear has its perfectly normal function to hear. It does it without fret, fuss, or effort–by simply abiding in its place in the body spontaneously serving is purpose with beauty and ease.

Conrad Murrell

God Guides Those who Fear Him

‘What man is he that feareth the LORD? Him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.’ (Psalm 25:12-13)

There was a time not too many years ago when a believer was described simply as a ‘God-fearing man.’ That was before modern thought struck upon the idea that it was dishonoring to the mercy and goodness of God to fear Him, and the shallow “God loves everybody all the time anyway” mentality began. The Bible teaches that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. A person who fears God simply thinks of God first and foremost in all his actions, the governing factor being a desire to please Him. It is the motivating emotion that dominates the righteous person’s life.

The person who fears God need fear nothing else. He who does not fear God must fear every other threat, for he has no substantial defense.
The person who fears God will learn, for God Himself will teach him. He will be guided, for the Good Shepherd will unerringly lead him. He will be taught in the right way to go, the right things to do and the right decisions to make.

Many people erroneously expect God to give us a road map, a set of exhaustive instructions so that when any matter comes up all we need do is get out our road maps, or our rule book, our procedure manual, and go ahead. Not so! If that were true, we could take these and walk off from God because we would need Him no more.

Those who fear God, walk with Him. We, indeed, have the Bible which gives us righteous principles, but as for specific details for our everyday mundane living, often we can find no specific directions in the Scriptures.

God will choose for us at the time the choices we need to make. He shall choose our way for us and cause us to walk in that way. Few things are more comforting to the Christian than knowing that the Lord has ordered his steps. That is what is meant by, ‘his soul shall be at ease.’ He is not in a fizz and tizzy all the time wondering if he has made the right choices.

The seed of the righteous are those who have been born from above, begotten by the Spirit. They shall abide forever and inherit all things.
— Conrad Murrell

Breadcrumbs of Grace: Seeing the Gospel in Art

It’s hard to write an article about a wordsmith.

Andrew Peterson is a sculptor of sentences, a gifted singer/songwriter, and a delighter in all things beautiful and true.

Striving to marvel ever more greatly over the mysteries of God and His greatness, Andrew creates sound with purpose. He has 17 albums, several of which debuted in or reached the top 10 of Billboard’s Top Christian Albums, and is the author of The Wingfeather Saga series, currently being animated for the screen.

Prior to our meeting, like any journalist, I researched the 42-year-old Illinois native, listened to his music, read his blogs, looked at pictures of his beautiful wife and their three cute kids, and discovered we share a mutual love for C. S. Lewis, Oxford, and vibrant literature. What my research failed to tell me was how extraordinarily kind and unassuming he would be.

On the morning of our interview, Andrew walked into Centricity’s small media house in Franklin, Tennessee, and introduced himself, as if we wouldn’t know he was the person we drove three hours to interview.

He was well dressed, well read, well spoken, and well mannered. His words were kind, his posture open. His tone was light, his humor on point. He praised others and spoke little of himself. He gazed at the world with eyes ready to see magnificence in this arena of beauty in which we live.

Andrew Peterson taught me to wonder.

For me, he was a human version of Claritin®, the antihistamine that clears allergies from impairing your vision. I left Franklin with eyes that seemed to see the world a little brighter than before.

This was in part due to his easy going nature and in part due to his obvious love for “the jewel of the Gospel” and the miracle of grace, something that hasn’t ceased amazing him though 33 years have elapsed since 9-year-old Andrew made a public confession of faith in Christ and was, as he put it, “humiliated in baptism.”

“The beautiful paradox of the Gospel is that as you begin to realize how broken you are and how desperately you need Jesus, the level of wonder and appreciation for how deeply He loves you increases,” he said. “I think that is all sanctifying so that the older you get the more you grow in grace. The church talks about growing in grace, that’s a growing in a deeper understanding of how badly you need grace. Then what you get is a saint. The saints are the rascals that walk through the world with this astonishment that God really does love them like He says. That’s what I hope for myself.”

After a short time listening to Andrew it was apparent that he, like Victor Hugo’s Bishop Myriel in Les Miserables, “did not [just] study God; he was dazzled by Him.”

This heavenly bedazzling, which often results from study, is something that won’t reach completion this side of heaven, a reality Andrew feels keenly.

“I’m still on an ongoing cycle of sin, self-hatred, the wrong kind of repentance, followed by these evidences through people, through communion, through church, through books that I read, whatever it may be, of God continuing to push back against that deep-rooted assumption I have about who I am and who He is. It’s ongoing, and every time I’m a little more astonished by grace.”

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