The Mind of Christ

‘These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:13-16).’

On the face of it, and particularly from the viewpoint of those who are outside Christ’s body, i.e., unbelievers; they say that for us to claim we ‘have the mind of Christ’ is presumptuous, even arrogant! But what do they know about it? They don’t believe in God. So how can they have that view? They have no spiritual discernment (v 14) and they are unable to judge (v 15). Paul writing in the Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21) affirms that we believers have ‘the mind of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We know this is true; for God’s Word is true (2 Corinthians 6:7; Colossians 1:5), and there is nothing false in it.

So What is the Mind of Christ?

The *body has a mind and a soul (cf. Matthew 22:37). That’s the way God has made us individually, but He has also made us to have a special **relationship with Him. Not only is there an individual relationship between Him and each one of us, but there is a collective relationship (John 15:14, 15). This is best experienced when individuals join together to worship Him on a Sunday or any other day of the week for that matter. As we do so, we are His body. He is there with us (Matthew 18:20). We are His temple, where His Holy Spirit dwells (1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16).

There’s more to it than that. Christ’s holy body, His Church, does not operate without His mind (1 Corinthians 2:16), nor does it operate without the Holy Spirit. Christ leads His Church (2 Corinthians 2:14) through His Spirit and directs (1 Thessalonians 3:11) it through His mind.

He is the head of the body (Colossians 1:18). He is the One who equips (2 Timothy 3:17) and directs the Church for the fulfilment of His Father’s will. His will is done here on earth, irrespective of what appears to be happening in the world where there is chaos, conflict and confusion, but all things are being held together and function according to God’s predestination (Ephesians 1:11; cf. Romans 8:28). Nothing can frustrate His design. He will accomplish what He has decreed (cf. Philippians 1:6).

This sure hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8) in Jesus Christ brings us great ***joy. By faith we know that our present and future lives are secured in Him. He loves us to the extent that He gave Himself to die on a cross (Ephesians 5:2) to bring us into union with Him. We are no longer estranged from the Father, lost and condemned to everlasting hell (Luke 12:5). For this great mercy, our praise and adoration of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit never ceases (Psalm 145:2).

The Mind of Christ in Action

In the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:5)’ we ‘speak’ of ‘Jesus Christ and Him crucified (v 2)’. In ‘the power of God’ and ‘the wisdom of God (v 7) we preach the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15).

If we truly have the Spirit of the Lord Jesus dwelling within us, we are made sufficient as ministers of the new covenant (2 Corinthians 3:6). We are enabled to obey His command to make disciples ‘in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).’

This is the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 2: 7) operating through ‘the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).’

*Mind, Body and Soul

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/07/23/mind-body-and-soul/

**God?Man Relationships

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2017/11/17/relationships/

***Joy

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/02/19/joy/

***Happiness and Joy

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/04/13/happiness-and-joy/

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Perception of the Scriptures

We do not all perceive the world in the same way. Perception is understanding what we see, or comprehending what we see. Perceiving is more than seeing with the eye. It is grasping the truth of what is being considered.

When we consider the Scriptures we perceive them through our understandings, but our understandings may be limited by our lack of knowledge. What if we have never seen or heard of swine? How could we possibly imagine what sort of creatures they are? We would know nothing about them, and yet the Scriptures mention swine sixteen times. Leviticus and Deuteronomy define them as unclean animals that should not be eaten (Leviticus 11:7; Deuteronomy 14:8). Even so, there are people in parts of the world who do not have the word ‘swine’ in their vocabulary. They have never seen or heard of them, and so for them to understand what is meant by ‘unclean’ must be a very difficult concept to grasp. Their perception is governed by what knowledge they have . This it true for all of us.

Perceiving the Bible

If we apply this reasoning to gaining a right perception of the Bible, we really would be wise to extend our *knowledge of the historical settings of the various books of the Bible. We need to be informed of the culture of the times when the books were written. A broad view of history over the timespan of the writing of the Bible will help us put things into perspective. A true perspective will place actions and events in the right settings and in the right chronological order.

The Bible’s focus is centred on one major theme – God’s plan of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16). God created the world as a temporary abode for mankind, from whom He would choose (Matthew 24:22-30) a **people for Himself as a heritage (Joel 3:2; Micah 7:18). This heritage, His people, would love and adore Him forever. They would also love one another (John 13:34). Ultimately all of them will live with Jesus and His Father in a new and perfect world (Revelation 21:22-27) where they will be in Him (John 14:20; 15:1-8) and like Him.

So, this is the picture, the overall view of what the Scriptures are about. We are fortunate in our age; for we can look back and see things in perspective. We have the revelation of Jesus. He came to the earth and showed us God. He was and is God (John 8:14-19), the second Person of the Trinity. John testifies of Him thus: ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:11).’  ‘And of His fulness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:16, 17).’ What a blessing this is!

The Shaping of Our Perceptions

We perceive the Scriptures in light of our knowledge, not just our knowledge of what is contained within the covers of the Bible, but our knowledge of the world and the universe as we see them and understand them. We cannot escape from our personal experiences that have shaped our understanding. We live in an age when scientists, mathematicians and astronomers have advanced their knowledge and technologies. Astronauts venture into space, and satellites and probes travel to the furthest edges of our galaxy. Astronomers have discovered black holes; indeed, they have made images of them by coordinating multiple telescopes in different parts of the world, proving they exist.

We perceive and understand the Bible within this context. The Bible does not change. God’s word does not change (cf. Matthew 5:18), and God does not change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 1:12). What He has decreed will take place. He is the Sovereign LORD who made the universe (Genesis 1:31-2:2). He preordained and predestined (Romans 8:29, 30) all things, and nothing will prevail against Him (cf. Matthew 16:18).

Our Times

Living in our times is a special privilege because our perception of the world, i.e., our understanding of what we know about it is so much greater than previous generations. We have the advantage of being able  to see films and videos made from space. We can get an astronaut’s view of God’s beautiful planet. Deep diving submersibles can take us to the lowest depths of the oceans where we can see fabulous and incredible creatures we didn’t know existed. We know of the wonders of genetics, biochemistry, and of the intricate workings of multitudes of organisms.

We have this privilege of perceiving God’s awesome creation. The more we learn, the more we comprehend His glory, adore and love Him. But some say that science and man’s knowledge of the universe proves the Scriptures are wrong. God could not possibly have created the world in six days (Genesis 1:1-2:2). The universe is more than thirteen billion years old, they say. It was created by the Big Bang. Those who have this view lack understanding of God’s Word. They do not perceive it through faith. They are incapable of perceiving the Scriptures through eyes of faith as those who have been enlivened by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8). They have not received the Spirit who is from God (1 Corinthians 2:12), and because of this they cannot comprehend things of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14-16). They do not have ‘the mind of Christ (V 16).’

*Knowledge and Wisdom

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/04/22/knowledge-and-wisdom/

**Biblical Perspective – God’s People

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/04/26/biblical-perspective-gods-people/

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Biblical Perspective – God’s People

‘But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light; who were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy (1 Peter 2:9, 10).’

The Bible was written over a period of about 1,540 years, and since its completion another 2,000 years have passed. Questions arise as to how it has been understood by the peoples of God, and how they have responded to its teachings. 

The Peoples of God

The Old Testament people of God were ancestors of Abraham through Jacob, and when they moved to Egypt, they were just 66 [70, 75] souls (Genesis 46:26; [Cf. Exodus 1:5; Acts 7:14]). God promised Abraham that his offspring would become as numerous as the stars (Genesis 15:1-5). He acted in faith and obeyed God by leaving his home and going to a land to which God would lead him (Hebrews 11:8-10).

The New Testament people of God came into being at Pentecost when the Church was inaugurated. To begin with there were about 120 souls (Acts 1:15), but with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on that blessed day, about 3,000 more ‘souls were added to them’ (Acts 2:41)! Since that time a vast, but unknown number have joined them through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8) and they have been drawn (John 12:32) by Jesus to His kingdom. They are His new Israel (Galatians 6:15, 16) to which more will be added in ‘the fulness of the times (Ephesians 1:10).’

God’s *Relationship with His Old Testament People

The Old Testament people were, on the whole, an unbelieving and disobedient nation (Romans 10:21). They were chosen of God (Deuteronomy 7:6), and He promised they would inherit a physical land (Genesis 15:7), the land of Canaan. God did not fail in His promise; for by God’s help the offspring of Abraham overcame those who lived there and occupied the land (Joshua 21:43-45; 24:13). Nevertheless, God was not pleased with them (1 Corinthians 10:5). He sent them into exile (1 Chronicles 9:1) before restoring them, and eventually He brought them to live in the united kingdoms of Israel and Judah under the reign of king David (2 Samuel 5:2-5) and king Solomon (1Kings 8:56).

So how did the Old Testament people of Israel and Judah understand their relationship with God? Moses, their spokesman and God-chosen leader (Exodus 3:10), made it clear to them they were a separate, a special nation (1 Kings 8:53) different from any other. They were a kingdom of priests and a (Exodus 19:6) holy nation, consecrated to God (v 10). God gave them the Ten Commandments which they were to obey (Exodus 20:1-17). Moses told them the words of the LORD, and with ‘one voice’ they agreed to obey them (Exodus 24:3; Deuteronomy 26:16-19), but as we know, they failed miserably.

Time and again the Prophets warned them (Isaiah 65:2-5) of the consequences of disobedience, and because of it they would reap God’s wrath (Exodus 32:11; Deuteronomy 9:7; 2 Chronicles 30:6-9) and lose their inheritance. He would replace them with a nation who did not seek him (Isaiah 65:1). That nation is composed of post-Pentecost believers in God’s Son, Jesus. Jesus chose them; they did not choose Him (John 15:16), and since Pentecost more and more people have become followers of Jesus (Matthew 4:19, 20; 8:22; 16:24; John 13:36) who is their Saviour (2 Timothy 1:10).

God’s *Relationship with His New Testament People

The New Testament people of God are grateful that their inheritance (Hebrews 9:15) of eternal life is a gift from God (1 John 5:11). Unlike the Old Testament people, they do not have to obey a set of commandments to gain an inheritance of a physical land. Jesus has given His life in exchange for theirs, and He gives them citizenship of His spiritual kingdom [land]; a citizenship they could never earn an entrance to by merit or by work (Ephesians 2:8, 9). By virtue of His fulfilment (Matthew 5:17) of the new covenant in His blood (Matthew 26:28) He paid the price (Cf. 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23) of their freedom from death (Romans 6:9; Revelation 21:4) and everlasting hell (Mark 9:44-48).

Their relationship with Christ is effected and effective through and by the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:5). They are His body (1 Corinthians 12:27) on earth, and they express His love (Matthew 5:43, 44), His care, His compassion (1 Peter 3:8), and by the example of their life they preach His gospel of salvation (Luke 9:6). They meet and break bread together, in remembrance of Him (Luke 22:19). Their commission is to make disciples (Matthew 28:19, 20) ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ Their future is guaranteed – eternal life (John 10:28) with the Father and the Son. Their forever blessing is to live together with Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:10).

‘For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him (1 Thessalonians 5:9, 10).’

*God/Man Relationships

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2017/11/17/relationships/

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Knowledge and Wisdom

‘Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding (Daniel 2:20, 21).’

Knowledge on its own is useless, but when used wisely it can be of great benefit to those who have access to it.

Never in the history of mankind has there been a time like now in 2019, when people can freely gain access to information [knowledge] about practically anything. Just one click of a computer’s mouse can reveal a great deal.

The digital revolution, scientific discoveries, and technological innovations have changed our perceptions of life, the universe and our ways of thinking. The educated masses of the Western World are composed of individuals, each having their own their own concepts of the nature of life. They can easily communicate with one another via the Internet. Travel between continents by plane takes but a few hours, unlike times past, when it would have required weeks, even months, and in some cases years. This unprecedented flux and cross-fertilisation of cultures, the exchanging of ideas, exposure to beliefs systems and ways of governance is causing confusion in the minds of many. The world is approaching a point where the surfeit of knowledge bewilders us. We cannot decide where to go or what to hang on to.

Why are we here and for what purpose?

The Times of Moses

If we could transport ourselves back in time to Egypt when Moses wrote Genesis we would find that only a small percentage of the populace were literate, and they were limited as to what they could do because of their poverty and ignorance. Many of them were slaves. On the other hand, the educated, and those in positions of power were able to achieve marvels. The Egyptian pyramids and temples, for example, were extraordinary feats of engineering, and their hieroglyphics engraved or painted on monuments were astonishing, but when it came to devising an easily portable means of transferring or storing information, the best they could come up with was writing with reed pens on papyrus scrolls. Their inscriptions on tablets of clay were nowhere near as convenient, or as portable.

The Writings of Moses

The writings of Moses, i.e., the first five books of the Old Testament, plus psalm 90, were written on papyrus scrolls. Forty or so years ago *one charred remains of such a scroll was discovered, and a forensic examination of it revealed the first two chapters of Leviticus. The script was found to be identical to that of the **Masoretic Text – the authoritative Hebrew and Aramaic books of Tanakh. The discovery provides an affirmative link that helps confirm the accuracy of the Masoretic Text. Experts who have examined codices that are held in the Vatican Library, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, the National Library in Jerusalem, and the British Library in London also confirm their accuracy.

The Bible

The Bible is comprised of sixty-six books written by a number of authors, who lived within a timespan of about 1,540 years, and the New Testament was written during the last 50 years of that span. In 367 AD Athanasius, who was the bishop of Alexandria, confirmed the authenticity of the earliest Greek version of the New Testament, which is known as the Codex Sinaiticus. Today it is held in the British Library.

Knowledge Used Wisely

The Bible tells of the wisdom of God, and according to Daniel, God ‘gives wisdom to the wise. He also ‘gives knowledge to those who have understanding (Daniel 2:21).’

As I said at the beginning of this article, knowledge on its own is useless, but when used wisely it can be of great benefit to those who have access to it. It could be a matter of life or death…….. So we would be wise to take note of what Daniel has said about a time to come, because God gave him wisdom and knowledge. Thousands of Christians believe the time he spoke of has come. It is now, or very shortly. The Lord will appear (Colossians 3:4) when not expected (Matthew 24:36-44), but there are clues as to the time.

Daniel prophesied that ‘many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase (Daniel 12:4).’ Doesn’t that describe our time?

He also wrote: ‘And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever (12:2, 3).’ What are your thoughts on this?

King Solomon, a man of wisdom (1 Kings 4:29-34) gave us this pearl of wisdom:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10).’

If we seek knowledge and wisdom, let’s search for it in God’s word, the Bible. We Christians are not a people of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33); we are unlike those of the world who are totally confused. Our trust is in Him (1 Timothy 4:10; 6:17), the God who gives us His peace (John 14:27).

Don’t let us be caught napping (Mark 13:28-33)!

*An Investigation: Materials Used to Write the Bible

https://www.josh.org/materials-scribes-used-bible/

**Masoretic Text

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masoretic_Text

Links to Related Articles

Wisdom and Folly

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/10/05/wisdom-and-folly/

Wisdom from God for Outreach

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/01/31/wisdom-from-god-for-outreach/

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Hearing and Understanding the Gospel

‘But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty (Matthew 13:23).’

I have a great grandson who was born with impaired hearing. In fact he was almost deaf at birth. This affected his understanding of the world around him, particularly in the first couple years of his life. In his formative years he found difficulty in acquiring a basic vocabulary. Communicating by speech was hard for him. Pronouncing words and stringing them together to form sentences was challenging. But with the addition of a bespoke hearing aid and the help of a speech therapist he progressed, and his confidence grew. Instead of being reluctant to play with other children he interacted well with them. By the time he started school, cognitively he was behind his peers, but only marginally. In terms of motor ability, i.e., using his limbs, walking and running, he was ‘normal’. Nursery school was good for him. His interest in the world around him rapidly grew, and he had a healthy curiosity wanting to understand how things work. Three-Dimensional puzzle toys with multiple components requiring assembling and dissembling were his delight. Lego was a favourite. He would play with it for hours.

I’m pleased to say that he continues to make progress, and he has settled well into his junior school.

Hearing and Understanding

Now, what is the connection between the experiences of my great grandson and the gospel of Jesus Christ? Directly, none; but indirectly there is a connection that is crucial. First of all, the gospel has to be heard. People who receive the gospel must first hear the word from preachers who are called (Romans 1:1), equipped and sent for the task (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).

Romans 10:15-17 sums it up nicely:

And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Essentially, without hearing there can be no faith. That’s an absolute fact confirmed by God’s Word, and without faith (Ephesians 2:8) there is no salvation.

As with my great grandson, unless people ‘hear’ what is being said to them, there is no way they can understand what the speaker wishes to communicate. Hearing is essential for understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1). Hearing alone is insufficient; there must be understanding (Matthew 13:19, 23), and this is not just head knowledge. It is an inner, heart-felt, real, meaningful experience – a conviction of the truth (John 14:6). Believers are convicted of their sin and the righteousness of Jesus (John 16:8). They believe for sure what He has done for them. He has saved them from death (James 5:20) and He has given them life by His Spirit (John 3:3-8).

Taking in the gospel in this way affects the ‘heart’ and the ‘soul’ (Matthew 22:37). It deeply affects one’s inner being. That is ‘saving faith’ – believing with the heart (Romans 10:9, 10; Acts 8:37), i.e., the regeneration of the soul by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8).

The One who is to be heard is Jesus the Prophet: ’ For Moses truly said to the fathers,’The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear the Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people (Acts 3:22, 23)’.

‘And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him (Luke 9:35)!”’

‘By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which were visible (Hebrews 11:3).”

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Happiness and Joy

‘For His anger is but for a moment, His favour is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).’

Happiness is fleeting; joy is lasting (Isaiah 35:!0; 51:11; John 15:11).

Happiness and joy are not the same.

Ken Dodd is famous for his ditty, ’Happiness’. In a *YouTube video we can see him with an enormous smile as he sings and rhythmically sways from side to side. He engages his audience, and they willingly enter into the spirit of the moment. Yes, he looks happy, and he brings smiles to many lips. Indeed, he may derive a moment of happiness from performing before an audience. Best of all, with his lilting voice he thanks the Lord for his ‘share of happiness’. [Lyrics at bottom of page.]

Happiness

Happiness and wellbeing often come together. I remember a time when I was sailing my small yacht at the entrance of the Thames estuary, north of the Kent coast. I was returning from a long summer **cruise to the Scilly Isles from my home waters of the River Crouch. I couldn’t have been happier. I was as-fit-as-a-fiddle, and at that particular moment I stood on the side deck holding one of the mast shrouds. From there I could survey ‘my world’. [I wasn’t a Christian at the time, and I didn’t appreciate it was God’s world (Colossians 1:16), as He had created it.] The sun shone, the tide was with me, and the boat was being steered by a wind vane that worked the rudder. For me, it was perfection. I had not a care in the world – it was sheer bliss, but my happiness was only for a brief moment.

The Lord blessed me many times with moments like that, but I was unaware of His blessings, and that I was being held in His everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27). Now, as a Christian, I can look back, and I’m so very grateful for His steadfast love, care and protection. His providence brings me great joy (Luke 2:10). He provides me with all I need, and He gives me a life of abundance (John 10:10) in spiritual riches. I know He has so much more in store for me, none of which I deserve, because of my past rebellion and sinfulness. Even now, in my new life (2 Corinthians 5:17), I recognise I don’t deserve His forgiveness; yet He has rescued me from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). He has given me power (2 Corinthians 13:4) and freedom (John 8:36) to obey the law of the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:2; Galatians 6:2). In this salvation I have great and lasting joy (Psalm 35:9).

Joy

***Joy is everlasting (Isaiah 35:10; 51:11), and It is God-given. It is found in Christ Himself (John 15:11; Hebrews 12:2). Paradoxically, those who are joyful in Him may experience testing times; for example, when they are being persecuted for their faith (1 Thessalonians 1:6; James 1:2, 3; 1 Peter 4:13, 14), or when suffering from ill health (Habakkuk 3:16-18). Under such circumstances their joy remains. Indeed, their joy may increase because of the testing of their faith (1 Peter 1:7, 8). The psalmist tells us of his joy after coming under attack from his foes (Psalm 30:1-3; 8-10). The Lord rescued Him, and the Spirit inspired him to write ‘joy comes in the morning (v 5),and to thank the Lord ‘forever’ (v12).

The source of all real joy is Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:21) who gives joy to those whom He forgives (1 Peter 1:8, 9). They confess their sins (1 John 1:9) and seek righteousness in Him (Psalm 32:5, 11). When they keep His commandments they ‘abide’ in His love which brings joy to their hearts: ‘“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, Just as I’ve kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:10, 11).”’

‘Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart (Psalm 32:11)!’

Those whom the Lord forgives are His joyous people (Isaiah 65:17-19).

*’Happiness’ – Ken Dodd’s Ditty

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIHQIPS68ws

**Some of My Cruising Logs

http://bills-log.blogspot.com/p/cruising-logs.html

***Joy

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/02/19/joy/

Lyrics to Ken Dodd’s ‘Happiness’ Ditty

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess

I thank the Lord I’ve been blessed

With more than my share of happiness

To me this world is a wonderful place

And I’m the luckiest human in the whole human race

I’ve got no silver and I’ve got no gold

But I’ve got happiness in my soul

Happiness to me is an ocean tide

Or a sunset fading on a mountain side

A big old heaven full of stars up above

When I’m in the arms of the one I love

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess

I thank the Lord that I’ve been blessed

With more than my share of happiness

Happiness is a field of grain

Turning its face to the falling rain

I can see it in the sunshine, I breathe it in the air

Happiness happiness everywhere

A wise old man told me one time

Happiness is a frame of mind

When you go to measuring my success

Don’t count my money count my happiness

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess

I thank the Lord I’ve been blessed

With more than my share of happiness

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess

I thank the Lord I’ve been blessed

With more than my share of happiness

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Worry

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matthew 6:34).”’

We have a relative who stayed with us overnight, and he did not sleep at all well. He reckoned he managed to get about four hours of fitful rest. I asked him why he had not slept soundly, and he said he was anxious about a deal he was in the course of negotiating. It had been on his mind for weeks, and he was uncertain if he was doing the right thing. There would be repercussions if it worked out badly. Other people were involved, and he cared for them. He didn’t want them to suffer in any way. In fact, one of the reasons for making the deal was to help them! And, if all went well, he and they would benefit.

This is a classic example of what can happen to any of us. We can become so worried about the things of the world (Matthew 13:22; cf. Matthew 6:33; Mark 4:16-18) – our possessions, dealings and responsibilities – they can weigh us down – even causing us to become overwhelmed and perhaps depressed (Proverbs 12:25).

Thereafter, a possible scenario could be that our health fails; we tire and we become irritable. We no longer function well at work. We take time off to recuperate. Then we are told we have been made redundant, because our employer has lost custom and revenue as a result of our absenteeism. From there on, we find ourselves engulfed in a downward spiral of gloom into a dark chasm, with no apparent escape. Satan has us in his chains of bondage (Psalm 107:14; cf. Luke 13:16). We are lost, and we need a Saviour (Luke 2:11; 1 John 4:14) who will rescue us and bring us into the light (John 12:46)?

Jesus is the Saviour

Jesus assures people who are ‘heavy laden’ that He can help them by giving them ‘rest’ (Matthew 11:28). They simply need to ‘come’ to Him and to trust Him (John 14:1; cf Proverbs 3:5, 6). Then He will deliver them from their deepest fears (Luke 12:32). He promises He will give them rest: ‘“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden light (Matthew 11:29, 30).”’

They just have to take Him at His word: ‘“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God clothes the grass of the fields, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:25-33).”’

Why the Words of Jesus are so Important to Me

I am one of the world’s worst worriers, having always been anxious about many things and situations. I put it down to the fact that my mother was anxious by nature, and I have inherited her genes, but there’s more to it than that:

I was a youngster during the second world war when the whole nation was anxious. We were concerned that Hitler’s invasion forces would land on nearby beaches. Almost every night Luftwaffe bombers flew overhead to South Wales where they would drop their deadly cargo before returning to base. I shudder now, as I recall the wailing of the warning sirens before the welcome all-clear note of reprieve..

We listened to the news on every occasion, and we were ready to leave our home at a moment’s notice. It’s no wonder we were anxious. Even now, although I am a believer in Christ, I have to constantly remind myself that my life is in Him (John 17:20-23). I am safe (Proverbs 18:10). I have nothing to fear and nothing to be anxious about (Romans 8:28).

I can take to heart My Lord’s words of comfort,‘“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32).”’

And meanwhile, as I wait until the time of His coming again (Matthew 16:27), His words as spoken through Paul the Apostle comfort me: ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6, 7).’

The Spirit moved  the Psalmist to write:‘In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul (Psalm 94:19).’

Therefore, let us who believe, be comforted (2 Corinthians 1:3); for our rest and security is in Him (Isaiah 32:18; Hebrews 4:1-10).

Amen.

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